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Brit Awards Tuesday, 29 February, 2000, 10:53 GMT
The sun shines on Travis
Out of the woods now: Travis
It happens every year. There's always a single which gets played on the radio all summer, stays in the charts for weeks, and seems to sit in the brain of everyone in the country.

Brit Awards 2000
Usually, it's an upbeat pop ditty, or a tacky club tune first heard on the continent - this year it was a piece of melancholic guitar pop - Travis' Why Does It Always Rain On Me?

The single only reached number 10 in the UK charts, but it helped its accompanying album, The Man Who, hit number one. More than 1.8m copies have now been sold, making the Glasgow four-piece the biggest selling domestic act in the UK in 1999.

Rolf Harris connection

Singer Fran Healy, 26, bassist Dougie Payne, 27, guitarist Andy Dunlop, 27, and drummer Neil Primrose, 28, have one unusual influence on their career - Australian artist, singer and animal lover Rolf Harris.

Healy and Payne met in 1990 while studying art at Glasgow University. The two became friends after discovering they had a shared skill in Harris impersonations.

Fellow art student Dunlop joined them, as did barman Primrose, and Healy dropped out to start writing songs.
Fran Healy
Fran Healy: Quit art course to write for Travis
"I left art school because I had so many arguments there. It's very elitist and not very much for people that are coming from where I've come from," he says.

"That's maybe why I'm doing what I'm doing, because what music's got that fine art doesn't have is radio. Radio's free."

Soon, they were rehearsing 50-60 hours a week above a local pub, and began touring around Scotland. Early names for the band included Glass Onion and Red Telephone Box, until the foursome settled upon Travis as a name.

Slowly, they built up a reputation, and by 1996 record companies were beginning to take an interest in them. Sony sent an executive to Edinburgh, who signed them for a publishing deal - despite the gig degenerating into a brawl.

The foursome moved to London, where events moved quickly.

They released their debut single themselves, All I Want To Do Is Rock, which got them signed to the new Independiente label.

Their second single the rowdy sing-along U16 Girls, got them more attention.

Glowing reviews

Their debut album, Good Feeling, was recorded in four days, and received glowing reviews. The band were also chosen to support Oasis on a UK tour.

They disappeared from view in 1998 - taking six months, five studios and two producers to record Good Feeling's follow-up, The Man Who.
Travis' album The Man Who
The Man Who has sold over 1.8 million copies
The critics weren't keen on the new record's slower pace, and wanted the pop sound of Good Feeling back.

Danny Ecclestone in Q magazine called it "tryannically tasteful" while Stuart Bailie in NME said: "Travis will be the best when they stop trying to make sad, classic records."

The public thought otherwise - but it took a while for them to say so.

Playlist hit

The third single from the album, Why Does It Always Rain On Me? - very much a sad, classic record - reached number 10 in the charts, but lingered on radio playlists all summer. It followed the band's appearance at the Glastonbury festival when, as they started to play the song - it rained.

Thirteen weeks after it was released, the album reached number one in the UK charts. The band's quiet journey to stardom was complete.
The band's success has defied the critics
With the 2000 Brit Awards they received confirmation of their success by winning Best Group and Best Album prizes.

Now the plan is for them to conquer the US. They are supporting Oasis on their American tour in April and May, and Why Does It Always Rain On Me? will be their debut single in March.

The signs are good. Already US reviewers have commented on their "aching sincerity" - a change from Oasis' swagger. A recent Los Angeles Times feature even pinpointed Healy's haircut as the latest men's style trend.

On stage in Los Angeles in January, the band performed their cover version of Britney Spears' pop hit Baby One More Time, which appears on the B-side of their UK single Turn.

"This is the way it should be played," Healy told the crowd. It went down a treat.

If Travis can toy with such an all-American institution as Britney and get away with it, the world must be at their feet.

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