Black Market Music
Placebo, the multi-national glam band was formed by singer/guitarist Brian Molko (part Scottish and American, but raised in Britain) and bassist Stefan Olsdal (originally from Sweden). Briefly called Ashtray Heart and influenced by the likes of Sonic Youth and the Smashing Pumpkins, Placebo's drum slot was filled alternately early on by Robert Schultzberg and Steve Hewitt (the latter being the group's only member of British origin).
Placebo signed a recording contract with Caroline Records, which had issued the trio's self-titled debut in 1996. The album was a surprise hit in the UK, where such singles as ‘Nancy Boy’ and ‘Bruise Pristine’ gained massive commercial airplay.
Despite the band’s success, Schultzberg left the band, and Hewitt became Placebo’s full time drummer. One of Hewitt's first performances with Placebo proved to be a big one, as major fan David Bowie personally invited the trio to play at his 50th birthday in 1997.
The following year, Placebo switched to Virgin Records, and issued ‘Without You I'm Nothing’ in November. The album saw great UK success, and was used as their breakthrough to the US, with MTV embracing single ‘Pure Morning’. Around the same time, Placebo also recorded a cover version of T. Rex's classic ‘20th Century Boy’ for the movie Velvet Goldmine, in which the trio appeared performing the song as well.
The relationship between Placebo and Bowie continued to blossom, as Bowie made a special appearance on-stage with the band during a tour, even joining the band for a re-recording of the title track from ‘Without You I'm Nothing’. Placebo's third release, Black Market Music was released in 2000, with added hip-hop and disco elements.The recording spawned additional UK hits such as ‘Taste in Men’ and ‘Slave to the Wage’.
In 2003, Placebo showcased a harder sound with the release of their fourth album, ‘Sleeping with Ghosts’. The album went Top Ten in the UK and sold 1.4 million copies worldwide. Placebo's singles collection, ‘Once More with Feeling: Singles 1996-2004’, was released before the year's end. The 19-song compilation included their biggest UK hits and the new track ‘Twenty Years’.
Frenchman Dimitri Tikovoi produced Placebo's fifth effort, 2006's Meds. In 2007, after scheduling to tour with Linkin Park and My Chemical Romance, Virgin released the Extended Play '07 EP as a simple introduction for new fans to the band's past decade of music.
The band returned, minus Steve Hewitt and plus new drummer Steve Forrest, in 2009 with album 'Battle For The Sun', which was released on their new label, PIAS.
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