The Libertines, a band with an indie/punk sound, formed in London in 1997, with Carl Barat on vocals and lead guitar and Pete Doherty on vocals and rhythm guitar. Also featured were John Hassall (bass) and Gary Powell (drums). Barat and Doherty met at Brunel University in Uxbridge, they later hooked up with John Hassall and briefly, Razorlight frontman, Johnny Borrell.
Their best 8 tracks at the time, formed their first recording: ‘’Legs XI’’, later, a popular bootleg. Gary Powell was later recruited and, in 2001, the band signed to Rough Trade records.
First single, ‘’What a Waster’’ / ‘’I Get Along’’ reached No.37 in June 2002, despite limited airplay due to the record’s colourful language. The band were featured on the front cover of NME, which signalled the notable love affair between the paper and The Libertines.
The debut album:‘’Up the Bracket’’was subsequently released, reaching No. 35, however during this recording and touring, Doherty’s drug use worsened, and the relationships within the band suffered.
Doherty went on to play guerrilla gigs that Barat did not attend - it culminated in Barat refusing to let Doherty into the band until he got his life in order.
While The Libertines toured in Japan, Doherty played with band, Babyshambles, things spiralled out of control, with Doherty burgling Barat’s flat, getting arrested, and spending 6 months in prison.
However, the pair’s fractious relationship was restored, resulting in 3 sold out London Forum gigs in December 2003 and 3 sold out London Brixton Academy shows in March 2004.
With their trademark love/hate behaviour, Barat and Doherty’s friendship deteriorated badly during the recording of self-titled 2nd album, with security guards employed to curb the pair’s in-studio fighting.
This was the beginning of the end of the band - Barat refused to allow Doherty to work with The Libertines until he had kicked his drug habit. Barat eventually broke the band up.
However, they were still successfully releasing material – ‘’Can’t Stand Me Now’’ hit No.2 and ‘’The Libertines’’ shot to the top in the album charts.
Their final show was in Paris in December 2004 (without Doherty), but the band have reunited since several times, for one-off occasions.
Since then however, Carl and Pete have resoluved their differences and has seen them preparing for a farewell performance at the Reading and Leeds festivals in August 2010.
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