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The Black Keys Biography


Home > Music > B > Black Keys, The > Biography


Birth Place: Akron, Ohio, US
Years Active: 2001–present
Genres: Blues-rock, Garage Rock, Indie Rock


The Black Keys is an American blues-rock music duo consisting of vocalist/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer/producer Patrick Carney. After forming in 2001 they were active in the underground scene of Akron, Ohio. Their name comes from Akron artist Alfred McMoore, who used the phrase “black key” to indicate something was "off-center" or "not quite right."

The band released their debut album, “The Big Come Up,” in early 2002. Along with their second album “Thickfreakness” released in 2003, it was recorded entirely in drummer Patrick Carney's basement on an 8-track tape recorder from the early 1980s. “Rubber Factory,” the band's third album was released in 2004.

In 2006 The Black Keys signed with Nonesuch Records and released “Chulahoma: The Songs of Junior Kimbrough,” an EP with covers of songs by Junior Kimbrough. Kimbrough was a bluesman and the founder of Fat Possum Records, whom the band had previously covered on “The Big Come Up.”

“Attack & Release,” the band's fifth album, was produced by Danger Mouse and released in 2008. “Attack & Release” debuted at #14 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.

“Blakroc,” a collaborative album featuring The Black Keys and several hip hop artists, was released on Black Friday in 2009. The project was supported and brought together by producer Damon Dash. The album featured rappers among the likes of Mos Def, RZA, Raekwon, Ludacris, Pharoahe Monch, Q-Tip, NOE, Jim Jones, Nicole Wray, M.O.P., and the late Ol' Dirty Bastard. The album was recorded in Brooklyn, New York.

The band paired with Danger Mouse to produce the album “Brothers” which was released in 2010 and peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200. The single “Tighten Up” became their most successful single, reaching #1 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. The song also won the Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, while “Brothers” was awarded the Grammy for Best Alternative Album.

In 2011 they released their seventh album, “El Camino,” which was again produced by Danger Mouse who contributed as a co-writer on each of the 11 songs. It debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 and was preceded by lead single “Lonely Boy.” “Lonely Boy” became the band's biggest hit, peaking at #64 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. It also became their second #1 hit on both the Billboard Alternative Songs and Rock Songs charts, following “Tighten Up.”