Imagine Dragons in 2017
|Origin||Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.|
Imagine Dragons is an American rock band from Las Vegas, Nevada, consisting of lead vocalist Dan Reynolds, lead guitarist Wayne Sermon, bassist and keyboardist Ben McKee, and drummer Daniel Platzman. The band first gained exposure with the release of single "It's Time", followed by their award-winning debut studio album Night Visions (2012), which resulted in the chart topping singles "Radioactive" and "Demons". Billboard placed them at the top of their "Year In Rock" rankings for 2013 and 2017 and named them their "Breakthrough Band of 2013". Rolling Stone named their single "Radioactive" from Night Visions the "biggest rock hit of the year", and MTV called them "the year's biggest breakout band". The band's second studio album Smoke + Mirrors (2015) reached number one in the US, Canada and the UK. After a brief hiatus, the band released their third studio album, Evolve (2017) which resulted in the chart-topping singles, "Believer" and "Thunder". While all three albums were commercially successful, critical reception was mixed.
Imagine Dragons has won three American Music Awards, five Billboard Music Awards, one Grammy Award, and one World Music Award. In May 2014, the band was nominated for fourteen Billboard Music Awards, including Top Artist of the Year and a Milestone Award, which recognizes innovation and creativity of artists across different genres. Imagine Dragons have sold 12 million albums and 35 million singles worldwide.
Early years: 2008–2011
In 2008, lead singer Dan Reynolds met drummer Andrew Tolman at Brigham Young University where they were both students. Reynolds and Tolman added Andrew Beck, Dave Lemke, and Aurora Florence to play guitar, bass, and piano respectively for their band. Their name is an anagram for a phrase only known to members of the group, that Reynolds stated each member approved of. The five-piece released an extended play titled Speak to Me that same year. Beck and Florence would also depart from the band's lineup that year. In 2009, Tolman recruited longtime high school friend Wayne Sermon, who had graduated from Berklee College of Music to play guitar. Tolman later recruited his wife, Brittany Tolman, to sing backup and play keys, and the band began to play shows together again. Lemke left the band later on, leading Sermon to recruit another Berklee music student, Ben McKee, to join the band as their bassist and complete the lineup. The band garnered a large following in their hometown of Provo, Utah, before the members moved to Las Vegas, the hometown of Dan Reynolds, where the band recorded and released their first three EPs.
The band released EPs titled Imagine Dragons and Hell and Silence in 2010, both recorded at Battle Born Studios, in Las Vegas. They returned to the studio in 2011. The third EP, It's Time, was made before they signed a record deal.
They got their first big break when Train's frontman Pat Monahan fell sick just prior to the Bite of Las Vegas Festival 2009. Imagine Dragons were called to fill in and performed to a crowd of more than 26,000 people. Local accolades including "Best CD of 2011" (Vegas SEVEN), "Best Local Indie Band 2010" (Las Vegas Weekly), "Las Vegas' Newest Must See Live Act" (Las Vegas CityLife), Vegas Music Summit Headliner 2010, and more sent the band on a positive trajectory. In November 2011 they signed with Interscope Records and began working with English Grammy winning producer Alex da Kid. Eventually the Tolmans would leave the group and Daniel Platzman would be recruited in August 2011 by invitation from Ben McKee, prior to the signing of band's label deal in November 2011, alongside keyboardist Theresa Flaminio.
International success and Night Visions: 2012–2014
Theresa Flaminio departed from Imagine Dragons in early 2012, leaving them as a four-piece. The band worked closely with Alex da Kid, with whom they recorded their first major label release at Westlake Recording Studios in West Hollywood, California. An EP entitled Continued Silence was released on Valentine's Day (February 14, 2012) digitally and peaked at number 40 on the Billboard 200. The band also released an EP titled Hear Me in 2012.
Shortly after, "It's Time" was released as a single and peaked at number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100. The music video debuted on April 17, 2012 on all MTV affiliates and was subsequently nominated for an MTV Video Music Award in the "Best Rock Video" category. "It's Time" was certified a double platinum single by the RIAA.
The band finished recording their debut album Night Visions in the summer of 2012 at Studio X inside Palms Casino Resort and released the album in the United States on the day after Labor Day (September 4, 2012). It peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart with first week sales in excess of 83,000 copies, the highest charting for a debut rock album since 2006. The album also reached No. 1 on the Billboard Alternative and Rock Album charts as well as the top ten on the Australian, Austrian, Canadian, Dutch, German, Irish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Scottish, Spanish, and United Kingdom Albums charts. It won a Billboard Music Award for Top Rock Album and was nominated for the Juno Award for International Album of the Year. Night Visions is certified platinum by the RIAA as well as in Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. The album produced three tracks that reached the Billboard Top 40, four tracks in the ARIA Top 40, and five tracks charting in the UK Top 40.
The album's second single "Radioactive" reached No. 1 on the Billboard Alternative Songs, Billboard Rock Songs, and Swedish singles chart and has sold more than seven million singles in the United States, smashing a record by spending 87 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. "Radioactive" stayed at No. 1 on the Hot Rock Songs chart for a record-breaking 23 weeks and ultimately became the genre's biggest hit of 2013. It peaked at No. 3, becoming their first top ten single in the United States and broke the record for the longest run into the top five. It is the best-selling rock song on the Nielsen SoundScan running list of best-selling rock songs in digital history. By the end of 2013, "Radioactive" had already sold over 3 million copies. Rolling Stone called it "the biggest rock hit of the year". It was also the most streamed song of 2013 on Spotify in the United States. It was nominated for the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and the Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, winning the latter of the two. In 2015, it was certified diamond by the RIAA for sales in excess of 10 million copies in the United States.
Billboard listed them as one of "2012's Brightest New Stars" and later "The Breakout Band of 2013". Imagine Dragons won the 2014 Billboard Music Awards for Top Duo/Group, Top Hot 100 Artist, and Top Rock Artist. Amazon.com called the band their "Favorite Rock artist of 2012".
In 2013, Imagine Dragons returned to Europe and North America with the Night Visions Tour. The band announced 13 additional US summer tour dates which also sold out. The band then announced a North America Amphitheatre tour. The band also confirmed that they were unable to fulfill the request of acting as support for Muse. Pollstar listed the band in their Top 20 Concert Tours list by average box office gross despite their average ticket price being the third lowest on the list.
Smoke + Mirrors and hiatus: 2014–2016
At Lollapalooza in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the last date on the Into the Night Tour, the band announced a rest, and complemented saying, "This is our last show for a while, and had no better place to end this tour". The conclusion of the Into the Night Tour signaled the end of the Night Visions album cycle. Lead singer Dan Reynolds joked about the end of the Night Visions cycle, saying that "We're always writing on the road, [so] that second album will come, unless we die at the age of 27 next year. Hopefully we don't die and there will be a second album. I don't know when it will be, but it may come".
The idea behind the second studio album, dubbed as their "New Year's resolution", was to create music and finish it when the band feels that their work is done. Reynolds told MTV in 2014 that the band wanted to "put out an album that we're really happy with". He further said that "we tend to be perfectionists, too hard on ourselves at times, and we don't want to rush anything because we know how we are with things. We don't want to put a record out until we really feel good about it, you know, and who knows how long that will take". Since the beginning of the Night Visions Tour, the band had been writing new material for an upcoming album, and, even as early as the start of the tour, had been recording demos for the album, before entering the studio. By the time that they entered the studio to work on the album, they had amassed 50 demos to work from. The demos had been described by Reynolds as "definitely different", but added that "it’s still Imagine Dragons, but we’ve got a lot of growth and maturing to do as a band. I think the new material is going to hopefully be a step in the right direction. We’re just trying to create and do what comes out and what feels right". Drummer Daniel Platzman added that the band are critical of themselves, with "no room for external pressure".
Inspired greatly by the band's travels on both their previous tours and the Night Visions Tour, the album will explore world culture as a musical item and overall motif in the album. Dan Reynolds told New Orleans-based newspaper The Times-Picayune that there was "a lot of inspiration to be drawn from [the world tour]. You kind of realize that you’re a lot smaller than you think". In addition, Reynolds stated to music magazine Rolling Stone that the next album will be "different" from Night Visions, and that the band intends the album to be "stripped back quite a bit". He added that "we embraced a lot of hip-hop influences with Night Visions, but I think the next record will be more rock-driven. It’s too early to say, but there is some weird stuff going on in these songs".
Prior to the album's release, Imagine Dragons released a number of singles for other projects including a song for the film Transformers: Age of Extinction, called "Battle Cry" (June 2014) and song "Warriors" for the 2014 League of Legends World Championship (September 2014).
On October 24, they revealed the lead single to the upcoming album, "I Bet My Life" via several visual snippets on Facebook and Instagram. It was released on October 27. It will be sent to US Alternative radio for adds on November 3.
On December 12, 2014, Imagine Dragons posted on social media a request that fans in the US look around their city for some surprises and post their findings. They also hinted about two locations in Las Vegas. Shortly, billboards featuring artwork, the band's name, a hashtag ("#smoke+mirrors"), and an additional titles, presumed to be the track names were discovered. The following titles were revealed "Summer", "Shots", "Polaroid", "I'm So Sorry", and "Gold". Next, the band direct messaged various fans puzzle pieces of the artwork for the album (each file numbered, at least 13 in total). When combined, the puzzle pieces appear to reveal the cover art and album title. The title, cover art, and release date were revealed on social media two days later.
Working with Metric, which did a three-song acoustic set, Imagine Dragons played at the Mayan Theater in Los Angeles on February 5, 2015. The half-hour set included the breakthrough songs "It's Time" and "Radioactive" from Night Visions. The performance was the live debut for "Summer" and "I'm So Sorry", along with "Gold" and "I Bet My Life" from the album Smoke + Mirrors, which was released on February 17, 2015. The band's 2015 North American summer tour began in Portland, Oregon on June 3.
During the band's tour, Imagine Dragons released two non-album singles. "Roots" was released on August 26, 2015 and "I Was Me" on October 12, 2015 via iTunes. The band also released a cover of "I Love You All the Time" by Eagles of Death Metal on December 18, 2015, in support of the victims of the November 2015 Paris attacks. The Smoke + Mirrors Tour ended on February 5, 2016 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
In an interview, Dan Reynolds told Billboard that the band would be taking a hiatus for the remainder of 2016, stating that "This is the year we're going to actually take time off. We haven't stopped in, like, six years, so we've forced ourselves to at least take a year off." The band released a one night only concert film, Imagine Dragons In Concert: Smoke + Mirrors, in select theaters on March 2, 2016. The film was released on DVD and Blu-Ray under the title Imagine Dragons: Smoke + Mirrors Live. They also released the song "Not Today" from the soundtrack for Me Before You on April 28. The band also appears on the soundtrack for the film Suicide Squad. The song, titled "Sucker For Pain", features Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Logic, Ty Dolla Sign, and X Ambassadors.
On September 27, 2016, Imagine Dragons began teasing their third studio album with a tweet simply saying "studio". The band continued posting cryptic messages on their Twitter account for the next four months. On January 28, 2017, the band started posting a series of videos teasing the album's first single. The time-lapse videos featured lead singer Dan Reynolds drawing surreal images on a drawing pad. Morse code was hidden in the videos and translated to "objects of same color". On February 1, 2017, Imagine Dragons released "Believer" as the lead single for their next album. "Believer" was used as part of the Super Bowl ad for the Nintendo Switch.
On May 8, 2017, Imagine Dragons announced their third studio album Evolve, as well as a new track "Whatever It Takes", which was released on the same day. A tour in support for the album was also announced within the same day. Evolve was released on June 23, 2017, worldwide. The album reached the top five in most countries but was met with mixed critical reception.
Musical style and influences
"Radioactive" is one of the more electronically influenced tracks on Night Visions.
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Imagine Dragons' musical style has mainly been described as alternative rock, indie rock, pop rock, indie pop, electronic rock, synth-pop, dance-pop electropop, pop, and arena rock.. Their music also has some influences of folk, R&B, hip hop and EDM.
Dan Reynolds cites Arcade Fire, Nirvana, Muse, The Beatles, Paul Simon, Coldplay, Harry Nilsson, and U2 as some of his and the band's artistic influences. In terms of success, Reynolds credits bands like Foster the People and Mumford & Sons for bringing alternative pop music to a new level of commercial success in recent years.
Imagine Dragons has performed "It's Time" live on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (2012) and Jimmy Kimmel Live! (2012) and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (2012), and Conan (2013). They performed "Radioactive" live on Jimmy Kimmel Live! (2012), The Late Show with David Letterman (2013), The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (2013), Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (2013), and the MTV Europe Music Awards (2013). They also performed on Good Morning America (2013, 2015). The band performed an exclusive show for the sixth-season finale of the TV series Live from the Artists Den (2013). The band also performed at the 2013 American Music Awards, MTV Europe Music Awards (2013), Grammy Awards (2014), on Saturday Night Live (2014), at the Billboard Music Awards (2014), and the MuchMusic Video Awards (2014). They also headlined the MLB's Target All-Star Concert (2014) and the inaugural Made In America Music Festival Los Angeles. Imagine Dragons performed a version of "Revolution" at The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to The Beatles (2014).
On October 24, 2013, Imagine Dragons guest starred on an episode of truTV's Impractical Jokers, where losers Joe and Sal had to perform an opening act as "Señora Lanza" at a packed concert in Nikon at Jones Beach Theater. Band members join Murr and Q on the hijinks.
The band has performed I Bet My Life at the 2014 American Music Awards, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2015). They have also performed Shots on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (2015), Jimmy Kimmel Live! (2015), and The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2015).
In 2013, along with the family of Tyler Robinson, Imagine Dragons started a charity called the Tyler Robinson Foundation, helping young people battling cancer. Beginning in 2014, the first annual Tyler Robinson Foundation Gala was held in Las Vegas. Imagine Dragons performed for "Playing It Forward" (S1 E2) to raise $100k for school music programs. In 2013, the band partnered with mtvU to help choose four Fulbright-mtvU Fellowship recipients. In 2013, Imagine Dragons partnered with Do The Write Thing: National Campaign to Stop Violence for a fundraising event. Imagine Dragons performed as part of Amnesty International's "Bringing Human Rights Home" concert in Brooklyn on February 5, 2014. In 2015, Imagine Dragons released the track "I Was Me" for the One4 project with all proceeds going to the UN Refugee Agency to support fleeing refugees, particularly in the Middle East. Imagine Dragons also released cover track "I Love You All The Time" to benefit the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris. In 2017 the band helped organize the LoveLoud Fest to benefit LGBTQ organizations.
- Dan Reynolds – lead vocals, drums, rhythm guitar, piano, keyboards, drums, percussion (2008–present)
- Wayne Sermon – lead guitar, drums, backing vocals, mandolin (2009–present)
- Ben McKee – bass, drums, piano, keyboards, synthesizers, backing vocals, guitar (2009–present)
- Daniel Platzman – drums, percussion, backing vocals, rhythm guitar, viola, keyboards (2011–present)
- Andrew Tolman – drums, percussion, backing vocals, rhythm guitar (2008–2011)
- Brittany Tolman – piano, keyboards, backing vocals, rhythm guitar (2009–2011)
- Theresa Flaminio — piano, keyboards, backing vocals (2011–2012)
- Dave Lemke – bass, backing vocals (2008–2009)
- Aurora Florence – piano, keyboards, backing vocals, violin (2008)
- Andrew Beck – guitar, backing vocals (2008)
- Ryan Walker – piano, keyboards, rhythm guitar, mandolin, backing vocals, tambourine (2012–2015)
- Will Wells – piano, keyboards, rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2015–2017) 
- Elliot Schwartzman – piano, keyboards, rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2017-present)
Awards and nominations
Imagine Dragons earned the distinction of the Billboard No. 1 Top Rock Artist of 2013 as well as the No. 2 Top Rock Artist of 2014. Night Visions has charted on the Billboard 200 for more than 2 years consecutively and was the No. 4 Album of 2013 (US) and No. 3 Album of 2013 (CAN). Single "Radioactive" was Billboard's No. 1 Hot Rock Song of 2013, No. 1 Alternative Song of 2013, and is the longest-charting single on the Billboard Hot 100 (87 weeks). Imagine Dragons is the only artist with two songs in the Top Ten Most Downloaded Songs in Rock History "Radioactive" (No. 1) and "Demons" (No. 8).
- Imagine Dragons were the No. 4 most streamed artist (US) on Spotify in 2013 but had the No. 1 most streamed album and track in 2013.
- Imagine Dragons were the No. 4 most Shazammed artist (US) on Shazam in 2013 but the No. 1 most Shazammed rock artist of the year.
- Imagine Dragons were the No. 6 most streamed artist (U.K.) in 2013 with only one American artist streaming more.
- Imagine Dragons were the No. 13 most streamed artist of all time on Spotify as of November 2014.
- Imagine Dragons were the No. 2 most streamed group globally on Spotify in 2014.
- Imagine Dragons were the No. 2 most streamed group globally on Spotify in 2017.
- Imagine Dragons had the No. 1 and No. 6 most streamed tracks on Amazon Music Unlimited in 2017.
- Night Visions Tour (2010–2014)
- Smoke + Mirrors Tour (2015–2016)
- Evolve World Tour (2017)
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