Plain White T's
Hailing from the suburbs of Chicago, the punk-pop outfit Plain White T's began taking shape in 1997, a full ten years before the acoustic ballad "Hey There Delilah" made them Grammy-nominated stars. Lead singer Tom Higgenson was originally fascinated with the drums, having served as the percussionist for various rock bands during high school. One such band was Harvey's Daughter, whose lineup also featured bass player Ken Fletcher. Although the group ultimately disbanded, the two remained friends and quickly launched an additional band, with Higgenson taking over lead duties as songwriter and singer. Drummer Dave Tirio subsequently joined the new lineup, bringing Plain White T's to fruition during the fall of 1997.
Performances around various Chicago clubs earned the band a small but devout following. In the summer of 1999, Higgenson was nearly killed in a car accident; the crash resulted in a ruptured kidney and lacerated lung. However, the event left him with a newfound appreciation for life, and band's songwriting improved as Higgenson dedicated himself to the project.
The group self-released Come on Over in 2001, then jumped to Fearless Records' roster for the release of 2002's Stop. Although plagued by lineup shifts during the album's supporting tour, Plain White T's still found time to record All That We Needed, which hit shelves in early 2005. By that point, the band's roster had solidified with a lineup comprised of vocalist Higgenson, guitarists Tirio and Tim Lopez, drummer De'Mar Hamilton, and bassist Mike Retondo. The band then participated in the 2005 Take Action tour alongside groups like Sugarcult and Head Automatica before joining up with Motion City Soundtrack for tour dates in 2006. The enhanced EP Hey There Delilah was released that May, containing versions of the titular ballad (originally issued on All That We Needed), along with four new songs and music videos.
The band's work ethic and promising songcraft earned Plain White T's a new contract with Hollywood Records, and Every Second Counts, their hook-laden debut for the label, appeared in September 2006. The band returned to the road soon after, but its fortunes improved as "Hey There Delilah" gathered steam on radio stations nationwide. By the following summer, the song had topped the charts in ten different countries and helped jump-start sales of Every Second Counts (which, incidentally, only featured "Hey There Delilah" in enhanced versions). Plain White T's received two Grammy nominations for the song, and the band returned in 2008 with Big Bad World, a return-to-form effort featuring the band's usual mix of spunky energy and pop/rock craft. ~ Jason MacNeil & Andrew Leahey, All Music Guide
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