Alternative and Indie
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The world-renowned androgynous alt-rockers
Placebo was formed by Belgian-born vocalist/guitarist Brian Molko and Swede bassist/guitarist Stefan Olsdal in London in 1994. They were inspired early on by the music of David Bowie and bands like The Smashing Pumpkins, The Pixies and Sonic Youth.
Placebo’s first track Bruise Pristine was released in 1995, followed a year later by their self-titled debut album. Placebo reached No.5 on the UK albums chart and stayed there for 13 weeks, spawning hits like 36 Degrees and Nancy Boy.
The band went on to release Without You I’m Nothing in 1998, which peaked at No.7 on the UK albums chart and was certified platinum. In addition to their music, Placebo appeared in the Todd Haynes’ film Velvet Goldmine about Britain’s glam rock days. The movie won an award for Best Artistic Contribution at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival.
The first decade of the noughties saw Placebo release several more albums that charted at No.1 in France and within the top 11 in the UK. Black Market Music and Sleeping With Ghosts arrived in 2000 and 2003, respectively. Their greatest hits compilation, Once More With Feeling: Singles 1996-2004, came out the next year, and then they unveiled Meds in 2006 and Battle For The Sun in 2009.
Although often labelled as an alternative rock group, Placebo have always mixed a lot of different sounds in their music from punk to Britpop and Neo-glam. Molko once said they were “a band for outsiders, by outsiders”. Over their career, they’ve supported well-known acts – including U2, Weezer and The Sex Pistols – and collaborated with Bowie and The Cure, performing live on stage with both of them.
Placebo were among the headliners at the iTunes Festival in London in 2009 and soon after they hit the road with their own show.
In 2013, Placebo came out with their seventh album, Loud Like Love. From the end of 2013 through 2015, they performed in arenas across the UK as well as Europe, US, Canada, South America, Australia and Russia.
Their only live album, MTV Unplugged, recorded at The London Studios was released in 2015. As part of the band’s 20 anniversary celebration in 2016, they unveiled the compilation A Place For Us To Dream. An eighth album is in the works and expected in 2021.