Paramore

  • Alt Rock/Pop punk band formed in 2004, from Franklin Tennessee. Founding members were Hayley Williams (lead vocals, keyboards, songwriting), Zac Farro (drums, keyboards), Josh Farro (lead guitar, backing vocals, songwriting), Jason Bynam (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), and Jeremy Davis (bass guitar). Taylor York joined in 2007, providing rhythm guitar, keyboards, backing vocals and songwriting.
  • At the age of 13, Williams moved to Tennessee and met the Farro brothers at a program for home schooled kids. Before forming the band, Williams and Davis played in a funk cover band. They formed Paramore because they had such a passion for music – Williams was 16, Zac was 14, Josh was 17 and Davis was 19. The name of the band came from the maiden name of one of their early bass players. In 2003, Williams, at 14 years old, was signed as a solo artist with a record label. They wanted to make her into a pop singer, but she resisted, wanting to play alternative rock in a band. The label agreed, and in 2005 the band was signed.
  • Prior to releasing their debut album, Davis left the group for personal reasons. The rest of the band was unhappy with his decision, and his departure was a major theme of the album, All We Know Is Falling, which was released in 2005. Another bass player briefly joined the band for the album – ultimately, Davis rejoined the group 5 months after he left. The album and singles from it did not chart, though sales increased when later albums were more successful, so this album ultimately was certified gold.
  • The band toured for 2 years, increasing their exposure. York joined as guitarist, and in 2007, their second album, Riot!, was released. This album was their breakthrough – it peaked at #15 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and 2 singles – Misery Business and Crushcrushcrush were top 5 songs on the Alternative Songs chart, with Misery Business selling over 3 million downloads in the U.S. The band was nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy award, but did not win.
  • In 2008, the band contributed 2 songs to the soundtrack to the film Twilight. The lead single to the soundtrack was Paramore’s Decode. The song peaked at #5 on the Alternative Songs chart, and at #33 on the Hot 100 chart, and was nominated for a Grammy.
  • Their next album, Brand New Eyes, was released in 2009. It reached #2 on the album chart, and was certified platinum. The songs Ignorance and Brick By Boring Brick were top 10 songs on the Alternative Songs chart, and The Only Exception reached #24 on the Hot 100 chart.
  • In late 2010, the Farro brothers announced that they were leaving the band, bitter about the way the record label was managing the group, particularly in that they focused on Williams as the leader. The band continued on despite the loss of the 2 founding members. In 2011, they released an EP, Singles Club – one of the songs was Monster, used in the closing credits of the film Transformers: Dark of the Moon. 
  • Their next studio album was in 2013 – the self titled Paramore, and the first without the Farro brothers. At this time, the band was a trio of Williams, Davis and York, and studio musicians were used for other roles. The band experimented with some new sounds – new wave and funk genres were used in this album. It reached #1 in the U.S., Australia and the UK, and was certified platinum. Their highest charting single was on this record – Ain’t It Fun reached #10 on the Hot 100, and #1 on the Hot Rock Songs chart. The song won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song in 2015. Still Into You also performed well, reaching #24 on the Hot 100 and selling over 2 million downloads.
  • Prior to their most recent album, Davis left the group (messy departure, complete with lawsuits for breach of contract), and Zac Farro returned. After Laughter was released in 2017. It was another change in music style – less alt rock, less emo, more new wave/synth-pop. Four singles were released – Hard Times has been the most popular, reaching #6 on the Hot Rock Songs chart.
  • Haley Williams has collaborated with other artists with work outside of Paramore. Notably, her 2010 vocals on the song Airplanes by B.o.B. peaked at #2 on the Hot 100, and her vocals on Stay The Night with EDM producer Zedd were acclaimed (see my October 22, 2017 post).
  • We will have to see if the evolution of the band away from emo towards a pop sound will lead to cries of foul from their hardcore fans. In the meantime, watch them leaning toward pop with their Grammy winning (and very fun) Ain’t It Fun.

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