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Ben Folds Five

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ben Folds Five
Ben Folds Five at their reunion concert on September 18, 2008 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Background information
OriginChapel Hill, North Carolina, U.S.
GenresAlternative rock, power pop
Years active1993–2000, 2008, 2011–2013
LabelsPassenger, Caroline, 550
Associated acts
Past members

Ben Folds Five are an American alternative rock trio formed in 1993 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The group's members are Ben Folds (lead vocals, piano, keyboards, melodica, principal songwriting), Robert Sledge (bass guitar, double bass, synthesizer, backing vocals), and Darren Jessee (drums, percussion, backing vocals, songwriter). The group achieved mainstream success in the alternative, indie and pop music scenes. Their single "Brick" from the 1997 album Whatever and Ever Amen gained airplay on many mainstream radio stations. During their first seven years together, the band released three proper studio records, one retrospective album of B-sides and outtakes, and eight singles. They also contributed to a number of soundtracks and compilations. Ben Folds Five disbanded in October 2000. They reunited in 2011, and released their fourth album The Sound of the Life of the Mind in 2012.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Ben Folds Composes a Song LIVE for Orchestra In Only 10 Minutes
  • ✪ Ben Folds Songs A-Z (Dylan Gardner)
  • ✪ Key Tracks with Ben Folds: Part 1
  • ✪ Ben Folds - Late (HQ Lyrics)
  • ✪ Ben Folds Performs 'The Luckiest' on The Queen Latifah Show


[applause] Alright, so [applause] OK, so I want you to know we have not rehearsed anything here, okay? This is all going to be new. The orchestra, actually, has no idea what Ben's going to do. In fact, Ben doesn't know what he's going to do because he's going to ask you what to do. So a couple of things. I would like from the audience a key that Ben can work in. [audience shouts out suggestions] Whoa, that's a lot of people. I think I heard an A-minor in there. Okay? Okay A minor. Now could somebody give me a tempo. Do you want here ballad or do you want to hear something more upbeat. [audience: "upbeat"] Pretty universal. Okay now does anybody have a program booklet that has an interesting sentence in it? And because I can't decipher 50 sentences coming at once I'm gonna have some volunteers from the front here... Call out a sentence to me that's interesting. [audience calls out] I'm sorry, one more time. These new spaces are all designed to be flexible. Yeah, yes. [audience laughter] So, Ben is going to improvise in A minor, an upbeat song on "these new places are designed to be flexible." [applause] It has to be something completely new, right? [plays first 4 notes from Beethoven's 9th] OK [laughter] OK A minor. [music] These new spaces are all ... designed ... [audience laughing] to be flexible. [laughter] These new spaces are all all designed ... to be flexible, flexible, flexible, flexible. Okay let's see, now let's see... [applause] Cellos, let's try, um, Arco go um... [plays piano] [cellos play, correspondingly] [music] Yeah and then just one on the second one. [makes rhythm sounds] Great. Now let's move that down, then the same, the same thing and we can go to F so so that's, that's the A minor that's and that's with a 9 on it so [makes rhythm sounds] [makes rhythm sounds] and that's an F, a concert F. The C, G [makes rhythm sounds], 2 there [makes rhythm sounds] and then a low C Eeeee So whole cycles. [music] Okay great, now let's see, uh, [music] Let's do one size fits all sort of thing for the, uh, uh, the winds, reeds let's just take, like, flutes, oboes, and bassoon, clarinets, and just it just it this can be in whatever octave spread you want and we're gonna go... [music] No, no, let's just make it a harmony we go [music] I'm taking them out. Just, clarinets, two clarinets go E, concert E, and G go... [music] Let me hear that, make sure I don't suck. [laughter] [music] That's it. [music] OK you can let me hear that with the cellos for a moment... 3, 4... [music] Okay that, so when we go to that E we're gonna do that. So the first, the first one is uh, Sorry this takes a second to create a whole song. [laughter] And I'm gonna take something back about the cellos, let's just do that one cycle on each one [rhythmic sounds: bum, bum, bum, bum] and yeah [rhythmic sounds: bum, bum, bum, bum] [music] And then, ah [music] Then the clarinets [music] Yeah, so let's try that. Two, three, four [music] Ok this last one of the cycles goes [music] So move that, ah, G up anyone has the G moving up to G sharp [music] Okay great. Now, uh, uh, [music] Okay, uh, violins, first violins let's go, uh, A [music] Great and then the second violins go up... [music] Uh, so you'll go to E. Eeee...B [music] OK, you're going... [music] Great, let's hear it all together, make sure it's not crazy. two, three, four [music] OK, great. Thank you, now, uh.. I'll give the, uh, the viola a little timing sizzle here, just go... one, [music] Great, perfect, and then and then double-basses you know what you must do... [music] [applause] OK, let's start it from the top. Now if there's anyone who would like a drum set you know what to do... [laughter] Um, and, uh, then I'd say, uh, you know if there's a trumpet player that wants to take a solo after the first course when I run out of ideas then you can just jump right in. OK, so let's, uh, and then, you can bring anyone in and out that you want to but I think I'm probably almost over my time when, I had to write a song in ten minutes so... let's just start in, or close to it. one, two, three, four... [music] For more than 25 years the JFK Center, with the performing arts has served as a living memorial to President Kennedy by bringing an unparalleled diversity to our arts. Our nation's capital... And serving a critical role as a leading provider of the arts education mission across the USA and around the world [music] These new spaces... [laughter] are all designed to be flexible These new spaces are all designed ... Let's milk it, make it a little bit louder now. Mezzo forte. Forte Double forte... double forte Fortissimo. Fivetisimo [music] Let's take it out now, you ready? Way down here... [music] [applause] Thank you very much. [applause] Um, so for those of you that are obviously liking Ben Folds' work... [laughter] Available in the lobby... he will be the next artistic advisor for the National Symphony Orchestra. [applause] Mr. Ben Folds. [applause]




Ben Folds Five was formed in 1993 in Chapel Hill by Ben Folds. They were a trio in spite of their name, and the primary motivation behind the name, apart from the band's well-known use of humor, was simple preference, according to Ben: "I think it sounds better than Ben Folds Three."[1] Folds once described their music as "punk rock for sissies," a reaction to the angst prevalent in '90s rock.[2]

Their first radio single was "Underground" from their self-titled debut album, released in 1995 on Caroline Records. The band's biggest success was the single "Brick" from their second album, Whatever and Ever Amen, released in 1997. It was followed by the more somber and jazz-based 1999 album, The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner. The group contributed an outtake from the Reinhold Messner sessions, titled "Leather Jacket", to the 1999 benefit album, No Boundaries: A Benefit for the Kosovar Refugees.

The band's final released recording was a cover of Steely Dan's "Barrytown" for the Me, Myself & Irene soundtrack. The band had begun work on a fourth studio album, but following the worldwide tour in support of The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner, the band "amicably" broke up in October 2000. Tracks from the sessions would later emerge on subsequent solo projects.[3]

After the break-up

Folds went on to pursue a successful solo career, releasing Rockin' the Suburbs in 2001, Songs for Silverman in 2005, Way to Normal in 2008, Lonely Avenue in collaboration with novelist Nick Hornby in 2010, and So There in collaboration with the chamber group yMusic in 2015. He produced and arranged actor William Shatner's second album, Has Been, as well as co-wrote the majority of the songs with Shatner. Folds also contributed songs to the soundtracks for the animated movies Hoodwinked! and Over the Hedge.

Darren Jessee formed the acclaimed indie band Hotel Lights, with his songs featured in television and film. Jessee released three studio albums for Bar/None Records including Hotel Lights in 2005, Goodnightgoodmorning in 2006, Firecracker People in 2008, and Girl Graffiti in 2011.

Robert Sledge soon after took up singing, sharing song-writing and bass playing duties with International Orange, but the group disbanded in 2005. He subsequently formed The Bob Sledge Band, which plays locally in North Carolina.

2008 reunion

Ben Folds Five made a one-off concert appearance in September 2008 at the UNC Memorial Hall in Chapel Hill as part of the MySpace "Front to Back" series, in which artists play an entire album live. The band played its then-final album, The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner, and were briefly joined on stage by Ben's father, Dean Folds, who read a transcript of his voice mail message that is used in the album song "Your Most Valuable Possession", encoring with some of the songs from their first two albums.[4]

2011–2013: The Sound of the Life of the Mind, Live and hiatus

In 2011, Ben Folds Five reunited to record three tracks for Ben Folds' The Best Imitation of Myself: A Retrospective. Sarah Rodman of the Boston Globe also reported that Ben Folds Five would be reconvened in December 2011 to record a new album.

For the 2012 Mountain Jam festival, Ben Folds Five was announced as one of the main headliners. It was at Mountain Jam where Ben Folds Five reunited for their first live performance together in years.[5] They were also announced in the 2012 Bonnaroo and Summerfest lineups. The band announced an August release of their new album, followed by a full American tour in September and October. They then travelled to Ireland and the UK for a tour in November and December 2012. These dates eventually formed The Sound of the Life of the Mind Tour.

On May 7, 2012, Ben Folds Five launched an interactive pre-sale campaign for the release of their new album on PledgeMusic. The campaign shot to 200% in its first week of being live. Folds has said that they have enough material for at least two more records.[6]

During a June 28, 2012, Ben Folds Five performance at Summerfest, Folds announced the album had been completed.

On September 17, 2012, Nerdist posted the video for "Do It Anyway", the first single off the album The Sound of the Life of the Mind, featuring Anna Kendrick, Rob Corddry, Chris Hardwick and the cast of Fraggle Rock.[7] The day afterward, The Sound of the Life of the Mind was released.

On June 4, 2013, the trio released their first live album, simply titled Live.[8] During the summer of 2013, Ben Folds Five toured with the Barenaked Ladies and Guster.[9] Following the tour, Ben Folds Five entered a hiatus. Folds has since returned to his solo work, releasing the album So There with yMusic in 2015. Jesse returned to playing in Hotel Lights, releasing a new album in 2016 as well as a solo album in 2018. Sledge has focused on teaching music in Chapel Hill, as well as playing in the band Surrender Human.


Ben Folds Five discography
Studio albums4
Live albums1
Compilation albums2
Video albums1

Studio albums

Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
Ben Folds Five 37 72
Whatever and Ever Amen
  • Released: March 18, 1997
  • Label: 550
42 8 48 6 38 30
The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner
  • Released: April 27, 1999
  • Label: 550
35 5 35 17 32 22
The Sound of the Life of the Mind
  • Released: September 18, 2012
  • Label: ImaVeePee
10 24 72 48 40

Live albums

  • Live (2013) – ImaVeePee


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
US Mod
1996 "Where's Summer B.?" 76 Ben Folds Five
"Underground" 37
"Uncle Walter"
1997 "Battle of Who Could Care Less" 22 149 26 Whatever and Ever Amen
"One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces" 134
"Kate" 39
1998 "Brick" [A] 6 13 12 26
"Song for the Dumped" 23 73
1999 "Army" 17 65 28 The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner
"Don't Change Your Plans"
2012 "Do It Anyway" 88 The Sound of the Life of the Mind
"—" denotes singles that did not chart.



Soundtracks and compilations


  1. ^ Hofmann, Pieter (March 10, 1997). "Waist Deep in Pianos and Buses". Drop-D Magazine. Retrieved September 2, 2006.
  2. ^ Thomas, Sarah (2006-08-25). "Ben Folds with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2006-09-23.
  3. ^ "Ben with the Breeze". Melbourne: The Breeze. April 1, 2005. Retrieved November 27, 2006.
  4. ^ "Ben Folds Five delights in reunion" Archived September 22, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Catch Ben Folds Five's First Reunion Performance Tomorrow! | The Official Ben Folds Site". June 1, 2012. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
  6. ^ Folds, Ben (May 15, 2012). "Ben Folds Audio Interview – New Ben Folds Five Record". Blogger. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
  7. ^ Folds, Ben (September 17, 2012). "EXCLUSIVE!: Ben Folds Five and the Fraggles Sing "Do It Anyway"". Nerdist. Retrieved September 17, 2012.
  8. ^ Ben Folds Five First Official Live Album To Be Released June 4 | The Official Ben Folds Site, 2013-04-18. Retrieved 2013-06-10.
  9. ^ "Ben Folds Tour". Retrieved June 29, 2014.
  10. ^ a b c d Ben Folds Five : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards at AllMusic. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  11. ^ a b Australian (ARIA Chart) peaks:
  12. ^ Peak chart positions for albums in Canada:
  13. ^ Peak chart positions for albums in Japan:
  14. ^ Peak positions for singles in Scotland:
  15. ^ a b "Official Charts > Ben Folds Five". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  16. ^ "RIAJ > The Record > May 1997 > Certified Awards (March 1997)" (PDF). Recording Industry Association of Japan (in Japanese). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 23, 2014. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  17. ^ "American album  certifications – Ben Folds Five – Whatever and Ever Amen". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved February 17, 2014. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
  18. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1998 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  19. ^ "RIAJ > The Record > June 1997 > Certified Awards (April 1997)" (PDF). Recording Industry Association of Japan (in Japanese). Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  20. ^ Peak chart positions for singles in Canada:
  21. ^ "Ben Folds Five Album & Song Chart History: Radio Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved April 9, 2013.

External links

This page was last edited on 28 December 2018, at 16:32
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