Members: Geoff Barrow, Beth Gibbons, Adrian Utley
Formed: Bristol, England
Albums: Dummy (1994); Portishead (1997); Third (2008)
Hits: "Sour Times"
Other: Named after a town in England.
Somewhat reclusive with the press, the members of Portishead can still be found by fans on stage and in the studio. Originally formed in Bristol, England as the duo of Geoff Barrow and Beth Gibbons in 1991, it took about three years to release their debut album, Dummy.
Dummy would reach #2 on the UK Album charts, spawning the hit singles "Sour Times" and "Glory Box." The album had a significant impact on the UK music scene, helping to popularize trip-hop, a merging of electronica and hip hop music. The album won the 1995 Mercury Music Prize and is routinely listed as one of the top albums of the 90s. Rolling Stone added it to their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Fans waited three years for the follow-up, a self titled album that also reached #2 on the UK Album charts. The Portishead album would not end up selling quite as well as their debut, but it did go Gold in the UK and US, and was generally well received by the critics. A live album recorded with the New York Philharmonic followed in 1998, but that would be the last fans would see of the band for a while.
Portishead went on hiatus in 1999 as individual members worked on solo projects. Lead singer Beth Gibbons released a solo album in 2002, and Geoff Barrow worked on writing and producing for other acts. The band reunited for a good cause in 2005, a Tsunami Benefit Concert in their hometown of Bristol. They shortly announced a new album was in the works.
Third suffered some delays, but released in 2008. The album was the first to be made available a week ahead of release on the music service Last.FM. Like both previous Portishead albums, this one peaked at #2 in the UK.
Portishead continues to tour and make music. This is a band that helped define a genre in the 90s and continues to innovate musically. Don't miss them when they play at a venue near you.
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