This song about self-rediscovery is the first single off American rock band Kings Of Leon's fifth studio album titled Come Around Sundown. The record was recorded in New York at Avatar Studios and was produced by Only By The Night producers Angelo Petraglia and Jacquire King.
Bassist Jared Followill told Billboard magazine that although the song has never been released, it has long been in the band's repertoire: "We played it forever. We started playing it around the time right after we wrote [2005's] Aha Shake Heartbreak. It was kind of in between Aha Shake Heartbreak and Because of the Times, and there was actually a few songs like that that didn't make it. You know, we save songs until we get them right."
A children's choir provide the song's background vocals. Jared explained its roots to Billboard magazine: "We went into the studio, we tried it, and it wasn't really working, and we were going to scrap the whole song. Then [lead vocalist] Caleb went back to an old spiritual song that we all sang growing up, and it matched up with the chorus so nice."
Drummer Nathan Followill added: "Gospel music was a big part of us growing up, so to be able to come back and revisit that part of our lives at this stage in our lives is a pretty special thing."
The song's music video, directed by Sophie Muller ("Sex on Fire
," "Use Somebody
"), provides a glimpse of the band's Southern origins as Kings of Leon hang around a Southern barn whilst a children's gospel choir are seen backing the group. The Followill brothers spent much of their childhoods traveling round the southern states with their Pentecostal preacher father.
Caleb played down the song's anthemic qualities in an interview with MTV News. He said: "I didn't think it would be a single, let alone the first one. I mean, the vocal, I mess up on the first verse, I mess up on the second verse, I mean, my voice is off, so I really didn't think the label would want that as a single, but they wanted it first," he laughed. "I don't know, I think at this point, we could do something with me tapping my foot and singing into a can and [critics] would be like, 'Oh, it's so anthemic' or 'Oh, it's so stadium-friendly.'"
This song was originally titled "It's Alright."
Caleb and Jared explained the story of the song in an interview with The Music Fix:
Caleb: "It started out as a very punk-rock song that we ended up scrapping. But, then we ended up using that melody for the new idea which was that boom-de-da-deh. But when we got in there, the verse and chorus were too similar. It didn't feel like it went anywhere."
Jared: "We had to completely restructure the song. And that's what we did going into this record. We just thought, 'we're not going to throw away a song; we're gonna to make every song as good as possible.'"
Caleb: "And one night - we had been there all day, and Nathan had gone home. And Jared had gone home… and Angelo (Petraglio, co-producer) had gone home. It was just me, Matthew and Jacquire (King, co-producer). We were playing darts and I was pretty bummed that it wasn't going to make the record 'cause I thought it was strong. I said, 'Hey, Jacquire, just record and I'm go in here and a do a thing.' And I went in there and just, 'The road is carved up yonder,' and just gave it a lot more space. And by doing that, it made the chorus so very powerful. The next day, we got in and I was like, 'play that.' When he started playing it, Nathan, Jared and Angelo - everyone walked in: 'what is that? What is that song being sang very drunkenly?' And it ended up working. It ended up giving new life to the song."
The Come Around Sundown album title was taken from a line in John Anderson's song "Small Town," from the country singer's 1997 album, Takin' The Country Back. "Matthew was the one who heard it first and he just fell in love with it because it was so beautiful. Once we started counting how many syllables it had," said Nathan - referring to the fact that all of Kings of Leon's album titles have five syllables - "it was a no-brainer."
Come Around Sundown debuted at #1 in Australia, Austria, Belgium (Flanders), Canada, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The album broke the record for the biggest first week digital album sales in the UK by selling over 49,000 downloads.
The first time that Caleb saw the video he was horrified. He asked Q magazine: "Did you see the Russell Brand film Get Him to The Greek? The pop star in that film makes a very lame Live Aid-style charity video called African Child. When I first saw the video I thought, 'We have made the video to African Child.'"