The Lumineers are an American folk-rock band from Denver, Colorado. They comprise lead vocalist and guitarist Wesley Schultz, drummer Jeremiah Fraites and pianist/cellist Neyla Pekarek. Schultz and Fraites were originally based in New York and started collaborating in 2002 after Fraites' brother, Josh, who was also Schultz's best friend died of an overdose. The pair began writing and performing to cope with their grief and they later relocated to Denver, where they met the classically trained Pekarek after advertising for a cellist. The Lumineers first received national attention in December 2011, when this tender toe-tapper prominently featured at the end of an episode of the television show Hart Of Dixie. It was released digitally on February 15, 2012.
The song started climbing the Hot 100 after being used in June 2012 to soundtrack the Bing "Discovering Hawaii" commercial.
Schultz explained The Lumineers' songwriting process to American Songwriter magazine. "I write the lyrics, and I co-write the songs with Jer," he explained. "It's never the same thing with each song. Generally speaking it involves a piano, a guitar, and maybe singing, and we usually start out with the chord structure, a set of chords, a melody especially, and then the lyrics usually follow. Or it's one phrase that you really find great and then you build the song around that."
The popularity of the song in the UK was enhanced by its use in a TV advertising campaign for E.On energy.
The song was originally created during Schultz and Fraites' time in New York as a kiss-off to disinterested concert-goers. "That song was an effort to get under people's skin at shows in Brooklyn, where everyone is pretty indifferent," Schultz told American Songwriter. "And I figured if we could punctuate it with shouts we might get someone's attention."
This featured in the trailer for the Jennifer Lawrence-starring movie Silver Linings Playbook.
The Lumineers made their Saturday Night Live debut on January 19, 2013 performing this song along with "Stubborn Love." Speaking with Spinner, Jeremiah Fraites recalled staying up late with his brother Josh to watch Saturday Night Live in the 1990s. As he stood on the very same the stage, he was sending his late brother a message. "I don't want to get too sentimental," he said, "but in a significant way, by playing that show I was letting him know that I'm doing OK." The show was hosted by Jennifer Lawrence, giving the band the opportunity to meet the Silver Linings Playbook actress for the first time.
The song stands out from the chart crowd as it establishes itself as a folky sing-along - not your typical hit material. Though it comes at a time when folk-pop fusion is very popular (see Mumford and Sons), the "ho-heys" that precede each line in the verse are certainly unique, and this sing-along tone is reinforced by the count-in low in the mix before each chorus, which gives the song an air of improvisation and a campfire music vibe.
The repetitive melodies and familiar section structure are kept interesting by the song's sonic progressions that perfectly match the emotional developments in the song's story. In the second verse, the lyrics move away from the dejection of the previous verse's lyrics and take on a tone of hope and resolve. Fittingly, the melody is invigorated by a surprising octave jump and a more gravely, assured vocal performance. Also, a kick drum is introduced and synchronized with the "ho" and "hey," which acts as a sort of exclamation point, encouraging the sing-a-long nature of the track.
The song's success can of course be attributed to the many licensing deals accumulated by the song (it was used to promote 2012's Oscar winning Silver Linings Playbook and features in a 2012 episode of Vampire Diaries), but the song surely captured the public's attention through the catchiness of its melodies and the authenticity of its stripped-down performance and production, which is perhaps less polished and more personal than what usually dominates the charts.
This spent 62 weeks on the Hot 100, tying with Lifehouse's 2005 single "You And Me" for the longest stay fon the chart for a song by a Rock band.
Lennon & Maisy reached #32 on the country chart with their cover of the song in 2013. The sisters, Lennon and Maisy Stella, were 13 and 9, respectively when they recorded their version.
Rotunda from Tulsa, OkWhat a great song! It was all over the radio & I went out & bought their album "The Lumineers" because of "Ho Hey." What a great surprise when I heard the other songs on the album were all great. This band is awesome. And the blonde lead singer can "rub my cantaloupes anytime!"