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Stories Behind the Songs: Brandon Flowers talks about the Killers' biggest hits

To celebrate the release of the Killers’ greatest-hits compilation, Direct Hits (out now), frontman Brandon Flowers told EW the tales behind some of the band’s best-known anthems.

“Mr. Brightside” (2003) 
“This was literally the first song that me and Dave [Keuning], our guitar player, wrote. We didn’t have a drummer yet but he gave me a cassette, and it had a few demos with complete songs of him singing, and then there would just be these riffs that he had — so he basically had the guitar for “Mr. Brightside,” and the pre-chorus. I had an idea already of this sort of monotone, linear delivery, and it just fit so well over his guitar line. So I slapped a chorus on it, and it was written pretty quickly.

I remember the first time I heard it [set] to a beat, it was a monumental experience. We wrote a lot of songs after that, but then the Strokes’ first record came out and we ditched everything we wrote except for that song and started 
again. [Laughs] Because that record’s so good, you know? It was just… we realized that they raised the bar. Whether the Strokes know it or not, they really changed our path.”

“Somebody Told Me” (2004) 
“We were going out to clubs a lot at the time. I think it speaks to a young man’s frustration, the difficulty of picking up girls. [Laughs] That’s probably where it stems from. I was just able to run with it, and the band supplied a wonderful backing track.”

“All These Things That I’ve Done” (2005) “I worked at a casino called the Gold Coast as a bellman. This was back when there weren’t cell phones yet, so I used to call the guys and tell them I was gonna call them back and leave an idea on their answering machines. I was very heavily into glam rock at the time, and I felt like [Lou Reed’s] Transformer and [David Bowie’s] Ziggy Stardust — the delivery of those records, sometimes it was almost talking to you, especially Lou. The lines ‘Help me out, yeah yeah, you gotta help me out/Don’t you put me on the back burner, you gotta help me out’? I was just trying to be Lou Reed funneled through the Las Vegas Strip. And the bass line is a direct rip-off of a Bowie track called ‘Slow Burn.’ I can say it now because I don’t think he’s gonna come after us.” READ FULL STORY

Watch The Killers give their best 'Shot At The Night' in new video

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As the cautionary adage goes, what happens in Vegas stays in … the new video for “Shot At The Night” by The Killers.

Sin City is their home base after all, and what better way to continue immortalizing their city than with lots of shots of the Strip, an unlikely dalliance between two attractive actors, and a maze of reflective glass surfaces.

Produced by Anthony Gonzalez of M83, “Shot At The Night” is one of two new studio tracks on The Killers’ upcoming singles compilation album Direct Hits. “Shot At The Night” will be released Nov. 4th and the album hits stores Nov. 11.

The video begins with scenes of daily drudgery as a hotel maid (played by Bella Heathcote, Dark Shadows) makes beds and vacuums casino carpets. Driving to work, she’s so transfixed by the lights of the Las Vegas Strip, she nearly hits a cute pedestrian (Max Minghella, Ides of March). Interspersed are reflected profile shots of Brandon Flowers singing from a high rise hotel.

Cute pedestrian is also a guest at her workplace, so naturally they run into each other again. Minghella and friends convince her to neglect her maid duties and come out with them. They give her a makeover, they frolic, they ride scooters, and just like any Las Vegas love story, it ends up with the pair rushing off to … well you’ll see for yourself in the video below:
READ FULL STORY

The Killers' Brandon Flowers on his all-time favorite songs -- Squeeze, Depeche Mode, Tina Turner and more

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Nearly a decade after establishing himself as one of rock’s vital voices, the Killers’ Brandon Flowers, 31, is set to deliver another set of snowcapped, arena-pleasing anthems on his band’s fourth album, Battle Born, out Sept. 18. In the meantime, the Nevada native—who lives in Las Vegas with his wife, Tana, and their three sons, ages 17 months to 5 years—sat down with us to talk about the songs that have made him sing, cry, and … sell tacos.

THE FIRST SONG I WAS OBSESSED WITH: “Missing You,” John Waite (1984)

“I’m not sure how young kids get to the point where they’re memorizing and knowing songs, but I knew the words to “’Missing You” from John Waite probably from when I was three years old. For whatever reason, that was the song that I gravitated toward when it was on the radio and I was driving around with my mom. It must’ve been played a lot, because I knew all the words. My sister would take me around to her friends’ parents and things, and I would sing it. [Laughs]“

THE SONG THAT ALWAYS REMINDS ME OF HOME: “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” Eagles (1972)

“I spent some time in Utah, so that’s why I have a bit of an accent, but I consider home to be Henderson [Nevada] and Las Vegas. I love the desert, so there are a few people for me who’ve captured that specific area, like the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac and even Jackson Browne sometimes. I’ll hear that stuff and I’m just there. But if I had to say one specifically, it’d be this one. I hear it and it’s like — I don’t know, I can just see the sun going down in Las Vegas.”

THE SONG THAT MAKES ME THINK OF MY FIRST CRUSH: “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” Tina Turner (1984)

“But my crush was on Tina Turner. [Laughs] That’s bad, right? I think it was the video.”

THE FIRST ALBUM I BOUGHT WITH MY OWN MONEY: Songs of Faith and Devotion, Depeche Mode (1993)

“My mom had bought me a few cassettes, but I got a job at a place called Taco Time in Nephi, Utah. I worked there with my mom, and two of my sisters worked there too. So I was 15, and usually to buy music you had to go to Provo, which is an hour drive, but we had a truck stop. Basically Nephi was like a truck stop, it was such a small town. I was a fan of the kind of bubblegum, early-early Depeche Mode. And I didn’t know exactly how dark that they could delve, and I didn’t know that I would like it. But I bought it for I think $5 on cassette at Flying J. And it’s one of my favorite things, still. Later, we even got to work with Flood [a.k.a. Mark Ellis], who produced Songs, on our album Sam’s Town.” READ FULL STORY

The Killers premiere new single 'Runaways' -- Listen here

When you put a thunderbolt in your new album logo, we expect a first single as mighty as the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. In the Killers’ new song “Runaways,” from the upcoming Battle Born, the band comes pretty close — and reminds us how much we’ve missed them.

“Runaways” starts off gently with some bare-bones piano chords and not a whole lot else, but it gains momentum faster than you can remember the lyrics to “Mr. Brightside.” Four minutes later, you’ve got a galloping desert rocker good enough to roll with the best of the Vegas quartet’s catalog.

Battle Born, due Sept. 18, is the Killers’ fourth studio album, and the first since 2008’s Day & Age. The record finds Brandon Flowers and the boys reuniting with producer Stuart Price  (“Human”) and working with Daniel Lanois, Steve Lillywhite, Brendan O’Brien, and Damian Taylor. Hear “Runaways” here: READ FULL STORY

The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers makes 'I'm a Mormon' video: Watch it here

These days, it seems the Mormons are everywhere.

In addition to the smash Broadway play, the magazine covers, being called a “cult” by Robert Jeffress, and, of course, two Mormon presidential candidates vying for the Republican nomination, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also has an ongoing multiplatform “I’m a Mormon” media campaign that began in New York and has since extended to 12 major cities.

The idea is to showcase everyday Mormons in their everyday lives — along the same lines as the Windows 7 “I’m a PC” ads — and the spots even caught the attention of Steven Colbert, who said the videos make Mormons “irresistibly cool.

Until now, the campaign has consisted of Mormon common-folk, but now they’re heading into new celebrity territory: the clip below shows Killers frontman Brandon Flowers discussing his faith and family: READ FULL STORY

Brandon Flowers, 'Only the Young': Watch the new video here

brandon_flowers_320.jpg You can take the boy out of Vegas but … seriously, he never left. The Killers frontman returns with a new clip for “Only the Young” — a track we recently listed as one of our favorites in EW’s review of his September solo release Flamingo.

Director Sophie Muller, the woman behind the Killers’ own “Mr. Brightside,” as well as many other high-profile videos for the likes of Gwen Stefani, Beyonce, Coldplay, and Kings of Leon, brings her habitual high production values to B.Flo’s tuxedoed form, unleashing a swirling eddy of showgirls and spangles, aerial feats and flames on location at Le Reve in the Wynn Las Vegas Hotel and Casino:

READ FULL STORY

Linkin Park claims top spot on Billboard 200 albums chart

This week, Linkin Park earns its fourth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Their A Thousand Suns debuts on top, selling 241,000 albums. Trey Songz‘s Passion, Pain & Pleasure debuts at No. 2 with 240,000 copies moved. Eminem’s Recovery drops a spot to No. 3, managing to sell 89,000 records.

Country star Jamey Johnson and his latest, The Guitar Song, opens with 63,000 albums at No. 4. Rock legend Robert Plant starts at No. 5. His Band of Joy sold 49,000 copies. Weezer’s Hurley opens modestly at No. 6 with 45,000 units moved. The Now 35 compilation slips four slots to No. 7 selling 41,000 copies.

Brandon FlowersFlamingo drops in at No. 8. The Killers frontman sold 41,000 units this week. Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream falls five places to No. 9, selling 40,000 copies. Justin Bieber sold 36,000 copies of his My World 2.0 and comes in at No. 10.

How do you feel about this week’s numbers? Did they shake out how you expected? Let us know.

More on the Music Mix:
Lady Gaga responds to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell defeat
Stone Temple Pilots tour postponed following Scott Weiland’s ‘confusing’ appearance
Wyclef Jean officially withdraws from Haiti presidential race
Cops arrest man who allegedly attempted to blow up Dave Matthews Band fans after Chicago show
Tommy Lee talks new Methods of Mayhem CD and playing a boob drum kit
Travie McCoy ‘stoked’ ‘Glee’ is covering ‘Billionaire’ tonight

Brandon Flowers' solo show in NYC: A killer night

Brandon-FlowersWho needs the rest of The Killers anyway? All joking aside—The Killers are great!—the band’s frontman Brandon Flowers, who announced in April that he was going out on his own, appeared without his bandmates last night at NYC’s Highline Ballroom and quickly proved that the solo thing suits him very well, thank you very much.

The thing that was most stunning about Flowers’ show was just how much the crowd was with him, even though he’s only officially released one track from his upcoming album, Flamingo. The second song of the evening, single “Crossfire,” had pretty much the entire crowd singing along rapturously (maybe because it’s really all most people know so far?)—and that was even without an appearance by Charlize Theron, who memorably pops up in the song’s video.

Brandon’s big moment, however, came a bit later in the under-an-hour set, when he covered “Bette Davis Eyes,” which Jackie DeShannon originated in 1974 before Kim Carnes made it a hit in 1981. (Watch a bootleg clip from an earlier show of Flowers’ version of “Bette Davis Eyes.”) The singular synth melody at the beginning opened it beautifully, and then Flowers owned it with his vocals, too. Maybe this cover will make the album? We can hope. Another highlight of the night was “Magdalena,” a folksy yet danceable track that has Flowers wailing throughout.

Overall, the show felt right for Flowers because of his stage presence—he was believable, very into what he was doing, and (see his Santa Fe-inspired vest above) completely adorable, especially with his new military-inspired crew cut. He just seemed joyful, and that bled immediately into the crowd, including yours truly.

Are you all pumped to hear what Flowers has cooking for the rest of his solo debut? Can he make it without the rest of The Killers behind him? All signs point to yes, but let me know what you think in the comments below.

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.

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