You didn’t realise this 00s band is the soundtrack to your life
Posted by  badge Boss on 3 weeks ago
The Black Keys have some instantly recognisable hits (Picture: John Stanton/WireImage)

The opening riff of Lonely Boy permeates popular culture, from The Vampire Diaries to Talksport radio at some point you will have heard The Black Keys’ biggest hit.

They are currently embarking on a UK tour with sold-out gigs and are even making a stop at thelater this month.

Despite boasting an impressive discography spanning 20 years, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have been the unsung heroes of

Even if you’ve never heard of The Black Keys, you’ve almost certainly heard their music and probably can even recite a bar or two without realising.

If Lonely Boy somehow doesn’t ring any bells, the iconic earworm Gold On The Ceiling might spark memories of Ocean’s 8 or .

The Black Keys are your favourite artists’ favourite artist and under-the-radar icons – so why aren’t they the mainstream hits their records should have made them?

Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach were childhood friends who stood the test of time (Picture: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for iHeartRadio)

The Big Come Up

Formed in 2001, Dan and Patrick began recording and mixing their own blues-inspired rock music in basements in Ohio.

The name came from an unlikely place – a ‘schizophrenic artist’ who used to call up Dan’s dad and berate him as a ‘black key’.

Patrick once told : ‘It would be 50 messages of insanity. We both had this kind of inside joke of being called black keys. So that’s where the name comes from.’

They emerged as one of the most popular garage rock artists and slowly climbed in popularity until their big break in 2010 with the album Brothers.

The duo had a slow climb to success (Picture: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

This was their sixth studio album and lead single Tighten Up landed them their first ever spot on the Billboard 100 – a decade into the industry.

Tighten Up also gained The Black Keys their first-ever Grammy award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal – a category that was scrapped the next year in an overhaul.

In an interview with , Patrick shared that single is the one he got the most validation from as the band had become a ‘salvation’ amid

He shared: ‘We weren’t trying to write hits, we were just trying to express ourselves. That ended up becoming our first hit record. It really connected with a lot of people.’

Often described as underdogs, they exploded with Tighten Up (Picture: Jason Squires/WireImage)

They also had success with song Howlin’ For You’ which has been featured in films like Deadpool, Venom, and numerous more.

Their gig at Lollapalooza, where they had performed five times before, was suddenly flooded with 50,000 fans keen to hear them play.

‘We felt like seasoned pros,’ Patrick continued. ‘At that point, we had existed longer than a couple of my favourite bands. So to have success then, it was a complete blessing, because we really appreciated it.’

Lonely Boy legends

Riding on the success of Brothers, The Black Keys released El Camino the next year with lead single Lonely Boy, which landed three Grammy nominations – including Record of the Year.

The single won two of those music accolades while the band gained an Album of the Year nomination and a win for Best Rock Album in 2013.

Despite the critical backing, the song failed to break the top 50 in the US and peaked at 64 on the Billboard Hot 100, although it found success in Australia.

However, in the two decades since its release Lonely Boy has taken on a life of its own away from charts and once you spot it, you’ll never be able to unhear it.

Most recently the tune was used in a trailer for Disney’s Toy Story spin-off Lightyear, alongside David Bowie’s Starman.

The rock-edge guitar intro frequently pops up in trailers and movies, including zombie romcom Warm Bodies and action comedy Monster Trucks.

Sports fans will instantly recognise the track thanks to its usage at various times for the Six Nations, the NFL, the NHL, the UFC, and as the official theme for Talksport radio station.

Lonely Boy is frequently used in media and has become instantly recognisable (Picture: Gregory Bojorquez/Getty Images)

The song crops up in adverts as well as on TV shows like The Vampire Diaries, Hawaii Five-O, Workaholics, and Criminal Minds.

Gold on the Ceiling has a similar commercial history but was also performed live at the 2012 MTV Movie Awards by the band, accompanied on guitar by Johnny Depp.

Where have I heard The Black Keys?

The Black Keys’ decision to ‘sell out’ and let their music be used commercially was a controversial one at the time.

Purist fans might not like it but the band have been open about the profits being used to keep them afloat.

Here’s where you’ve heard The Black Keys before:

Lonely Boy

  • Disney’s Lightyear (2022) trailer
  • Warm Bodies (2013) trailer
  • Monster Trucks (2016)
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014)
  • Six Nations highlights package
  • New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers NFL Pregame 2011
  • The New York Rangers NHL entrance music
  • The Vampire Diaries
  • Criminal Minds
  • Talksport theme tune
  • Workaholics
  • Hawaii Five-O
  • The Ellen DeGeneres Show
  • UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos

Gold on the Ceiling

  • Ocean’s 8 (2018)
  • Veep
  • NCIS
  • Suits
  • Battleship (2012)
  • Superstore
  • Goal song for the UMass Minutemen ice hockey team
  • Cobra beer adverts in 2012

Howlin’ For You

  • Deadpool (2016)
  • Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021)
  • The Dilemma (2011)
  • Limitless (2011)
  • The Guilt Trip (2012)
  • Moneyball (2011)
  • Dark Shadows (2012)
  • The Bad Guys (2022)
  • Various EA Sports video games
  • CSI: Miami
  • Entourage
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Prime Suspect
  • Suits
  • Lucifer
  • Secret Diary of a Call Girl
  • Goal song for NHL’s Arizona Coyotes

Fever hits

Following up the success of El Camino was a mainstream boom with , which had singles Fever and the record’s titular song.

Fever’s bizarre music video saw the duo play money-hungry televangelists as a crowd became more and more whipped into a frenzy and donations rolled in.

After almost 15 years in the industry, The Black Keys debuted at number one in the US and Australia album charts.

Dan and Patrick set out on a global tour in 2014 to support the album but ended up cancelling some dates – including the UK – after the drummer broke and dislocated his shoulder in a swimming accident.

As with all good bands, this is where they decided to take a hiatus with Dan diving into a solo career and working with other artists such as the Pretenders, A$AP Rocky and Jake Bugg.

Meanwhile, Patrick also kept working, composing the theme tune to Bojack Horseman as well as meeting his now-wife Michelle Branch while helping on her album.

Not staying away for long, in 2019 The Black Keys reunited and found yet more chart success with single Lo/Hi, which landed at number one on the Rock charts.

‘The thing about Pat and I, a lot of the things that people love, is just the natural connection that we have,’ Dan told Rolling Stone of the reunion. ‘And I think the older we get, the more I realize it.

‘Every time we get together, we’re just instantly on the same wavelength.’

The Black Keys reformed in 2019 to critical success (Picture: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

Ohio players and Co-op Live

In 2024, Dan and Patrick released Ohio Players to generally favourable reviews and geared up for another worldwide tour.

However, yet again their UK dates have been hit with disaster as they were forced to reschedule the Manchester shows .

‘At Co-op Live’s request, we have agreed to reschedule to 15 May,’ the band posed on X. ‘We look forward to hitting the stage when everything is up and running.’

It was supposed to be the biggest indoor arena in the UK – with  investing – but the opening has been plagued by cancellations.

The venue was hit with safety issues as part of the air conditioning system plummeted from the roof.

The Black Keys were one of a string of artists left needing to reschedule or cancel in the Scan**l dubbed ‘Co-flop’.

Olivia Rodrigo, Pafter chaos erupted both at Rick Astley’s test gig and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie’s show.

The Black Keys will now perform in Dublin before three nights in London and a gig in Paris before returning to Manchester, all being well.