Las Vegas four-piece band Imagine Dragons have released some of rock’s catchiest tunes. They’ve delighted fans with their chart-topping anthems, but what was their first song?
Imagine Dragons originally formed in 2008 and released their debut EP ‘Speak to Me’ that same year. The band released a few more EPs over the next few years, but their debut single ‘It’s Time’ was released in 2012.
Read on to learn more about the Imagine Dragons’ band members, their early years, and their music.
The band’s frontman, Dan Reynolds, told Billboard the two key factors he attributes the band’s success to. The first was that the band would never say no to an opportunity to perform: “we’d play birthday parties, weddings, casinos. We wanted to perform and create as much as possible”. And the second: “Vegas luck”.
What started out as a small rock band from Vegas is now a global sensation, but their ascension to fame took time. In their early formation, the band would play shows in Vegas casinos, like Caesar’s Palace and Mandalay Bay, playing new crowds every night despite being in their hometown.
The band spent three years touring their music and playing shows of up to 6 hours in Vegas, playing half-covers, half-original songs, for unenlightened audiences. But according to Reynolds, their experience of grabbing the audience’s attention on the Vegas scene is half of their success: “That prepared us to go overseas, go out onstage and feel comfortable playing for people that aren’t singing every word, or know every song”.
He told Riff Magazine that the band’s percussion-heavy sound developed in part from this need to stand out and be able to tap into that “aspect of people’s animal brain when they are in the drunken, crazy sensory overload of Las Vegas”.
After releasing a couple of EPs and winning various local accolades, including ‘Best Local Indie Band 2010’, the pieces fell into place and the Vegas rock band landed a deal with Interscope Records in November, 2011. Their debut single ‘It’s Time’, was then released in early 2012.
Watch the band’s debut official single ‘It’s Time’ in the YouTube video below.
Who’s In The Band?
Not all bands formed in college manage to stay together, and of the original Imagine Dragons lineup, only Dan Reynolds remains.
Dan Reynolds originally founded the band in 2008 in Utah, with Brigham Young College student Andrew Tolman. They then added Andrew Beck, Dave Lemke and Aurora Florence.
The band’s first couple of years saw a couple of members come and go, but the band began to find solid ground in 2009 when Wayne Sermon and Ben Mckee joined the band, after graduating from Berklee College of Music.
The quartet now includes frontman Dan Reynolds, guitarist Wayne Sermon, bassist Ben Mckee, and finally, drummer Daniel Platzman.
Clearly a recipe for success, the current band members told TimeOut in 2017, “we’ve all been committed to this – to making music and really to this band”, adding “I think we all have a foundation of respect for each other because we know how much every one of us has sacrificed in our lives to keep this going and how little of a chance of success we had at the beginning”.
The approach the band have taken with their music, since the beginning, has been described as “overly meticulous” with the band making deliberate choices to cultivate their music.
Dan Reynolds explained their early methods of figuring out their sound, saying “we rented out an apartment together with the little bit of money we made from doing cover gigs, and we put a big wipe board on the wall, and everybody wrote down five albums that were their all-time favorites”. The band would then study the albums to better understand their own direction.
However it was established, the band’s musical vision is now crystal clear, with a distinctive and anthemic sound that’s recognised far beyond Vegas.