Formed in 2007 by vocalist Welch
and keyboardist Summers, Florence + the Machine released their debut single, "Kiss with a Fist," on the Moshi Moshi
label in June 2008. Once a full band was recruited, they signed with Island Records
in November. Their critically acclaimed debut album, Lungs, followed in July 2009 and quickly became one of the year's most popular releases in the U.K., where Florence charted four Top 40 singles in less than 12 months. The songs gathered steam in other parts of the world, too, particularly in America, where the anthemic "Dog Days Are Over" peaked at number 21 and went platinum. Lungs was reissued the following year in a two-disc package entitled Between Two Lungs, adding a bonus 12-track disc that featured live versions, remixes by the Horrors
, and Twilight soundtrack inclusion "Heavy in Your Arms."
In 2010, Florence + the Machine returned to the studio with producer Paul Epworth (Bloc Party
) to begin work on their second full-length outing. The resulting Ceremonials, which successfully expanded on the group's already huge sound, arrived on Halloween in 2011. In addition to the lead single "Shake It Out," the chart-topping set also included "No Light, No Light" and the Australian multi-platinum Top Three hit "Never Let Me Go."
The following year saw the release of CD and DVD versions of MTV Unplugged, an 11-track set filmed before a small studio audience that featured fan favorites along with a pair of covers, including "Try a Little Tenderness" and the Johnny Cash
classic "Jackson," the latter of which featured guest vocals by Queens of the Stone Age
frontman Josh Homme
. That same year, Welch
announced an upcoming period of inactivity, during which time the band crafted its next record and Welch
scored a chart-topping dance hit, "Sweet Nothing," with Scottish producer Calvin Harris
Her third studio long-player, the Markus Dravs-produced How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, arrived in May 2015. Nominated for five Grammy Awards, it was the band's third consecutive number one U.K. album, topping charts in Australia, the U.S., and across Europe. A yearlong international tour and short film The Odyssey extended How Big's promotional cycle into 2016. Their fourth effort, High as Hope, followed in 2018. Featuring production by Emile Haynie
, Brett Shaw, Thomas Bartlett, and Tobias Jesso, Jr.
, High as Hope included the singles "Sky Full of Song," "Big God," and "Hunger." ~ James Christopher Monger & Neil Z. Yeung