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Ever-evolving pop/rock quartet Tokio Hotel emerged in 2005 as one of the most successful German acts of their generation.
Scoring three number one singles with their debut album, Schrei, the teen musicians also found an international audience for their music, eventually going platinum in multiple foreign countries. Twin brothers Bill and Tom Kaulitz formed the group in their native Magdeburg in 2001, when the siblings were just 12 years old. With drummer Gustav Schäfer and bassist Georg Listing rounding out the lineup, the band toured aggressively and signed with Universal in 2003. Although they had initially called themselves Devilish, the foursome adopted a new moniker -- Tokio Hotel -- in tandem with the deal.
Composed primarily by Bill Kaulitz -- who, at the time, assumed a futuristic, androgynous image -- with help from a series of high-profile songwriters, Schrei was preceded by the August 2005 release of Tokio Hotel's debut single, "Durch den Monsun." Teenagers quickly embraced the band with puppy-love fervor, and by the end of the month the song had topped the German pop chart and its Austrian counterpart. The follow-up singles "Rette Mich" and "Der Letzte Tag" also hit number one, although the former song was later re-recorded to account for Kaulitz's post-pubescent vocal changes. After the singer wrapped up his contributions to filmmaker Luc Besson's animated fantasy Arthur and the Minimoys, Tokio Hotel returned to the studio to complete work on their 2007 follow-up album, Zimmer 483. That June, the band also released their first English-language recording, Scream, whose track list comprised songs from Schrei and Zimmer 483 that had been translated and re-recorded. Scream was released in the United States one year later.
Tokio Hotel recorded two versions of their third album, Humanoid, to account for both their German and English-speaking audiences. Featuring production by the likes of the Matrix, Guy Chambers, and Desmond Child, the album was released worldwide in 2009 and topped the German charts, becoming the band's third album to do so. Meanwhile, the group also released a DVD, Tokio Hotel TV: Caught on Camera!, that documented their busy year in 2008. The concert album Humanoid City and a best-of set followed in 2010. They continued touring in support of Humanoid before the Kaulitz brothers moved to Los Angeles. Tokio Hotel would not re-emerge until 2013 with the announcement of their fifth album, Kings of Suburbia. Their first effort to be recorded completely in English, Suburbia presented a heavily electronic-pop side of the band, influenced by the nightlife of the Kaulitzes' new home town. Singles included "Love Who Loves You Back" and "Feel It All," as well as "Run Run Run," which was later covered by Kelly Clarkson and John Legend. The sleek, dancefloor-ready Dream Machine arrived in 2017. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi