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Placebo is an alternative rock band that started back in 1994 in London (UK). Now a days the band is made of Brian Molko and Stefan Olsdal, which are the original members. The band has released five studio albums and several EPs, reaching high spots in the UK and european charts during this last decade and selling over eight million copies of their records.

One of their traditional members, drummer Steve Hewitt, left the band during 2007 due to personal and musical differences with the band.


Placebo started with Brian Molko and Stefan Olsdal deciding to form a band in 1994, which they originally called "Ashtray Heart". Soon afterwards they changed the name to "Placebo", which is a false drug with no effects, because there were many bands named after drugs in that time. They had attended the same school in Luxembourg back in the day, but never actually talked to each other. It was years later that they met and after Olsdal watched Brian's performance in a club he had no doubts, he joined Molko and has been Placebo's bassist ever since.

But the band was not yet complete, they needed a drummer. Molko knew Steve Hewitt and wanted him to join Placebo, but he was playing with another band called Breed those days, so he only played with Placebo parcially. The other drummer that filled the spot on these early days was Robert Schultzberg.

Brian Molko
Brian Molko


The band eventually signed with Caroline Records and released their first album, named after the band, in 1996, with Robert Schultzberg as drummer.


Come Home
Teenage Angst
36 Degrees
Hang on to Your IQ
Nancy Boy
I Know
Bruise Pristine
Lady of the Flower"
Hong Kong Farewell (Hidden track)

The album was a hit in the UK with singles such as "Nancy Boy" and "Bruise Pristine", providing an indie sound and Molko's enigmatic figure and outstanding voice, they certainly were something new in the UK scene. Tracks are dramatic and melancholic, sometimes twisted. "Teenage angst" and "36 degrees" were the next singles to be released. With Molko's voice & riffs and Olsdals heavy basslines the album is strong and moves in-between the sound of Smashing pumpkins and even grunge at times.

Soon after "Placebo" album was released Robert Schultzberg left the band due to his differences with Molko, and Steve Hewitt took his place on the drums.

Without you I'm nothing

In 1998 they released their second album "Without you I'm nothing", this time with Virgin Records. A succesful continuation for the band which hit nº7 in both UK & France, and got high in other European countries as well, helping it breakthrough in the US market as well.


Pure Morning
Brick Shithouse
You Don't Care About Us
Ask For Answers
Without You I'm Nothing
Allergic (To Thoughts of Mother Earth)
The Crawl
Every You Every Me
My Sweet Prince
Summer's Gone
Scared of Girls
Burger Queen
Evil Dildo" (Hidden Track)

The album biggest hit was probably "Without you I'm nothing", along with "Every me and every you" due to it featuring on the movie "Cruel intentions".

This second album consolidates the bands sound even more, with even catchier songs such as "Pure Morning", and a sound that reminds of The Smiths or even Depeche Mode at times, but with a deeper, darker side to it in tracks such as "My sweet prince", or the heavier "Scared of girls".

David Bowie sings along with Molko on the track named after the album,(He has performed it on stage along with the band too) as he has always been a great supporter of the band. Placebo also appeared in the movie "Velvet Goldmine" performing a T-Rex cover, "20th century boy".

Placebo Live
Placebo Live

Black Market Music

Come 2000 the band released one of their most successful albums so far, "Black Market Music", a much more energetic and powerful Placebo, where Molko releases his inner demons.


Taste In Men
Days Before You Came
Special K
Spite & Malice
Passive Aggressive
Black Eyed
Blue American
Slave To The Wage
Comercial For Levi
Peeping Tom
Black Market Blood (Hidden track)

The album starts strong with "Taste in men", "Special K" and an amazing "Days before you came", that certainly surprised everyone with a new direction in their sound: a mixture of synth and disco rythms blending with their riffs, bass-lines and Molko's unmistakable vocals, "Black Market Music" certainly didn't dissapoint.

The album is regarded as the best of the band by many fans and feels consistent from beginning to end, something that their previous two didn't quite acomplish so well.

Sleeping With Ghosts

In 2003 Placebo relesed their fourth album, "Sleeping with ghosts":


Bulletproof Cupid
English Summer Rain
This Picture
Sleeping with Ghosts
The Bitter End
Something Rotten
Special Needs
I'll Be Yours
Second Sight
Protect Me From What I Want

The album starts with an instrumental song "Bulletproof Cupid", which is some kind of mixture between Sonic Youth and Smashing Pumpkins, and makes for an excellent start. The album begins to shine with "English Summer Rain" and finds one of its peaks in the track "The Bitter End", where the album recovers the old Placebo spirit from previous releases, a song full of soaring verses and hars feelings which Molko reveals in-between a wall of perfect distorted chords and drum beats.

"This picture" is an electronic-rock tune worth mentioning, along with "Special needs", songs that lead to another of the great songs in this album "Second Sight", and a more relaxed closure with the tracks "Centrefolds" and "Protect me from what I want", which remind of their first album softer tracks, slow paced, with introspective lyrics.

Once More With Feeling

One year later, in 2004, the band released a singles collection named "Once more with feeling":


36 Degrees
Teenage Angst
Nancy Boy
Bruise Pristine
Pure Morning
You Don't Care About Us
Every You Every Me
Without You I'm Nothing
Taste in Men
Slave to the Wage
Special K
The Bitter End
This Picture
Special Needs
English Summer Rain
I Do
Twenty Years

The album was also released on DVD featuring the singles videos, and Placebo promoted it with a concert at the wembley Arena in which Robert Smith (The Cure) sang along with them "Without you I'm nothing" and a cover of the famous "Boy's don't cry" of The Cure. The compilation included three new tracks "Protege Moi", "I do" and "Twenty years".


A couple years later, arrived their last studio album to date "Meds", containing thirteen new tracks:



Space Monkey
Follow The Cops Back Home
Post Blue
Because I Want You
Pierrot The Clown
Broken Promise
One Of A Kind
In The Cold Light Of Morning
Song To Say Goodbye

"Meds" tries to go back to the bands roots, and features Alison Mosshart (Kill) in the first track named after the album, one much softer than the previous first tracks chosen for their previous jobs. Michael Stipe sings along with Molko in "Broken promise". The album increases in intensity with the powerful "Infrared" and "Drag", and relaxes too much with "Space Monkey" and "Follow The Cops Back Home", which are darker and have weak guitars.

The album gets better reaching "Post Blue", once again delivering the angry riffs that remind of their greatest hits. "Meds" ends with the melancholic "Song to say goodbye", which closes a deep, dark & bare Placebo sounding album.

In 2007 they released a new single "Running up that hill", a Kate Bush cover, that really shines and stands out as one of the best songs Placebo ever recorded, as regarded by their fans.. The song can be heard on different episodes of "C.S.I." and "The O.C." TV series. Later that year they joined Linkin Park in the Projekt revolution tour.

Present and future

Steve Hewitt left the band at the end of 2007, and the band still haven't replaced his spot.

The band is about to release a new album this year, and in the meantime Olsdal has just announced that he will release a new album with his side-project band named "Hotel Persona", confirming at the same time that Placebo are currently recording their new album that will be released in 2008.

Style and influences

Placebo can be defined as a post-glam rock alternative band, with a british sound that resembles many of their influences, such as Depeche Mode, Nick Cave, Bee Gees, Smashing Pumpkins, James Brown, Sonic Youth, PJ Harvey, Nick Drake among others.

Their albums have often been compared with groups such as Smashing Pumpkins and Rush, but Brian Molko's high-pitched, nasal voice quickly became the band's seal of disctintion.

With deep, dark, disturbing lyrics and riffs that go from soothing bass lines to raw screaming grunge placebo are among the best UK bands of the last decade, creating a style of their own with an unmistakable sound.


Current members

Brian Molko – lead vocals, guitar
Stefan Olsdal – bass, guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Former members

Steve Hewitt (1996-2007) – drums
Robert Schultzberg (1994-1996) – drums



Without You I'm Nothing
Black Market Music
Sleeping with Ghosts



"Bruise Pristine"
"Come Home"
"36 Degrees"
"Teenage Angst"
"Nancy Boy"
"Bruise Pristine" (reissue)
"Pure Morning"
"You Don't Care About Us"
"Every You Every Me"
"Without You I'm Nothing"
"Burger Queen Français"
"Taste in Men"
"Slave to the Wage"
"Special K"
"Black Eyed"
"Bitter End"
"This Picture"
"Special Needs"
"English Summer Rain"
"Twenty Years"
"Because I Want You"
"Song to Say Goodbye"
"Running Up That Hill"


Slave to the Wage
Taste in Men
Special K
Live At La Cigale
Exclusive iTunes Session
Extended Play '07


Soulmates Never Die (Live in Paris 2003)
Once More With Feeling: Videos 1996-2004



Placebo Homepage


Originally by Fran