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Placebo

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Biography

Placebo is a three-piece alternative rock band, formed in London, United Kingdom, when former Luxembourg schoolmates Brian Molko and Stefan Olsdal - who never actually spoke to each other at the time - met by accident at South Kensington train station in 1994. During their ‘accidental’ meet, Molko invited Olsdal to one of his gigs, where Olsdal was impressed by Molko’s unique vocals. While briefly known as Ashtray Heart, the band soon settled on the name Placebo, after the drug that has no active ingredient but works because the patient believes it does.

Soon after forming, the band could not decide on a permanent drummer, with Steve Hewitt (drums) and Robert Schultzberg both alternating on the spot. While Hewitt was the preferred choice, he was bound by other musical commitments as drummer for London-based band Breed, leading to Schultzberg being the drummer when the band signed its contract with Caroline Records. As time went on, Molko and Schultzberg began to drift apart as friends, which eventually led to Molko and Olsdal persuading Hewitt to rejoin the band shortly after their debut album was released.

The singles “Nancy Boy”, from Placebo (1996), and “Pure Morning”, from Without You I’m Nothing (1998), are still to this day the peak of their British success, with both tracks charting in the top ten. Since Without You I’m Nothing, the band have fallen out of fashion, particularly with the British music press, who regularly mocked the personality and pretensions of its lead member, Brian Molko. However, the band retained a huge popular and critical following in continental Europe.

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