As the American rock band The Killers prepared their fourth studio album, Battle Born, released in September last year, six years ago, the Vegas glam rockers released a record that some saw as their “Sophomore Slump,” and were ready to close the book on one of America’s exciting new bands. Sam’s Town arrived in the fall of 2006 after much hype and curiosity as to what the follow-up to the bands brilliant and near flawless 2004 debut, Hot Fuss, arrived on the scene. The second album’s first single, the Springsteen inspired, “When You Were Young,” giving rock and roll a needed erection, it heard the band dropping the 80’s new wave inspiration of New Order, Pet Shop Boys, Erasure and Yazoo that provided to be one of the key elements to their success, and heard them pick up raging guitars, swelling vocals and looking to get out of the clubs and into arenas.
Sam’s Town was a shift in personalities for The Killers, it wasn’t glam, it was rock and roll and it was a sucker punch to everyone who picked it up. When it was released the reviews were generally unfavorable and it looked like one of the biggest and most praised rising bands were about to take a nose dive into oblivion. However, Sam’s Town is estimated to have sold over 4 million copies worldwide to date.
According to Brandon Flowers himself: “Hot Fuss was all based on fantasy. The English influences, the make up; they were what I imagined rock was. I’m a dreamer, you know? So I dug into that dream and made Hot Fuss. But hearing people call us the best British band from America made me wonder about my family and who I really was. That’s what Sam’s Town is really about.
Sam’s Town wasn’t some love letter to America or overreaching mythic thing. It was about me. I sang about my Grandma Dixie and my brother being born on the 4th of July and guess what? My Grandma’s name is Dixie and my brother was born on the 4th of July 1969
Sam’s Town wasn’t some love letter to America or overreaching mythic thing. It was about me. I sang about my Grandma Dixie and my brother being born on the 4th of July and guess what? My Grandma’s name is Dixie and my brother was born on the 4th of July 1969.”
The album takes its name from Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall, a hotel-casino in Las Vegas, the hometown of the band. Sam’s Town was also a huge sign that was visible by band member Mark Stoermer though his room window when he was young.
The Killers were not going to be killed by their new direction and Sam’s Town hears them daring with other 80’s icons like U2 and The Police. Even working with U2 collaborators Flood and photographer Anton Corbin, The Killers took a chance that years later the album still remains an underrated classic for the Sin City’s band.