The filthy gorgeous New Yorkers took the music world by storm and had the biggest selling album of 2004. Elaborate costumes and controversial lyrics have won them fans around the world.
Scissor Sisters took the UK charts by storm in 2004 with their unique blend of glam-rock pop. Hailing from the New York underground club scene, Jake Shears, Ana Matronic, Paddy Boom, Del Marquis and Babydaddy came to notice thanks to their cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb’. The core of the band had formed in 2000 when Shears met Babydaddy while visiting a friend. They began to play music together but were generally poorly received.
After moving to New York City, the duo met Matronic at a Halloween party. The group soon began playing gigs and they met Del Marquis while Shears was still working as a stripper. After becoming a quartet, the band was signed to independent record label A Touch of Class.
Their cover of ‘Comfortably Numb’ (2003) appeared on the radar in the UK when it was picked up by underground DJs in a number of electroclubs. The song later came to the attention of British label Polydor, which signed them to a contract. The new deal proved to be a defining moment for the band, as they produced a string of hit tunes, including Take Your Mama, Laura, Mary and Filthy/Gorgeous, which enabled them to firmly put their stamp on the music scene.
These radio-friendly tracks, backed by outlandish stage antics, helped the band scoop Best International Group, International Album and International Breakthrough Act at the 2005 BRIT Awards. The band opened the show with a memorable performance that included 25 foot puppets made by the Jim Henderson studio. The band's debut album sold by the truckload and by the end of 2004 it had become the top selling album of the year.
However, the foursome only enjoyed moderate success in the US, with just Take Your Mama and Filthy/Gorgeous receiving popular radio airplay on pop stations. In September 2006, they released their second album, ‘Te-Dah’, which went to number one in the UK album charts. It also spawned the group's first number one hit single in the UK. ‘I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’' remained at the top of the UK charts for a total of four weeks. Co-written by Elton John, the track became the UK’s fourth best-selling single of 2006/07.
2010 saw the band release their third studio album, ‘NightWork’. The Guardian's Caroline Sullivan described listening to the tracks as a “dizzying, infectious experience” and suggested that you are left feeling “numb with euphoria”. The four year gap between ‘Te-Dah’ and ‘NightWork’ can be partly explained by the fact that the band ditched an album’s worth of songs written in the interim, as they felt they were just not working.
In an interview with the Telegraph shortly after the release of ‘NightWork’, lead singer Shears explained that “it was pretty devastating to abandon [the songs] but they just didn’t feel right”. Shears moved to Berlin to regain some sense of perspective and explained that he found the German city “musically inspiring”, thanks in part to the “timelessness of the clubs and the fashion”. The move, he said, allowed him to “start daydreaming again”.
Stuart Price, who had previously worked with Madonna, was then drafted in to help with proceedings and ‘NightWork’ was born. Their latest album 'Magic Hour' was released in 2012.