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JJ72 was an Irish pop band from Dublin . She became internationally known through her 2000 album JJ72 . It broke up in the summer of 2006, according to a statement by the band on June 22, 2006.

Band history

Creation and first record deal

The band was formed around Easter 1995 by singer Mark Greaney and drummer Fergal Matthews, when both were still attending the Jesuit-run Belvedere College in Dublin. Greaney in particular, who had classical music lessons for several years as a child, shapes the band. He writes many of the songs and dominates in interviews. His androgynous voice, in which many listeners who are not familiar with the band cannot tell whether it is man or woman, becomes a distinctive trademark. Laut.de describes her as oscillating between "an erotic Stevie Nicks and a whiskey-drinking choirboy."

Both searched longer for a bass player for the band and finally discovered Hilary Woods dancing in a club. Woods had no experience on bass up until then, but already made an impressive stage appearance as a ballerina and theater actress. The woman who was later elected by Melody Maker as Sexiest Woman in Rock has a decisive influence on the public image of the band.

The band had their first appearances while the members were still working towards their leaving certificates (comparable to the German Abitur) and could already gain a lot of reputation. The band moved to London because they were hoping for a bigger audience there than in Ireland. Graham Coxon ( Blur ), James Dean Bradfield ( Manic Street Preachers ) and Ian Brodie ( Lightning Seeds ) were in the audience when they first appeared in London . JJ72 produced a demo of the later single October Swimmer and were able to win several offers from record companies. Eventually they signed a Sony Music label with Lakotta Records . Several large management firms also began to take an interest in them, and they eventually signed with the same company that already looked after the Manic Street Preachers - according to their own statements, they got a contract that still allowed them considerable artistic freedom.

First album and international success

The first album, JJ72 , came out in the fall of 2000 shortly after they finished school. The band's great role model is Joy Division with Ian Curtis , other influences from pop music are Suede , Placebo and the Manic Street Preachers , whose songs, some of which are cryptic or very poppy, are based on JJ72. On the one hand, the album was relatively easy musically, the changing experience on the instruments was quite audible. However, it won over the press and the fans with its direct tone, a mixture of passion and a slight megalomania and songs that touched many listeners directly.

Over 500,000 copies were sold in Ireland and the UK alone. The singles Snow , October Swimmer , Long Way South , Oxygen and Algeria reached chart positions. The best-placed single was Snow with a place in the Irish and British Top 30. The song October Swimmer also appeared on the soundtrack to the film Wie Feuer und Flamme .

The album gave the band the opportunity to tour Europe, America and Japan. The first festival they played was Glastonbury Festival on the day of Greaney's 20th birthday , when they performed in front of a crowded tent on what was actually a very awkward afternoon. The also Irish U2 took JJ72 on tour in 2001 as a support band, JJ72 also played as support for the Manic Street Preachers.

Second album

In October 2002 I To Sky was released , produced by Flood and mixed by Alan Moulder . The album is more diverse than its predecessor, you can also hear the band's increasing experience with the instruments and the associated possibilities for differentiation in the sound. Overall, the album sounds quieter on the one hand, but more bombastic and heavier than the debut on the other. Religious symbolism plays a comparatively large role in this album in particular. In addition to numerous allusions in the lyrics and also in the album title itself, early Christian symbols can also be found on the album cover next to each song title. Greaney says in several interviews that they themselves are not religious in the classical sense. Above all, they are concerned with a certain feeling that can be achieved through religious rituals and symbolism, and that is very similar to that which music should also achieve.

The press received I To Sky much more cautiously. They particularly criticized the fact that the band would lose the red thread with the increasing musical possibilities on the album, that it sometimes seemed arbitrary and disheveled. Especially the song Serpent Sky was either declared the worst song on the album or praised in the highest tones. Almost all of the singles were declared extremely successful.

The singles Formulas and Always and Forever reached the top 40 of the Irish and British singles charts again.

I To Sky sold clearly worse than its predecessor. It reached the top 5 on the Irish album charts and the top 10 on the UK album charts.

New bass player joins

Half a year after the release, Hilary Woods left the band for "personal reasons" in March 2003, whereupon the other two hired Sarah Fox as the new bassist.

Then JJ72 worked on their third album, which was supposed to be released in 2005, but never actually came out. In June 2005 their new single She's gone came out, but it was only released on vinyl (with the B-side Heat ) and which you could only buy in selected indie shops in England.

The meaning of the band name is supposedly only known to the singer and founder Mark Greaney, but fan circles are speculating what it could mean. The speculations range from Janis Joplin's weight in her deepest times (in English pounds) to a reference to her old school, Belvedere College. ( James Joyce went to school there, and they had last won the Leinster Senior Cup when the band was formed in 1972), down to the number of Jam Jars in Greaney's classroom.

The end

After eleven years, the band split on June 22nd in the summer of 2006:

"JJ72 was born during an Easter many seasons ago; today it dies on the cusp of midsummer eleven years later. " Mark Greaney, Fergal Matthews & Sarah Fox wish to express their deepest and darkest gratitude to all of those with impeccable taste who helped and supported the band. "We remember everything, from mechanical birds in Japan to angels in arid Arizona, from broken bones and Berlin birthdays to predatory Portsmouth spiders. For those who disliked and perhaps despised (gasp) JJ72, thank you - how did beautiful photographs exist without a negative ?! We crafted two monuments of magnificence for the future aural pleasure and pain of all would be JJ believers and doubters .... and for those who care not for the passing of the petulant yet powerful pup .... shame on you! Thank you to Hilary Woods for being a dazzling damsel and thank you to all who played music in / with the band. You know who you are. "

Meanwhile (2007) Mark Greaney started a new project with the band "Concerto For Constantine", what Fergal Matthews and Sarah Fox will do in the future is still unclear at this point in time.



year title Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placements
(Year, title, rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
2000 JJ72 DE99 (1 week)

(29 weeks)UK
IE7 (35 weeks)
2002 I to Sky - UK20 (2 weeks)
IE10 (4 weeks)


year Title
Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placements
(Year, title, album , rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
2000 Snow
UK21 (4 weeks)
IE33 (3 weeks)
Chart entry in IE only in 2001
Long Way South
UK68 (1 week)
UK23 (3 weeks)
IE42 (1 week)
October Swimmer
UK29 (3 weeks)
IE50 (1 week)
2002 Formulas
I To Sky
UK28 (2 weeks)
IE24 (2 weeks)
2003 Always And Forever
I To Sky
UK43 (2 weeks)
2005 Coming home
UK52 (1 week)
IE38 (1 week)

More singles

  • 1999: Pillows (Oxygen)
  • 2001: Snow
  • 2005: She's Gone


  1. a b Chart sources: DE UK IE
  2. Music Sales Awards: UK