Ben Folds

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About Ben Folds

Ben Folds is the consummate alt-rock piano man. Born in North Carolina in 1966, Folds carved out a singular sound for himself in the mid-’90s with his band, Ben Folds Five, blending catchy, virtuosic ivory-tinkling with Gen X angst and lyrics that explore both heartbreak and hilarity. He went solo with 2001’s Rockin’ the Suburbs, skewering white, male, middle-class ennui over heavy guitar riffs on the title track. On 2005’s Songs for Silverman, the piano returned to the foreground, driving pensive ballads (“Landed (New Version)”), propulsive pop (“Bastard”), and, on the vinyl version, an impossibly somber take on Dr. Dre’s “Bitches Ain’t Shit.” Folds has always been a prolific collaborator—he counts William Shatner and Weird Al among his partners—and 2008’s Way to Normal arrived with a lead single, “You Don’t Know Me,” featuring fellow singer and pianist Regina Spektor. The album heralded an expansion of sound for Folds with its lush, often symphonic instrumentation on tracks like the sweeping “Cologne.”

September 12, 1966
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