Named for a coastal town near their home base of Bristol, England, the pioneering trip-hop band Portishead created a hauntingly seductive form of electronic music.
• Producer and multi-instrumentalist Geoff Barrow met singer Beth Gibbons in 1990 at a training for Enterprise Allowance, a government program that gave unemployed people money to start their own business.
• The pair began making music together and soon added Adrian Utley, a jazz session guitarist with an impressive library of spy films. Utley and Barrow began combining influences and creating Portishead’s original sound.
• The band’s landmark 1994 debut album, Dummy, reached No. 2 on the UK charts and earned the prestigious Mercury Prize. The singles “Sour Times” and “Glory Box” both went Top 20.
• Portishead’s self-titled 1997 sophomore album also reached No. 2 in the UK and just missed the Top 20 in the US. The single “All Mine” became their first—and to date only—Top 10 single in the UK.
• In the years that followed, Barrow moved to Australia and took a break from making music. Portishead finally returned in 2008 with Third, which reached No. 7 on the US charts and gave the band their third consecutive No. 2 placement in the UK.