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The Heavy are Kelvin Swaby (Vocals), Dan Taylor (Guitar), Spencer Page (Bass) and Chris Ellul (Drums). Taylor and Swaby became friends in 1998 when they bonded over vintage R&B music and Jim Jarmusch films and soon formed the band.
The Heavy released two singles in the last half of 2007. "That Kind of Man," the first single, was released on Don't Touch Recordings and mixed by Corin Dingley before Ninja Tune discovered it and promptly signed the band, Kelvin, Dan and Corin. The Heavy released their first album Great Vengeance and Furious Fire on September 17, 2007 in the United Kingdom and 8 April 2008 in the United States.
On 26 March 2008, the Heavy were named artist of the day in Spin. The band was also mentioned in the Rolling Stone Hot List in May 2008. They played at the 2008 South By Southwest (SXSW) music festival on the 89.3 The Current Stage and collected one of the Best Discovery awards in Spin Magazine's Best and Worst of SXSW 2008.
The Heavy appeared on the 2009 album Johnny Cash Remixed with a version of "Doing My Time". On 2 October 2009 their second album The House That Dirt Built was released by Ninja Tune.
The Heavy play a mix of guitar-heavy neo soul and rock using crunchy guitar, funky horns, and raspy James Brown-like vocals. Their songs incorporate many different styles; for example, "Sixteen" samples the horn line and guitar verse from Screamin' Jay Hawkins's "I Put a Spell on You". "How You Like Me Now?" samples the song "Let a Woman Be a Woman" by Dyke & the Blazers. "Oh No! Not You Again" emulates garage rock; and "Girl" is a combination of spoken word and rap sampled from Terry Reid's "Superlungs".
"How You Like Me Now?" is featured in several television series episodes: the twentieth episode of the fourth season of The Vampire Diaries; the sixth season finale of Entourage; the fourth episode of Community; the third episode of Rookie Blue; and the second season summer finale of White Collar. The song is featured throughout the 2010 feature film The Fighter. It is also featured on the soundtrack of the baseball video game MLB 10: The Show. It was featured in the 2011 film Horrible Bosses as well as the trailer for The Change-Up. It was also featured in the alternate ending for the film Limitless. The song is also played on the soundtrack of the film This Means War. The song was also used in a Kia Sorento television commercial, which was broadcast during Super Bowl XLIV, appears in the soundtrack for Driver: San Francisco along with songs "Big Bad Wolf" and "The Sleeping Ignoramus" and it was used throughout The Fighter featuring Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg. The song was used in pro skateboarder Torey Pudwill's Big Bang video in the summer of 2011. The song was also used in a commercial for Strongbow cider in the UK. It was recently featured on the Ted movie trailer. The song was also the theme song to MLB Network's television show, Intentional Talk and for MSNBC's afternoon broadcast of Martin Bashir's news commentary. It was also featured in 2K's game Borderlands 2 credits and in the credits for the movie G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Also was featured on trailers and TV spots for Turbo.
"How You Like Me Now?" could be heard blaring over the speakers at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, IL, the 2012 election night location for U.S. President Barack Obama, just after the projected results for Ohio were announced. The Electoral College votes from Ohio clinched the 2012 Presidential re-election for him.
The band played the song on the Late Show with David Letterman on 18 January 2010; this was the first time that Letterman had ever asked a musical artist to perform an encore on his show. On 9 June 2010 "How You Like Me Now?" was featured in the opening montage of Hockey Night in Canada's broadcast of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. "That Kind of Man" from the band's first album was featured in "Filthy Lucre", an episode of the series Californication. The song "Colleen" from the band's first album was featured in "Play the Man", an episode of the USA network television show Suits. The show also used "What Makes a Good Man" for the Season 2 promo, "Can't Play Dead" in episode "Zane vs. Zane" and "Short Change Hero" in episode "War".
"Short Change Hero", from the Heavy's second album, has been used in the 2010 film Faster, the intro for NHL 13 by EA Canada, the trailer for Batman: Arkham City and in promos the first season of Haven and second season of Longmire. It was also used in the opening scene of Borderlands 2, along with "How You Like Me Now?" used in the game's ending credits. An instrumental jazz version of "Short Change Hero" later appeared in Poker Night 2, which featured characters from Borderlands. "Short Change Hero" was used as the theme for the second, third and fourth seasons of Strike Back. It has been heard in season three of The Vampire Diaries, the second episode of the second season of The Listener (TV series), the season 2 finale of Suits.
"What Makes A Good Man", from their third album, was used for the launch trailer of Sleeping Dogs.
The band was asked to record a cover of the song "And When I Die" for the fourth season finale of True Blood. It also appeared on the third True Blood soundtrack.
"Who Needs The Sunshine?" was featured in the penultimate episode of the fourth series of Being Human, "Making History". The song was featured in a promo for the new Cinemax series Hunted.
The band also made their second appearance on Late Show with David Letterman on 28 August 2012 performing "What Makes A Good Man?" gaining their second encore on the show.
The band's third album The Glorious Dead was released on 21 August 2012 via Counter Records/Ninja Tune. The band undertook an extensive tour of the United States throughout August/September 2012 with sponsorship from the American beer company Miller Lite. The band also had a string of European dates to support the The Glorious Dead, in October/November 2012. A single from the album entitled "Don't Say Nothing" was included in the FIFA 13 soundtrack.
WWE used the song "What Makes a Good Man" as the official theme song to the 2013 Royal Rumble pay-per-view event. The song is also featured on the NHL '13 video game and in the trailer for the 2013 film Dallas Buyers Club.
In January 2014, Guinness used "What Makes a Good Man" in their "Sapeurs" commercial, featuring sartorial Congolese men from Brazzaville.
"Big Bad Wolf" was used in the 2010 film The Losers (based on the comic series of the same name) and was also used in the episode "Brotherfae of the Wolves" of the Canadian TV show Lost Girl and in the credits sequence to Season 2 Episode 1 of the British Crime-Drama Luther.
The song "Same Ol'" was used for the launch trailer for the game Splinter Cell: Blacklist.
"That Kind Of Man" was used in the trailer for Parker.
The song "Short Change Hero" was used in the ITV (TV network) documentary "Best of Enemies" that cast Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane.
The song "Big Bad Wolf" was used in the BBC Two series Top Gear in episode 4 of series 21.
The song is often used in Blue Angels performances.