After recording throughout most of 2008, “the all American long haired rockers” (The Times), released their fourth studio album Only by the Night on September 19, which subsequently entered the UK Albums Chart at number one and remained there for one more week. Only by the Night Reading Festival also had two single week stints as the UK #1 album in 2009, one directly after the BRIT Awards. In the United States, the album reached number 5 on the Billboard Charts.Reception to the album was the most polarized yet, with the British press granting the album glowing reviews. Q Magazine named Only by the Night “Album of the Year” for 2008. In the United States, reactions to the album were more mixed. Spin, Rolling Stone, and All Music Guide gave the album positive reviews, while Pitchfork Media gave the album a virtual equivalent of 2 stars. The album was officially named as the UK’s third biggest selling album of 2008 and the biggest selling album of 2008 in Australia.”Sex on Fire” was the first single released for download in the UK on 8 September. The song became their most successful ever as it peaked at number one in the UK and in Ireland. It was also their first song to chart number one on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock chart. The second single to be released from the album on December 8, 2008 was “Use Somebody” which achieved worldwide chart success and consistency, such as peaking at number two in the UK Singles Chart, and also reaching top ten chart positions in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the United States. The album’s popularity in Australia was confirmed with a total of four singles being voted into the world’s largest online music poll, the “Triple J Hottest 100”. The song “Crawl” came in at number 70, “Closer” was voted number 24 and “Use Somebody” finished number 3 in the poll. However, their biggest success from Only By The Night was “Sex on Fire” which was voted number 1 in the Hottest 100 poll for 2008 and number 90 in the Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time, 2009 poll.”Sex on Fire” also won the band a Grammy Award at the 51st Grammy Awards held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 8, 2009. They won Best International Band and Best International Album at the Brit Awards in 2009, where they also performed “Use Somebody” live.Kings of Leon also performed on 14 March 2009 at Sound Relief, a benefit concert, for the Victorian Bushfire Crisis.The song “Crawl” from this album was released as a free download on the band’s website on July 28. The third and fourth singles were “Revelry”, which peaked at number 19 in New Zealand and “Notion”, which peaked at number 24 in Belgian charts.Only By The Night was certified platinum in the United States by the RIAA for selling one million copies in less than a year after its release.
In 2008, they headlined the Glastonbury Music Reading Festival Festival, and in 2009, the band headlined a number of music festivals, including Reading & Leeds, Rock Werchter, Oxegen, T In The Park, Gurtenfestival and Open’er Festival in Europe, along with Sasquatch, Lollapalooza, and Austin City Limits in the United States. That same year, the band won their first Grammy Award for the single “Sex on Fire”, as well as two BRIT Awards for “Best International Group” and “Best International Album.” The album Only by the Night also won an NME Award for “Album of the Year.”
Kings of Leon caused minor controversy at the 2009 Reading Festival when Caleb Followill tried to get the crowd going by asking “I thought this was supposed to be the loudest crowd in the world?” Picking up on a perceived hostility towards the band, he announced “we know you’re sick of Kings of Leon, so for all those who don’t give a fuck about us, I understand. But we’ve worked fucking hard to get here. So anyone that has anything to say to us, fuck you. We’re the goddamn Kings of Leon.” The band later smashed their guitars in anger and made rude gestures before leaving the stage.Nathan Followill further criticized the Reading crowd on his twitter page, declaring “Zero love for the kings. I know it was cold but holy shit, y’all were frozen. I can only hope Leeds is in better form.”.At the Leeds Festival Caleb again bad-mouthed Reading while complimenting the Leeds crowd declaring “We’re only five songs in and you’ve blown Reading to hell”, while complimenting UK crowds in general stating “It was the UK that made us feel like we could take on the world.”
Only by the Night King of leon Reading Festival(2008–2009)