The band finished recording their debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, at Chapel Studios in Lincolnshire in September 2005. Its name was taken from the 1960 film Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not became the fastest selling debut album in UK chart history, selling 363,735 copies in the first week.This smashed the previous record of 306,631 copies held by Popstars by Hear’Say, and sold more copies on its first day alone — 118,501 — than the rest of the Top 20 albums combined.
The record was released a month later in the U.S. and entered at #24 on the Billboard album chart after it sold 34,000 units in its first week, making it the second fastest selling for a debut indie rock album in America.However, U.S. sales for the first year did not match those of the first week in the UK for the album. US critics were more reserved about the band than their UK counterparts, and appeared unwilling to be drawn into the possibility of “yet another example of the UK’s press over-hyping new bands”.However, the band’s June 2006 tour of North America received critical acclaim at each stop — the hype surrounding them “proven to exist for good reason”.Meanwhile, the UK’s NME magazine declared the band’s debut album the “5th greatest British album of all time”.They also equalled the record of The Strokes and Oasis at the 2006 NME Awards, winning three fan-voted awards for Best British Band, Best New Band and Best Track for “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor”.
Arctic Monkeys wasted no time in recording new material, and released a five-track EP on 24 April 2006, entitled Who the Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys?. Due to its length, the EP was ineligible to chart as a UK single or album. Furthermore, the record’s graphic language has resulted in significantly less radio airplay than previous records, although this was not a reported concern according to an insider — “since they made their name on the Internet… they don’t care if they don’t get radio play”.
Soon after the release of the EP in the UK, the band announced that Andy Nicholson would not take part in the band’s forthcoming North America tour due to fatigue from “an intensive period of touring”.On returning to the UK, Nicholson confirmed that he would leave Arctic Monkeys and start his own project. He also said that he couldn’t deal with the band’s fame and the success over the previous six months. In a statement on their official website, the band said: “We are sad to tell everyone that Andy is no longer with the band”, also confirmed that Nick O’Malley — former bassist with The Dodgems who had drafted in as temporary bassist for the tour — would continue as bassist for the rest of their summer tour schedule.Shortly after, Nick O’Malley was confirmed as the formal replacement for Nicholson.
Arctic Monkeys’ first release without Nicholson, the single “Leave Before the Lights Come On”, came on 14 August 2006. Turner said that the song was one of the last songs he wrote before their rise to fame, and suggested that “it feels very much like it could be on the album”.Peaking at #4 in the UK, the single became the band’s first failure to reach #1. The band was re-united at the Leeds Festival when Nicholson met up with his former band mates and his replacement bassist, O’Malley.Only the original band members, minus Nicholson, were present at the award ceremony when Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not won the 2006 Mercury Prize two weeks later.
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