Early 2000s in Denton, Texas
About the Name:
The band's name is a combination of the last names of founding members Mike Eli and James Young, who started out as an acoustic duo called Eli & Young.
- Mike Eli - vocals, guitar
- James Young - guitar)
- Jon Jones - bass guitar
- Chris Thompson - drums
The group started when Mike Eli and James Young met at the University of North Texas, where they were dorm roommates. The guitar-playing pair, Eli & Young, began strumming at local venues. Before long they expanded their lineup to include a drummer, Chris Thompson, and bass player, Jon Jones. The new lineup came with a new name: the Eli Young Band.
Opening for Miranda Lambert:
In 2003, the Eli Young Band opened for Miranda Lambert, who introduced the quartet to her producer Frank Liddell. A meeting between Liddell and the band resulted in their signatures on a record contract -- and the album Level
, released on Carnival Records in 2005. The new group received good exposure in their home state of Texas and became popular tourers.
Jet Black & Jealous:
Everything would change with the Eli Young Band's first major label album, Jet Black & Jealous
, released on Universal South Records in Fall of 2008. The singles "When It Rains," "Radio Waves," and "Always the Love Songs" climbed up the charts, but failed to break the top 10.
No. 1 with ''Crazy Girl'':
In 2011, the group released Life of Best. The single "Crazy Girl," co-written by Lee Brice, became their first #1 country song.
"Lee was in the middle of recording his latest record when we first heard this song," Mike Eli told The Boot. We had actually been writing with Lee quite a bit, and Jon and Chris were slated to write with him right after James and I first heard 'Crazy Girl,' so we played them the song. We all fell in love with the song and felt like we wanted to record it. So, they went down to this ranch to write with Lee and convinced him.
"Crazy Girl" ended the year at the top of 2011's most popular country singles.