The band was named as the second best-selling artist of all time in terms of downloaded tracks by Nielsen Sound Scan in 2011, with more than 42 million downloads, behind only Rihanna. They were ranked seventh in the Billboard Hot 100 Artists of the Decade in 2010 and have won six Grammy awards between 2005 and 2010.
How it all began
The Black Eyed Peas’ origins lay in the first meeting between band members will.i.am and apl.de.ap (in the days when they were known as William Adams and Allan Pineda) in 1988, when they were eighth graders at John Marshall High School in Los Angeles.
© Allstar Picture Library / Alamy Stock Photo
They got together and began rapping around the local club scene, winning a record deal with Ruthless Records in 1992. After a few personnel and name changes, the band chose a new name, the Black Eyed Peas, in 1995, when their line-up included rapper Jaime Luis Gomez, better known as Taboo.
The three artists have remained the nucleus of the band ever since. They were joined by singer and songwriter Stacy Ann Ferguson, known as Fergie, in 2003.
The band’s first global hit was Where is the Love in 2003. It topped the charts worldwide and won the Billboard Music Award for Top 40 Track of the Year. In total, they have released 28 hit singles.
Although many of their records over the years have been fun party jams, they also pride themselves on being socially conscious, which is often reflected in their music. Some of their singles have sent a powerful message to listeners, including their 2018 single, Street Livin’, which tackles current issues, such as the war on drugs.
Their single, Meet Me Halfway, released in 2009, topped the charts in the UK, Belgium, Germany, Israel and across much of Europe. Taken from their album, The End, it was a collaboration between the four band members and other songwriters.
It’s an unusual song for the Black Eyed Peas, since will.i.am and Fergie blend romance and dance in a 1980s-style duet.
The lyrics are narrated by a young man, who has been separated from the love of his life, but can’t stop thinking about her and wants to be reunited. He says, “I spend my time just thinking ’bout you,” and says he’s missing all the things they used to do.
The “meet me halfway” lyric seems to suggest they’re in different states and he suggests they meet “right at the borderline”. He says he’ll be waiting for her there until they meet again.
Fergie said in an interview that when she was recording her vocals, she was transported back to 1985, when she was 11 and saw Madonna in concert. She said she took on the Madonna persona from that era in tribute to the superstar, who was performing her “Virgin” tour when Fergie saw her live for the first time.
After their successes of the early 2000s, the band took a long hiatus in 2011, following the release of their 2010 album, The Beginning. In July 2011, during their UK tour, they announced they were taking an indefinite break.
The individual band members have been pursuing solo careers, with will.i.am becoming a judge on the long-running TV talent show, The Voice. He had released a number of solo albums while still recording with the Black Eyed Peas and continued to do so after the band announced their break. In total, he has released four solo albums.
He has also provided the voices of a number of characters in animated films, including Moto Moto in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and Snow in Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard. He had a role in X-Men Origins: Wolverine as John Wraith, otherwise known as Kestrel – a teleporting mutant who’s a member of Team X.
Fergie continues to pursue her solo career, releasing two solo albums, the most recent being Double Dutchess in September 2017. She has also released her own perfume brand, making her fragrance debut with Outspoken, for Avon, followed by four more perfumes.
She has also had a number of film roles, including Gloria in the disaster movie Poseidon, Tammy in the zombie film Planet Terror and Saraghina in the romantic musical, Nine. She has been a mentor on the Canadian TV show, The Launch, in 2018 and most recently has been a guest host on the American show, The Talk, on the CBS daytime network.
The Black Eyed Peas released a new album, their seventh, entitled Masters of the Sun Vol 1, without Fergie on 26th October 2018. She hasn’t officially left the band, although there has been no news on when all four band members will be collaborating again.
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