A music obsessive from the age of nine, Ben Folds grew up playing drums in high school groups, became a session musician in Nashville and dropped out of a music course at Miami University before returning home to North Carolina and starting quirky pop trio Ben Folds Five. Standing out amid a sea of mid-1990s guitar bands, Folds' smart, funny, piano-led songs resulted in four successful albums and a reputation for high energy live shows, which the man himself described as "punk rock for sissies". The Ben Folds Five split in 2000 and Folds launched his solo career with the well-received Rockin' the Suburbs (2001) and a reworking of the album's title track with Star Trek actor William Shatner for the soundtrack to the film Over The Hedge. He went on to release the US hit albums Songs For Silverman (2005) and Way To Normal (2008) and set novelist Nick Hornby's lyrics to music on Lonely Avenue (2010).
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