On April 26, 1997, the highest ranked “new entry” on The Billboard 200 album chart belonged to The Chemical Brothers. Their LP, Dig Your Own Hole, debuted at #14, but would go no higher on the US charts (it would get to #4 in Canada).
The Chemical Brothers were DJs Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons from Manchester, England. They began working clubs in the late ’80s, weaving samples of jazz and funk with hip hop and big beats.
Rowlands and Simons originally called themselves the Dust Brothers in homage to the American producers who helped to sculpt the Beastie Boys Paul’s Boutique. After lawyers contacted them, the duo changed their name.
Dig Your Own Hole was The Chemical Brothers second album (Exit Planet Dust was released in 1995 — the title referencing their abandoned moniker).
The first single, “Setting Sun,” features Noel Gallagher from Oasis (a fan of The Chemical Brothers) on vocals. The single went to #1 in the UK, but only got to #80 in the US. Their second single, “Block Rockin’ Beats” also topped the UK singles charts, but did not make the Hot 100 in the US (peaking at #107).
But radio was not the medium for The Chemical Brothers, nor were music videos (although their visual concepts were always interesting and highly stylized) — the true power of their beats was in the clubs, keeping people on the dance floor.