Evanescence, a popular alternative rock band from Little Rock (Pulaski County) established in 1999, is known for its dark, lyrical melodies.

Amy Lee and Ben Moody (former lead guitarist) had met as teenagers at a summer camp in Arkansas in 1995. They started writing music together, playing together, and recording at their parents’ houses. Eventually, the band grew into a world-renowned phenomenon. The name “Evanescence” means dissipation or a disappearance, as with vapor. Before deciding on Evanescence, however, the group went through several names, including Childish Intentions and Stricken. The lineup included Lee as lead singer and pianist, guitarists John LeCompt and Terry Balsamo, bassist Will Boyd, and drummer Rocky Gray. Ben Moody left the band in October 2003.

Evanescence’s music is combination of classical-style music and hard rock. Amy Lee, who was trained in classical piano for nine years, is the face behind the romantic sounds of the piano, the choir, and the string instruments. The rest of the band has the hard rock sound that gives the band the “alternative” label. This blend has led to several hits, such as “Bring Me to Life” and “My Immortal,” both of which were in the Top 10 on The Billboard Hot 100. “Bring Me to Life” also reached No. 1 in the United Kingdom. These songs are found on Fallen, released in 2003, and the Daredevil movie soundtrack. Fallen was ranked third on the Billboard 200 in June 2003 and was in the top ten for almost a year. In 2004, the band won Grammy Awards for Best Hard Rock Performance (“Bring Me to Life”) and Best New Artist. Origin, their first full-length album (2000), contained several notable pieces, such as “Field of Innocence,” “Anywhere,” and “Lies.”

The band’s DVD, Anywhere But Home (2004), includes tour footage and a few new songs. In 2006, bassist Will Boyd left the band. Later that same year, Evanescence released its second album, The Open Door. On October 11, 2011, the band released its third studio album, the eponymous Evanescence.

In 2014, Lee released the album Aftermath, which contains music she recorded for the soundtrack for the movie War Story with cellist Dave Eggar and other musicians. Lee and her husband, Josh Hartzler, had a son in July 2014. In an August 2014 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Lee said, “I’ve loved my time with Evanescence…but, for the foreseeable future, I don’t have any plans to do anything with the band. It’s really important to me to take some time to show some different sides of myself.”

However, the band reunited in late 2015 for its first live performance in three years and, the following year, toured the United States. In 2016, Evanescence released a vinyl box set of its albums to date. This was followed by a compilation album, Lost Whispers, in early 2017. Later that year, the band released the album Synthesis, which featured both new material as well as reworked versions of older songs. The band’s fifth studio album, The Bitter Truth, was released in March 2021.

For additional information:
Evanescence. http://www.evanescence.com (accessed April 5, 2021).

Hill, Jack. “Starless Evanescence.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, December 14, 2003, pp. 1E, 2E.

Montgomery, James. “Get Free: Amy Lee on Artistic Independence, the Future of Evanescence.” Rolling Stone, August 11, 2014. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/amy-lee-evanescence-qa-artistic-independence-20140811 (accessed April 5, 2021).

Pareles, Jon. “In Every Note, the Pangs of the Heart.” New York Times, November 2, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/03/arts/music/evanescence-at-terminal-5-review.html?_r=0 (accessed April 5, 2021).

Esther Jennings
Little Rock Central High EAST Lab


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