Though the Beastie Boys were, no doubt, unaware, their 1995 Ill Communication Tour sparked something in twin brothers Joel and Benji Madden. After seeing the show in their Maryland hometown, the brothers recruited some high school chums and formed a band – Good Charlotte. Joel stepped out front to sing with Benji on lead guitar, Paul Thomas on bass, and Aaron Escolopio on drums.
Together, the guys fashioned a sound that was heavy on power ballads infused with a pop-punk sensibility. It didn't take long for Good Charlotte to establish a fan base on the local Washington, D.C. scene. WHFS invited the band to play its annual HFSFestival in both 1998 and 1999.
All of that was enough to win a deal with Epic Records and Good Charlotte's eponymous debut appeared in 2000. While three singles – “Little Things,” "Motivation Proclamation," and "Festival Song" – emerged and caused a mild stir, the Madden boys soon found themselves hosting MTV's All Things Rock show.
With that new visibility, the band took to work on their second set. Before they got to the studio, however, Escolopio dropped out. Josh Freese stepped in temporarily with Chris Wilson later becoming the permanent replacement.
Toward the end of 2002, The Young and the Hopeless dropped with much fanfare. Singles like the chart-topping "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," “Girls & Boys,” “Hold On,” and "The Anthem" pushed sales to nearly five million copies as Good Charlotte hit the road to play for packed houses. Appearances on Saturday Night Live, The Today Show, and the cover of Rolling Stone magazine certainly didn't hurt.
Good Charlotte's third set, The Chronicles of Life and Death, was issued in 2004 and made its way into the number three seat on Billboard's Hot 200 album chart. Despite that ranking, the album failed to replicate its predecessor's success, though it still achieved double-platinum status on the strength of two hit singles, "Predictable" and "I Just Wanna Live."
A year later, Wilson decided he needed to take his leave for health reasons. Former Morrissey drummer Dean Butterworth came to the rescue just as the band was going back into the studio to make their fourth album, Good Morning Revival, which went on to sell more than four million copies. Good Charlotte spent a good amount of time entertaining audiences on the major late-night television shows and toured with Justin Timberlake on his FutureSex/LoveShow Tour.
The 2007 collection yielded one mildly successful single in “The River” which included cameo appearances by Avenged Sevenfold's M. Shadows and Synyster Gates.
For their next effort, 2010's Cardiology, Good Charlotte circled back around to their original punk aesthetic. Two lead singles, "Like It's Her Birthday" and "Counting the Days," served as previews to the November release.
In late 2011, the Madden brothers announced that Good Charlotte would be taking a hiatus.