Plain White T's (read as "plain white tees") is an American pop punk band from Lombard, Illinois, formed in 1997 by high school friends Tom Higgenson, Dave Tirio, Ken Fletcher and Steve Mast. The group had a mostly underground following in Chicago basements, clubs and bars in its early years.[8][9]

The band is best known in the USA for the number-one hit song "Hey There Delilah", which achieved platinum status in 2007 and earned two Grammy nominations,[10] as well as "1234" and "Rhythm of Love", which were certified platinum in 2009 and 2011.


Formation (1997–1999)

The Plain White T's was formed in Lombard in early 1997. The group began as a trio, with Higgenson as singer and guitarist, Fletcher on bass guitar and Tirio on drums.[12] The group played mostly local punk shows in Chicago's suburbs, eventually having gigs at the Metro in Chicago's Wrigleyville neighborhood. As the band began to establish itself in the local scene, a fourth member was recruited, Steve Mast, who joined playing lead guitar and sang backing vocals.[3]

Higgenson broke several vertebrae in a car crash in 1999[3] while driving the band's van. He was in a back brace for three months and had to learn to walk again. Higgenson changed his song-writing process, choosing songs that were more meaningful to him, and the band began taking its music career more seriously.[3]

Come on Over, Stop and lineup changes (1999–2003)

In 2000, the band recorded its first album, titled Come on Over. In 2002, the band self-financed the recording of Stop, a full-length album that attracted the attention of Fearless Records. While the band toured in support for the album, both Fletcher and Mast left and were replaced by Tim Lopez and Mike Retondo. Shortly after in 2003, Tirio decided to switch from drumming to rhythm guitar and a new drummer named De'Mar Hamilton is added to the line-up.

All That We Needed (2004–2007)

The 2005 release, All That We Needed, was the first studio album from the reformed line-up.[3] "Hey There Delilah" was first released on the band's third album, All That We Needed, in 2005. The group recorded Every Second Counts that year, on which "Hey There Delilah" was added in order to allow it a chance on mainstream radio. The band signed with Hollywood Records, which released Every Second Counts on September 12, 2006. That same year, "Hey There Delilah" reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for two weeks.[3] The song was written for the track star Delilah DiCrescenzo, whom Higgenson had met in 2002. The song received two Grammy nominations, and Every Second Counts was certified gold.[3] In early 2006, the band teamed up with Motion City Soundtrack for a winter/spring tour.[3]

Big Bad World (2007–2009)

In 2008, the group released the album Big Bad World. The album had two hit singles: "1, 2, 3, 4" and "Natural Disaster". Both were on the American Top 40 at numbers 1 and 2 for three consecutive weeks.[20] By late 2008, the band had joined the Rock Band Live tour with Panic! at the Disco, Dashboard Confessional and The Cab.[3] Later that year, the band played at the Give It a Name festival in the UK.[3] In 2007, the band performed the single "Our Time Now" on an episode of the Nickelodeon television series, iCarly. "Our Time Now" was also the theme song of the ABC Family dramedy series, Greek.[23]

The Wonders of the Younger and Should've Gone To Bed EP (2009–2013)

The band's "Rhythm of Love" single was the first to be released from the group's 2010 album, The Wonders of the Younger. The song reached number five on the Hot AC chart, and was in the top ten in 2010 as well.[20] In 2012, the band also covered The Ramones' "Pet Sematary" for the song soundtrack of the 2012 Disney film Frankenweenie.[24] Should've Gone to Bed, a four-song EP, was released on April 9, 2013.

American Nights (2014–present)

The band left Hollywood Records after creative conflicts with the label during the production of the American Nights album.[25] American Nights was released by Megaforce Records on March 31, 2015. In 2013, Higgenson and Tirio formed a side project called That Lying Bitch to return to the group's punk rock roots.[26]

In 2015, Plain White T's also appeared on Blues Traveler's album Blow Up the Moon, co writing the song "Nikkia's Prom." On November 22, 2015, the band released a music video for "American Nights" featuring Higgenson's son, Lennon Higgenson.[27]

Band members

  • Tom Higgenson – lead vocals, keyboards, acoustic guitar (1997–present), lead guitar (1997)
  • Dave Tirio – rhythm guitar (2003–present), drums, percussion (1997–2003)
  • Tim Lopez – lead guitar, lead and backing vocals (2002–present)
  • Mike Retondo – bass guitar, backing vocals (2002–present)
  • De'Mar Hamilton – drums, percussion (2003–present)
Former members
  • Steve Mast – lead guitar, backing vocals (1997–2002)
  • Ken Fletcher – bass guitar (1997–2002)



The following list includes a selection of television appearances made by the band and performances used by those and other shows:[28]

  • Greek – The band provides "Our Time Now" written by Mia Koo, Tom Higgenson and Mike Daly, as the theme for commercials and trailers for the show. The group appears playing the song as well as "Hey There Delilah" in the episode "The Rusty Nail". The group plays the songs "Friends Don't Let Friends Dial Drunk" and "Making a Memory" in the episode "Friday Night Frights", and the band also plays the songs "Come Back to Me", "You and Me" and "Let Me Take You There" in the episode "A New Normal". Tom and Dave also appear in the episode "The Great Cappie" as members of the Kappa Tau fraternity.
  • iCarly – The band appears as a special guest for the webshow in the episode "iRue the Day", performing "Our Time Now".
  • "Making a Memory" was featured in the final episode to feature Katy Fox (Hannah Tointon) in the UK soap opera Hollyoaks, symbolizing what should be happening rather than what was happening.
  • "Revenge" is used as the theme song to the NYC TV show Secrets of New York.
  • "1234" and "Gimme a Chance" were featured in the teen drama 90210.
  • "1234" was used in a Hallmark Cards commercial for Valentine's Day 2010 and the music video appeared in Beavis and Butthead 8th season.
  • "Rhythm of Love" was used in a fall 2010 promo for the season two premiere of Parenthood on NBC, in One Tree Hill, in a fall 2010 promo for the season premiere of Secret Life of the American Teenager on ABC Family, in a TV advertisement for a rental DVD company in the UK called LoveFilm, in the closing credits of the 2011 film No Strings Attached and in a TV advertisement for Estée Lauder Pleasures Eau Fraîche in 2012.
  • Lead guitarist Tim Lopez was a bachelor contestant on NBC's reality show, Ready For Love.
  • The song "Dance Off Time" was played in the season 3, episode 8 of Switched at Birth.


Grammy Award
2008"Hey There Delilah"Song of the YearNominated
Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with VocalsNominated
Teen Choice Awards
2007"Hey There Delilah"Choice Summer SongWon
American Music Award
2007Plain White T'sNew Artist of the YearNominated
MTV Video Music Award
2007"Hey There Delilah"Monster Single of the YearNominated
MtvU Woodie Awards
2006Best Emerging ArtistThe Breaking WoodieWon