The result: a worldwide smash and a long—awaited breakthrough in the band's native US. Embarrassed about the explicit sexual nature of the lyrics, he needed some coaxing to convince him that the song was worth doing, and even during the recording sessions the following Spring, more arm—twisting was required to get the singer to overdub his vocals. It has certainly paid off, because 'Sex On Fire' and its parent album Only By The Night have charged to the top of hit parades worldwide. Petraglia has worked on all four, while Ethan Johns son of the legendary Glyn and Jacquire King have swapped places twice. This meant that preparations for the recording of Only By The Night began with informal social meetings.
The song gave Kings of Leon their first number-one single in Australia, Finland, Ireland, and the United Kingdom, charting at the top spot on digital downloads alone in the latter country, before its physical release. In September it was Britain's second most-downloaded digital single ever. In , the song earned the band their first Grammy nominations.