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The Beautiful South

Following the disbandment of the British indie pop group the Housemartins in 1989, vocalist Paul Heaton and drummer David Hemmingway formed the Beautiful South. Where their previous group relied on jazzy guitars and witty, wry lyrics, the Beautiful South boasted a more sophisticated, jazzy pop sound, layered with keyboards, R&B-inflected female backing vocals and, occasionally, light orchestrations. Often, the group's relaxed, catchy songs contradicted the sarcastic, cynical thrust of the lyrics. Nevertheless, the band's pleasant arrangements often tempered whatever bitterness there was in Heaton's lyrics, and that's part of the reason why the Beautiful South became quite popular within its native Britain during the '90s. Though the group never found a niche in America -- by the middle of the decade, their records weren't even being released in the U.S. -- their string of melodic jazz-pop singles made them one of the most successful, if one of the least flashy, bands in Britain. Their popularity was confirmed by the astonishing success of their 1994 singles compilation, Carry on Up the Charts, which became one of the biggest-selling albums in British history.

Heaton and Hemmingway formed the Beautiful South immediately after the breakup of the Housemartins, who were one of the most popular and well-reviewed British guitar pop bands of the mid-'80s. The Housemartins had earned a reputation for being somewhat downbeat Northerners, so the duo chose the name Beautiful South sarcastically. To complete the lineup, the pair hired former Anthill Runaways vocalist Briana Corrigan, bassist Sean Welch, drummer David Stead (formerly a Housemartins roadie), and guitarist David Rotheray, who became Heaton's new collaborator. In the summer of 1989, they released their first single, "Song for Whoever," on the Housemartins' old record label, Go!. "Song for Whoever" climbed to number two, while its follow-up "You Keep It All In" peaked at number eight in September, 1989. A month later, the group's debut, Welcome to the Beautiful South, was released to positive reviews.

"A Little Time," the first single from the group's second album, Choke, became the group's first number one single in the fall of 1990. Choke was also well-received, even though it didn't quite match the performance of the debut, either in terms of sales or reviews. In particular, some critics complained that Heaton was becoming too clever and cynical for his own good. The Beautiful South released their third album, 0898, in 1992; it was their first record not to be released in the United States, yet it maintained their success in Britain. Following the release of 0898, Corrigan left the group, reportedly upset over some of Heaton's ironic lyrics. She was replaced with Jacqui Abbot, who made her first appearance on the band's fourth album, 1994's Miaow.

While both 0898 and Miaow were popular, they were only moderate successes. Their respectable chart performances in no way prepared any observers, including the band themselves, for the blockbuster success of Carry on Up the Charts, a greatest-hits collection released at the end of 1994. Carry on Up the Charts entered the charts at number one. It was one of the fastest-selling albums in U.K. history and its success outlasted the Christmas season. The album stayed at number one for several months, going platinum many times over and, in the process, becoming one of the most popular albums in British history. Its success was a bit of a surprise, since the popularity of the Beautiful South's previous albums never indicated the across-the-boards success that greeted Carry on Up the Charts. The album wasn't released in America until late 1995, after it broke several U.K. records.

The Beautiful South released their follow-up to Miaow, Blue Is the Colour, in the fall of 1996. Quench followed three years later, then Painting It Red in fall 2000, and Gaze in 2003. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

The Beautiful South were beautiful!!!
I have a station anchored by Beautiful South and can't even get it to play a song by them? What is the problem? Is there no Beautiful South songs in the Pandora server?
Yes I have! I have every Beautiful South album and Pandora is missing several albums! missing Choke 90, 0898 92, Miaow 94, Painting it Red 2000, Gaze 2003, Superbi 2006. Adore all the albums, have since the very first album! None of their albums has a version of Dream a Little Dream in French or even English, It must be a single release only?
Anybody notice that the discography in Pandora is not complete? Trying to find the French version of dream a little dream
Started listening to The Beautiful South once I found out the members of the Housemartins were forming a new band. They are one of my perennial favorites. Blue is the Colour was the only music/album that would quiet my infant daughter who is now 7. My wife and I often attribute her musical flair to those nights she listened to the Beautiful South on repeat.
vmuse07
I saw them when they played at a club in Cleveland for their 0898 tour (I managed to get the cd through Colubmia House of all places). It was an awesome show. They closed by doing a version of "You Should Be Dancing" (Bee-Gees).
A friend lived in Europe a while and brought bck the CD's and I fell in love. TOUGH to find anything in the states, and the import charges are CRAZY. I love The Beautiful South
sirrish....y o u are everywhere on my songs that come up....are you listening to Housemartins Radio also?
These guys are awesome!! Got all their tracks!! Took me forever to find Quench (bought online-Germa n release) and 0898 (UK release).
the beautiful south is a great band! relatively unknown in the u.s., unfortunatel y , go figure! still wish the housemartins would have stayed together much longer than they did, though!
I love the beautiful South! I listened to them all the time when I lived in England. There are a lot of wonderful songs on this CD- I had to replace mine and found it at Best BUy about 9 YEARS AGO AND IT COST ME A FORTUNE!More Boom Town Rats and WET WET WET Please!
dalastar
One of the most cynically lyrical bands out there. They are supposedly broken up again. Saw them on their last tour in 2006 and they were brilliant!
My wife loves this!

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