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The Beautiful South

pop british britpop indie alternative

    The Beautiful South were a British pop group formed in 1989, from the ashes of Hull, England group The Housemartins. The band was put together by lead singer, Paul Heaton, and drummer, Dave Hemingway. They were joined by Sean Welch (Bass), Dave Stead (Drums) and Dave Rotheray (Guitar). Rotheray also co-writes the songs with Heaton.

    In The Beautiful South, Heaton shared the lead singer's role with Hemingway and female singer Briana Corrigan to create a trio of lead vocalists. This set-up helped to characterise the bittersweet kitchen sink dramas played out in Heaton's often-barbed songs.

    The band's music might sound like bubbly, catchy, lightweight pop but Heaton's sour, savage and amusing worldview on everything and anything (alcoholism, religion, sex, politics and, mostly, the down side of relationships) is always lurking beneath the surface of the quirky melodies. The tastes and smells of the local pub are never far away either, with the band gaining a reputation for boozing. The band's first album was Welcome to the Beautiful South (1989) and spawned the hits Song For Whoever and You Keep It All In. The release of 1990's Choke album saw the band claim its only Number 1 hit to date, A Little Time. 0898 followed in 1992, with hits including Old Red Eyes Is Back.

    In 1994, after Corrigan quit the band when she saw Paul's lyrics for the forthcoming album Miaow, St Helens supermarket shelf-stacker, Jacqui Abbott, was brought on board to fill in. Heaton had heard her sing at an after show party in St Helens and remembered her vocal talents.

    Jacqui's first album with the band was Miaow in 1994. Hits included Good as Gold (Stupid as Mud) and a cover of Fred Neil's Everybody's Talking, previously popularised by Harry Nilsson. The end of that year saw the release of Carry on up the Charts, a "best of" compilation consisting of the singles to date plus new track One Last Love Song. The album was massively successful and it is said that 1 in 7 homes in the UK owns a copy.

    Blue Is the Colour (1996), Quench (1998) and Painting It Red (2000) followed with varying success. Jacqui also quit the band in 2000. After a second Greatest Hits album Solid Bronze in 2001, they recorded Gaze in 2003 with yet another female vocalist, Alison 'Lady' Wheeler. Wheeler was still in place for 2004's Golddiggas, Headnodders and Pholk Songs, an album of unusually arranged cover versions including Livin' Thing, You're The One That I Want, Don't Fear The Reaper and I'm Stone In Love With You. In 2006 the band released their tenth studio album, Superbi.

    The band broke up in January 2007, releasing the statement: "The Beautiful South have split up due to musical similarities. The band would like to thank everyone for their 19 wonderful years in music."

    Former members of the group have since played Beautiful South songs together as 'New Beautiful South' and more recently 'The South'.

    In 2007, Mercury Records released Cream, a compilation album containing 7 hit singles by The Housemartins ("The Housemartins Condensed") and 15 tracks The Beautiful South ("Cream of The Beautiful South").


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