Back: Sean Welch, David Stead, Dave Hemingway
Front: Jacqueline Abbott, Paul Heaton, David Rotheray
To tell the story of The Beautiful South one should travel even farer back and say some words about The Housemartins. First of all, The Housemartins are my second favourite band after The Beautiful South, but that's not the issue here. The Housemartins existed from 1984 to 1987. Some of their better known songs are "Caravan of Love", "Happy Hour", "Think for a Minute" and "Five get over Excited". After three years the band splitted (what was planned this way from the beginning). The lead vocalist Paul D. Heaton and drummer/co-vocalist Dave Hemmingway soon founded The Beautiful South.
With them there were: Briana Corrigan-Vocalist, Sean Welch-Bass, David Stead-Drums and David Rotheray-Guitar. The songs are written by Paul Heaton, who was also one of the creative heads of the Housemartins, and David Rotheray. For writing, they usually fly to Gran Canaria for several weeks, after that the band goes to the studio and records the songs. Beside the six official band members there are always a keyboardist, a percussionist and three brassists involved, both in the studio and on the stage. And especially the brass section delivers the ultimate kick for the live performances!
In 1989 The Beautiful South's debut album "Welcome To The Beautiful South" was published. The first Single "Song for Whoever" was already quite a hit. In 1990 "Choke" (featuring the UK #1 single "A Little Time") and in 1992 "0898 The Beautiful South" followed. After that Briana Corrigan left the band. It is said that she was affronted by the way that women were often shown as victims in the songs. Briana Corrigan has started a solo career by now; her first and so far only Album "When My Arms Wrap You Round" came out 1996. By now, she has turned towards acting in Theatre.
Jacqueline Abbott replaced Briana, she gave her debut on "Miaow"
in 1994. The next year, their Best Of Album was released, "Carry On Up
The Charts". It became the third fastest selling Album in the UK ever.
1996 followed "Blue Is The Colour", 1998 "Quench". In this
Album an old friend from Housemartins days was involved: Norman Cook, by now
better known as Fatboy Slim, worked as "Rhythm Consultan". The "Quench"
singles "Perfect 10", "Dumb" and "How long's
a tear take to dry" could be heard in radio these days.Year 2000 brought
"Painting It Red", yet another jewel in the world of music.
In the middle of the US-leg of the Painting It Red-tour, Jacqui decided to leave the band; completely by surprise for most fans. Her reasons are still somewhat unclear. At first it was told that she left in order to have more time for her family. Later it was said, that she couldn't stand "the autocritic system" within the band anymore. However, sadly also Jacqui has left The Beautiful South for good. By the way, the rest of the band finished the complete tour without her. And even so she was clearly missing, the boys put on absolutely amazing, fabulous concerts - both music and atmosphere-wise (Perfect 10 as an duet between Paul Heaton and Dave Hemingway is something special!).
After 2001 saw the release of another Best Of album "Solid
Bronze: Great Hits", The Beautiful South finally found a new female singer,
who gave her brilliant debut with the South on the 2003 album "Gaze":
Alison Wheeler, formerly involved in the band Virginia. Fans gave her a heartful
welcome during the Gaze tour and hopes ar high that Alison will be the female
singer to last in the South.
While "Gaze" marked the 10th album (including the Best Ofs) in the band's history, it was also the last one under the Mercury/GoDiscs! record label. However, 2004 their first album under the label Sony Music was released: "Golddiggas, Headnodders & Pholk Songs", in which The Beautiful South indulges in an complete cover album featuring unique versions of songs from artists as diverse as e.g. The Ramones, The Heppelbaums or S Club 7.
If you want to try TBS and buy an album, I can't give you a hint with which you should start. Every single one is TO good to rate them. But it will be unimportant with which you will start. Buy one, get hooked, buy the other Albums during the next two months: that's the usual way!
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