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The Beautiful South

Band from East Yorkshire

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The Beautiful South

The Beautiful South Biography

The Beautiful South were an English pop rock group formed in 1988 by Paul Heaton and Dave Hemingway, two former members of the Hull group The Housemartins, both of whom performed lead and backing vocals. Other members throughout the band's existence were former Housemartins roadie Sean Welch (bass), Dave Stead (drums) and Dave Rotheray (guitar). The band's original material was written by the team of Heaton and Rotheray.History Formation Paul Heaton and Dave Hemingway had initially come to attention as (respectively) the lead singer and "singing drummer" of the successful Hull jangle pop band The Housemartins, who had scored seven UK Top 40 singles and two Top 10 albums between 1986 and 198...
The Beautiful South were an English pop rock group formed in 1988 by Paul Heaton and Dave Hemingway, two former members of the Hull group The Housemartins, both of whom performed lead and backing vocals. Other members throughout the band's existence were former Housemartins roadie Sean Welch (bass), Dave Stead (drums) and Dave Rotheray (guitar). The band's original material was written by the team of Heaton and Rotheray.



Paul Heaton and Dave Hemingway had initially come to attention as (respectively) the lead singer and "singing drummer" of the successful Hull jangle pop band The Housemartins, who had scored seven UK Top 40 singles and two Top 10 albums between 1986 and 1988. (Heaton was with the Housemartins for their entire existence; Hemingway joined in time for their second and final album.) The band was known for blending overt socialist politics and a form of Christianity, having baited the British monarchy, the building industry and South African apartheid in their songs as well as including gospel elements in their music. The Housemartins often claimed to have set a fixed lifespan for themselves, and the members duly brought the band to an end in 1988 at the height of its success. Heaton and Hemingway immediately began work on setting up a new band, naming it "The Beautiful South" as a sarcastic comment on their staunch Northern roots.

The third initial bandmember was Dave Rotheray, a songwriting guitarist who'd previously played with Hemingway in two other Hull bands, The Newpolitans and The Velvetones. At the time Rotheray was studying for a PhD at the University of Hull and living on Grafton Street, where Heaton also lived. Rotheray and Heaton became the songwriting team for The Beautiful South, which was conceived as a quintet with Heaton and Hemingway (who was no longer drumming) as the two lead singers. The core band was completed by Dave Stead (ex-Luddites/Vicious Circle) on drums, and former Housemartins roadie Sean Welch on bass guitar. Also important to the band's sound was studio keyboard player Damon Butcher — though never an official member of the group, he would end up playing virtually all the piano and keyboard parts on the band's albums.


In 1990, the Beautiful South released their second album, Choke. Two singles—"My Book" and "Let Love Speak Up Itself"—charted outside the Top 40, but the album also provided the band's only Number 1 hit, a Hemingway/Corrigan duet called "A Little Time". The video, featuring the aftermath of a domestic fight, won the 1991 BRIT Award for Best Video.

Jacqui Abbott joins the group

In 1994, St Helens supermarket shelf-stacker Jacqui Abbott was brought on board to fill in as the new third lead vocalist for the band. Heaton had heard her sing at an after-show party in St Helens and remembered her vocal talents. Heaton referred to her as "the lass from the glass"—a reference to the Pilkington factory in St Helens. Abbott's first album with the band was Miaow in the same year. Hits included "Good as Gold (Stupid as Mud)" and a cover of Fred Neil's "Everybody's Talkin'", previously popularised by Harry Nilsson.

Carry On Up the Charts

November 1994 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". Released at a time when the group's album sales had been waning, the album was a huge commercial success. It secured the Christmas number one spot on the charts and became the second-best selling album of the year. In 1995, the band was one of the support acts for R.E.M. on the British leg of their world tour. On this tour the band played an extra night when Oasis pulled out of their Huddersfield appearance. The Beautiful South played "Some Might Say" and dedicated it to any Oasis fans at the gig.

Blue Is the Colour

The 1996 album Blue Is the Colour sold over a million copies, and featured hit singles "Rotterdam" and "Don't Marry Her". The album demonstrated the band's gradual shift towards a country music sound, and was well received by the public and on BBC and commercial radio.[citation needed] In 1997, the Beautiful South headlined stadium concerts for the first and last time, in Huddersfield and at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in London. Support for the Huddersfield concert was provided by Cast and the Lightning Seeds.


The album Quench (1998) was released with similar commercial success, again reaching number one in the UK album charts. "Perfect 10", the first single to be released from the album, also provided the band with further singles chart success. The album is also notable for being more uptempo, and being the first on which Heaton and Hemingway's former Housemartins colleague Norman Cook was used in a consultancy role.

Painting It Red release and Abbott's departure

Although 2000's Painting It Red album reached Number 2 in the UK charts, the band suffered difficulties in its promotion and in touring, and a substantial number of the CDs were faulty. Jacqui Abbott left the band in the same year, discouraged by the pressures of touring and needing to concentrate on looking after her son, who had just been diagnosed with autism. After completing their tour obligations, the band marked time with a second greatest-hits album (Solid Bronze) in 2001, and took time off to refresh themselves. Heaton embarked on a solo career under the Biscuit Boy (a.k.a. Crakerman) alias and released the Fat Chance album in 2001. It did not sell well, despite being critically acclaimed, and was reissued under Heaton's own name the following year.


The Beautiful South regrouped in 2003, with new recruit Alison Wheeler taking on the role of female singer. This lineup recorded Gaze in 2003, following it with 2004's Golddiggas, Headnodders and Pholk Songs, an album of unusually arranged cover tunes including "Livin' Thing", "You're The One That I Want", "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" and "I'm Stone in Love With You". One track from the album, "This Old Skin", was presented as a cover of a song by an obscure band called "The Heppelbaums"; it was later revealed to be an original Heaton/Rotheray composition.


After a band meeting on 30 January 2007, they decided to split. They released a statement on 31 January 2007, in which they joked that their reasons for splitting were "musical similarities"—an ironic reference to "musical differences" which are often cited as the reason for a band's split. "The band would like to thank everyone for their 19 wonderful years in music", the statement also said.

In May 2007, the band's music was used in a jukebox musical entitled The Slide (book by Adrian Davis). It was premiered at the Wyvern Theatre, Swindon.

After the Beautiful South

Paul Heaton solo

With the 2007 dissolution of The Beautiful South, Heaton formed a new band "The Sound of Paul Heaton".

Heaton's second solo album The Cross Eyed Rambler was released on 7 July 2008, and was preceded by the single "Mermaids and Slaves" on 30 June, and he toured in support of it throughout July. The album charted at number 43.

Heaton released his third solo album, Acid Country in September 2010.

In 2011, the Manchester International Festival endorsed the writing by Heaton of an anthology of songs based on the 7 deadly sins, to be called The 8th. The song was broken down into a section for each sin, which was to be performed by a different artist. The singers for the original piece were: Wayne Gidden, Aaron Wright, King Creosote, Simon Aldred, Cherry Ghost, Jacqui Abbott, Yvonne Shelton, and Mike Greaves. The individual sections were incorporated with a narration written by Che Walker. The 8th debuted in July 2011 at the Festival Pavilion Theatre in Manchester's Albert Square.

After the debut, six further performances of The 8th were announced for the summer of 2012.

David Rotheray solo and Homespun

Dave Rotheray continued his work with Homespun for another year, before splitting the band in 2008 to pursue a solo career.

Rotheray announced the release of his first 'solo' album The Life of Birds for 16 August 2010, on the Proper Music label. Although ostensibly a solo effort, the record featured collaborations with ten different singer/songwriters including Alasdair Roberts, Jim Causley, Eliza Carthy and Camille O'Sullivan.

Briana Corrigan solo

After leaving the band in 1992, Corrigan moved to Dublin, Ireland, where she wrote and recorded an album with Dave Couse. The album was never released, although both have recorded songs from that period in later solo works. She was also part of the Dublin music collective, Lokomotive, which released a number of singles on an independent label. Corrigan then stepped away from the music industry to secure a master's degree in Creative writing from Queen's University Belfast and split her time between bringing up her young family, acting and writing. In 2006, she performed in the first Irish tour of 'Mum's The Word' – a West End hit described by The Stage magazine as "a wickedly funny account of motherhood that nobody should miss". In 2006, she returned to the studio to write and record a new album. The end result was the 2012 album, Red Bird, released on her own label, Redbird & Anchor Records. The same year she wrote her first play which toured nationally throughout Ireland and Scotland in Autumn, 2012.

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbot worked together in June 2011 when she performed in his musical The 8th, then in 2013 they reunited to record new material. The result, What Have We Become?, was released on 19 May 2014, and reached number 3 in the UK Albums Chart. On working with Abbott once again, Heaton said: "Working with Jacqui again was like going into your garage and discovering a beautiful, covered up Rolls Royce that hadn't been started in years. Jacqui is one of the best singers I've worked with and is also part of my past. It was only a matter of time before I asked her."

Abbott and Heaton toured the UK and Ireland in May and June 2014 performing at sold-out shows including London's Shepherd's Bush Empire, The Lowry in Salford, and Hull City Hall. The tour and album campaign saw the pair make publicity appearances on a variety of TV and radio programmes, including The One Show, Live at Edinburgh Castle, Sunday Night Live at the Palladium, Aled Jones' ITV show Weekend, Channel 4's Sunday Brunch, and Pointless Celebrities.

On Sunday 29 June 2014 they appeared live on BBC Two at Glastonbury Festival performing acoustic versions of second single "Moulding Of A Fool" and a cover version of Dolly Parton's "Islands in the Stream". During the summer of 2014, Paul and Jacqui performed at a series of festivals across the UK and Ireland including Glastonbury Festival, Latitude Festival, V Festival and Festival No.6.

On 11 November 2014, BBC Radio 2 broadcast a world premiere of "Real Hope", featuring The Grimethorpe Colliery Band, from the deluxe edition of What Have We Become?.

In November 2014 the pair toured the UK with sold out shows across the country, including at London's The Roundhouse, Manchester Apollo and Sheffield City Hall.

In 2015 Abbott and Heaton released a second album, Wisdom, Laughter and Lines, with a third, Crooked Calypso, following in 2017.

Their fourth album, Manchester Calling, was released in March 2020 and went straight to No 1 in the UK album chart.

The South

In 2008, former Beautiful South members Dave Hemingway, Dave Stead and Alison Wheeler formed "The New Beautiful South", along with long-time collaborators keyboardist Damon Butcher, saxophonist Gaz Birtles and trumpeter Tony Robinson.

In 2010, the band changed its name to "The South". The band performs songs by The Beautiful South, as well as writing and releasing new material. The debut South album, Sweet Refrains, was recorded at CowShed Studios in London during June and July 2012.

Dave Hemingway's departure from The South was announced 2 February 2017, with Damon Butcher also departing the band around the same time.

As of 2019, The South is fronted by Alison Wheeler and Gaz Birtles.

Dave Hemingway and Sunbirds

After leaving the South in 2017, Hemingway formed a new band called Sunbirds with former bandmate Phil Barton, drummer Marc Parnell and vocalist Laura Wilcockson. In 2020, Nectar Records released the first single by Sunbirds. Called "Meet You On The Northside", the song comes from the band's debut album Cool To Be Kind.

B-Sides, EP-only, and foreign edition bonus tracks

There are almost eighty additional single B-side, EP-only and Foreign Edition Bonus tracks that have never been compiled on album or compact disc. Although some are cover versions, remixes, demos and either live or acoustic versions of songs previously released, most are stand-alone compositions. The only release to feature all these tracks was an unofficial seven-disc set, Good As Gold: The $600 Singles Collection. The pages for the individual studio albums contains information on all singles released from the albums and their B-sides.


THE PUMPKIN (1992) Contains the band's first eight "music promos" and footage (*) from their March 1990 American tour.

  • 1. "Song For Whoever"
  • 2. "Woman In The Wall"*
  • 3. "You Keep It All In"
  • 4. "Love Wars"* (Womack & Womack)
  • 5. "I'll Sail This Ship Alone"
  • 6. "Have You Ever Been Away"*
  • 7. "A Little Time"
  • 8. "My Book"
  • 9. "You Keep It All In"*
  • 10. "Let Love Speak Up Itself"
  • 11. "Old Red Eyes Is Back"
  • 12. "We Are Each Other"

Much Later with...THE BEAUTIFUL SOUTH (1997) Full length version of the "Later...with Jools Holland Special." First broadcast 21 March 1997 on BBC2 (a promotional version was also released)

  • 1. "We Are Each Other"
  • 2. "You Keep It All In"
  • 3. "Have Fun" - featuring Sam Moore
  • 4. "Don't Marry Her"
  • 5. "Bell Bottomed Tear" – featuring Iris Dement
  • 6. "Blackbird On The Wire" – featuring Jools Holland
  • 7. "Old Red Eyes Is Back" – featuring James Dean Bradfield
  • 8. "I'll Sail This Ship Alone"
  • 9. "36D"
  • 10. "Loving Arms" (Tom Jans) – featuring The London Community Gospel Choir
  • 11. "Alone" – The London Community Gospel Choir
  • 12. "You've Done Nothing Wrong" – featuring Iris Dement
  • 13. "Especially For You" – featuring The Black Dyke Mills Band
  • 14. "Sound Of North America" – featuring The Black Dyke Mills Band
  • 15. "Liars Bar" – featuring The Black Dyke Mills Band
  • 16. "Rotterdam"
  • 17. "Hold Onto What?"
  • 18. "One Last Love Song" – featuring The London Community Gospel Choir
  • 19. "Good as Gold (Stupid as Mud)" – featuring The London Community Gospel Choir
  • 20. "Lean on Me" (Bill Withers) - featuring Sam Moore


  • The Beautiful South: Munch – Our Hits (2003)
  • Live In The Forest (2005)

Source : Wikipedia
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The Beautiful South Videos

The Beautiful South Discography

  • 1989AlbumWelcome to the Beautiful South
  • 1990AlbumChoke
  • 1992Album0898 Beautiful South
  • 1994AlbumMiaow
  • 1995AlbumCarry On Up The Charts - The Best Of The Beautiful South
  • 1996AlbumBlue Is the Colour
  • 1998AlbumQuench
  • 2000AlbumPainting It Red
  • 2003AlbumGaze
  • 2004AlbumGold Diggas, Head Nodders & Pholk Songs
  • 2006AlbumSuperbi
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