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Aqualung

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United Kingdom

Matt Hales (born January 17, 1972), better known as Aqualung, is a British singer/songwriter best known in the United Kingdom for his song “Strange and Beautiful (I’ll Put a Spell on You)”, which was featured on a television advertisement for the new Volkswagen Beetle during the summer of 2002 and went on to become a Top 10 hit in the UK singles chart later that year.

Prior to his success as Aqualung, Hales was known as the lead singer of mid-1990s, London-based Britpop band Ruth. Ruth had a string of moderately successful hit singles, including “I Don’t Know,” “Valentine’s Day,” and “Fear of Flying,” and one album, “Harrison,” before changing their name in 2001 to The 45’s. As The 45s, the band released two more singles and one posthumous album to little attention before splitting so Hales could focus on his new endeavor as Aqualung. Almost immediately after the band’s split, “Strange and Beautiful” began climbing the British charts and gaining massive amounts of attention—a dramatic turnabout from the previous year. In 2005, Aqualung would even achieve elusive success in the United States, where they are best known for the song “Brighter Than Sunshine”, which had considerable airplay and was used in the film A Lot Like Love and various television spots.

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