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Dave Hemingway

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David Robert “Hammy” Hemingway (born September 20, 1960), was a lead vocalist for Hull-based group The Beautiful South until they disbanded in 2007. Previously, Dave had been a member of The Housemartins.

Dave was the son of lorry driver and local comedian on the club circuit, Harry Hemingway. Harry had quite a reputation as a Lothario, and left his wife to raise their two kids on her own. In Hull’s Henry Cooper School, Dave was in the same class as The Housemartins’ drummer Hugh Whitaker. The two took an interest in drumming, and one day when the class were asked who would like to learn drums, Dave and Hugh put their hands up first. Dave developed quite a habit of following Hugh into bands, first the Newpolitans with Dave Rotheray on bass, and then the Velvetones.

His lucky break came when he got a call from Rotheray telling him Hugh Whitaker had left The Housemartins. Rotheray recommended Hemingway to Housemartins guitarist Stan Cullimore who rang him just 10 minutes later.

Dave went for a meeting with the band which turned into more of a chat. The only person who didn’t speak was Paul Heaton. Dave left thinking his chances were up, but soon he was asked to play a gig with them. Dave was working as a purchase ledger clerk at the time, he quit his job on March 6, 1987, he shut himself in a studio with a walkman of the Housemartins’ songs, and was quite surprised by how fast they were. Dave panicked thinking they would kick him out, but Hugh came to give him some advice. He soon found himself in the studio recording the band’s second album, The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death.

After the Housemartins disbanded, Paul and Dave soon put together the Beautiful South from its ashes, featuring roadie and bassist Sean Welch.

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