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The Beautiful South

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Hull, England (1989 – 2007)

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.

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