The Beautiful South
About The Beautiful South
If you never knew you could bop your head to lighthearted songs about murder, well, welcome to The Beautiful South. After politically minded Hull-based indie pop outfit The Housemartins went their separate ways in 1988, vocalist Paul Heaton and drummer Dave Hemingway formed The Beautiful South, the name being a glib nod to Southern England from a band with Northern roots. Their first single—a deeply cynical love song called "Song for Whoever”—was released in September of 1989 and laid out the band’s musical framework of pairing darkly tongue-in-cheek lyrics with jazzy piano riffs and sprightly melodies. The band’s first foray climbed to No. 2 on the charts and their equally bitter romp, "You Keep It All In", with vocalist Briana Corrigan providing a sweet counter note, followed suit. A month later, they released their debut, Welcome to the Beautiful South, sharing their caustic musical humour with fans who were in on the joke. Their peppy breakup anthem "A Little Time" from their 1990 album Choke went to No. 1 as fans related to its spurned lover’s revenge theme, and the singles compilation, Carry on Up the Charts, which they released in 1994, was so popular it reportedly could be found in one in every seven UK households. Over the course of the next 10 years, the band released a steady stream of albums that told grim stories and bleak romances all wrapped in jaunty tunes, as well as jazz-pop covers of songs like Pebbles’ “Girlfriend” and Fred Neil’s “Everybody’s Talkin’”. The band broke up in 2007, spinning off into solo acts and other iterations. On their way out the door, they released a statement saying they were splitting up “due to musical similarities”—a fittingly cheeky farewell.