Paul David Heaton (b. 9 May 1962) is best known as being The Housemartins and The Beautiful South's lead vocalist/songwriter.
The warm, mellifluous voice of Paul Heaton often masks the jagged satirical content of his lyrics. From pointed political jabs like “The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death” to darkly comical love stories such as “Something That You Said,” Heaton′s work with the Housemartins and the Beautiful South has had countless listeners obliviously humming along to his biting wit.
In the ′80s, Heaton was the leader of the Housemartins. Like the Smiths, the Housemartins were college radio all-stars in the U.S.; although the group′s jangly riffs and brainy, humorous songs couldn′t draw mainstream acceptance in America, the band shared a portion of the Smiths′ sizable cult of devotees.
In 1986, the video for the Housemartins′ “Happy Hour” was selected as a Hip Clip of the Week on MTV; the rollicking single is still a favorite of′80s flashback shows on modern rock stations.
After the Housemartins disbanded in the late ′80s, Heaton then fronted the Beautiful South, a group that mirrored the Housemartins′ no-frills approach. Nevertheless, the Beautiful South expanded Heaton′s musical canvas, exploring jazz and even country influences. While many critics and student-run radio stations in the U.S. continued to laud Heaton′s talent, the Beautiful South became far more successful in England, where they charted several number one albums. The group called it quits in 2007 and Heaton shifted his focus to his solo career. Although Paul′s first solo release was back in 2001 [albeit under the pseudonym Biscuit Boy], it wasn′t until 2008, with the release of The Cross Eyed Rambler, that Heaton started putting out records under his own name.
In Autumn 2009 Paul teamed up with Manchester musicians Jonny Lexus (aka Jonny Wrong), Jonny Wright and Pete Marshall, and set about working on his third solo album Acid Country.
The album was recorded in Colne, Lancashire at Modern English Studios with The Earlies members Christian and Nicky Madden and mixed by Tom Dalgety In May 2010 Paul and his band headed off on their "Pedals and Pumps" tour, playing local pubs in an attempt to promote the local pub. Paul combined this tour with another passion of his, cycling. He cycled from show to show, accompanied by the support act and long term friend, Gus Devlin, covering nearly 1000 miles.
Heaton and his band played in the Left Field Tent at Glastonbury 2010, closing the stage on the Sunday evening with a duet with tent-curator and old Go! Discs cohort Billy Bragg. His third solo album, Acid Country was released in September 2010 and charted at number 51. In November and December 2010 he supported Madness on their “Do Not Adjust Your Nut Tour” performing mostly songs from Acid Country, as well as material from his second album. He also sang Housemartins hits Caravan of Love and Me and the Farmer and covered White Man In Hammersmith Palais by The Clash.
In between touring Acid Country, Paul and the band started work on putting together a series of demos Paul had recorded with fellow Beautiful South member, Dave Rotheray, and current guitarist Jonny Lexus.
The 8th, commissioned by The Manchester International Festival, was based around the concept of the 7 deadly sins, the 8th sin revealed by Heaton himself during the performance. For the piece, each sin is given a section of the song, and is sung by a different singer representing that sin. The guest singers featured on The 8th were London based soul singer Wayne Gidden (Lust), Scottish singer/songwriter Aaron Wright (Wrath), Scottish singer/songwriter King Creosote (Gluttony), Manchester singer/songwriter Simon Aldred from Cherry Ghost (Greed), former Beautiful South Singer Jacqui Abbott (Envy), Manchester based gospel singer Yvonne Shelton (Sloth) and Hull based country singer Mike Greaves (Pride).
The sections were linked together with a narration written by English actor/playwright/producer Che Walker. It was narrated by American actor and star of The Wire Reg E. Cathey. The debut performance was in July 2011, in the Festival Pavilion Theatre in Albert Square, Manchester. This was the first time in over 10 years that Paul and Jacqui Abbott had shared a stage, and the first time Jacqui had sung publicly since leaving The Beautiful South in 2000.
The 8th toured in July 2012 alongside an album release of the show. Source
Discography: Fat Chance (under the name - Biscuit Boy (aka Crackerman)) The Cross Eyed Rambler Acid Country The 8th Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott- What Have We Become Wisdom, Laughter And Lines - 23.10.2015
David Rotheray (b. 9 Feb 1963) is probably best known as being The Beautiful South's lead guitarist, he with fellow bandmate Paul Heaton wrote the songs that made the band such a success. Born in Hull on 09th February 1963, Rotheray was the fifth of five children. Having older siblings meant that he grew up around music, and by the age of ten he wanted to be in a band..
Rotheray joined his first band Mammoth at the age of 13. Eventually, Mammoth evolved into a band called The Newpolitans. Both Mammoth and the Newpolitans featured Hugh Whitaker on drums who later became the drummer for the Housemartins. The Neapolitans later featured Dave Hemingway on drums, who also became drummer for the Housemartins and then joined Rotheray in the Beautiful South.
The Newpolitan's style was itself an eclectic mixture of the then current musical styles, from the Style Council to the Gang of Four. Band members included temporary additions, mainly for demo recordings, were sax player Kev Christian and the trumpet players Andrew Nicholson and Andy Russell.
The Newpolitans recorded a self-financed single, but the failure of the single provided the catalyst for the band's demise. However despite its failure commercially it probably represents one of the first attempts to record a political rap song in the UK with 'Duck Town'. Rotheray and Hemingway then went on to form the Velvetones with other musician friends from Hull, at their best the Velvetones' songs were a mix of jokey but clever lyrics and punky, swing beats.
At the time of The Velvetones, Rotheray was still at university and completed a degree in psychology. He was four years into studying for a PhD at Hull University when Paul Heaton made him an offer he couldn't refuse, to join his new band The Beautiful South. Rotheray remained as one of the original members of The Beautiful South until the bands split in 2007.
During The Beautiful South’s recording Hiatus of 2001, Paul was concentrating on his solo record, so Dave collaborated with Sam Brown (yes, 'that' Sam Brown) to form Homespun, along with Beautiful South touring musicians Tony Robinson (keyboards) and Gary Hammond (percussion), and outsiders, Clare Mactaggart (violin), Melvin Duffy (pedal steel guitar) Alan Jones (bass). Originally a side project for Dave's solo songwriting efforts, Homespun quickly gained momentum and toured four times before they split in August 2008. David then decided to collaborate with different contemporay artists on 'The Life of Birds' his first entirely solo effort.
Discography: Homespun - Homespun Effortless Cool Short Stories from East Yorkshire
Himself- Life of Birds Answer Ballads
Dave Hemingway (b. 20th September 1960) is probably best known for being the Housemartin's drummer after the departure of Hugh Whitaker, and sharing lead vocals with Paul Heaton in the Beautiful South.
Hemingway was the son of a lorry driver and local comedian on the club circuit, Harry Hemingway and Flo Hemingway who worked in a bar called The Kingfisher.
In Hull's Henry Cooper School, Hemingway was in the same class as the Housemartins' future drummer Hugh Whitaker. The two shared an interest in drumming, and one day, when the class were asked who would like to learn drums, they put their hands up first.
Hemingway followed Whitaker into bands, first the Newpolitans with Dave Rotheray on bass, and then the Velvetones.
His break came when he got a call from Rotheray telling him Whitaker had left The Housemartins. Rotheray recommended him to Housemartins guitarist Stan Cullimore, who phoned him. He was working as a purchase ledger clerk at the time for the Crystal Motor Group. Hemingway quit his job on 6 March 1987, and soon found himself in the recording studio, recording the band's second album 'The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death'. After the Housemartins disbanded, Dave once again followed Rotheray into a band, with the formation of the Beautiful South.
Hemingway's first solo album, Hello Cruel World, was released as a download only on iTunes. The album's title was inspired by Hemingway's experience recording in the capital.
David Stead (b. 15 Oct 1966) also known as 'Steady' was the Beautiful South's often floppy-haired drummer.
Biography to be finalised, contributions welcome.
Sean Welch (b.12th April 1965) was the former Housemartins' roadie who found himself as Bass player with the Beautiful South. During his childhood, he played in a number of school bands, but unlike many budding musicians he was dismissed for his lack of musical skill. By the time he was twenty years of age he was on the dole and wondered what to do with his life.
When he heard the late John Peel play "Flag Day" on the radio, he wrote to the Housemartins to ask them if they would play in Norfolk.
Although his first reply said that they had never played there but hoped to, another reply shortly afterwards said that they would soon be playing in Norwich.
Welch often showed off his bass skills while working for the Housemartins, so it was no surprise that, when the Beautiful South was formed, he was one of the first to be asked to join.
Briana Corrigan (b. 30 May 1965) was the original female vocalist with The Beautiful South, she left the band in 1992, supposedly to pursue a solo career, but that début album did not materialise until 1996.
Corrigan was born in Northern Ireland, but moved to Newcastle when she was eighteen to study acting. During her time there Briana joined a band, known as the Anthill Runaways, who the then Go! Discs were considering signing.
The record label, knowing that Paul and Dave were looking for a female vocalist asked Briana if she'd travel to Hull to sing with the newly formed Beautiful South as a backing vocalist.
Soon after this she was travelling with the band to record their first studio album. After appearing on the first three albums as the lead female vocalist, Corrigan left the band in 1992 under the premise of wanting to pursue a solo career.
It is often rumoured that Briana was uncomfortable with some of the Heaton/Rotheray lyrics, most notably 36D from the forthcoming album 'Miaow'. The song is notable for criticising Glamour Models and the industry employing them. Dave Hemingway later remarked, "We all agree that we should have targeted the media as sexist instead of blaming the girls for taking off their tops".
Corrigan's début solo effort 'When My Arms Wrap You Round' was eventually released in 1996. The lead single from the album 'Love Me Now' did not chart in the top 40 (it charted at number 48), the album also failed to chart. Briana continues to work in the music industry and is currently believed to be working on a second studio album.
Discography: When My Arms Wrap You Round
Jacqueline Abbott (b. 10 Oct 1973) was the second female vocalist with the band, joining the band in 1992 after Briana's departure.
Jacqui left the band in 2000. Her departure was always speculated about as it was mid-tour, there was a lot of assumption that she and Heaton had fallen out. The less cynical amongst us though might believe the alternative theory that she left to concentrate on motherhood.
Whatever the reason, it hardly seems relevant now, as Heaton announced on his latest tour that he has written a song for her called 'Some Dancing To Do' to be released in 2013, and they worked together on the 8th last year.
Discography: What Have We Become 2014, Wisdom Laughter and Lines 2015, TBC 2017
Alison Wheeler (b. 4 March 1972) was the third and final female vocalist with The Beautiful South. Having previously been in a girl band 'Virginia', Wheeler was a member of Citizen K, a London gospel band when she became known to David Hemingway in 2002 whilst he was working on his solo album. Hemingway promised Wheeler that he would talk to Paul (Heaton) and recommend Alison to him, as there was a new Beautiful South album in the making, despite them having no female vocalist.
He did as promised and by 2003 Wheeler was a full time member of the band and was showcased during their Carling Homecoming gig at the Wellington club in Hull, on 18th September 2003.
In 2010 Alison recorded the track 'Move a little closer' with Jon Windle (Little Man Tate ) for his début solo album. Alison is currently female vocalist for 'The South' (formerly 'The New Beautiful South').
Unofficial band members: Damon Butcher Kev Warcup
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