The Forgotten Arm: The Beautiful South

When The Housemartins disbanded in 1988, lead singer Paul “P.D.” Heaton and drummer David Hemingway rather quickly formed The Beautiful South. Where The Housemartins’ bag was pub rock and occasional a cappella soul, The Beautiful South used their three vocalists (Heaton, Hemingway and a revolving door of similar-sounding ladies) to create tense, dark “kitchen sink dramas” in their songs.

Even the cover art of their 1989 debut, Welcome To The Beautiful South, sparked controversy by featuring a picture of a woman with a gun in her mouth and a man smoking. An alternate version with a teddy bear and a plush bunny was created for those trying to “prevent the hoards of impressionable young fans from blowing their heads off in a gun-gobbling frenzy, or taking up smoking.” Naturally, the music was just as unusual.

With songs of ‘love’ like “Song For Whoever,” “Something That You Said” and “Closer Than Most,” the group subverted classic pop traditions in a way that would influence countless indie bands like Belle & Sebastian and The Ladybug Transistor. The Beautiful South disbanded in 2007, citing “musical similarities,” and in January of this year, Hemingway said that he and a few other band members (less Heaton, presumably) would form The New Beautiful South.

Watch: The Beautiful South – “A Little Time”


~ by E. on June 10, 2009.

3 Responses to “The Forgotten Arm: The Beautiful South”

  1. I’ll take that as a “thank you”.

  2. back to 1989:

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