Tuesday, 11 October 2016

REWIND: Babybird - 'You're Gorgeous'

It's hard for me to believe that 1996 happened 20 years ago. Every day until the end of this year, RW/FF will be looking back two decades to remember all of the amazing music that was released that year. If you weren't around or were too young to remember the mid 90s, consider this a lesson of enlightenment. If you (like me) were lucky enough to experience it all first time around, then these posts make a fine nostalgic blast from the blast.

The Top 10 in the UK singles chart from 20 years ago this week (October 6 - 12, 1996) is probably one of the most impressive I've ever seen, despite the presence of Celine Dion at number 4 and Dina Carroll at number 10. See the full chart rundown HERE. Today we revisit this gloriously subversive, twisted love song that entered the charts at number 3 that week. I expect lots of people have played this song for their weddings, not knowing that it's actually about a pervy photographer sweet talking and exploiting his models...

Babybird began life as the solo alias of Sheffield-based Stephen Jones as an outlet for his homemade 4 track recordings, the best of which were released on a number of lo-fi albums that made their way into the UK indie charts. After being given a record deal with the Echo label, Jones gathered a number of musicians and Babybird the band was born. 'You're Gorgeous' was just one of hundreds of tracks that the prolific musician worked on during his early days, and didn't stand out enough to be included on any his lo-fi albums, but producer Steve Power saw potential in the song and suggested that the band record it. The song caught the attention of radio stations, and became a huge success. It was included on the 1996 album 'Ugly Beautiful', which went to number 9 in the UK albums charts. I often think that if 'You're Gorgeous' had been more of a moderate hit rather than a massive hit, Babybird's other singles wouldn't have been overlooked. However, a lot of people forget that the group had 7 other Top 40 singles, and sold over 2 million records.

Babybird split in 2000 dropped from their record label in 2000 after their third album, Bugged sold poorly. The band then split, before reforming again in 2005. After releasing 3 more studio albums, Babybird dissolved again in 2013. Stephen Jones has been highly prolific ever since, releasing huge amounts of new material via his Bandcamp page under a number of different aliases, including Black Reindeer, Trucker, Boatrider and his own name. The 2014 album 'Ambition Expired' is especially recommended. Interestingly he has recently resurrected Babybird as a solo project, returning to the lo-fi sound of his early days and bringing the whole thing full circle. The 2 track 'Take My Air' EP is available now as a pay-what-you-like download. His Bandcamp page can be found HERE

An interview RW/FF did with Jones a few years ago can be found HERE.

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