Babybird is a British indie band formed in 1995. The band is fronted by Stephen Jones, who has also released records as a solo artist, using his own name and the name Baby Bird.
Jones had begun writing songs and recording home demos as part of an experimental theatre group in Sheffield. A collection of these demos (I Was Born a Man) was released in the summer of 1995, under the name Baby Bird. Following a warm critical reception for this record, he recruited a band made up of Huw Chadbourn (keyboards), Robert Gregory (drums), John Pedder (bass) and Luke Scott (guitar), in order to tour and promote his work.
During 1995, two further albums of demo recordings were released under the name Baby Bird (Bad Shave and Fatherhood) and two in 1996 (The Happiest Man Alive and Dying Happy).
By the end of the year, a decent public following had been built up, as well as quite considerable excitement within the press and music industry. Babybird were signed to Echo Records (a division of the Chrysalis Group), and the first "proper" single, a full-band recording of "Goodnight", which had appeared in demo form on Fatherhood, was eventually released in the summer of 1996, becoming a minor chart hit in the UK.
The second single was "You're Gorgeous": it is reputed to be about Katrina Oberholzer, an aspiring model tricked by a flattering photographer into a photoshoot (citation needed, Katrina Oberholzer the model does not exist. Who is Katrina Oberholzer?). However, the fact that a man is singing the song to another man makes this interpretation absurd (Stephen Jones is singing as a girl but it make the song a lot funnier if it was indeed a male photographer photographing an unwitting young male.). The song reached number 3 in the UK in October 1996 and was one of the biggest selling singles of the year, going on to chart around the world. It remains the song for which Stephen Jones and Babybird are best known.
However, it presented a much more commercial face to the public in comparison to Jones's earlier work, as well as in comparison to the rest of the material on the Ugly Beautiful album. The early demo albums won Jones great credibility with those who heard them, but had had not reached a wide audience (each one being a one-off pressing limited to 1,000 CDs and 1,000 LPs). Arguably, the commercial sound and success of "You're Gorgeous", which received massive exposure by comparison, made it hard for many to take Jones seriously as an indie artist.
After "You're Gorgeous"
The album Ugly Beautiful was released to a warm reception, but was not the unmitigated critical triumph that some had anticipated from Babybird's first studio-recorded album. The album produced two more hit singles, "Candy Girl" and "Cornershop".
Babybird returned, minus keyboardist Huw Chadbourn, in 1998 with There's Something Going On, preceded by a single, "Bad Old Man". The album was a modest success and was followed by further minor hits, "If You'll Be Mine" and "Back Together".
In 2000, a line-up of Babybird comprising Stephen Jones, Luke Scott and Matt Hay created a third album. Bugged, which was well-received critically. However, sales were poor and the two singles from it, "The F-Word" (later the theme tune to Gordon Ramsay's UK TV cookery show of the same name) and "Out of Sight" barely dented the charts. Babybird were dropped by their record label soon after. A third single from the album, "Fireflies/Getaway" was released on Animal Noise records, but sold few copies. The band subsequently split.
Stephen Jones went on to write fiction, release solo work and score a film, Blessed, in 2004.
In October 2005, a posting on the official Babybird website announced that the band had reformed as a three-piece featuring Stephen, Luke Scott and Robert Gregory. A new album, entitled Between My Ears There Is Nothing But Music was released on September 25, 2006.
In August 2009 it was announced that the band would be doing a brief tour of four gigs in November 2009 to promote an upcoming new album. The lineup will consist of Stephen Jones, Luke Scott and Robert Gregory. Details regarding the name and release date of the new album are still unknown.
"Goodnight" (Echo Records, June 1996) #28 UK
"You're Gorgeous" (Echo Records, September 1996) #3 UK
"Candy Girl" (Echo Records, February 1997) #14 UK
"Cornershop" (Echo Records, May 1997) #37 UK
"Bad Old Man" (Echo Records, April 1998) #31 UK
"If You'll Be Mine" (Echo Records, July 1998) #28 UK
"Back Together (remix)" (Echo Records, February 1999) #22 UK
"The F-Word' (Echo Records, March 2000) #35 UK
"Out of Sight' (Echo Records, May 2000) #58 UK
"Getaway/Fireflies" (Animal Noise, September 2000)
"Too Much/Dive" (Babybird Recordings, November 2006)
"Bad Twin" (on The Avengers OST, Atlantic Records, August 1998)
Bad Shave (Babybird Recordings, 1995)
Ugly Beautiful (Echo Records, October 1996)
There's Something Going On (Echo Records, August 1998)
Bugged (Echo Records, June 2000)
Best of Babybird (Echo Records, February 2004)
Between My Ears There Is Nothing But Music (September 2006 Babybird-Recordings February 2008 popup Records Hamburg)
"Goodnight" (1996, directed by Stuart A. Gosling)
"You're Gorgeous" (1997, directed by Stuart A. Gosling)
"If You'll Be Mine" (1998, directed by David Slade)
"The F-Word" (2000, directed by Rob Leggatt & Leigh Marling)
"Out of Sight" (2000, directed by Rob Leggatt & Leigh Marling)
"Lighter 'n' Spoon" (2008, directed by Philipp Pfl?ger)
Official Babybird Website
Official Babybird MySpace
Babybird interview on Music Towers
Label in Hamburg
Babybird on The Mag
All Babybird lyrics
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