Manchester Calling Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott
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Info zu Manchester Calling
Fourth studio album by the pop duo, who were both previously members of The Beautiful South. The album is the follow-up to their 2017 release 'Crooked Calypso' which reached #2 in the UK Albums Chart.
Manchester Calling boasts all the hallmarks of Heaton’s beautifully bittersweet song-writing – catchy melodies allied with an everyman’s biting exasperation at the modern world alongside some truly heartfelt love songs.
Produced by long time collaborator John Williams who produced both Housemartins albums and the previous three Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott albums –What Have We Become (’14), Wisdom, Laughter & Lines (’15), and Crooked Calypso (’17) – Manchester Calling was recorded at Blueprint Studios in Salford, Manchester. As is Paul Heaton’s habit, the lyrics were written in various locations in North Holland and Belgium while the music was composed in a hotel in Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria and in Limburg An Der Lahn in Germany.
Heaton says: “I’ve lived in Manchester for 17 years now and recording an album here for the first time, was looking forward to cycling to work. That was never possible as Manchester is now being turned into a business centre for the rich, which I can’t stand. If there’s a theme to the record, its anti growth, anti greed, against the continuous tearing down of old buildings and sticking up soulless offices, and the disappearance of local accents on TV, along with the creeping spread of Americanese. So, some curmudgeonly moans, plus some hopefully uplifting love songs. Originally it was set up to be a double LP like London Calling but alas the double album has also become a victim of time”
Jacqui Abbott adds: ““I’m so pleased and excited about the new album, it was wonderful to work on new songs and even more so that we did double what we have done for the last few records. It’ll be a joy to see others react to something we took such pleasure out of making.”
Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott
The mellifluous voice of Paul Heaton has often masked the jagged satirical content of his lyrics. Stamping all of his projects with not only wry wit but a flair for infectious melodies, Heaton was known as leader of popular but short-lived U.K. college rock group the Housemartins in the mid-'80s before forming the Beautiful South in 1988. Contrasting Heaton's lyrics with a sophisticated, jazzy pop sound, that band released ten albums between the late '80s and the mid-2000s, reaching number one with their 1990 single "A Little Time" and the U.K. Top 15 with every single album. After they disbanded in 2007, Heaton focused on his solo career, issuing three records on his own before partnering with onetime Beautiful South vocalist Jacqui Abbott for 2014's What Have We Become? With nods to Motown soul and early rock & roll, the collaboration was a hit, and they reached as high as number two in the U.K. with their third LP, 2017's Crooked Calypso.
Born in Bromborough in Merseyside, England in 1962, Paul David Heaton was raised in Sheffield from age four until the family moved to Surrey when he was in his early teens. It was there that he and his older brother Adrian formed their first band, Tools Down. At the time, he was still splitting his time between music and football, which he went on to play outside of school at the amateur level.
By his early twenties, he was based in Hull, where he formed the Housemartins with guitarist Stan Cullimore, bass player Ted Key, and drummer Chris Lang in 1984. A demo got them a record deal with Go! Discs. They released their first song, "Flag Day," in 1985 before Norman Cook (later known as Fatboy Slim) replaced Key on bass, and Hugh Whitaker of the Gargoyles briefly filled in for Lang until Dave Hemingway took over on drums. In 1986, the group made it to number three on the U.K. singles chart with their third single, "Happy Hour." Issued that October, their album London 0 Hull 4 also reached number three and hit the Top Ten in Norway and Sweden. Like contemporaries the Smiths, the Housemartins were college radio stars in the U.S., where their jangly riffs and brainy, humorous songs landed in the bottom half of the Billboard 200 with help from MTV airplay. The band's second album, 1987's The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death also reached the U.K. Top Ten and the lower tier of U.S. album chart.
After the Housemartins disbanded in 1988, Heaton and Hemingway formed the Beautiful South. The Beautiful South expanded Heaton's musical canvas, exploring jazz and even country influences with former Anthill Runaways vocalist Briana Corrigan, bassist Sean Welch, drummer David Stead (formerly a Housemartins roadie), and guitarist David Rotheray, who became Heaton's new songwriting collaborator. 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. In the summer of 1989, they released their first single, "Song for Whoever," on the Housemartins' old record label, Go! "Song for Whoever" climbed to number two, while its follow-up, "You Keep It All In," peaked at number eight in September 1989. A month later, the group's debut, Welcome to the Beautiful South, was released and went to number two, eventually going platinum. The band's only number one single, "A Little Time," helped 1990's Choke replicate both sales feats, and their third LP, 0898, reached the Top Five behind three Top 30 singles. Following the release of 0898, Corrigan left the group and was replaced with Jacqui Abbott, who made her first appearance on the band's fourth straight Top Ten album, 1994's Miaow. It was followed at the end of the year by the greatest-hits collection Carry on Up the Charts, which entered the charts at number one. It stayed there for several months, going platinum many times over and, in the process, becoming one of the most popular albums in British history. The album wasn't released in America until late 1995, after it broke several U.K. records.
Two multi-platinum number one albums followed in the form of 1996's Blue Is the Colour and 1998's Quench before 2000's Painting It Red peaked at number two. Heaton issued a solo album under the alias Biscuit Boy (aka Crackerman) in 2001 that barely cracked the Top 100 before rejoining his band for 2003's Gaze. It didn't fare as well by their standards, though it still reached the U.K. Top 15. After a move to Sony, 2004's Golddiggas, Headnodders & Pholk Songs hit number 11 with a set consisting mostly of covers. The Beautiful South's final album, Superbi, arrived in 2006, and while it reached number six on the album chart, it was their first to not be represented in the Top 40 of the singles chart.
The group called it quits in 2007, having sold more than 15 million records worldwide, and Heaton shifted his focus to his solo career. He released 2008's The Cross Eyed Rambler under his own name. Two years later, Heaton returned with Acid Country, which he helped to promote with a bicycle-led U.K. pub tour. The year 2012 saw the release of Presents the 8th, a stage play that boasted a single conceptual song told in eight chapters, dealing with the seven deadly sins, and featuring guest vocalists. In 2014, he released What Have We Become?, a collaborative album recorded with the Beautiful South's Jacqui Abbott. After the warm reception of that effort, which catapulted to number three on the U.K. albums chart, the duo regrouped for 2015's Wisdom, Laughter and Lines. The success of their renewed partnership was also reflected in an extensive and well-received set of live dates, culminating in a sold-out homecoming gig to a crowd of 20,000 in Hull in 2017. That same year, Heaton and Abbott released their third record as a duo, Crooked Calypso, which was produced by longtime collaborator John Williams (Cocteau Twins, Alison Moyet). The year 2018 brought the career-spanning The Last King of Pop, a 23-track collection representing both of Heaton's beloved bands, solo material, and his partnership with Abbott. It also offered an original duet with Abbott and an updated version of "A Little Time." The pair returned with the Williams-produced Manchester Calling in March 2020. Conceived as a double album in the fashion of the Clash's London Calling, the slightly abbreviated 16-track set was followed by another tour of the U.K. (Marcy Donelson, AMG)
With a warm vocal tone that navigates infectious melodies with a combination of earnest affection and wry wit in harmony with her most famous counterpart, Paul Heaton, Jacqui Abbott was first known as co-lead singer of the Beautiful South. A member of the group from 1994 to 2000, she contributed to the U.K. Top Five hits "Rotterdam (Or Anywhere)" and "Perfect 10" before eventually reuniting with Heaton for 2014's What Have We Become?, a collaboration released under their own names. The album reached the Top Three of the album chart in the U.K., leading to further duo albums, including 2017's Crooked Calypso, which went as high as number two. Born on November 10, 1973, Jacqueline Abbott grew up in St. Helens, Merseyside, England, near Liverpool. As a young adult and amateur singer, a chance meeting with the Beautiful South frontman outside a nightclub led to an invitation for her and her friend to an after-show party. The friend encouraged her to sing, and Heaton was dazzled by her voice. Abbott was working as a supermarket shelf-stacker when, a year-and-a-half later, Heaton contacted her out of the blue to audition for the Beautiful South, who were looking for a replacement for Briana Corrigan. Abbott won the audition and was catapulted to fame.
Beginning with 1994's Miaow, she recorded four albums with the band, touring the world and appearing on some of their biggest hits, including "Everybody's Talkin'," "Rotterdam (Or Anywhere)," "Don't Marry Her," and "Perfect 10." Abbott left the Beautiful South after recording 2000's Painting It Red to care for her young son, who had just been diagnosed with autism. She returned to college and retrained as a teaching assistant, taking a job in her son's school, and disappeared from the limelight for more than ten years.
In the meantime, the Beautiful South dissolved in 2007 and, after a couple of unspectacular solo albums, Heaton got in touch with Abbott once again, inviting her to participate in his "pop oratorio" based around the seven deadly sins. The 8th premiered at the 2011 Manchester International Festival, and a live recording of the show, Paul Heaton Presents the 8th, was released. After the success of The 8th, Heaton and Abbott decided to record a new album together. The resulting effort, What Have We Become?, which saw the duo emulating their melodious Beautiful South-era musical style, was released in 2014 to critical acclaim and commercial success, reaching number three in the U.K. album chart. After touring widely in support of the album, the two returned to the studio to record a follow-up, 2015's Wisdom, Laughter and Lines. The success of their renewed partnership saw them back out on the road culminating in a sold-out homecoming gig to a crowd of 20,000 people in Hull in 2017. That same year, Heaton and Abbott delivered their third record as a duo, Crooked Calypso. Produced by longtime collaborator John Williams (Cocteau Twins, Sinéad O'Connor, Alison Moyet), it climbed to number two on the U.K. album chart. They returned in 2020 with Manchester Calling, a slightly abbreviated 16-track set inspired by the Clash's double-length album London Calling. (John D. Buchanan, AMG)
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