Paul Heaton

Known for his jovial melodies and darkly humorous lyrics, Paul Heaton has long been something of a national institution when it comes to infectious British pop.

First coming to widespread attention as frontman with The Housemartins, it was with his second group, The Beautiful South, whom Heaton would become most associated with. Formed at the tail-end of the Eighties, the band went on to sell 15m albums worldwide before splitting in January 2007.

Heaton himself began life in Liverpool's Birkenhead where he was born in 1962. His family later moved to Sheffield where he spent much of his youth before attending college in Hull. There he formed The Housemartins in 1983 along with Stan Cullimore, Chris Lang and Norman Cook (who would later go on to achieve worldwide fame as Fatboy Slim).

Recording two studio albums - 'London 0, Hull 4' and 'The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death' - the band had their biggest hit in November 1986 with an a cappella version of Isley-Jasper-Isley's 'Caravan of Love', which went into the charts at Number One.

Two years later though and the band had split with Heaton, Dave Hemmingway (who joined The Housemartins on drums in 1987) and roadie Sean Welch all forming the nucleus of The Beautiful South, with Dave Rotheray added on guitar.

Releasing their debut album in 1989, Heaton co-wrote much of the album with Rotheray, with their sarcasm and jaunty pop coming very much to the fore. The album was to spawn two Top 10 singles in 'Song for Whoever' and 'You Keep It All In' and mark the emergence of a major new act.

The band would go on to release nine more studio albums, including 'Blue Is the Colour' (1996) and 'Quench' (1998), both of which topped the charts, before they disbanded in 2007.

As The Beautiful South progressed, Heaton's socialist beliefs began to appear lyrically, while he would later speak candidly about a battle with alcoholism, much of which he alluded to on 'Quench'. Though he co-wrote much of the group's material, The Beautiful South were structured like a co-op with all of their financial earnings split evenly amongst the band members.

Prior to the group's split, Heaton recorded his debut solo album 'Fat Chance' under the moniker Biscuit Boy (AKA Crackerman). However, the album proved a commercial flop and when it was later re-launched in 2002; it was credited simply to Paul Heaton.

Last year Heaton formed a new band, The Sound of Paul Heaton, and he toured small venues across Britain. He is currently working on his first album as part of this new project.