The Beloved are an English electronic dance music group, best known for the singles "Sweet Harmony", "The Sun Rising", "Hello", "Your Love Takes Me Higher", "Satellite" and "Deliver Me".
In 1983, Jon Marsh (who played drums for Twelfth of August in 1982) placed an advertisement in the music press, which read as follows:
I am Jon Marsh, founder member of the Beloved. Should you too wish to do something gorgeous, meet me in exactly three year's time at exactly 11am in Diana's Diner, or site thereof, Covent Garden, London, WC2.
Meanwhile, he met Cambridge University graduate Steve Waddington when he joined Twelfth of August as an additional guitarist (other members were Steve Seale (Barrington) and John Seale).
Initial indie success
At the meeting in 1986, Steve Waddington and Tim Havard were present, and the two formed the core of a band named The Journey Through (the name taken from a line of the song 'Heaven in Love', written by Steve Seale and Jo Caney). When Guy Gausden later joined the band, the group changed their name to The Beloved. The band originally had a guitar-oriented sound, but soon began using drum machines and dance music elements. They sounded at times like post-punk/dance group New Order, and a summation of this stage of their career can be found on their first studio album, Where It Is, which is a compilation of previously released material, consisting of singles and related B-Sides, pressed onto one individual long playing work. The record includes all the early singles, "A Hundred Words", "This Means War", "Happy Now", and the double A-side "Surprise Me" / "Forever Dancing", all released between 1986 and 1987, all on Where It Is, all making the Top 30 in the UK Indie Chart, and all failing in the UK Top 75.
Early United Kingdom hits
After slimming down to a duo consisting of Marsh and Waddington only, The Beloved began to embrace a dance sound more wholeheartedly and, in 1988, after another flop with another double A-side single, "Loving Feeling" / "Acid Love", the single "The Sun Rising" became a club favourite, and crossed over to the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number 26 in the UK in September 1989. "The Sun Rising" featured a sample of "O Euchari" as sung by Emily Van Evera, a sample also used by trance group Orbital on their tune "Belfast". This was followed in 1990 by their second album, Happiness, the first and only album the band released as a duo and the first consisting wholly of previously unreleased new songs, from which the hit single "Hello" was also released. "Hello" became The Beloved's first international hit, and reached Number 19 in the UK. This song features rather peculiar lyrics, mostly consisting of names of real or fictitious people, groups and institutions, representing the band's most important and varied influences (from religion with Saint Peter and Saint Paul, to music with Kym Mazelle, literature with Jeffrey Archer and cartoons with Flintstones). The LP included two more singles, "Your Love Takes Me Higher," which made the UK Top 40 on its second release, and the final cut, "Time After Time", one of their most famous songs internationally, which was only a minor hit in Great Britain, failing at Number 48.
The success of the album, and the four associated singles, pushed the group to follow it up with a brand new song, "It's Alright Now", which also failed to make the Top 40, stopping at Number 46 in the UK, but helped promote a remix album, entitled Blissed Out, which was released in 1991. As suggested by the title, Blissed Out was an expanded remodelled version of Happiness. Almost all of the songs from the Happiness album were featured on Blissed Out in one or more remixed versions, along with another mix of "It's Alright Now," and some previously unreleased instrumental tunes. The work was released in 3 different editions, varying in length and track listing, depending upon the format: the vinyl LP, the shortest, includes 8 tracks; the CD version features 11 songs; and the MC edition contains 16 remixes.
"It's Alright Now" and Blissed Out were the last works made by Marsh with Waddington at the time. By 1991 Waddington had left the group, and was replaced by Marsh's wife, Helena Randall, who was working as a purchaser for the Parisian fashion house Comme des Garçons, for the third studio album, Conscience. The band faced some controversy for the video of the first new single, "Sweet Harmony," which consisted of a naked Jon Marsh, among a group of women, also naked (although it was shot and edited so as not to show anything which might cause it to be censored). One of the nude stars of this video is the television presenter Tess Daly. By this time, the band had dropped the definite article from its name, and was now simply called Beloved. Sweet Harmony, which was originally used to promote the second season of the popular American prime time soap opera Melrose Place in some European countries, including Italy, has since been used in advertising for British home improvement chain Homebase as well.
Though the video is thought by many to witness Jon Marsh naked for the first time publicly, it actually is not. Due to the huge success of the 1990 album Happiness, a VHS video collection was created in 1991, containing all four singles from that album, and a final ghost video track, where Jon is openly making love to Helena, then his girlfriend, backed by a long extended remix of a track from the Blissed Out album. While "Sweet Harmony" went on to become their biggest hit in the UK, reaching number 8 in January 1993, the other four tracks taken from the Conscience album, pressed onto three singles, one a double A-side, did not achieve the former's success. "Celebrate Your Life"/"You've Got Me Thinking" peaked at number 23, "Outerspace Girl" at number 38, and the final single, "Rock to the Rhythm of Love" did not chart. This latter song was performed live at a concert during London Gay Pride in 1994.
After Conscience, a fourth studio album entitled X was released in 1996. Though the record peaked at number 25 in the UK Albums Chart, and three singles were released from it, only the first, "Satellite", made the Top 20, peaking at Number 19; while the second, "Deliver Me", failed to chart -and the third, "Ease the Pressure", did not enter the UK Top 40, stalling at number 43. As of 2010, X is the last original album from the group. This album includes soundscapes by Robert Fripp.
Singles from the album Beloved are regularly remixed, and the band has not been formally wound up though for the last decade Jon Marsh has concentrated on his flourishing career as a club DJ, as well as his young family.
During this period, two Beloved compilations were marketed, the latter a retitled re-release of the former. The first, promoted by a new remix of "The Sun Rising" (which reached Number 31, only five positions lower than the original 1989 release, and their last chart entry in the UK to date), was entitled Single File, and was released in 1997, just one year after X. The second compilation was released in 2005, titled The Sun Rising after the band's first hit single. This second compilation came as a complete surprise to Jon Marsh, Helena Marsh, and Steve Waddington. The label hadn't even bothered to tell them it was being planned (with an imitation Bob Linney cover image).
Jon Marsh has collaborated with original band member Steve Waddington and others on new material, although as of June 2013 this remains in progress.
Collaborations with other artists or bands
Both Jon Marsh and Steve Waddington have collaborated with other artists or bands outside of The Beloved. Steve Waddington co-wrote, co-produced, and contributed 'Wah-Wah' guitar to the System 7 track 'Habibi'. Jon Marsh has contributed vocals to tracks from Bent, Laid, and Luke Solomon.
- Where It Is (Flim Flam Productions, vinyl LP, HARPLP2, 1987, CD, HARPCD2, 1988) No. 17*
- Happiness (Atlantic 1990) UK No. 14, US No. 154
- Blissed Out (East West 1991) UK No. 38
- Conscience (East West 1993) UK No. 2
- X (East West 1996) UK No. 25
- Single File (East West 1997)
- Single File/The Sun Rising|The Sun Rising (WEA 2005) [re-release of Single File]
- Sweet Harmony: Very Best of the Beloved (Music Club 2011)
- "A Hundred Words" (April 1986) No. 15*
- "This Means War" (September 1986) No. 22*
- "Happy Now" (March 1987) No. 22*
- "Surprise Me" / "Forever Dancing" (13 June 1987) No. 15*
- "Loving Feeling" / "Acid Love" (October 1988)
- "Your Love Takes Me Higher" (January 1989) UK No. 91
- "The Sun Rising" (21 October 1989) UK No. 26
- "Hello" (27 January 1990) UK No. 19
- "Your Love Takes Me Higher" (reissue) (24 March 1990) UK No. 39
- "The Sun Rising" (reissue) (1990)
- "Time After Time" (9 June 1990) UK No. 46
- "It's Alright Now" (10 November 1990) UK No. 48
- "Sweet Harmony" (18 January 1993) UK No. 8
- "Celebrate Your Life" / "You've Got Me Thinking" (2 March 1993) UK No. 23
- "Outerspace Girl" (July 1993) UK No. 38
- "Rock to the Rhythm of Love" (1993)
- "Satellite" (16 March 1996) UK No. 19
- "Deliver Me" (30 June 1996)
- "Ease the Pressure" (29 July 1996) UK No. 43
- "The Sun Rising/The Sun Rising (remix)" (August 1997) UK No. 31
- "With You" (2000)
- "Timeslip" (2000)
- "Up, Up and Away" (1990 - from Happiness)
- "The Remix EP" (1991 - from Blissed Out)
- "1000 Years From Today" (1993 - from Conscience)
- "Crystal Wave" (March 1995 - from X)
- "Sampler" (1996 - from X)
- "Physical Love" / "3 Steps to Heaven" (1996 - double promo - from X)
- "Your Love Takes Me Higher" (1989)
- "The Sun Rising" (1989)
- "Hello" (1989)
- "Your Love Takes Me Higher" (second version) (1990)
- "Time After Time" (1990)
- "It's Alright Now" (1990)
- "Sweet Harmony" (1993)
- "You've Got Me Thinking" (1993)
- "Outerspace Girl" (1993)
- "Satellite" (1996)
- "Deliver Me" (1996)
- "The Sun Rising (remix)" (1997)
- Strong, Martin C. (1999). The Great Alternative & Indie Discography, Canongate. Exact dates of single releases from the Happiness album can be found in the 9th edition of The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles, 1993. ISBN 0-85112-526-3. As for the dates of further album and single releases, please see The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles and Albums.
- Lazell, Barry (1997). Indie Hits 1980-1999, Cherry Red Books.
- Official website
- Lazlo's Discography Machine
- Visual discography
- New unreleased demo track "Love to love"