Tracey Thorn

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This article is about the English vocalist. For the US judge, see Tracy Thorne-Begland.
Tracey Thorn
Tracey Thorn.jpg
Background information
Birth name Tracey Anne Thorn
Born (1962-09-26) 26 September 1962 (age 52)
Brookmans Park, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England
Genres Pop, rock, folk, electronic, house
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocalist
Years active 1982–present
Labels

Cherry Red Records 1980–1983
Blanco Y Negro 1983–1994
Virgin Records 1995–2007
Strange Feeling 2010–

Merge Records 2010–
Associated acts Everything but the Girl
Marine Girls
Website traceythorn.com

Tracey Anne Thorn (born 26 September 1962) is an English singer, songwriter and writer. She is best known as being one half of the duo Everything but the Girl.

Personal life[edit]

The youngest of three children,[1] Thorn was born in Brookmans Park, Hatfield, Hertfordshire. She grew up in Hatfield and studied English at the University of Hull, where she graduated in 1984 with First Class Honours. She later took an MA degree at Birkbeck College, University of London.

After 27 years as a couple, Thorn and Ben Watt married in 2008 at Chelsea Registry Office. They live in Hampstead, North London.[2] The couple have twin daughters born in 1998, and a son born in 2001.

Music career[edit]

Stern Bops (1979–1980)[edit]

Thorn began her musical career in the punk-pop hybrid group Stern Bops playing guitar and providing some vocal backing.

Marine Girls (1980–1983)[edit]

Thorn then formed Marine Girls as primary songwriter, playing guitar and sharing vocals. The band released two albums (Beach Party in 1981 and Lazy Ways in 1983) and three singles. The group disbanded in 1983.

Everything but the Girl (1982–2000)[edit]

Thorn met Ben Watt at the University of Hull where they were both students, and both signed as solo artists to Cherry Red Records. Their first album together was Eden, released in 1984. Everything but the Girl released a body of work that spanned two decades. Their biggest chart success came in 1995, when DJ Todd Terry remixed a song from their Amplified Heart album. "Missing" became a huge hit all over the world, especially in the US, where it reached number two in the Billboard Hot 100.

Everything but the Girl has been inactive since 2000.

They released compilation albums in 2002 and 2005, and Watt has played on some filmed performances of Thorn's solo work and on her 2011 recording of the xx's "Night Time".[3]

For more detail, see also Everything But The Girl

Solo career and collaborations (1982–present)[edit]

Thorn's first solo work was a mini-album entitled A Distant Shore (1982). A re-recorded version of the track "Plain Sailing" was released as a single, and was included on the Pillows & Prayers Cherry Red records compilation album.

In the 1980s, Thorn contributed guest vocals and backing vocals for The Style Council on the track "Paris Match" (from the album Café Bleu), The Go-Betweens on their track Head Full of Steam, Working Week on the single "Venceremos (We Will Win)" and Lloyd Cole and the Commotions on the track "Big Snake".

In the 1990s, she collaborated with Massive Attack on several projects, including the soundtrack for the motion picture Batman Forever where she contributed with "The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game". Their first project together was the song "Protection" (for which she wrote the lyrics and melody) from the album by Massive Attack of the same name. She also co-wrote and sings on the track "Better Things". She also sang 'The Tree Knows Everything' on Adam F's debut album, "Colours".

Just prior to her return to recording in 2007, Thorn contributed vocals to the song "Damage" by the band Tiefschwarz on the album Eat Books.

In March 2007, Tracey Thorn released her second solo album Out of the Woods on Virgin Records (Worldwide) and on Astralwerks (USA). Thorn cited her peers Terry Hall and Siouxsie Sioux in the song "Hands Up to the Ceiling". The record includes contributions from Cagedbaby, Ewan Pearson, Charles Webster, Sasse, Darshan Jesrani, Martin Wheeler and Alex Santos.

The first single from the album, "It's All True", accompanied by remixes from the likes of Kris Menace & Martin Buttrich, was released on 7 February and the second single, "Raise the Roof" was released on 18 June. The third single, "Grand Canyon" was released on 30 October. A fourth single, "King's Cross" (which is a cover version of a Pet Shop Boys song) was released on 12 December.

In 2008, Thorn collaborated with the Hungarian acoustic downtempo group The Unbending Trees on their single "Overture", which also featured on their album Chemically Happy (Is The New Sad), released by her partner Ben Watt.

In 2009, Thorn collaborated with the Swedish singer-songwriter Jens Lekman for a cover of The Magnetic Fields' "Yeah! Oh Yeah!" for a compilation album commemorating twenty years of Merge Records, Score! 20 Years of Merge Records: The Covers!.

Thorn's third solo album Love and Its Opposite was released in May 2010 on Ben Watt's Strange Feeling Records in the UK, and on Merge Records in the US. Recorded in London and Berlin and produced by Ewan Pearson, it contained eight new songs and two cover versions, "Come on Home to Me" by Lee Hazlewood, and "You Are a Lover" by The Unbending Trees.

Thorn's fourth solo album was a Christmas album entitled Tinsel and Lights. It was released in late October 2012, and included covers of songs by Carol Hall, The White Stripes, Ron Sexsmith, Randy Newman, Joni Mitchell, Sufjan Stevens, Low and Scritti Politti, plus two original songs and contributions from Green Gartside and Ben Watt.[4]

In 2013 Thorn wrote and recorded the original music for "The Falling", the debut feature film by filmmaker Carol Morley, which premieres at the London Film Festival 2014.[5]

Writing[edit]

Virago published Thorn's memoir Bedsit Disco Queen: How I Grew Up and Tried to Be a Pop Star, early in 2013.[6][7] It received widespread critical acclaim and was a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller.[8]

In 2014, she began a regular column for the New Statesman.[9]

In 2015 Virago will publish her second book - "Naked at the Albert Hall" - about singers and singing.[10]

Discography[edit]

See also Marine Girls discography
See also Everything but the Girl discography

Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions
UK
[11]
GRE
[12]
SWE
[13]
US
[14]
1982 A Distant Shore - - - -
2007 Out of the Woods 38 - 44 172
2010 Love and Its Opposite
  • Released: 17 May 2010
  • Label: Strange Feeling/Merge
51 16 22 144
2012 Tinsel and Lights
  • Released: 29 October 2012
  • Label: Strange Feeling
94 - - -

EPs[edit]

  • 2010 – Opposites EP (contains experimental remixes of tracks from Love and Its Opposite)
  • 2011 – You Are A Lover EP (10" green vinyl released for Record Store Day)
  • 2011 – Night Time EP
  • 2011 – Extended Plays 2010–2011

Singles[edit]

Year Title Album
1982 "Plain Sailing" A Distant Shore
2007 "It's All True" Out of the Woods
"Raise the Roof"
"Grand Canyon"
"King's Cross"
2010 "Oh, the Divorces!" Love and its Opposite
"Why Does the Wind?"
2011 "You Are a Lover"
"Night Time" Night Time EP
2012 "In the Cold, Cold Night" Tinsel and Lights
"Tinsel and Lights"
"Joy"

Collaborations[edit]

Year Song Album
1984 "Venceremos (We Will Win)" with Working Week single only
"The Paris Match" with The Style Council Chilled Jazz with The Style Council and Cafe Bleu (Style Council album)
1986 "Head Full of Steam" with The Go-Betweens Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express
"Apology Accepted" with The Go-Betweens
1987 "Big Snake" with Lloyd Cole and the Commotions Mainstream
1993 "Over the Rainbow" with James McMillan[disambiguation needed] Makin' Changes by James McMillan
1994 "Protection" with Massive Attack Protection (Massive Attack)
"Better Things" with Massive Attack
1995 "The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game" with Massive Attack Batman Forever
1997 "The Tree Knows Everything" with Adam F Colours (Adam F)
2007 "Damage" with Tiefschwarz Eat Books (Tiefschwarz)
2008 "Overture" with The Unbending Trees Chemically Happy (Is the New Sad)
2009 "Yeah! Oh Yeah!" with Jens Lekman Score! 20 Years of Merge Records: The Covers!
2010 "Without Me" with Tevo Howard
2012 "Taking Down The Tree" with Green Gartside Tinsel and Lights

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bedsit Disco Queen, p.10
  2. ^ "BBC – Pop singer Tracey Thorn on the best and worst of London life". BBC News. 30 March 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2012. 
  3. ^ Battan, Carrie (18 October 2011). "Listen: Everything But the Girl Reunite to Cover the xx's "Night Time"". Pitchfork. Retrieved 13 January 2012. 
  4. ^ "Tracey Thorn – Tinsel and Lights". Buzzinfly.com. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  5. ^ "Metrodome picked up UK rights to Carol Morley's new film The Falling". www.artsfoundation.co.uk. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  6. ^ "Virago signs Everything But the memoir". The Bookseller. Retrieved 13 January 2012. 
  7. ^ Profile, The Observer, 20 January 2013
  8. ^ "Incredible praise for Tracey Thorn's memoir". www.virago.co.uk. 
  9. ^ "New Statesman | Tracey Thorn". www.newstatesman.com. 
  10. ^ "Naked at the Albert Hall: The Inside Story of Singing". www.amazon.co.uk. 
  11. ^ "Chart Stats – Tracey Thorn". theofficialcharts.com. Retrieved 27 November 2011. 
  12. ^ "Chart Stats – Tracey Thorn". greekcharts.com. Retrieved 27 November 2011. 
  13. ^ "Chart Stats – Tracey Thorn". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 27 November 2011. 
  14. ^ "Chart Stats – Tracey Thorn". billboard. Retrieved 27 November 2011. 
  • Bedsit Disco Queen; How I Grew Up and Tried to Be a Pop Star by Tracey Thorn, ISBN 978-1-84408-866-9, Little Brown (2013)

External links[edit]