In the United Kingdom and Australia, the song reached number one and number two respectively. When released as the debut single from Back to Bedlam in Canada and the United States, it reached number one on both charts and received widespread airplay. In 2006, the song won an Ivor Novello Award for airplay. The song has sold 625,000 copies in the United Kingdom as stated by the Official Charts Company, and by October 2012 over 3 million in the United States. It remains Blunt's biggest hit single in the United States to date, and his only one to reach the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100. In 2012, a new version of the single was issued in Japan. The Q;indivi+ Remix, featuring Japanese performer Keri, was issued on 28 March 2012.
Newspapers have claimed that "You're Beautiful" is about a former girlfriend of Blunt's, Dixie Chassay, casting director for the Harry Potterfilms, although Blunt refuses to confirm or deny this. On 8 March 2006 on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Blunt said of the song, "It's kind of miserable. It was about seeing my ex-girlfriend on the Underground in London with her new man, who I didn't know existed. She and I caught eyes and lived a lifetime in that moment, but didn't do anything about it and haven't seen each other since." Several versions of the song exist. One lyrical version has an explicit word in it ("She could see from my face that I was fucking high") which was released on Back to Bedlam and most of the "You're Beautiful" singles. The radio edit of the song replaces the explicit lyric, changing it to "She could see from my face that I was flying high". Acoustic, live and DVD versions have also been released. However, because of the word in question, the album was given a Parental Advisory sticker. When asked about the song, Blunt responded, "It's probably one of the least meaningful songs on the album and by no means people's favourite. The album is like a book covering various aspects of life in a specific order." In an interview with HitQuarters, co-writer Sacha Skarbek said their collaboration on the song began when Blunt brought the title and the approach of the chorus to a songwriting session. Skarbek's contribution largely focused on the music aspect to the track, contributing chord ideas for the verses, honing the melodies, and making sure the song stuck to, "a couple of key hooks rather than making it too complicated."
In the beginning of the song, Blunt sings the first line twice ("My life is brilliant"). The mistimed delivery was left in the final recording, but omitted in radio versions. This is parodied in "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "You're Pitiful": After the initial start, he says "What, was I too early? Oh, sorry. Should I...Do you wanna start over? Or, keep going? Okay. Now? Now?" and then begins the song.
The music video for "You're Beautiful" was directed by Sam Brown. It shows Blunt committing suicide, following a Japanese tradition of removing one's shoes and contents of clothing prior to jumping from a great height. Blunt removes the upper portion of his clothing in a cold, bare, snowy setting and places all of his personal belongings on the ground. While doing this, seagulls circle overhead like buzzards. At the end of the video, he jumps off a cliff and lands into the depths of icy water while he sings the lyrics: "But it's time to face the truth, I will never be with you". The video was filmed in Mallorca, Spain. The video has been parodied in a Dead Ringers spoof, with Jon Culshaw impersonating Blunt, singing the song with different lyrics where he explains how he can be cool. Blunt also appeared on the television programme 'Sesame Street' singing a reworded version of the song called 'My Triangle' intended to educate children about geometry.
About.com gave the song 4 and a half stars out of 5, saying "The simple power of Blunt's songwriting is effective at conveying the pain of realizing he will never be with the object of his affections."
"You're Beautiful" was ranked number seven in a poll conducted by Rolling Stone to identify the 10 most annoying songs.VH1 ranked it number 95 on its list of the 100 Greatest Songs of the '00s. In October 2014 the singer himself admitted the song had become so ubiquitous that it was "force-fed down people's throats."
"You're Beautiful" is Blunt's most successful single release to date. It was also his first successful single, and reached number one in ten countries across the world, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Spain, Canada, and the Netherlands. The song peaked within the top five in New Zealand, No. 4, Australia, No. 2, France, and Germany. "You're Beautiful" accomplished a feat rarely seen on the modern UK Singles Chart by ascending the chart following its début. Released on 30 May 2005, it entered at number twelve on 5 June and reached number one six weeks later where it remained for five consecutive weeks. The last song to début outside of the top ten and climb to number one was The Outhere Brothers' "Boom Boom Boom" (1995). The highest position "You're Beautiful" reached in Australia was number two, where it stayed for two consecutive weeks.
The single was released on four official physical formats. CD1 includes an exclusive acoustic recording of "Fall at Your Feet", a cover taken from the BBC Radio 1 live lounge sessions. CD2 includes an exclusive acoustic version of "High", plus the video for "You're Beautiful" and "Making-Of" footage. The 7" Vinyl includes an exclusive acoustic version of "So Long, Jimmy". The fourth physical format was an exclusive version of CD1, only available at HMV, which includes an additional third track, in the form of an acoustic version of "You're Beautiful". This version was also sold in Australia.