Old Red Eyes Is Back

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"Old Red Eyes Is Back"
Single by The Beautiful South
from the album
0898 Beautiful South
Released February 1992
Genre Pop rock, alternative rock
Length 3:35
Label Go! Discs
Writer(s) Paul Heaton, Dave Rotheray
Producer(s) Jon Kelly, The Beautiful South
The Beautiful South singles chronology
"Let Love Speak Up Itself" "Old Red Eyes Is Back"
"We Are Each Other"

"Old Red Eyes Is Back" is a song written by Paul Heaton and Dave Rotheray and performed by The Beautiful South. The song was originally released on the album 0898 Beautiful South. It features as the opening track and was the first single released from the album in February 1992. The single reached a peak of No. 22 in the UK and became the band's 5th UK Top 40 Single.[1]

Lead vocals are provided by Paul Heaton, with co-vocalists Briana Corrigan and Dave Hemingway featured occasionally in the background.[1]

Heaton's lyrics deal with a man named 'Old Red', clearly a man suffering with alcoholism, as Heaton has at several times in his life.[1] The verses detail Old Red's drinking habits and how it is affecting his health; "He pours another drink and listens to his body thaw" before the final verse announces; "Old Red he died..." The chorus reminisces about the things he has sacrificed for his drink "...all the things I could have done instead" The subject matter is a common theme throughout the Beautiful South's material, but "Old Red Eyes Is Back" is arguably the most graphic account of the perils of alcoholism amongst their song catalogue.[1]

The music video is fittingly set in a pub and features two Paul Heatons. One, a sober looking man who sings the lyrics telling the story of 'Old Red'. The other, who sings the chorus, is presumably meant to be 'Old Red', with messy long hair and his face looking rough from heavy drinking.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e "The Beautiful South - the Band". h2g2. BBC.co.uk. 2001. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 

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