Sweet Harmony (The Beloved song)

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"Sweet Harmony"
Sweet harmony.jpg
Single by The Beloved
from the album Conscience
B-side"Motivation"
ReleasedJanuary 1993
Format
Recorded1992
Genre
Length5:02
LabelEast West
Songwriter(s)
  • Jon Marsh
  • Helena Marsh
Producer(s)
  • Jon Marsh
  • Helena Marsh
The Beloved singles chronology
"It's Alright Now"
(1990)
"Sweet Harmony"
(1993)
"Celebrate Your Life" / "You've Got Me Thinking"
(1993)
Music video
"Sweet Harmony" on YouTube

"Sweet Harmony" is a 1993 hit single by British band The Beloved. It was released as the first and lead single from their second studio album, Conscience. The song remains the band's biggest hit, peaking at number 8 in the United Kingdom and becoming a club staple. It was followed by a much talked about music video consisting of the band's singer naked and surrounded by naked women in a heaven-like setting. The video was based on the record sleeve on the Jimi Hendrix album Electric Ladyland from 1968.[1]

The song was also included on the bands compilation albums, Single File in 1997, The Sun Rising in 2005 and Sweet Harmony: The Very Best Of The Beloved in 2011.

Background and release[edit]

"Sweet Harmony" was written and produced by founder member of the Beloved and singer Jon Marsh and his wife, Helena Marsh. It was also the first single after the departure of Steve Waddington and was recorded at Sarm West Studios in London. It was used to promote the second season of the American soap opera Melrose Place in several European countries. The single was released on January 11, 1993. It peaked at number 3 in Austria, number 6 in Germany and Switzerland, number 7 in Greece, and number 8 in the United Kingdom. The song was also a Top 20 hit in Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Poland and Sweden. On the Eurochart Hot 100, "Sweet Harmony" reached number 20. In the United States, the song peaked at number 23 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.

Critical reception[edit]

AllMusic editor Jon O'Brien described the song as a "glorious slice of ice-cool synth pop which manages to be both brooding and euphoric at the same time".[2] Larry Flick from Billboard noted it as a "thumping dance ditty" and added that "slight techno nuances, an uplifting lyrical message, and singer Jon Marsh's warm, soothing tones add up to a delightful jam."[3] He added that "lyrically, "Sweet Harmony" is typical Beloved fare: spiritually uplifting and philosophical."[4] Marisa Fox from Entertainment Weekly commented that "whereas Bryan Ferry infused rock with sensuality, Marsh and his wife-partner, Helena, lace their ethereal mix with house grooves that seduce and hypnotize." She added that the video "features a nude Marsh humming amidst a bevy of bare bohemian babes, all seated in a swirling mist. Music to steam by indeed."[5] Dave Sholin from the Gavin Report wrote that "doing their part to end the divisivness around the globe, The Beloved do some positive preaching backed by the catchy dance/pop that's their trademark. Nothing like a positive message to inspire hope and encourage unity."[6] Music & Media said that the "synth-dominated tune is a traditional verse-chorus pop song, which means very melodic and radio friendly."[7] Rune Slygstad from Nordlandsposten described it as "catchy, synth-oriented pop not far from Pet Shop Boys on their best."[8]

Music video[edit]

Jon Marsh sitting in the midst of naked women in a heavenly setting, in the music video of "Sweet Harmony".

The music video for "Sweet Harmony" was directed by Big TV.[9] It consisted of a naked and seated Jon Marsh surrounded by naked women - including Tess Daly - lipsynching the lyrics. It is based on the record sleeve on Jimi Hendrix' 1968 album Electric Ladyland, which was taken by photographer David Montgomery. Clouds, fog, and white-out effects were used to create a high contrast, while the participants used their arms, legs and hair to cover themselves. In an interview, Marsh said that the video was "not intended to be sexual" and was "as asexual as you can get"[10] The video is supposed to represent unity between humans. The video was nominated for the International Viewer's Choice Award for MTV Europe at MTV Europe Music Awards in 1993.

This music video was later spoofed in 1998 by rapper John Forté in the song "Ninety Nine (Flash The Message)" from the album Poly Sci in which the same scenes with nude women is featured, except they have chainsaws.

Track listings[edit]

CD single

  1. "Sweet Harmony" — 5:02
  2. "Motivation" (Energised)

7" single

  1. "Sweet Harmony" — 5:02
  2. "Motivation" (Energised)

CD maxi

  1. "Sweet Harmony" — 5:04
  2. "Sweet Harmony" (Live The Dream Mix) — 7:15
  3. "Motivation" (Exercised) — 7:11
  4. "Sweet Harmony" (Love The Dub Mix) — 5:14

EP

Charts[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

In 2000, the song was covered on Spanish language by Spanish band Fangoria and Los Sencillos, with lyrics "Dulce armonia". This version is included on the album Interferencias.

In 2002, the song was covered by British producer Vincent Stormfield and released as "Sweet Harmony '02" by Independiente.

In 2007, the song was covered by Polish pop group Feel on their multi-platinum selling debut album.

In 2007, Ukrainian pop group Tokio released a cover version of the song on Russian language called "My budem vmeste" ("Мы будем вместе") ("We'll be Together").

In 2014, Israeli pop singer Mei Finegold released a dance version with Shlomi Levi and Shai Rokach which acted as one of the Israeli Pride 2014 official anthems.

2014. Man without Country released a single with a cover of the song

In 2016, the song was covered by Sans Souci featuring Pearl Anderson.

In 2017, Liverpudlian indie band She Drew The Gun recorded the song, and accompanied it with a video.

In 2017, Xenturion Prime released a cover of the song.

In popular culture[edit]

The song appears in the 1993 film, Piccolo grande amore.

The music video appears in the Beavis and Butt-head episode "Politically Correct", where the duo enjoy the video due to the "naked chicks" and Butt-head stating that it was the "coolest video [he has] ever seen."

An extended version of the song was used during the end credits of a season 7 episode of Dalziel and Pascoe.

The song appears in the 2006 film Alien Autopsy starring Ant and Dec.

The song appears briefly on the episode "Follow the Money" from season 3 of the TV series Narcos.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Beloved Still Loved After Long Absence" (PDF). Music & Media. 30 January 1993. p. 27. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  2. ^ "The Beloved - Sweet Harmony: The Very Best of the Beloved". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  3. ^ "Billboard: New & Noteworthy" (PDF). Billboard. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  4. ^ "DanceTRAX" (PDF). Billboard. 27 February 1993. p. 33. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  5. ^ "Conscience". Entertainment Weekly. 9 April 1993. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  6. ^ Sholin, Dave. "Singles" (PDF). Gavin Report. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  7. ^ "The Beloved Still Loved After Long Absence" (PDF). Music & Media. 30 January 1993. p. 27. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  8. ^ Slyngstad, Rune (17 February 1993). "NYE ALBUM". Nordlandsposten (in Norwegian). p. 34. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  9. ^ "Beloved Sweet harmony VIVA VHS". YouTube. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  10. ^ John Marsh (interview) (22 December 2006). "Youtube: The Beloved - (Making of) Sweet Harmony MV". Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  11. ^ "Response from ARIA re: chart inquiry (submitted to charts.mail@aria.com.au), received 2015-07-15". Archived from the original on 16 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015 – via Imgur.
  12. ^ "Austriancharts.at – The Beloved – Sweet Harmony" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  13. ^ "Ultratop.be – The Beloved – Sweet Harmony" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  14. ^ Danish Singles Chart 19 November 1993
  15. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 10 no. 19. 8 May 1993. p. 23. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  16. ^ "Lescharts.com – The Beloved – Sweet Harmony" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  17. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – The Beloved – Sweet Harmony". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  18. ^ "Top 10 Greece" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 10 no. 18. 1 May 1993. p. 24. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  19. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (15.04.1993 – 21.04.1993)" (PDF). Dagblaðið Vísir – Tónlist. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  20. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Sweet Harmony". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  21. ^ "Top 10 Sales in Europe" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 10 no. 20. 15 May 1993. p. 24. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  22. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – The Beloved" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  23. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – The Beloved – Sweet Harmony" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  24. ^ "Notowanie nr586" (in Polish). LP3. 7 May 1993. Retrieved 9 November 2019. Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  25. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – The Beloved – Sweet Harmony". Singles Top 100.
  26. ^ "Swisscharts.com – The Beloved – Sweet Harmony". Swiss Singles Chart.
  27. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  28. ^ "The Beloved Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  29. ^ "The Beloved Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  30. ^ "The Beloved Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  31. ^ "1993 Year-End Sales Charts: Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  32. ^ "Top 100 Singles–Jahrescharts 1993" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  33. ^ "Jaarlijsten 1993" (in Dutch). Stichting Nederlandse Top 40. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  34. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1993" (in German). Retrieved 30 September 2019.

External links[edit]