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"
Released11 January 1993 (1993-01-11)[1]
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 song by British band the Beloved, released as the first and lead single from their second studio album, Conscience (1993), on 11 January 1993. It remains the band's biggest hit, peaking at number eight in the UK and becoming a club staple. The single was followed by a much talked about music video consisting of the band's singer nude and surrounded by nude women in a heaven-like setting. The video was based on the record sleeve on the Jimi Hendrix album Electric Ladyland from 1968.[2]

"Sweet Harmony" 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 11 January 1993. It peaked at number three in Austria, number six in Germany and Switzerland, number seven in Greece, and number eight in the United Kingdom. In the latter, it peaked in its second week at the UK Singles Chart, on 24 January 1993.[3] It stayed at that position for two weeks. The song was also a top-20 hit in Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy and Sweden. On the Eurochart Hot 100, "Sweet Harmony" reached number 20. Outside Europe, it was a top-10 hit in Israel and peaked at number 23 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs in the United States.

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".[4] Larry Flick from Billboard noted it as a "thumping dance ditty" with "slight techno nuances, an uplifting lyrical message, and singer Jon Marsh's warm, soothing tones [that] add up to a delightful jam."[5] He added that "lyrically, "Sweet Harmony" is typical Beloved fare: spiritually uplifting and philosophical."[6] 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."[7] 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."[8] Music writer James Masterton stated in his weekly UK chart commentary, that "the new Beloved single crashes in at 9 and has to be favoured for a possible No.1."[9] Pan-European magazine Music & Media said the "synth-dominated tune is a traditional verse-chorus pop song, which means very melodic and radio friendly."[10] Alan Jones from Music Week described it as "slowly throbbing".[11] Rune Slyngstad from Norwegian newspaper Nordlandsposten noted it as "catchy, synth-oriented pop not far from Pet Shop Boys at their best."[12] Anita Naik from Smash Hits, stated that the song is "wonderful" and "heartfelt stuff".[13]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Sweet Harmony" was directed by Big TV.[14] It consisted of a nude and seated Jon Marsh surrounded by nude 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".[15] The video is supposed to represent unity between humans. It was nominated for the International Viewer's Choice Award for MTV Europe at MTV Europe Music Awards in 1993. "Sweet Harmony" was published on YouTube in February 2019. It has amassed more than 17 million views as of September 2021.[16]

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]

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 Andersson.

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 2019, Moderno released a cover of the song, with remixes.

In 2020, Hungarian dj & producer duo Stadiumx made a track, called "Sweet Harmony"; which is the Future House implementation of the original 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 "nude 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. ^ "New Releases: Singles" (PDF). Music Week. 9 January 1993. p. 6. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  2. ^ "The Beloved Still Loved After Long Absence" (PDF). Music & Media. 30 January 1993. p. 27. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  4. ^ O'Brien, Jon. "The Beloved - Sweet Harmony: The Very Best of the Beloved". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  5. ^ Flick, Larry (3 April 1993). "New & Noteworthy" (PDF). Billboard. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  6. ^ Flick, Larry (27 February 1993). "DanceTRAX" (PDF). Billboard. p. 33. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  7. ^ Fox, Marisa (9 April 1993). "Conscience". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  8. ^ Sholin, Dave (26 March 1993). "Singles" (PDF). Gavin Report. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  9. ^ Masterton, James (17 January 1993). "Week Ending January 23rd 1993". Chart Watch UK. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  10. ^ "The Beloved Still Loved After Long Absence" (PDF). Music & Media. 30 January 1993. p. 27. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  11. ^ Jones, Alan (13 February 1993). "Market Preview: Mainstream - Albums" (PDF). Music Week. p. 20. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  12. ^ Slyngstad, Rune (17 February 1993). "NYE ALBUM". Nordlandsposten (in Norwegian). p. 34. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  13. ^ Naik, Anita (17 February 1993). "New Albums". Smash Hits. p. 52. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  14. ^ "Beloved Sweet harmony VIVA VHS". YouTube. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  15. ^ John Marsh (interview) (22 December 2006). "Youtube: The Beloved - (Making of) Sweet Harmony MV". Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  16. ^ "The Beloved - Sweet Harmony (Official Video)". YouTube. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  17. ^ "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.
  18. ^ "Austriancharts.at – The Beloved – Sweet Harmony" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  19. ^ "Ultratop.be – The Beloved – Sweet Harmony" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  20. ^ Danish Singles Chart. 19 November 1993.
  21. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 10 no. 19. 8 May 1993. p. 23. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  22. ^ "Lescharts.com – The Beloved – Sweet Harmony" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  23. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – The Beloved – Sweet Harmony" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  24. ^ "Top 10 Sales in Europe" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 10 no. 18. 1 May 1993. p. 24. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  25. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (15.04.1993 – 21.04.1993)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 15 April 1993. p. 29. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  26. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Sweet Harmony". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  27. ^ "Top 10 Sales in Europe" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 10 no. 20. 15 May 1993. p. 24. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  28. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – The Beloved" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  29. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – The Beloved – Sweet Harmony" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  30. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – The Beloved – Sweet Harmony". Singles Top 100.
  31. ^ "Swisscharts.com – The Beloved – Sweet Harmony". Swiss Singles Chart.
  32. ^ "Top 60 Dance Singles" (PDF). Music Week. 23 January 1993. p. 22. Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  33. ^ "The Beloved Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  34. ^ "The Beloved Chart History (Alternative Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  35. ^ "The Beloved Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  36. ^ "1993 Year-End Sales Charts: Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 10 no. 51/52. 18 December 1993. p. 15. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  37. ^ "Top 100 Singles–Jahrescharts 1993" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  38. ^ "Jaarlijsten 1993" (in Dutch). Stichting Nederlandse Top 40. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  39. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1993" (in German). Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  40. ^ "Top 100 Singles 1993". Music Week. 15 January 1994. p. 24.

External links[edit]