Tracey Thorn

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Tracey Thorn
Tracey Thorn in 2012
Tracey Thorn in 2012
Background information
Birth nameTracey Anne Thorn
Born (1962-09-26) 26 September 1962 (age 59)
Brookmans Park, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active1979–present
LabelsCherry Red (1980–1983)
Blanco y Negro (1983–1994)
Virgin (1995–2007)
Strange Feeling (2010–present)
Merge (2010–present)
Associated acts

Tracey Anne Thorn (born 26 September 1962) is a British singer, songwriter and writer. She is best known as being one half of the duo Everything but the Girl from 1982 to 1999. She was a member of the band Marine Girls between 1980 to 1983 and since 2007 has been active as a solo artist.

Early life[edit]

The youngest of three children,[1][2] 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.

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" peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart, topped the charts in countries such as Canada, Denmark, Germany and Italy and peaked within the top ten of the charts in many countries, including Australia, France, the Republic of Ireland, Sweden and the United States.

Everything but the Girl has been inactive since 2000. Watt has played on some filmed performances of Thorn's solo work and on her 2011 recording of the xx's "Night Time".[3]

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 "The 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 namechecked post-punk peers and idols Terry Hall (from 2-Tone Records ska-revivalists The Specials, and New Pop trio Fun Boy Three), Edwyn Collins (of Postcard Records' Orange Juice) and Siouxsie Sioux in the song "Hands Up to the Ceiling". The record also 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] The original song "Joy" is featured in the 2012 film All Is Bright with Paul Giamatti and Paul Rudd.

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

A compilation album, Solo: Songs and Collaborations 1982–2015, was released in the UK on 23 October 2015. It features 34 tracks on two discs.

On 17 January 2018, Thorn announced the release of her album Record, which was released on 2 March. The album was produced by Ewan Pearson, and features contributions from Corinne Bailey Rae, Shura, Jona Ma and Stella and Jenny from Warpaint. Along with the announcement, Thorn released the debut single and video from the project, entitled "Queen".[6]


Virago published Thorn's memoir Bedsit Disco Queen: How I Grew Up and Tried to Be a Pop Star early in 2013.[7][8] It received widespread critical acclaim and was a Sunday Times Top Ten best-seller.[9]

In 2014, she began a regular column ('Off the Record') for the New Statesman.[10]

In 2015 Virago published her second book, Naked at the Albert Hall, about singers and singing.[11]

Her most recent book is Another Planet: A Teenager in Suburbia (2019).[12]

Personal life[edit]

After 28 years as a couple, Thorn and the other half of Everything But The Girl, Ben Watt, married in 2009[13] at Chelsea Register Office. They live in Hampstead, North London.[14] The couple have twin girls, Jean and Alfie, born in 1998, and a son, Blake, born in 2001.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Awards Work Category Result
1995 MTV Europe Music Awards "Protection" (with Massive Attack) Best Video Won
1996 Brit Awards Best British Video Nominated
2011 International Dance Music Awards "Why Does the Wind?" Best House/Garage Track Nominated
2017 Artist and Manager Awards Herself Artists’ Artist Award Won
2018 AIM Independent Music Awards Outstanding Contribution to Music Won
Classic Pop Reader Awards[15] Artist of the Year Nominated
Record Album of the Year Nominated
'"Queen" Single of the Year Nominated
Best Art Vinyl[16] Record Best Art Vinyl Nominated
2019 GAFFA-Prisen Awards Herself Best International Artist Nominated
Record Best International Album Nominated


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions
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
2018 Record
  • Released: 2 March 2018[6]


  • 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
  • 2014 – Molly Drake Songs



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"
2018 "Queen"[6] Record


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 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
2015 "Disappointing" with John Grant Grey Tickles, Black Pressure


  1. ^ Bedsit Disco Queen, p.10
  2. ^ "On Remembrance Sunday it is my father who fills my memories". Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  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". Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  5. ^ "Metrodome picked up UK rights to Carol Morley's new film The Falling". Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  6. ^ a b c "Tracey Thorn". Archived from the original on 11 December 2018. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  7. ^ "Virago signs Everything But the memoir". The Bookseller. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  8. ^ Profile, The Observer, 20 January 2013
  9. ^ "Incredible praise for Tracey Thorn's memoir".
  10. ^ "Tracey Thorn".
  11. ^ "Naked at the Albert Hall: The Inside Story of Singing".
  12. ^ Thorn, Tracey (27 January 2019). "Tracey Thorn: 'We looked at suburbia and wanted to burn it down' – extract".
  13. ^ "Everything But The Girl Makes It Official". Vulture. 8 September 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  14. ^ "BBC Pop singer Tracey Thorn on the best and worst of London life". BBC News. 30 March 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  15. ^ "There's still time to vote in our 2018 Reader Awards!". 2 January 2019. Archived from the original on 24 January 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  16. ^ "Best Art Vinyl Awards 2018". Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  17. ^ "Tracey Thorn | full Official Chart history". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  18. ^ "Chart Stats – Tracey Thorn". Archived from the original on 18 September 2016. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  19. ^ "Chart Stats – Tracey Thorn". Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  20. ^ "Chart Stats – Tracey Thorn". 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]