2005 single cover
|Single by James Blunt|
|from the album Back to Bedlam|
|Released||30 May 2005|
|James Blunt singles chronology|
"You're Beautiful" is the debut single co-written by the British singer James Blunt, Sacha Skarbek, and Amanda Ghost for Blunt's debut album, Back to Bedlam (2004). It was released as the Lead single from the album in 2005.
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 three 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.
- 1 Writing and inspiration
- 2 Music video
- 3 Critical reception and ubiquity
- 4 Chart performance
- 5 Awards
- 6 Release
- 7 Track listing
- 8 Release history
- 9 Charts
- 10 Certifications
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Writing and inspiration
Newspapers have claimed that "You're Beautiful" is about a former girlfriend of Blunt, Dixie Chassay, casting director for the Harry Potter films, although Blunt refuses to confirm nor 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, verses 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 Brandon Smith. At least one writer's interpretation is that it shows Blunt taking his own life, perhaps following a Japanese tradition of removing one's shoes and contents of clothing prior to jumping from a great height. However, the director of the video states in a "making-of" piece of footage that "[T]he idea [of the video] is built around the last line, where he says, 'I'll never be with you', and that idea of completely forgetting about something, of getting rid of that emotion, and moving on, and I think that the video is a sort of visual manifestation of that emotion."
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 falls into the 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.
Critical reception and ubiquity
About.com gave the song four and a half stars out of five, 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 magazine 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, Blunt stated it had become so ubiquitous that it was "force-fed down people's throats". It has been named as one of the worst songs ever recorded, despite its positive reviews.
"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, number four, Australia, number two, France, and Germany. 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 highest position "You're Beautiful" reached in Australia was number two, where it stayed for two consecutive weeks.
In November 2005, "You're Beautiful" was released in North America where it achieved widespread success. In Canada, it ascended to number one (where it remained for four consecutive weeks) 22 weeks following its debut on the BDS Airplay chart. In the United States, it debuted at number 88 before reaching number one 17 weeks later. It replaced Beyoncé's "Check on It" and itself was replaced by Ne-Yo's "So Sick". The song became the first non-urban or American Idol song to reach the top of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 since Nickelback's "How You Remind Me" in 2001. However, "Hollaback Girl" by Gwen Stefani has also been credited for that accomplishment, but due to its hip-hop based influences, it's been disputed. This also became the first single by a British artist to reach number one since Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997" (1997). It achieved success on the Billboard Pop 100, Hot Digital Songs, Adult Contemporary, and Adult Top 40 formats. It has been certified double platinum by the RIAA for digital and platinum for mastertone. It has sold over three million in the United States.
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.
- UK CD single number one
- "You're Beautiful" (Edit) – 3:22
- "Fall at Your Feet" (Acoustic) – 2:25
- UK CD single number two
- "You're Beautiful" (Edit) – 3:22
- "High" (Acoustic) – 4:03
- "You're Beautiful" (The Making of the Video) – 3:00
- "You're Beautiful" (Video) – 3:23
- UK 7" single
- "You're Beautiful" (Edit) – 3:22
- "So Long, Jimmy" (Acoustic) – 4:14
- Australian CD single
- "You're Beautiful" (Edit) – 3:22
- "Fall at Your Feet" (Acoustic) – 2:25
- "You're Beautiful" (Acoustic) – 3:35
- Japanese CD single
- "You're Beautiful" (The Q;indivi+ Remix) (featuring Keri) – 3:28
|United Kingdom||5 May 2004|
|Worldwide||30 May 2005|
|United States||13 December 2005|
|Japan (The Q;indivi+ Remix)||28 March 2012|
|United States||2× Platinum||2,000,000|
*sales figures based on certification alone
- List of number-one singles from the 2000s (UK)
- List of Hot 100 number-one singles of 2006 (U.S.)
- List of number-one adult contemporary singles of 2006 (U.S.)
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