Babybird is a British indie band, formed in 1995. The band is fronted by Stephen Jones, who has also released records as a solo artist, using his own name and the name Baby Bird. Jones had begun writing songs and recording home demos as part of an experimental theatre group in Sheffield. A collection of these demos (I Was Born a Man) was released in the summer of 1995, under the name Baby Bird. Following a warm critical reception for this record...
Jones had begun writing songs and recording home demos as part of an experimental theatre group in Sheffield. A collection of these demos (I Was Born a Man) was released in the summer of 1995, under the name Baby Bird. Following a warm critical reception for this record, he recruited a band made up of Huw Chadbourne (keyboards), Robert Gregory (drums), John Pedder (bass) and Luke Scott (guitar), in order to tour and promote his work.
During 1995, two further albums of demo recordings were released under the name Baby Bird (Bad Shave and Fatherhood) and two in 1996 (The Happiest Man Alive and Dying Happy).
By the end of the year, a decent public following had been built up, as well as quite considerable excitment within the press and music industry. Babybird were signed to Echo Records (a division of the Chrysalis Group), and the first "proper" single, a full-band recording of "Goodnight", which had appeared in demo form on Fatherhood, was eventually released in the summer of 1996, becoming a minor chart hit in the UK.
The second single, You're Gorgeous, reached number 3 in the UK in October 1996, and was also one of the biggest selling singles of the year, going on to chart around the world. This remains the song for which Stephen Jones and Babybird are best known.
However, it presented a much more commercial face to the public in comparison to Jones' previous work. The early demo albums won Jones great credibility with those who heard them, but had not reached a wide audience (each one being a one-off pressing). Arguably, the commercial sound and success of "You're Gorgeous", which received massive exposure by comparison, made it hard for many to take Jones seriously as an indie artist. Essentially, what he was best at was no longer what he was best known for.
After "You're Gorgeous"
The album Ugly Beautiful was released to a warm reception, but was not the unmitigated critical triumph that some had anticipated from Babybird's first studio-recorded album. The album produced two more hit singles, Candy Girl and Cornershop.
Babybird returned, minus keyboardist Huw Chadbourne, in 1998 with There's Something Going On, preceded by a single, Bad Old Man. The album was a modest success and was followed by further minor hits, If You'll Be Mine and Back Together.
In 2000, a line-up of Babybird comprising Stephen Jones, Luke Scott and Matt Hay created a third album. Bugged, which was well-received critically (it might be suggested that it is an album of the right quality, but four years later than expected). However, sales were poor and the two singles from it, The F-Word (later the theme tune to a UK TV cookery show of the same name) and Out Of Sight barely dented the charts. Babybird were dropped by their record label soon after. A third single from the album Fireflies was released on Animal Noise records, but sold few copies. The band subsequently split.
Stephen Jones went on to write fiction, release solo work and score a film, Blessed, in 2004.
In October 2005, a posting on the official Babybird website announced that the band had reformed as a three-piece featuring Stephen, Luke Scott and Robert Gregory, and would be releasing new material in 2006.
The last CD, called "Between My Ears There's Nothing But Music", was released in autumn 2006 and didn't seem to have encountered a big success.
Stephen Jones has also released Solo material, not to be confused with the american artist of the same name.
In September 2009, Stephen Jones launched an online Babybird community, on which he regularly posts.
A brief tour of the UK was undertaken in November 2009 with the lineup of Stephen Jones, Luke Scott and Robert Gregory. This tour was to promote the new album, Ex-Maniac, due for release in February 2010. Johnny Depp, a long time fan, appears on the album Ex-Maniac, as guitarist in the first single off the album, Unloveable.