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The Corrs - Biography
|last update : 23-07-2008 21:07|
|The Corrs are a Celtic folk rock group from Dundalk, Ireland. The group consists of the Corr siblings: Andrea (vocals, tin whistle); Sharon (violin, vocals); Caroline (drums, percussion, bodhrán, vocals); and Jim (guitar, keyboards, vocals).
The Corrs came to international prominence with their performance at the 1996 Summer Olympics. Since then, they have released five studio albums and numerous singles, which have reached platinum in many countries. Talk on Corners, their most successful album to date, reached multi-platinum status in Australia and the UK.
The Corrs have been actively involved in philanthropic activities. They have performed in numerous charity concerts such as the Prince's Trust in 2004 and Live 8 alongside Bono in 2005. The same year, they were awarded honorary MBEs for their contributions to music and charity. The Corrs are on hiatus because Sharon, Jim, and Caroline are raising families, while Andrea is pursuing a solo career.
Gerry and Jean Corr performing as Sound AffairThe Corrs' parents are Gerry Corr, a manager of the payroll department of the Irish Electricity Supply Board, and his wife, Jean, a homemaker, who died in 1999 while waiting for a lung transplant. They raised their family in Dundalk, Ireland. Gerry and Jean performed together as a band called Sound Affair, and often brought their children to their performances, where they played songs by ABBA and the Eagles in local pubs.
With the encouragement of their parents, Jim took guitar lessons, Sharon played the violin, Caroline studied the drums, and Andrea took up the tin whistle. They were also taught the piano by their father. Throughout their teenage years, the children would practice in Jim's bedroom at a rented house. Andrea sang lead vocals, Sharon played the violin, and Caroline and Jim played the keyboards.
While Caroline and Andrea were still attending school, Jim and Sharon began playing as a duo, often at their aunt's pub, McManus's. In 1990, Jim and Sharon added their younger siblings to their existing duo, to form a quartet. Their career took off in 1991 when they auditioned for the film The Commitments. Jim, Sharon, and Caroline each had small parts as musicians, while Andrea had a speaking part as Sharon Rabbitte. John Hughes noticed them when they auditioned for the movie, and agreed to become their manager.
In 1994, the American ambassador to Ireland, Jean Kennedy Smith, invited them to perform at the 1994 FIFA World Cup in Boston after seeing them play a gig at Whealans Music Bar in Dublin. After an appearance at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, The Corrs joined Celine Dion's worldwide Falling into You Tour as a supporting act.
Jason Flom, Atlantic Records' vice director and producer, recommended that they meet with David Foster, a Canadian musician, producer, composer and arranger. The Corrs played live for Foster and he agreed to sign them to Atlantic Records. They extended their stay in the US for over five months to record their debut album, Forgiven, Not Forgotten. Forgiven, Not Forgotten featured six instrumental selections among its Celtic-influenced tracks. The album sold well in Ireland, Australia, Japan, Norway and Spain. Major success in the US and the UK however was not immediately forthcoming. Eventually, the album reached platinum status in the UK and Australia, and quadruple platinum in Ireland, making it one of the most successful debuts by an Irish group.
The Corrs' next album, 1997's Talk On Corners, was produced by Glen Ballard, who was respected for his collaboration with Alanis Morissette.The Corrs also collaborated with Carole Bayer Sager, Oliver Leiber, Rick Nowels, and Billy Steinberg. The album met with lukewarm responses and was only successful in Ireland.
The Corrs performed a special remixed version of the tracks from their first two albums in a televised St. Patrick's Day appearance at London's Royal Albert Hall in 1998. After the performance, the band re-released Talk on Corners, with new remixes of "What Can I Do?", "So Young" and "Runaway". The special edition topped the charts worldwide, and again reached multi-platinum status in the UK and Australia.
Andrea playing the tin whistle during Céline Dion's My Heart Will Go On at the 1998 Pavarotti and Friends concertIn June 1998, The Corrs participated in the Pavarotti and Friends for the Children of Liberia charity concert. The concert was held in Modena, Italy and was hosted by Luciano Pavarotti. Other performers included Jon Bon Jovi, Céline Dion, Spice Girls and Stevie Wonder. The concert aimed to raise money to build the Pavarotti and Friends Liberian Children's Village, to provide refuge for children in Liberia.
The following year, The Corrs received a BRIT Award for Best International Band. They performed live on MTV's Unplugged on 5 October 1999 at Ardmore Studios, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. The resulting CD and DVD sold 2.7 million copies and featured live performances of previously released songs, plus a new song, "Radio", later featured on their third album, In Blue.
In 2000, The Corrs returned to mainstream success with their third album. Unlike their previous albums, In Blue moved towards mainstream pop. This move attracted criticism from many; one Entertainment Weekly critic called it "a disheartening example of musical ethnic cleansing". Despite this, In Blue hit number one in its first sales week in the UK, Ireland, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria and debuted at #2 in France and Norway. It climbed to the top spot during its second week in Sweden and Spain.
The Corrs worked with Alejandro Sanz on In Blue, recording "Una Noche (One Night)", a duet between Sanz and Andrea Corr; Sanz played Andrea's love interest in the music video. In return, The Corrs performed "Me Iré (The Hardest Day)" with him on his album, El Alma Al Aire. The Corrs collaborated with Robert Lange to produce a mainstream hit single, "Breathless", which reached number 34 in the Billboard Hot 100, number seven in Australia, number three in Ireland and New Zealand, and topped the charts in the UK. The album went straight to number one in the Irish Albums Chart, the third highest single-week sales in the history of the charts, behind U2's The Best of 1980-1990 and Oasis' Be Here Now. In Blue achieved platinum sales in the US, double platinum in the UK, and quadruple platinum in Australia.
During the production of the album, the Corrs' mother, Jean, died while waiting for a lung transplant. She was laid to rest at St. Patrick's cemetery in Dundalk, and Bono, Larry Mullen, Brian Kennedy and Paul Brady were among the congregation at the funeral. "No More Cry", written by Andrea and Caroline Corr for the album, was written to help their father get over his grief.
In 2001, The Corrs released their first compilation album, Best of The Corrs. The album featured previously released songs and new tracks, such as the singles "Would You Be Happier", "Make You Mine" and "Lifting Me". The album did not chart highly in Ireland but reached platinum status in Australia. The Corrs collaborated with Josh Groban, recording Canto Alla Vita, for his eponymous debut album.
When the band returned to Ireland, they hosted another live concert at Ardmore Studios, where they previously performed for the MTV's Unplugged series. Guest performers included Bono from U2 and Ronnie Wood from the Rolling Stones. During the concert, Bono joined Andrea Corr for a duet of Nancy Sinatra's "Summer Wine" and a performance of Ryan Adams' "When the Stars Go Blue". Ronnie Wood joined the band onstage to play guitar on their version of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" and the Rolling Stones' "Ruby Tuesday". These performances were recorded and compiled on a live album, VH1 Presents: The Corrs, Live in Dublin, which was released in the UK.
(L-R) Sharon, Andrea and Jim Corr in concertIn 2003, Andrea Corr recorded "Time Enough For Tears", written by Bono and Gavin Friday for the film In America. This track was featured on The Corrs' 2004 album, Borrowed Heaven. Made over an 18-month period, Borrowed Heaven was recorded in Dublin and Los Angeles, and produced by Olle Romo, who previously worked with Melanie C and Kelly Clarkson. The album returned to the folk rock genre with a slightly heavier emphasis on guitars. Nevertheless, the album was not as successful as their predecessor albums; it reached silver status in the UK. Jason Duffy temporarily joined the band as drummer, filling in for Caroline while she was pregnant with her second child and unable to tour. Borrowed Heaven was dedicated to the band's parents.
The band also dedicated their 2005 album, Home, to their deceased mother. Home is regarded as a traditional Irish album; the band covered traditional Irish songs taken from their mother's songbook to commemorate their 15 years as a band. The album was produced by Mitchell Froom and featured the BBC Radio 2 Orchestra. The songs featured in Home spanned the history of Irish music. It also included two songs in Irish, "Bríd Óg Ní Mháille (Bridget O'Malley)" and "Buachaill Ón Éirne (Boy from Lough Erne)". Home had little success outside Ireland and France, and was certified silver in the UK.
The Corrs have been on hiatus since 2006. Sharon, Jim, and Caroline are raising their own families while Andrea pursues a solo career. Sharon married Gavin Bonnar, a Belfast barrister, on July 9, 2001. Since then, they have had two children, Cathal Robert Gerard and Flori Jean Elizabeth. Jim's child, Brandon, was born in 2006 to Gayle Williamson, his ex-fiance and a former Miss Northern Ireland. Caroline married Frank Woods, a property developer in Majorca, Spain on August 22, 2002. They have three children, Jake, Georgina and Rihann. Andrea released her first solo album, Ten Feet High, on June 25, 2007. It was produced by Nellee Hooper, who has worked with Gwen Stefani and Madonna; Bono was an executive producer. The first single released from the album was "Shame on You (to Keep My Love from Me)".
The Corrs released their second compilation album, Dreams: The Ultimate Corrs Collection, on November 20, 2006. The album consisted of several of the band's hits, as well as tracks that had not previously been released on Corrs albums, such as "I Know My Love", a collaboration with The Chieftains, and "All I Have To Do Is Dream", Andrea's duet with Laurent Voulzy. The album also featured remixes of "When The Stars Go Blue" and "Goodbye". The latter was released as a download-only single to promote the album. However, the album charted poorly, reaching number 24 in Ireland. On September 25, 2007, The Corrs released another compilation album, The Works. The album consists of three CDs that feature previously released songs. It performed worse than its predecessor, failing to chart at all.
When asked to describe their genre, Caroline Corr said it was a "blend of modern rhythms and technology with acoustic instruments, violin, tin whistle, drums, and of course the voices, the marrying of these instruments is our sound". The Corrs' music is typically categorised as folk rock. This is evident in their first two albums, Forgiven Not Forgotten and Talk on Corners, although Andrea described the genre of Talk on Corners by saying "it [has] got more of an edgy feel, a little bit more guitar-orientated and also an Irish sound, which is in Forgiven, Not Forgotten."
In Blue moved to towards mainstream pop, placing heavy emphasis on synthesisers. The move attracted criticism from many; one Entertainment Weekly critic called it "a disheartening example of musical ethnic cleansing". However, a USA Today critic called it "the best mainstream pop album you're likely to come across".
Borrowed Heaven placed heavier emphasis on guitars, while retaining the original folk rock genre. Home is a traditional Irish album, where the band covered many traditional Irish songs. The album contained songs from different eras of Irish music. It included a 1,000-year-old song called "Return to Fingal" and "Old Town", a 1982 song written by the late Phil Lynott.
The Corrs' main influences were their parents who were musicians and encouraged them to learn instruments. They drew inspiration from musicians such as The Eagles, The Police, The Carpenters, Simon and Garfunkel and Fleetwood Mac, which Sharon said in an interview with CNN is the reason "our songs are very, very melodic and [harmonious]".
The Corrs have been active in supporting charitable and philanthropic causes and disaster relief. In 1996, the Corrs participated in the Pavarotti and Friends for the Children of Liberia charity concert. The concert was held in Modena, Italy and was hosted by Luciano Pavarotti. Among the other participating artists were Jon Bon Jovi, Natalie Cole, Pino Daniele, Céline Dion, Florent Pagny, Eros Ramazzotti, Spice Girls, Vanessa L. Williams, Stevie Wonder, Trisha Yearwood and Zucchero. The concert raised money that was used to build the Pavarotti and Friends Liberian Children's Village and to provide a refuge for orphans in Liberia during the civil war. The Corrs, along with Sinéad O'Connor, Van Morrison, Boyzone, U2 and Enya held a charity concert in 1998, to raise money for the victims of the Omagh bombing in Northern Ireland.
The Corrs' mother, Jean, died in Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, England. The Corrs showed their appreciation to the hospital by performing a one-off charity concert, held in 2001 at the Telewest Arena; it raised more than £100,000. The money was used to extend the William Leech Centre of the hospital, which is dedicated to research into lung treatment. The city of Newcastle presented them a limited edition painting of Tyneside's quayside in return.
The Corrs were awarded MBEs for their philanthropic activities.The Corrs' played at a 2004 charity concert for The Prince's Trust, a UK-based charity that provides help, training, financial, and practical support to UK citizens aged between 14 and 30. They performed with Will Young, Blue, Avril Lavigne, Lenny Kravitz, Busted, Anastacia, Nelly Furtado, Sugababes and Natasha Bedingfield and raised more than £1 million.
They are ambassadors for the Nelson Mandela's "46664" campaign, where they performed live to raise awareness towards AIDS in Africa. The concert was held on 29 November 2003 in Cape Town, South Africa. The concert aimed to "[raise] awareness of HIV in South Africa and launched the 46664 campaign" and the money raised was donated to the Nelson Mandela Foundation for Aids. During the Edinburgh Live 8 on 2 July 2005, the Corrs performed "When the Stars Go Blue" alongside Bono to promote the Make Poverty History campaign, which aimed to increase awareness and pressure governments into taking actions towards relieving absolute poverty.
In recognition of their charity work, the Corrs were made honourary Members of the Order of the British Empire in 2005 by Queen Elizabeth II.
The Corrs consist of four siblings from the Corr family: Andrea (lead vocals, tin whistle); Sharon (backing vocals, violin); Caroline (backing vocals, bodhrán, drums); and Jim (guitar, backing vocals, keyboards). This has been their lineup since their formation in 1990. The Corrs have collaborated with several artists, but had Jason Duffy temporarily join the band as drummer when Caroline was pregnant.
They had numerous producers working for their albums, using differing styles. For Forgiven Not Forgotten, they enlisted David Foster. They recruited Glen Ballard to produce Talk on Corners. Robert Lange was approached to be producer for In Blue, and Olle Romo for Borrowed Heaven. Home was produced by Mitchell Froom.