Love Is Just A State Of Mind

Happiness by The Beloved is yet another album that has turned thirty years old this year and is about to be re- issued on double vinyl. Happiness and its singles sound like a big part of 1990 when I hear them now, a record perfectly in tune with the times. Reduced to a duo, Jon Marsh and Steve Waddington wanted to leave the indie guitar scene behind, fired up by the new music they were hearing. Marsh had been to Shoom and Spectrum in 1988 and has spoken of the experiences as being life- changing. With a few new pieces of equipment they set about making an album fusing dance music and pop and the songs they created succeeded massively. Up, Up And Away is 1990 positivity and optimism bottled- ‘up, up and away/ hello new day… just look around you/ well it ain’t no lie/ H A P P Y’. Your Love Takes Me Higher is the same but for hedonism and love. Don’t You Worry, Wake Up Soon, Time After Time… these are the songs of and for people with wide eyes and big smiles and living in the moment. Album closer Found was 1990’s most New Order sounding song.

The Sun Rising was their breakthrough single in ’89, an ambient house classic with the goosebump bassline kicking in from the off, backwards guitar, an instantly recognisable madrigal sample, and Jon’s whispered vocal, a song describing the end of the night, the walk home at dawn, spent but euphoric.

The Sun Rising

The songs on Happiness encapsulate the period as much as many others do, and are probably heard best on a car cassette player or your late teens/ early 20s bedroom stereo, an album reflecting what was going on in clubs and the wider culture. A year later The Beloved released Blissed Out, an album of remixes of songs from Happiness plus a new single It’s Alright Now, different versions and tracklists across different formats of lp, cassette and CD. I’ve posted this clip before, The Beloved promoting It’s Alright Now on BBC 2’s Dance Energy programme. It’s Alright Now is a perfectly judged piece of dance- pop. Why it wasn’t a bigger hit is a mystery to me.



In 1990 The Beloved, converts to dance from indie, put out an album called Happiness that was wide-eyed and progressive, full of the spirit and technology of the time. It was followed by a sister album of remixes and versions and a new song which they hoped would take them into the charts but didn’t (It’s Alright Now), one of the periods lost records. Blissed Out had a different number of tracks depending on which format you shelled out for, eight on the vinyl, eleven on the cd and sixteen on cassette (hardly anyone I knew had a cd player in 1990 and not buying cds was almost an act of faith and resistance- how times change).

Jon Marsh Tweeted yesterday that the cassette version was now available to buy/stream at the usual online stores so those extra tracks previously found on the tape were now out there again officially. The pick of these are the two final ones- firstly, the Timeless Dub of Don’t You Worry is a dub- house treat (remix credited to Adam and Eve, a remix pseudonym for Jon and his wife Helena). Seems wrong to post mp3s of these two songs when they were only re-released yesterday and you can buy the pair for less than £2 so videos only I’m afraid…

Secondly the track Acid Love (from 1988) a proper UK acid house tune with a hazy vocal, in thrall to the sounds coming out of Chicago and Detroit, Phuture and Pierre, and designed to send ripples up and down your spine.

And here is the album version of one of the peaks from Happinesss, a song about being in ove with being in love…

Your Love Takes Me Higher

The photo at the top of this post is from an interview with Jon and Steve in The Face, published in November 1990. If you want the full hit,  the interview and pages of the magazine are at Test Pressing. 

As The Day Begins

Briefly in 1990 The Beloved made some very good music, perfectly in tune with the times- a run of singles, the 1990 album Happiness and its remixed counterpart from a year later Blissed Out and the not-a-hit It’s Alright Now single. This Melody Maker front cover is dated 27th January 1990 and shows where the inkies were at that point- Loop, Carter USM, Baby Ford and The Shamen show the twin pleasures of noisy guitars and the dancefloor while The Cult, Mantronix and Psychic TV bring the mid 80s back. Tanita Tikaram was available for interview twenty seven years ago too.

The Sun Rising is a fast paced, slinky groove with that female vocal sample that Orbital also used (on Belfast). Music made from optimism with a sense of endless possibilities.

The Sun Rising

I chanced upon this NME cutting yesterday too, a review of The Beloved playing the Hacienda (5th March 1990 I think, according to some internet research), supported by local heroes The High and a dj called Andrew Weatherall. I may get around to posting something by him sooner or later.

I Think It’s Time To Make The Floor Burn

I’ve been having some fun watching these clips on Youtube recently. Dance Energy was BBC 2’s attempt to capture early 90s youth culture. To be far to the Beeb Snub TV was an excellent half hour weekly look at the indie scene with some essential live clips and interviews. For Dance Energy they got Normski in as presenter. Normski may be best described as an acquired taste (although many internet commenters seem to prefer the word bellend). Dance Energy ran on a Monday evening, straight after The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air and had ‘live’ performances in the studio from dance and hip hop acts. Unlike the majority of 1960s TV music programmes, where there’s no doubt that the groups are better dressed and better coiffured than the audience, on Dance Energy the crowd are the real stars. here’s a few I’ve picked out…

Steve Cobby’s band from this time was Ashley and Jackson (they played Cities In The Park which is why I think I came across this on Youtube while looking for clips of that event for my post a couple of weeks ago). Solid Gold was going to be Ashley and Jackson’s breakthrough single but it never really happened for them in terms of having a hit. This clip from 1991 starts with the titles and theme music which will push all kinds of buttons for some of you of a certain age…

Bassomatic’s Fascinating Rhythm was a top ten hit in 1990 and still sounds pretty good today although that style of rapping has dated. This song aside Bassomatic are also known for having a pre-Madonna/All Saints William Orbit on board.

Yo! Here comes Normski again! This is Bizarre Inc, hugely popular up here in the north, with Playing With Knives. I love this record, it’s crunching keyboard riffs, repetitive, cyclical vocals and breakbeat- and the on stage dancers.

And this is a beauty, The Beloved’s It’s Alright Now, a properly blissful, house tune, all positivity and optimism. Again this should have been a massive hit and wasn’t.

Lastly for the moment The Shamen. Like The Beloved they started as an indie guitar band and then moved into dance music when it hit them. This performance of Hyperreal is pretty smart, the best version of this song, and has Will Sin in the group, before his untimely death in Tenerife in May 1991.


Wasting time on social media recently I followed a link to the video for Hello by The Beloved- you know the one, funky drummer drums, crunchy guitar and a slightly silly, wide-eyed list of people to say hello to including Peter, Paul, Tommy Cannon, Bobby Ball, Little Richard, Willy Wonka, William Tell, Salman Rushdie, Kym Mazelle, Mork and Mindy, Barry Humphries, Billy Corkhill, Fred Astaire, Desmond Tutu, Zippy, Bungle, Jean Paul Sartre…

A click or two away I found Found, the closer off their Happiness album. A different kettle of fish entirely. It’s like the Bunnymen on E or New Order at sunrise. Or a blissed out Beloved in 1989. Lovely.


It’s Just The Sun Rising

Echorich frequently leaves the most considered comments here and the man also has exquisite taste. When i posted A Man Called Adam’s Barefoot In The Head he offered the opinion that that record and this one here today were among the three best songs of their ilk. The Beloved’s Sun Rising is a peach, a song that sounds like it’s title. It has been remixed to death but sometimes the original mix is all you need. The bass, whispered vocals and electronic rhythm- sublime.

The Sun Rising

Polar explorer Tom Crean must have seen many sun rises though possibly not in the altered state that The Beloved were writing about. Got to love a man in sub-zero temperatures who still smokes his pipe.

The Beloved ‘It’s Alright Now’ (7inch Mix)

The Beloved started life as an indie guitar band, but in the late 80s something changed, and they became rave evangelists, throwing away their guitars and some band members and embracing samplers and drum machines, and synths. Their album Happiness was in tune with the times, and featured several hits, including the daft but funny list song Hello, the blissed out The Sun Rising and the fake orgasmic Your Love Takes Me Higher. Good stuff all told.

This song, It’s Alright Now, was released at the end of 1990, and failed to make the top 40. I wrote a good few months back that sometimes dance singles work best on 7″, and gave Little Fluffy Clouds as an example. It’s Alright Now is another one. There are a variety of mixes and versions but this is the only one I need. It’s got a great start, doesn’t outstay it’s welcome and bounces along. Underneath the 90s positivity of the lyric there’s some regret, some ruefulness, which makes it do that thing that dance music can do so well: happy-sad.

It’s Alright Now (7inch Mix).mp3 – – online file sharing and storage – download