In 2005, a former army captain named James Blunt made a little indie album called Back to Bedlam with producer Tom Rothrock. Blunt figured it would be a labor of love that a few in-the-know music listeners would discover being that it was produced by the same guy who previously worked with Beck, Badly Drawn Boy and Elliott Smith. But boy, was he wrong.
His debut instead ended up spawning a little international hit called “You’re Beautiful.” Perhaps you’ve heard it?
Speaking with Blunt today–nearly ten years after the release of that song–he’ll openly talk about the sad sack balladeer reputation he earned because of “You’re Beautiful,” admitting that his most well-known song isn’t even the best track off that album. That honor goes to “Goodbye My Lover,” the second single off Back to Bedlam that helped amusingly soundtrack one of Michael Scott’s break-ups on The Office. Well, the 30-second snippet that Amazon allows you to hear if you’re too cheap to actually purchase the song, which, no surprise, Scott was.
“I think I knew that ‘You’re Beautiful’ was a radio friendly song,” Blunt admitted to Radio.com. “It’s not my most favorite song on the album, and it’s not the most deeply meaningful on the album.” It’s just a song he wrote after catching the eye of a woman he didn’t know, but imagined her as an ex-girlfriend with a new man. “I did know ‘You’re Beautiful’ would work on radio,” Blunt reiterated. “But I didn’t have an idea of what it would do. I don’t think I was ever supposed to. I was an independent artist. I’m a singer/songwriter, I’m not a pop star…so all of a sudden the music being called pop was a big transition.”
The transition was a learning experience for the singer, who admits some missteps along the way.