Paul Heaton facts: Beautiful South singer's age, wife, children and career explained

5 June 2024, 15:26

Paul Heaton- From Hull To Heatongrad - documentary Trailer

By Mayer Nissim

From a number one with 'Caravan of Love' to his solo career, Paul Heaton has been at the top for four decades.

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It's hard enough to start one band that tops the singles chart, but Paul Heaton has done that twice over.

He reached the pinnacle with both The Housemartins and The Beautiful South, as well as launching a successful solo career and partnership with Jacqui Abbott.

Paul's released five albums with Jacqui and is currently touring as a solo artist with a little bit of help from singer Rianne Downey.

But how much do you know about the national treasure that is Paul Heaton?

Read on for some fast facts.

Where did Paul Heaton grow up and how old is he?

Paul Heaton in 1995
Paul Heaton in 1995. Picture: Getty Images

Paul Heaton was born to mum Doris and dad Horace (no wonder he became such a master of rhyme) on May 9, 1962, which makes him 62 years old at the time of writing.

He was born in Bromborough, Cheshire, which is now technically part of Merseyside, but the family moved to Sheffield when he was just four years old, which is why he's such a big Sheffield United fan.

There was another move when he was a teenager, this time to Chipstead in Surrey, before he eventually moved to Hull.

Who were The Housemartins?

The Housemartins - Caravan of Love (1986 - Official Music Video HD)

It was in Hull where Paul, then calling himself P.D. Heaton, formed The Housemartins in the early 1980s.

Joining Paul in the lineup was guitarist Stan Cullimore, Ted Key on bass and Hugh Whitaker on bass. Key swiftly left and was replaced by a man by the name of Norman Cook...

They released the excellently-titled album London 0 Hull 4 in 1986. The same year they released an a capella cover of Isley-Jasper-Isley classic 'Caravan of Love', which got them all the way to number one.

Hugh Whittaker then left the band and was replaced by Dave Hemingway for their second album The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death.

The band split soon after in 1988, with Norman Cook first working as part of Beats International and then solo as Fatboy Slim (I wonder whatever happened to him?).

Heaton stuck with Hemingway and roadie Sean Welch to form a new band...

Who were The Beautiful South?

The Beautiful South - Rotterdam (Or Anywhere) [Official Video]

As well as Heaton, Hemingway and Welch, the first lineup of The Beautiful South included lead guitarist Dave Rotheray and David Stead on drums.

Heaton and Rotherway were the songwriting duo that led the group, and they scored the hit singles 'Song for Whoever' and 'You Keep It All In'.

The second of those featured a special guest vocalist, Briana Corrigan, who joined the group as a permanent member between the release of their debut album m, Welcome to the Beautiful South and their second album Choke.

The Beautiful South - A Little Time (Official Video)

It was the Hemingway/Corrigan duet 'A Little Time' from Choke that scored the band their first and only number one.

Corrigan stuck around for the follow-up 0898 Beautiful South, before being replaced by Jacqui Abbott for the next four albums.

The second of those, Blue is the Colour, including the absolutely massive hit singles '"Rotterdam (or Anywhere)' and 'Don't Marry Her'. The following Quench featured equally giant 'Perfect 10'.

The Beautiful South - Don't Marry Her (Official Video)

Abbott left after 2001's compilation Solid Bronze – Great Hits and was replaced by Allison Wheeler for the eighth album Gaze, sticking around for Golddiggas, Headnodders and Pholk Songs and the band's 2006 swansong Superbi.

They formally announced their split in January 2007 in a typically wry fashion.

"The Beautiful South have split up due to musical similarities," they said.

"The band would like to thank everyone for their 19 wonderful years in music."

What has Paul Heaton done since The Beautiful South broke up?

Paul Heaton in 2023
Paul Heaton in 2023. Picture: Getty Images

Paul Heaton had already dipped his toe into solo waters while The Beautiful South was a going concern, with the release of Fat Chance under the name Biscuit Boy (a.k.a. Crackerman).

It flopped and he stuck with the South until their full split a few years later. His next solo album was 2008's The Cross-Eyed Rambler, followed by 2010's Acid Country.

Heaton returned to collaborations with Paul Heaton Presents the 8th, working on the Manchester International Festival project with Wayne Gidden, Aaron Wright, King Creosote, Simon Aldred, Cherry Ghost, Jacqui Abbott, Yvonne Shelton and Mike Greaves.

Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott - I Gotta Praise

He then joined forces with former Beautiful South colleague Jacqui Abbott for five studio albums, starting with 2014's What Have We Become in 2014 and ending with 2022's N.K-Pop.

The duo frequently toured together until December 2022, when Abbott unfortunately fell ill. Heaton has since performed solo and has since added guest singers to his live band, with Rianne Downey being his current right-hand woman.

What are Paul Heaton's biggest songs from across his career?

The Beautiful South - Perfect Ten

Paul Heaton is one of the nation's best-loved songwriters, enjoying hits with The Housemartins, The Beautiful South, as a solo artist and together with Jacqui Abbott.

2018 saw the release of his career-spanning compilation The Last King of Pop, which really is as good a place to start as any, or instead you could opt for 2007's Soup, which focuses just on The Housemartins and The Beautiful South.

His very biggest songs are:

  • Flag Day (The Housemartins)
  • Happy Hour (The Housemartins)
  • Think for a Minute (The Housemartins)
  • Caravan of Love (The Housemartins)
  • Five Get Over Excited (The Housemartins)
  • Me and the Farmer (The Housemartins)
  • Build (The Housemartins)
  • Rotterdam (Or Anywhere) (The Beautiful South)
  • Don't Marry Her (The Beautiful South)
  • Perfect 10 (The Beautiful South)
  • Song for Whoever (The Beautiful South)
  • A Little Time (The Beautiful South)
  • Old Red Eyes Is Back (The Beautiful South)
  • Good as Gold (Stupid as Mud) (The Beautiful South)
  • Everybody's Talkin' (The Beautiful South)
  • Prettiest Eyes (The Beautiful South)
  • I Gotta Praise (with Jacqui Abbott)
  • Moulding Of A Fool (with Jacqui Abbott)
  • Real Hope (with Jacqui Abbott)
  • The Austerity Of Love (with Jacqui Abbott)
  • She Got The Garden (with Jacqui Abbott)
  • D.I.Y. (with Jacqui Abbott)
  • I Don't See Them (with Jacqui Abbott)
  • 7" Singles (with Jacqui Abbott)
  • You and Me (Were Meant to Be Together) (with Jacqui Abbott)
  • Still
  • Too Much for One (Not Enough for Two) (with Jacqui Abbott)

Is Paul Heaton married, and does he have any children?

Paul Heaton and NOT his wife Jacqui Abbott in Hull
Paul Heaton and NOT his wife Jacqui Abbott in Hull. Picture: Getty Images

Be it Stan Cullimore, David Rotheray, Briana Corrigan, Jacqui Abbott or Allison Wheeler, Paul Heaton knows a thing or two about successful partnerships.

He's married, but not to any of the above.

Paul wed his partner Linda in 2016. There's not much about his marriage in the public eye, though he did simply say in 2019: "Being married is brilliant."

Heaton has three children but there's not much info out there about them.