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The Corrs, an Irish quartet is composed of Andrea Jane, Caroline Georgine, Sharon Helga and Jim Stephen Ignatius Corr. Jim Corr, the eldest son, born in 1964, is the bands keyboard player and guitarist. He has an easy going attitude and isn't put off by the attention shown to his three sisters. Sharon, a classically trained violinist is born in 1970 and is a serious musician. She enjoys music from Satie and Dvorak to the Rolling Stones. Caroline Corr, born in 1973, is the drummer and bodhran player of the band. Caroline started off with keyboard at first, but found that she enjoyed drumming due to a boyfriend living next door to Jim. Lastly, the baby of the band, Andrea Corr was born in 1974 and is the tin whistle player of the band.
The Corrs grew up in a small town of Dundalk, County Louth, on the east coast of Ireland, which is 50 miles north of Dublin. They were brought up in a Catholic household and went to mass till the age of 18. Their parents, Jean and Gerry were also musicians which played in cover bands. Jean was the singer and lyrics writer and Gerry was the keyboard player. The house was very musical and all the siblings were taught classical piano at an early age.
As The Corrs approached their teenage years, they worked on vocal harmonies and instrumental skills in Jim's bedroom, a house which he rented around the corner. Jim played the guitar, Andrea was the lead singer, and Sharon and Caroline on the keyboards. They used a drum machine on the keyboards for rhythm. They had a eight-track recording desk and covered songs like "Knock on the Wood". Jim always dreamt that the band would be a success until they reached 14 June, 1990 when they auditioned for Alan Parker's movie, "The Commitments". The roles were pretty small and Andrea played the role of Jimmy Rabbitte's sister. "The Commitments" was the movie that brought The Corrs to the beginning of stardom. John Hughes, the musical director of the movie saw how talented the quartet were but was not interested in managing a band. However, he wasn't going to let them go and soon became their future manager.
John was a musician at first and was part of a Dublin band called Ned Spoon. In the 80s, John and his brother, Willie did an electric duo. The album had went up to the top 75 in the US. They thought it was another global success but went down. John didn't want to quit yet and so formed a band called "The Hughes Version". Among the musicians was a Jim Corr from Dundalk.
Around the same time, John was asked to put a band together to star in "The Commitments". Jim heard about the news and told his sisters, Andrea, Caroline and Sharon if they wanted to audition. They came and decided to audition for a part. They did "Knock on the Wood" and "Quincy Jones Number". When the audition finished, Ros Hubbard, the casting director quickly told John that he should manage The Corrs. After, she told The Corrs a lot of things about John. She mentioned that he would be managing them even though John hadn't made up his mind yet. After agreeing, John went to Dundalk to meet the parents to see what they were planning to do. Jim took John to meet his sisters which were coming out of school in green uniforms.. John then realised they were kids and he couldn't believe that they didn't look like kids when they auditioned for "The Commitments". John didn't expect it but he was already involved.
John only has 10 years of vision and hated plans. With only 10 years, he wanted to try and make the band have a number 1 album of the world. They wanted to cut back to 7 years. However, they decided to stick to the 10 years instead.
The Corrs finally threw themselves into being a proper band. They rehearsed a lot at Jim's place in his studio furnished with bits and pieces from the kitchen like egg cartons and fruit boxes. First couple of years, they spent weekends and nights trying to get the perfect sound together. The sound which they achieved first was a synthesised pop rock and soon other instruments were incorporated. Sharon incorporated the violin and Caroline only used the bodhran for instrumental songs. After, they hooked up with Bill Whelan, a man with brains behind Riverdancing to try and get the sound.
The Corrs first amateur video was "Secret Life". John realised that it wasn't enough and thought that the band might need a first gig. He setted up the first show in Dublin to see if there were any record companies interested. The Corrs first public performance was at the Waterfront. The place was filled with their parents, friends, relations and John's showbiz friends. The crowd were impressed and enjoyed themselves. However, the record companies didn't turn up.
The Corrs set about familiarising for playing live. There were many commitments after playing live, like homework. The band finally became stronger and stronger but they still needed a drummer. Caroline decided to take over on the drums, a few basic beats which she learnt from her boyfriend. Caroline's boyfriend was playing a few beats and after, Caroline wanted to have a go. She played a few beats when Andrea, Sharon and Jim came over and liked the sound of it. That's when they decided to incorporate the drums into the band.
The Corrs were nearly ready, and John sent some letters from the local labels in Ireland to England. There were many letters of rejection and John failed miserably. His failures were tremendous and consistent until he went to America to get a deal.
John visited the first record company and walked in. He told them that they couldn't get a record deal and couldn't get signed anywhere. At the record company, they spent two hours explaining what a bodhran and whistle were. Obviously, the Americans have never seen and of these instruments being used before in the pop world. However, they didn't want them either, and so followed their instincts and was a struggle. The last few days in America was doing nothing.
The Corrs first professional gig was on the 27 March 1993 at Whealan's Music Bar in Dublin. This was the first time Caroline played live on the drums. Behind the audience was Jean Kennedy, the American ambassador to Ireland. She came as a guest of Bill Whealan and was impressed that she invited the band to play at the JFK library in Boston June 1994, when America was hosting the soccer World Cup, in which Ireland was playing. As well as assorted congressmen and senators, including Ted Kennedy, the guests included the then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) and Albert Reynolds. They were overwhelmed by their music. The Corrs still haven't got a record deal yet and so extended their Boston gig to include a trip to New York and Los Angeles. They done all of New York and Los Angeles and still no deal.
The band went back to New York to the Atlantic Records where they played a demo tape. Jason Flom saw how good they were and told them to meet with the vice president and president, David Foster. John rang Jason three times a day to ask when they can meet David but Flom couldn't get to them. On the last day in New York, The Corrs made a fateful decision.
John asked Flom where David worked and so he told him. The band and John when around the corner to the studio where there were heavy security guards hanging around Michael Jackson. The band manage to get and sat at the lobby.
David came out and John hurried to introduce himself and the band. David's first impression was the looks of the band but having to know that they were in New York for the last day. The band played for him knowing he couldn't resist. They played the tape first before playing live infront of him. Jim was on the piano, Caroline on the bodhran, Sharon the violin and of course, Andrea on the tin whistle. It was the first time David heard of traditional Irish music and gave them a 10/10.
When John rang Jason Flom, the A & R man began to apologise that he wouldn't be able to set up an appointment to see David Foster. John told them him that they already seen David and continued packing. Suddenly, the phone rang in the middle of it. It was Flom telling The Corrs to spend a lot of money on a big meal as they got a record deal. After, John rang the girls and told them that they had record deal but it didn't seem to sink into their heads. John then had 6 months of negotiations.
David Foster liked the band, songs and harmonies. But having the violin, bodhran and tin whistle was totally a different story. When the band played "Toss the Feathers" to him, he had never ever considered on putting it on the record. However, the band loved playing it and it was also a great deal of fun. After many struggles, David finally accepted it. David Foster was afraid that if he took it too far, they start having an American sound and so asked John to be the co-producer to keep that unique sound going.
In January 1995, The Corrs went to Malibu to record their first ever debut album at Foster's studio, over a period of 5 months. It took 5 months to record their first album as moving to Malibu felt like moving away from home.
In September 1995, The Corrs released their album, "Forgiven Not Forgotten". It featured one of their first hit, "Runaway". The band tried their best to break the USA and UK markets. The first 4 days, some 160 radio stations across the US played "Runaway" which broke the record for a debut single from an Atlantic label. The song then went up to 72 in the Billboard charts. They played at many acoustics at radio stations and then Caroline incorporated the bodhran. They were planning to use it only in traditional tracks. Caroline received her bodhran from a friend which she self-taught from watching a video by a guy named Stefan Hannigan. One of The Corrs worst experiences was when they went to San Diego's radio station which was filled with drunk people. After the performance, The Corrs went off the stage where a drunk person threw up on Sharon.
The band spent most of their time promoting in the States and hit 300,000 sales. In America, they got 5,000, 10,000 or couple of millions sales. The record company believes that they won't get to an extent with the violin and bodhran. The best thing to do next was to go to Europe. Finally, "Forgiven Not Forgotten" sold all 500,000 copies in the US. After all the promotion, The Corrs returned to Ireland and the album was climbing the charts. A world tour was about to begin.
It started in all places, in Ennis (Ireland). They didn't know who big the audience were. In Paris, their concert attracted 2,000 people. Notices went up everywhere in Stockholm and the word went out to Australia. The record company had sold 40,000 albums there and so their agent, John Giddings decided it's time for a short tour there. They decided to go back to Europe and back down to Australia. When they finally went back to Australia, they sold up to 400,000 albums. They had only played in Dublin in Whelan's and they were breaking Australia, Japan, Canada and Spain. Suddenly, Europe was outselling America and Australia ended up nearly selling 600,000 records. They were then placed on the top 5 international albums while the UK ignored the wonderful Irish band.
The band then taken their show on the road receiving standing ovations as support to Celine Dion and Michael Bolton. The high points were performances in Denmark's Odense Festival, Rugby Peace International in Dublin, extensive tour of Australia early and an appearance with a crowd of 50,000 at the big Fleadh festival in London's Finsbury Park with Sting and Van Morrison. They were finally getting closer and closer to stardom. In April 1996, Andrea found time to fly over to Budapest to be on the footage of Alan Parker's move, "Evita". She appeared with Madonna in the movie. The Corrs finally replaced Celine Dion on the charts.
The tour gave The Corrs reputation on being the hardest working band. On November 7 1995, they flew into Los Angeles during a break support on Celine Dion's European tour to appear on Beverly Hills 90210 on the New Year's Eve special. John Hughes and David Foster were eating at a restaurant in Los Angeles a few week before. Aaron Spelling, one of David's friends were dining at a table right next to them as well. David introduced Hughes to Spelling where he commented that "The Commitments" was one of his favourite films. Spelling proposed to audition The Corrs for 90210. The Corrs accepted the offer which they arrived 7:00am on the Beverly Hills set. The Corrs had a stressful day where after the 90210, they did Dublin, the Kings Hall in Belfast and flew straight to Dublin, did a point with Celine Dion and went to Los Angeles the next day. They started at 7:00am and spent the whole day on the set. After they finished at 8:00, they were on a flight to New York at 10:00. They arrived at New York and did the CBS morning show, got in at 6:00 in the morning. After the CBS, they flew back to Los Angeles and played at VH1.
"Forgiven Not Forgotten" made The Corrs become international stars. They received gold in 6 territories such as, France, Canada< Norway and Japan. They also received multi-platinum in 6 more and worldwide sales of 2 million. It became certified double-platinum in Spain, Denmark and New Zealand, an unprecedented platinum in Australia and 9 times platinum in Ireland. The album was number 3 in the Irish charts while "Runaway" was the top 10 single.
In November 1997, The Corrs released their second album, "Talk on Corners". The Corrs were willing to try out new things and get together with other singers to produce new songs. Andrea then decided to take the bigger role in writing or co-writing lyrics.
"Talk on Corners" was then recorded and was required to be released in October 1997. When Atlantic heard the album, David didn't like it. He was expecting to have a hit single. If there wasn't a hit single, he believe that their career would be over.
Finally, the album was released. In the first week of its release, it became number 1 in Ireland and number 6 in the UK. Between November 1997 and February 1998, the sales reached 1 million copies but it wasn't good enough as they want to reach their goal of 3 million. John Giddings then decided that they should hire the Royal Albert Hall and persuade BBC to broadcast it live. There was only one day to do it, 17 March 1998, St Patrick's Day. The idea playing at Royal Albert Hall was scary because they didn't know if anybody would turn up since it was a huge hall. Mick Fleetwood agreed to be the guest appearance in the concert to perform his song, "Dreams".
The live performance changed The Corrs fortunes. BBC broadcast it on the radio the same night and Odyssey Cable Network shown it across the US. The band booked 7,000 seats from the advice given from their agent. All places were sold out.
The band decided to release dreams as a single. After, they would re-release it on "Talk on Corners" as a bonus track.
In May 1998, the single was in the playlist of the radio. It became number 6 on the UK charts and the next month, "Talk on Corners" reached the top. They finally had broken the UK market and their second became a phenomenon to the country. "Talk on Corners" was number 1 on 6 seperate occasions. In 1998, it was 1 for 10 weeks and in April 1999, they made music history by becoming the first ever Irish band to take the 2 top positions in the UK charts. "Talk on Corners" has sold out 8 million copies worldwide.
In December 1997, the band performed at the annual Vatican Christmas concert and received a private audience with Pope John Paul ll. Also in the same month, they became the first international act to sell out newly renovated Olympia Theatre in Paris.
The Corrs made a number of high-profile performances in 1998, including stadium dates with the Rolling Stones, an appearance with Luciano Pavarotti at his War Child charity, a set at the Prince's Trust benefit concert in Hyde Park, a royal appearance with Queen Elizabeth ll and 400 million watching TV around the globe of the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpar.
In February 1999, they received an award as being the "Best International Band" category. The group then found time to tour the world like performances at Glastonbury Festival, homecoming gig at Dublin's Landsdowne Road infront of 42,000 fans. The Corrs also performed at the Nobel Peace Prize gala in Oslo and NetAid concert at London's Wembley Stadium.
The Corrs ended their magnificent 1999 with an MTV unplugged special and another release. It featured orchestral and acoustic versions. Since it's November release, it has sold out 2.7 million copies earning them a platinum in 11 territories and gold in 10 more. In January 2000, all of The Corrs 3 released albums were in UK's top 15.
After nearly 3 years of the release of the second album, The Corrs returned home to Dublin in 1999 to work on their new album, "In Blue". They decided to record this album entirely in Ireland where they can see family, friends and also sleep in their own beds. The band were also willing to put 16 hours a day with producer Mutt Lange to get the best out.
The Corrs worked extremely hard to get their new album to be the best. Lange was a perfectionist expecting everything to be perfect all the time. In the album, "Say" was written by Sharon while "Give Me A Reason" from Jim and Andrea.
In addition, Andrea co-wrote 3 new tracks with Lange. These tracks were Breathless, All The Love In The World and Irresistible. Andrea and Mutt went up to a forest to write songs. The way that he writes songs is different to how The Corrs do.
Sadly, in the middle of recording their album, The Corrs lost their mother, Jean due to a lung disease. They decided to dedicate a song in the album for her, "No More Cry". Andrea and Caroline quickly got together to write this for their father, Gerry.
"In Blue" sold up to 4.5 million copies and building up a worldwide audience as they went along. The album had topped the charts in 18 countries like, UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Slovenia, Australia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore. It also spent 3 weeks as number 1 seller in Europe. They also earned themselves many international certifications such as Quintuple platinum in Ireland; platinum in the UK, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore; and gold in France, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, New Zealand, and Taiwan. In the late 2000, "Breathless" came in the year end chart of being the most played tracks based on European Radio top 50.
Since making their
debut album 5 years, ago The Corrs sold over 20 million albums and is also a
very successful band. They will always fight till the end. Nearly giving up
because of not having a record company, they still tried and tried until
they became the best international band. So no matter, "if you don't
succeed, try try again.
© Copyright 2003 / The Corrs