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Thursday, 16 August, 2001, 17:28 GMT 18:28 UK
Paul Heaton puts band on hold
The Beautiful South
Heaton (centre): Doesn't want songs to be 'wasted'
Beautiful South frontman Paul Heaton has put the band on hold, blaming radio stations for ignoring songwriters.

Heaton said he has postponed making a new Beautiful South album because the music played on stations like BBC Radio 1 has become too narrow and commercial.

Radio 1 should be playing me. Radio 1 should be playing songwriters

Paul Heaton
The station is pandering to the tastes of 15-year-olds and only playing songs that sells millions of copies, he told BBC News Online.

Radio 1 says it plays a wide variety of music and more than half its target audience tune in.

But Heaton says Radio 1 has "a problem with variety" and is ignoring British songwriters, who are "our heritage" - which is putting young musicians off forming bands.

'Specialist interest'

"I think it should stick its neck out," he said. "And it's able to do so."

"Radio 1 should be playing me. Radio 1 should be playing songwriters.

"Overnight, we've become specialist interest."

Biscuit Boy CD cover
Heaton has created a solo project called Biscuit Boy

Heaton has recorded a solo album because if new Beautiful South songs were not played on Radio 1, he would consider it a failure.

He is still writing songs with his Beautiful South bandmates - but will not release them in the current climate because he thinks they would be "wasted".

The band's last album, Painting It Red, reached number two in the UK charts when it was released in October 2000.

But only two of the 19 tracks were released as singles. Closer Than Most peaked at number 22, while The River only reached number 47.

New project

"As soon as it [Radio 1] starts playing songwriters, good black rap music and good this and that, everybody will start listening to it again," Heaton said.

In terms of variety, we play everything from the newest hip-hop through to the best new guitar bands

BBC Radio 1
He said he does not want to become like Status Quo - who threatened to sue Radio 1 for not playing their songs - and that one good change in the station's music policy was that it is playing more black music.

His solo project, which goes under the name Biscuit Boy, includes musicians who have worked with Joe Strummer, Johnny Marr and Catatonia.

'New bands'

Their single, Mitch, is released on Monday, 3 September and has not been playlisted by Radio 1.

But it has been put on Radio 2's C-List, which means it gets up to five plays a week.

A Radio 1 spokesman defended the station's music policy, saying 54% of the target audience of 15- to 24-year-olds listen to the station.

"In terms of variety, we play everything from the newest hip-hop through to the best new guitar bands with shows that take in R&B, garage and all types of dance music," he said.

"Perhaps not in the traditional sense, but in the view of our young audience, all these people and the others played on Radio 1 are writing songs."

The Beautiful South's Paul Heaton
"A Beautiful South record not getting played on Radio 1 is a failure"
See also:

12 Mar 00 | Scotland
Beautiful South legal battle settled
03 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Radio 'faces radical overhaul'
10 May 01 | TV and Radio
Radio 2 becomes number one
25 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Virgin drops teen groups
27 Nov 99 | Entertainment
Sir Cliff 'hurt' at music snub
02 Aug 01 | TV and Radio
Radio 'more popular' than TV
13 Oct 98 | New Music Releases
The Beautiful South
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