Formed: 1991, Dundalk, Ireland
Members: Andrea Jane Corr, lead vocals, tin whistle (born Dundalk, Ireland, 17 May 1974); Caroline Georgine Corr, drums, bodhran, backing vocals (born Dundalk, Ireland, 17 March 1973); James Steven Corr, acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, backing vocals (born Dundalk, Ireland, 31 July 1968); Sharon Helga Corr, violin, backing vocals (born Dundalk, Ireland, 24 March 1970)
Best-selling album since 1990: In Blue (2001)
Hit songs since 1990: "So Young," "Breathless," "When the Stars Go Blue" (duet with Bono)
The impossibly good-looking family band the Corrs, composed of three sisters and a brother, rose to popularity during the mid- to late 1990s with an accessible blend of traditional Irish instruments and splashy, bright pop music. Less politically oriented than their fellow Irish rockers U2 and not as prone to preach as the Cranberries, the Corrs strike a pleasant chord and have sold millions of records worldwide. The Corrs' albums have topped Billboard 's U.S. and U.K. record charts.
Growing up in Dundalk, county Louth, the four off-spring of Jean and Gerry Corr were a musical lot. Jim took guitar and piano lessons, Andrea studied the penny whistle, Caroline worked at the piano until she switched to drums once the band became seriously ambitious, and Sharon learned the violin, commonly referred to in Irish music as the fiddle. Despite the fact that the family grew up in a town halfway between Belfast and Dublin, near the border of Northern Ireland and home to a branch of the Irish Republican Army, politics rarely surface in their music. Instead, it seems that the Corrs, who write their own material, usually focus on sunny pop songs with touches of their native instruments combined with lovely harmonies.
The band had already hit it big in the U.K., Ireland, Asia, and Australia when it attempted to launch itself on U.S. airwaves. Oddly, its second album, Talk on Corners, was a sales dud in America until it was retooled several months later after the group toured with the Rolling Stones. Talk on Corners: Special Edition (1997), with its cavernous remixes and glossy production, enjoyed some airplay. The album's sales were buoyed by the danceable pop song "So Young," an ebullient anthem, and the revvedup cover of the Fleetwood Mac song "Dreams." But the first two Corrs albums made nary a mark on the American pop audience. It was not until their third album, In Blue (2000), co-produced by Robert Lange and Mitchell Froom, that the Corrs gained their hold on American shores.
The group's fortunes were spurred by the pop radio masterpiece "Breathless," an airy, upbeat celebration of new-found love, in which Andrea sings in her rich, powerful alto, "So go on, go on, come on / Leave me Breathless / Tempt me, tease me, until I can't deny this / Lovin' feeling / Make me long for your kiss." The song landed on a handful of Billboard charts, including the number seven position in the Adult Top 40. In Blue was not all whistles and fiddles, though, as the Corrs stretched their sound with the country-tinged torch song "All the Love in the World," which could easily have been recorded by the country/pop singer Trisha Yearwood. The Corrs do know how to write beautiful weepers that hold their own against other contemporary Irish bands, although they significantly speed up the tempo of their laments, such as on "Radio" from In Blue. Despite the overly cheery tone of the album, there are some darker moments, including the melancholy "All in a Day," which laments a miscarriage.
According to some critics, success in America came at the expense of the Corrs's Irish roots; the band nearly dispensed with the traditional sounds featured so prominently on their prior albums. The criticism did not really harm the band though—In Blue went on to top the charts in eighteen different countries. Two years later, the band released a live album and a duet with Bono of U2, a cover of the Ryan Adams song "When the Stars Go Blue"; it hit number eighteen in the Billboard Adult Top 40, signaling their continued appeal.
The Corrs began their career as a family band that took the best of their native country's music and added a high-octane dose of radio-friendly pop music to prove to the rest of the world that Ireland could still produce amazing musical success stories.
Forgiven Not Forgotten (Lava/Atlantic, 1995); Talk on Corners (Atlantic, 1997); Unplugged (Atlantic, 1999); In Blue (Atlantic, 2000); VH-1 Music First Presents the Corrs Live in Dublin (Atlantic, 2002).
"Corrs, The." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/corrs
"Corrs, The." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Retrieved July 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/corrs
An appealing mix of traditional Celtic and standard popular styles, the Corrs’ boundary-crossing music has found worldwide popularity stretching far beyond their native Ireland. Indeed, solid musicianship, tight vocal harmonies, and the undeniably appealing images of the three Corr sisters along with the eldest sibling, brother Jim Corr, have made them one of the most famous and best-selling musical groups in the world. While their initial success took place during an international wave of Irish-themed cultural popularity, Corrs transcended the category of “ethnic” music on their way to becoming best-selling artists throughout Europe, Asia, Oceania, and finally, North America. As reviewer John Aizlewood of Q noted in his review of their 2000 release In Blue, the Corrs were popular even “for people who don’t really like music… They are truly all things to all men.”
Born to Gerry Corr, a manager of the payroll department of the Irish Electricity Board, and his wife, Jean, a homemaker, the four Corr children enjoyed a solid, middle-class upbringing. Although their hometown of Dundalk was near the border of Northern Ireland and home to a branch of the Irish Republican Army (I.R.A.), the politics of the one-time terrorist group had little obvious impact on the family. Each of them attended
Members include Andrea Corr (born Andrea Jane Corr on May 17, 1974, in Dundalk, Ireland), lead vocals, tin whistle; Caroline Corr (born Caroline Georgine Corr on March 17, 1973, in Dun-dalk, Ireland), drums, bodhran, backing vocals; Jim Corr (born James Steven Corr on July 31, 1968, in Dundalk, Ireland), acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, backing vocals; Sharon Corr (born Sharon Helga Corr on March 24, 1970, in Dundalk, Ireland), violin, backing vocals.
Siblings born to Gerry Corr, a manager for the payroll department of the Irish Electricity Board, and Jean Corr; grew up in Dundalk, Ireland; completed secondary education in local Catholic schools; brother Jim worked assession musician in various Dublin bands; encouraged by the filming of the musical-comedy The Commitments to form a family vocal group; played the Dublin bar circuit; invited by U.S. Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to perform at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston; secured recording contract while on their American trip; debut album, Forgiven, Not Forgotten, released to strong international sales, 1995; released follow-up, Talk on Corners, 1997; received BRIT Award for Best International Band, 1998; released third original album, In Blue, 2000.
Awards: Phil Lynott New Irish Band Award, Heineken/Hot Press Rock Awards, 1996; BRIT Award, Best International Band, 1998; International Federation of the Phonographic Industry Artist Representative, 2000.
Addresses: Record company —Atlantic Records, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10019, website: http://www.atlantic-records.com.
private religious schools in Dundalk, and while completing their secondary education there, participated actively in musical activities. With the encouragement of their parents, Jim took guitar and piano lessons, Sharon played the violin, Caroline studied the piano (later switching to drums after they aimed for a professional career), and Andrea took up the penny whistle. After completing his secondary education, Jim worked as a session musician with various bands in Dublin, while the girls helped out at their aunt’s pub in Dundalk on weekends and during summer breaks from school.
When director Alan Parker announced that he would make a film from Irish novelist Roddy Doyle’s The Commitments, an account of a struggling Dublin band, Jim Corr decided that forming a family musical group might help secure the siblings parts in the movie. As he recounted to Q’s Andy Pemberton, “I used to look up to bands like The Jacksons. Even sibling bands like Donny & Marie Osmond. I know it sounds corny. The relationship, the two of them up on the screen together.” In the end, only Andrea obtained a part in The Commitments, released in 1994; however, the fledgling band soon gained a manager in the film’s music coordinator, John Hughes. Hughes was well known on the Dublin music scene and secured the new band high-profile appearances at the “HMV Goes Live ’94” acoustic series, as well as an invitation from United States Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to appear at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts.
While in the United States, the Corrs secured a producer for their first album, David Foster, who had a track record of success with Celine Dion and Whitney Houston. Foster also signed the band to his label, 143 Records, affiliated with Atlantic Records in the United States. The resulting collaboration, 1995’s Talk on Corners, featured six instrumental selections among its Celtic-influenced tracks. The album sold well in their native land, as well as countries as diverse as Australia, Japan, and Spain. As Andrea Corr commented to Billboard’s Dominic Pride and Paul Sexton, “In a way we’re fortunate being Irish, because it meant we were welcomed around the world.” Major success in the United States and the United Kingdom, however, was not immediately forthcoming.
For their second studio outing, Talk on Corners, the Corrs enlisted another renowned producer, Glen Ballard, respected for his collaboration with Alanis Morri-sette. The result was a collection of songs that favored more mainstream, rather than Celtic, influences. Yet it was a televised St. Patrick’s Day appearance at London’s Royal Albert Hall that finally introduced the band to truly phenomenal success in the United Kingdom. The exposure of the special, coupled with popular new remixes of tracks from their first two albums, propelled Talk on Corners to the top of the charts. Eventually, the album would occupy the top position on the charts in the United Kingdom on six separate occasions, and the group received the prestigious 1998 BRIT Award for Best International Group.
Although their first two albums were certified gold in the United States, America remained the lone holdout in the English-speaking market to embrace the Corrs as a household name. Most radio stations found the band difficult to fit into either a rock or top-40 format; aside from the remix of their cover version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” the Corrs received scant radio play in the United States for their first two albums. However, the band courted the American public with numerous television appearances in 1999, including a marathon of series of shows on St. Patrick’s Day. Simultaneously, the band performed as the opening act on the Rolling Stones tour, as well as touring on its own across the United States.
With Robert “Mutt” Lange and Mitchell Froom—producers of Shania Twain and Sheryl Crow, respectively—contributing to the production of In Blue, the Corrs further developed the pop side to their sound on their third release. The first track from the album, “Breathless,” earned the weekly spotlight review in Billboard, which noted that it was “the Irish group’s most Americanized single yet,” and “an example of pop perfection.” In due course, the single earned a place on radio play lists, and the accompanying video broke through on MTV’s Total Request Live.
Such widespread success came when the Corrs de-emphasized their Celtic sound. This, however, caused some reviewers to dismiss the Corrs as another band merely chasing success in America at the expense of originality or integrity, “a disheartening example of musical ethnic cleansing,” according to an Entertainment Weekly critic. Caroline Corr defended the group’s efforts, telling Billboard’s Paul Sexton and Chuck Taylor, “When you listen to the album, there’s also a lot of stuff that’s so not mainstream pop, and I think people will be saying, They’re all so different. ’”
Despite the criticism, In Blue earned generally favorable reviews, and topped the album charts in eighteen different countries soon after its release. Continuing to perform around the world, writing their own original music, and expanding their efforts to include soundtracks (Sharon Corr’s music for a television special on the Irish Rebellion of 1916) and movie work (Andrea Corr’s acting roles), the Corrs have earned a reputation as multi-media, global entertainers of the first rank. The band also used its high profile to speak out on copyright issues as Artist Representatives for the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, a mark of their peers’ respect for their hard work and integrity as performers and songwriters.
Forgiven, Not Forgotten, Atlantic Records, 1995.
Talk on Corners, Atlantic Records, 1997.
(Contributor) Legacy: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours,
Atlantic Records, 1998.
Talk on Corners Special Edition, Atlantic Records, 1999.
Unplugged, Atlantic Records, 1999.
In Blue, Atlantic Records, 2000.
Billboard, July 9, 1994 p. 43; March 23, 1996, p. 46; October 17, 1998, p. 100; February 27, 1999; March 18, 2000, p. 53; July 8, 2000, p. 89; August 19, 2000, p.21 ; August 26, 2000, p. 1; September 9, 2000, p. 101.
Entertainment Weekly, September 15, 2000, p. 76.
Music Business International, June 1999, p. 39.
Q, July 1999, p. 90; August 2000, p. 94.
Atlantic Records website, http://www.atlantic-reocrds.com/frames/Artists_Music/biography.html?artistlD=62 (January 9, 2001).
Centre Ireland website, http://www.centreireland.com/corrs/corrs_bio.htm (January 9, 2001).
"The Corrs." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/corrs
"The Corrs." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved July 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/corrs