Ed Harcourt

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Ed Harcourt
Background information
Birth nameEdward Henry Richard Harcourt-Smith
Born (1977-08-14) 14 August 1977 (age 41)
Origin Wimbledon, London, England
Genres Chamber pop, indie pop
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, musician, writer, producer
InstrumentsVocals, piano, guitar, bass guitar, drums
Years active2000–present
Labels Heavenly, Piano Wolf Recordings
Associated acts Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Website www.edharcourt.com

Ed Harcourt (born 14 August 1977) is an English singer-songwriter. To date, he has released six studio albums, two EPs, and thirteen singles. His debut album, Here Be Monsters , was nominated for the 2001 Mercury Prize. [1] Since 2007 he has been writing for other artists, including Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Paloma Faith, and has performed with Marianne Faithfull and the Libertines. [2] His music is influenced by Tom Waits, Nick Cave, and Jeff Buckley, among others. [3] [4]

Extended play musical recording longer than a single, but shorter than a full album

An extended play record, often referred to as an EP, is a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single, but is usually unqualified as an album or LP. Contemporary EPs generally contain a minimum of three tracks and maximum of six tracks, and are considered "less expensive and time-consuming" for an artist to produce than an album. An EP originally referred to specific types of vinyl records other than 78 rpm standard play (SP) and LP, but it is now applied to mid-length CDs and downloads as well.

Single (music) Type of music release usually containing one or two tracks

In the music industry, a single is a type of release, typically a song recording of fewer tracks than an LP record or an album. This can be released for sale to the public in a variety of different formats. In most cases, a single is a song that is released separately from an album, although it usually also appears on an album. Typically, these are the songs from albums that are released separately for promotional uses such as digital download or commercial radio airplay and are expected to be the most popular. In other cases a recording released as a single may not appear on an album.

<i>Here Be Monsters</i> 2001 studio album by Ed Harcourt

Here Be Monsters is the debut album by Ed Harcourt, released in 2001. It was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in 2001. Tim Holmes, one-half of British dance music duo Death In Vegas, co-produced the album. The singles "Something in My Eye" and "Apple of My Eye" charted in the UK. The album reached 84 in the UK album chart.



Harcourt was born Edward Henry Richard Harcourt-Smith on 14 August 1977, in Wimbledon, London, England. [1] The youngest of three, Harcourt is the son of Maj. Charles Harcourt-Smith of the Life Guards and also a former diplomat, [2] [5] and his wife Sabrina, an art historian. Ed began to study piano at the age of nine and achieved grade 8 when he was 17. [6] He declined the offer to study music, citing "the idea of having to analyse, dissect and everything [of one piece of music] would completely destroy any enjoyment". [6]

Wimbledon, London Suburb of London

Wimbledon is a district and town of south-west London, England, 7.1 miles (11.4 km) south-west of the centre of London at Charing Cross, in the London Borough of Merton, south of Wandsworth, north-east of New Malden, north-west of Mitcham, west of Streatham and north of Sutton. Wimbledon had a population of 68,187 in 2011 which includes the electoral wards of Abbey, Dundonald, Hillside, Trinity, Village, Raynes Park and Wimbledon Park.

Life Guards (United Kingdom) senior regiment of the British Household Cavalry

The Life Guards (LG) is the senior regiment of the British Army and part of the Household Cavalry, along with the Blues and Royals.

Before going solo, Harcourt played the bass and keyboards for Snug, a band formed at school in the mid-1990s by Harcourt, James Deane, Ed Groves and Johnny Lewsley. [7] The band recorded two albums and a handful of singles together before dissolving.

In 2000, Harcourt recorded his debut mini-album Maplewood EP straight to a 4-track recorder at Wootton Manor. [8] After signing with Heavenly Records and releasing Maplewood in November 2000, Harcourt recorded his debut studio album Here Be Monsters with producers Gil Norton and Tim Holmes. [8] The album was released in June 2001, and charted on the UK Albums Chart at No. 84. [9] One month after its release, the album was nominated for the 2001 Mercury Prize. [1] He later described the period as "very strange for me, I was naive, I knew nothing. I was used to making music in my room, so it felt very odd being on stage". [2] In the US he signed with Capitol Records. [10]

Multitrack recording process of mixing individual sound sources to a single recording

Multitrack recording (MTR)—also known as multitracking, double tracking, or tracking—is a method of sound recording developed in 1955 that allows for the separate recording of multiple sound sources or of sound sources recorded at different times to create a cohesive whole. Multitracking became possible in the mid-1950s when the idea of simultaneously recording different audio channels to separate discrete "tracks" on the same reel-to-reel tape was developed. A "track" was simply a different channel recorded to its own discrete area on the tape whereby their relative sequence of recorded events would be preserved, and playback would be simultaneous or synchronized.

Gil Norton is an English record producer known for his work with alternative rock bands such as Pixies, Echo & the Bunnymen, Foo Fighters, Tribe, Jimmy Eat World, Dashboard Confessional, Feeder, The Distillers, Maxïmo Park, Counting Crows, Terrorvision, The Triffids, Del Amitri, James, The Feelers, The Beekeepers, Twin Atlantic, General Fiasco, Span and Intergallactic Lovers.

Death in Vegas band

Death in Vegas are an English electronic music group, for which Richard Fearless serves as frontman. Influenced by a wide range of musical genres including psychedelic rock, electronica, krautrock, dub and industrial, the band's sound is constantly changing, moving between live rock sounds, electronica and minimal techno. The band was formed in 1994 by Fearless and Steve Hellier and signed to Concrete Records under the name of Dead Elvis. Owing to an Irish record label of the same name, Dead Elvis became the title of their first album instead.

Following the non-album single release of the Brian Wilson cover "Still I Dream of It" in October 2002, Harcourt recorded and released his second album From Every Sphere in February 2003. The album became his highest-charting release in the UK, peaking at No. 39. [9] [11] The album also performed moderately well across Europe, peaking at No. 6 in Sweden, [12] No. 25 in Norway, [13] and No. 103 in France. [14] From Every Sphere also yielded his highest-charting single to date, "All of Your Days Will Be Blessed", at No. 35. [9] A second single, "Watching the Sun Come Up", was less successful, peaking at No. 79. [9] After a steady schedule of tour dates in the UK, Harcourt's third album, Strangers , was released in September 2004. The album peaked at No. 57 in the UK and at No. 7 in Sweden, and produced the singles "This One's for You", "Born in the '70s", and "Loneliness." [9] [12]

Brian Wilson American musician, singer, songwriter and record producer

Brian Douglas Wilson is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer who co-founded the Beach Boys. After signing with Capitol Records in 1962, Wilson wrote or co-wrote more than two dozen Top 40 hits for the group. In addition to his unorthodox approaches to pop composition and mastery of recording techniques, Wilson is known for his lifelong struggles with mental illness. He is often referred to as a genius and is widely acknowledged as one of the most innovative and significant songwriters of the late 20th century.

"Still I Dream of It" is a song written by Brian Wilson for the American rock band The Beach Boys. The song was originally intended to be on the Adult/Child album; when the album was aborted, the song sat in the archives for many years. It was eventually released on the Beach Boys' 1993 box set Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of The Beach Boys as the fourteenth track on disc four. As a solo artist, a demo version of the song was also included on Wilson's 1995 album I Just Wasn't Made for These Times.

<i>From Every Sphere</i> 2003 studio album by Ed Harcourt

From Every Sphere is the second album by British singer-songwriter Ed Harcourt, released in 2003. Heavenly Records labelmate Jimi Goodwin of Doves plays tambourine on the first single "All of Your Days Will Be Blessed."

Through 2005 Harcourt played some live dates with a side-project he called Wild Boar. [15] In August 2005, the B-sides and rarities compilation Elephant's Graveyard was released as a digital download. In the same year he performed at the annual Meltdown Festival in London, supporting the Brian Jonestown Massacre and joining the curator Patti Smith for a rendition of "Pissing in a River". [16] He was also part of the ensemble that performed the William Blake inspired Songs of Innocence. [17] [6]

<i>Elephants Graveyard</i> 2005 compilation album by Ed Harcourt

Elephant's Graveyard is a special collection of B-sides and rarities from singer-songwriter Ed Harcourt. The collection was made available as a digital download only in the UK, and as a hard-to-find promo only 2-CD set in the US. The collection spans roughly 5 years of music, some of which had been previously unreleased.

Music download digital transfer of music from an Internet-facing computer or website to a users local desktop computer

A music download is the digital transfer of music via the Internet into a device capable of decoding and playing it, such as a home computer, MP3 player or smartphone. This term encompasses both legal downloads and downloads of copyrighted material without permission or legal payment. According to a Nielsen report, downloadable music accounted for 55.9% of all music sales in the US in 2012. By the beginning of 2011, Apple's iTunes Store alone made US$1.1 billion of revenue in the first quarter of its fiscal year.

Meltdown is an annual festival held in London, featuring a mix of music, art, performance and film. Meltdown is held in June at Southbank Centre, the arts complex covering 21 acres (85,000 m2) and including the Royal Festival Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and The Hayward. Each year the festival chooses an established music artist or act as director of the event and they pick the performers of their choosing. Previous Meltdown directors have included Elvis Costello, David Bowie, Patti Smith, Lee Scratch Perry, Morrissey, Jarvis Cocker, Nick Cave, Scott Walker, John Peel and Ornette Coleman. The festival has been held annually since 1993, except in 2006 when the Royal Festival Hall was closed for refurbishment. In 2018, Robert Smith, lead singer of The Cure, curated the 25th Meltdown.

Harcourt's fourth album The Beautiful Lie was released in June 2006 to generally favourable reviews, [18] with Allmusic describing the album as "an invigorating and frequently gorgeous affair, essential for old fans and a good place to start for newcomers." [19] The album was not as successful on the UK charts, peaking at No. 97. The Beautiful Lie was co-produced with Jari Haapalainen, and features contributions from The Magic Numbers, who sing backing vocals on "Revolution in the Heart"; Graham Coxon, who plays guitar on first single "Visit from the Dead Dog"; and Ed's wife Gita, who plays violin throughout and sings duet vocals on the track "Braille". He later described the release as "the bête noire of the albums". [6]

Harcourt recorded several tracks with the French jazz trumpeter Erik Truffaz for the album Arkhangelsk, released in early 2007. He also performed live with Truffaz's group to promote the album, and they filmed a Take-Away Show video session shot by Vincent Moon. In October 2007, Harcourt released the compilation album Until Tomorrow Then: The Best of Ed Harcourt , collecting material from the first seven years of his recording career. [2] With the release he completed his obligations with Heavenly/EMI and the contract was not renewed. [6] As a consequence he stepped away from his solo career as he was "really bored and sick of myself and my music. I had tried for seven years to make it and break into the mainstream and it didn't happen". [6]

In 2009, Harcourt signed with Dovecote Records in the United States to release The Beautiful Lie stateside, as well as his new EP Russian Roulette which appeared in May of that year. [20] Also in 2009, Harcourt composed the original music for the soundtrack to the Donnie Darko sequel S. Darko . [21] In early 2010, he wrote a song called "Isabel" for the SOS Children's Villages Emergency Relief Fund in Haiti. [22]

Harcourt's fifth studio album Lustre was released on 14 June 2010, the first on his record label Piano Wolf Recordings. [6] The album was produced by Ryan Hadlock at Bear Creek Studios. [23]

In February 2013, Harcourt released the album Back into The Woods through CCCLX, the new label set-up by his manager Sean Adams. [24] It was recorded during a one-day session helmed by Pete Hutchings at the Abbey Road Studios and featured his wife Gita on violin and Arnulf Lindner (cello). [25] [26] The release was supported by a headlining tour around England. [27]

In January 2014, Harcourt released Time of Dust, a six-track mini-album on CCCLX. It includes the duet "Come Into My Dreamland" with Kathryn Williams. [28] In 2015 he performed the 17-minute piece "Restoration" for the Belgian charity MusicFund. [29] It was inspired by the BBC documentary Our World: Saving Gaza's grand piano broadcast that featured the work of the charity. [30]

In August 2016, Harcourt released his seventh solo album Furnaces, produced by Flood. [31] [32] It was described as "gently apocalyptic pop with billowy choruses". [33]


Ed Harcourt with Wild Boar at The Barfly Club, Camden, August 2005. In shot - Dimitri Tikovoi on drums, Andre Shapps on bass. Out of shot, Emett Elvin, guitar EdHarcourt.jpg
Ed Harcourt with Wild Boar at The Barfly Club, Camden, August 2005. In shot – Dimitri Tikovoi on drums, Andre Shapps on bass. Out of shot, Emett Elvin, guitar

Harcourt performed with Patti Smith and her band as well as Marianne Faithfull during the 2005 Meltdown Festival and her 2014 tour. [34]

Harcourt opened for The Gutter Twins on their European tour in 2008, as well as joining the group on stage to play guitar on some songs, most notably on their appearance on Later... with Jools Holland , performing the single "Idle Hands.". [35] In December 2013 Harcourt made a guest appearance with Laura Jansen at Bush Hall, London to sing "A Call to Arms".

On 26 June 2015, The Libertines were the surprise special guests on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury Festival 2015, with Harcourt joining them on stage to play piano. [36] He also joined the band on stage during the Reading and Leeds Festivals Headline slots in August 2015.

On 22 October 2017, Harcourt played (as band leader) the whole Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album live at the Philharmonie de Paris for Arte TV show with a little help from Carl Barât and Pete Doherty (The Libertines), Barrie Cadogan (Primal Scream), Danny Goffey and Gaz Coombes (Supergrass), Steve Mason and others. [37]


After the release of the Best Of collection Until Tomorrow Then in 2007, Harcourt changed career and became a songwriter for other acts. [2] In 2008, he co-wrote the title track for the Paloma Faith album Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful?, which reached #64 in the UK singles chart. [38] In 2013 Harcourt worked with Sophie Ellis-Bextor on her fifth studio album Wanderlust, which Harcourt co-wrote and produced. [2] He has written for and performed with Marianne Faithful on her Give My Love to London project in 2014. [2] Other artists include Jamie Cullum, [39] James Bay [40] and Lisa Marie Presley. [2] In 2015, Harcourt provided vocals for the track "Villain" from the album 8:58, a project by Paul Hartnoll. [41]

Personal life

He is married to the singer and musician Gita Harcourt-Smith, née Langley, singer and songwriter in The Langley Sisters. [2] Together, the couple have two children – a daughter, Roxy, [42] and a son, Franklyn. [43]

In the video game Silent Hill: Downpour , his song "Here Be Monsters" is played in the "Surprise" ending and "From Every Sphere" plays on WLMN FM radio. [44] The song "Watching The Sun Come Up" also plays in the end credits of the video game Alan Wake's American Nightmare . The song "Born In The 70s" was also featured in the soundtrack for the show The Inbetweeners . In 2014, he wrote and performed the song "The Way That I Live" for the Burberry Christmas film From London with Love. [2] [45]


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