One of Ireland's most successful pop exports of the 90s, family group The Corrs comprise Jim (guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), Sharon (violin/vocals), Caroline (drums, bodhrán, keyboards, vocals) and Andrea (lead vocals, tin whistle). After gigging locally as a duo, Jim and Sharon Corr brought in their younger sisters Caroline and Andrea in order to audition for Alan Parker's 1991 movie The Commitments. Andrea secured the role of Jimmy Rabbitte's sister in the film and the others featured in bit parts. During filming, the sibling quartet were signed by manager John Hughes, after which they underwent a long apprenticeship honing their repertoire in an attempt to secure an international recording deal. A big break came when they were seen playing at a small gig at Whelen's, Dublin in 1994 by the US Ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith. She invited them to play in Boston prior to America's hosting of the football World Cup. While in America the band won an audience with Michael Jackson's producer David Foster and signed to Atlantic Records in collaboration with the Lava and 143 labels.
The Corrs' 1995 debut, Forgiven, Not Forgotten, was a striking work, deftly combining traditional music with a strong pop sensibility. The traditional opener 'Erin Shore' featured some stunning violin from Sharon Corr, and segued into the title track, which remains one of their most accomplished compositions. In addition to many strong self-penned numbers such as 'Someday', 'Secret Life' and 'Runaway', the album included the raucous 'Toss The Featers', their perennial concert finale. The album was a best seller in Eire and before long substantial sales were logged in Australia and continental Europe, with figures in excess of two million. Meanwhile, the unit toured non-stop, securing a strong fanbase in America and Asia. Britain remained strangely resistant to their charms, and although the album subsequently charted none of their singles secured substantial airplay. By now the foursome's live appearances had won a devoted following while their model good looks ensured that they were frequently photographed in numerous magazines. Andrea Corr took time off to continue her acting career, appearing alongside Madonna in Alan Parker's 1996 film adaptation of Evita as Juan Peron's mistress.
As a result of their arduous touring, The Corrs decided to recruit several name writers to assist them in completing compositions for their next album. Among the supporting cast of composers was Glen Ballard, Oliver Leiber, Rick Nowells, Billy Steinberg and Carole Bayer Sager. The resultant Talk On Corners, although it contained some traditional elements, was a much more pop-orientated album with a broader appeal. It was a warm treat for an army of new fans who could enjoy the group's beautifully structured tunes as well as marvelling to the surprise finale - a reworking of Jimi Hendrix's 'Little Wing', in a collaboration with The Chieftains. Initially, the album followed the same sales pattern as its predecessor, with Britain again showing only limited interest. Two singles were issued, the sensual 'Only When I Sleep' and the witty 'I Never Loved You Anyway', but both failed to break through into the UK charts. Their persistence and determination finally paid off in 1998, firstly via a St Patrick's Day appearance at the Royal Albert Hall, which was broadcast later that evening on BBC Television. The show featured a guest appearance on drums by Mick Fleetwood, and it was revealed that The Corrs' next single would be a cover of Fleetwood Mac's 'Dreams', reworked by Todd Terry. When 'Dreams' hit the UK Top 10, The Corrs exploded in Britain and suddenly were everywhere, appearing regularly on prime time radio/television slots and earnestly promoting their album. By June 1998 the previously modest sales of Talk On Corners were transformed and the work rose to number 1, going on to become the biggest selling UK album of 1998. Renewed interest in the album prompted Atlantic to select two more singles from the work: a remix of the ballad 'What Can I Do' courtesy of Tin Tin Out, and a K Klass remix of the strident 'So Young'. Both reached the UK Top 10 confirming The Corrs' arrival as a strong singles act. The same year, Andrea Corr was featured as the singing voice of the heroine Kayley in Warner Brothers' first fully animated movie, The Quest For Camelot. A remix of 'Runaway' debuted at UK number 2 in February 1999. In April, their albums occupied the top two slots in the UK album charts.
The MTV Unplugged collection featured five new tracks, including the single 'Radio'. The unashamedly poppy 'Breathless' preceded In Blue during the summer of 2000. Neither broke any new ground, but both topped the UK charts and the album passed the million sales mark in America, proving that The Corrs' popularity was as strong as ever. In 2003, Andrea Corr performed the Bono/Gavin Friday song 'Time Enough For Tears' on the soundtrack of In America. The following year a new Corrs album, Borrowed Heaven, was released. This disappointing collection was followed by the far superior Home on which the quartet offered new interpretations of 13 traditional Irish songs. The Corrs were to wind down in 2006 with Andrea and Sharon both embarking on solo careers.
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