5 Facts about Badly Drawn Boy’s Debut album ‘The Hour Of Bewilderbeast’
It’s been 19 years since Badly Drawn Boy released his debut album, Hour Of The Bewilderbeast. Here are the five facts you need to know about Damon Gough’s Mercury-award winning masterpiece.
If you were in your twenties at the turn of the millennium, there’s one album you’re guaranteed to own – ‘The Hour Of Bewilderbeast’. Released in 2000, Badly Drawn Boy’s debut album went platinum and won Damon Gough, aka Badly Drawn Boy, the Mercury Music Prize.
But, how much do you really know about this classic album? Why not find out with these 5 Facts about Badly Drawn Boy’s The Hour Of Bewilderbeast.
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1. The album artwork is based on Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man
No one can mistake the album cover for ‘The Hour of Bewilderbeast’, it’s collage cover is imprinted on a whole generation. But, did you know the cover designed by Andy Votel was inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man? If you look at the cover you can see Badly Drawn Boy has a similar pose to the Virtuvian Man, just without the extra arms and legs.
Speaking at the time of the 15th anniversary reissue of the album, Gough said: “I’m very fond of the cover…It sums up the time as much as the music does”.
2. It beat Doves to win the Mercury Music Prize
It’s the year 2000 and it’s the ninth annual Mercury Music Prize Awards. Jostling for the prize are Gunnersville headliners Doves with their critically-acclaimed debut, ‘Lost Souls’, and Coldplay with their debut album, ‘Parachutes’.
As Doves’ Jimi predicted, ‘The Hour of Bewilderbeast’ bags the prize and Gough makes Mercury history by chucking his cheque away. We can only imagine Chris Martin was left sobbing into his pint of shandy.
Years after winning over his mates Doves, Gough joked: “Well, I think that they have finally forgiven me”. Which is a good job as they’ll be sharing the stage at Gunnersville on Friday 6th September.
3. The Coldplay Connection
‘Don’t panic’, that’s not where the Coldplay connection ends as there were other ‘Sparks’ between the two artists. Firstly, ‘The Hour of Bewilderbeast’ was released on the very same day as Coldplay’s ‘Parachutes’. Also, the record’s producer Ken Nelson also produced, you guessed it, Coldplay’s ‘Parachutes’.
“Recording Badly Drawn Boy’s songs was very different…For a start, we were recording in Damon’s own studio in Manchester,” Nelson told The A.V Club. “I remember it had a very small live area where we set up a drum kit and some guitar amps. He also had an upright piano in there. With Coldplay…we were recording in larger rooms for a more expansive sound”.
4. The title was born from a boozy night out in Japan
We’ve all been there, it’s the day after a heavy night out and you feel a little, ahem, delicate. Well, that’s exactly how Badly Drawn Boy’s bass player from his backing band felt after a drunken night out with Gough in Japan.
“He was well and truly hungover, and he said that he felt bewildered”, Gough explained to UK Music Review. “One of the others said he was like a wilder beast, then a Bewilderbeast and so the word popped up and I thought that I would have that”.
The album could have easily been called just ‘Bewilderbeast’, but Gough knew it needed a little something extra. So, he added ‘Hour Of’ to make it ‘The Hour of Bewilderbeast’ to represent his feelings of not belonging.
“The first album being called Bewilderbeast is a reference to my not knowing anything, not understanding everything,” Gough revealed to Under The Radar. “It underlined a naivety”.
4. The album was inspired by the future mother of his children
Anyone who’s listened to ‘The Hour Of Bewilderbeast’ knows it has love at its heart. So, it comes as no surprise that the album was inspired by the future mother of Gough’s children, Claire.
“That album is a song cycle, really. The first song, in a metaphorical way, describes meeting Claire and I was writing that album in the early stages of our relationship, just before the kids,” Gough explained to Northern Soul. “Claire would have been pregnant through quite a bit of the finishing stages of the album, so there’s a lot of those emotions in it.”