So Beautiful (P Murray) – Pete Murray 2004
Pete Murray emerged in 2003 with Feeler, his debut major label album, and was recognized as one of the best singer/songwriter prospects of his generation, his soulful vocals and organic roots-rock sound were infectious, beguiling, and unpretentious.After an incredible 42 weeks, Feeler climbed to #1, sold over 400,000 copies, occupied the national charts for an incredible 84 weeks, and re-defined the meaning of the word “sleeper,” when applied to a record. Murray was born in rural Queensland and in 1985 his family relocated to Brisbane, young Peter excelled at sports – rugby union, swimming, and athletics – but injury derailed a professional sporting career. With Ben McCarthy (keyboards) he formed a backing band and started gigging around Queensland, their musical influences included Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Nick Drake.His first independently – produced album, The Game, was released in Brisbane in 2002 but failed to ignite the market, it did however catch the attention of Sony music who signed Murray to a recording contract.By 2003 Ben McCarthy (bass/keyboards), Christian Sargeant (drums), Paul Tyrell (guitar), Col McIntyre (flute/reeds) and Murray (guitar/vocals) went into the Sing Sing Studios (Melb) with producer Paul McKercher, above with Murray, (You Am I, Eskimo Joe, Josh Pyke, Sarah Blasko) to record their debut album Feeler. The first single released from the album was the acoustic ballad So Beautiful, an angsty, remorse-tinged paean to unrequited love, as a relationship is being re-defined by a woman who changes the way she looks and acts, and her partner loses touch with her, as he senses a growing pretentiousness and indifference in her behavior, it was a breakup song for the ages, “I would love to bring you down, and put your feet back on the ground…”Murray has revealed that the song was not about an individual person, but a group of people he encountered in a Brisbane bar, who he felt were so gratingly pretentious, that he went home, sat down, and wrote the first two verses and the chorus of the song, completing it the next morning. He didn’t think the song was very good, and it was not until his girlfriend Amanda Coutts (below) read the lyrics, and said she liked it and asked him if it was about her, which it wasn’t, that he decided to record his very first hit record.The simple promo video features Murray gently strumming on the verandah of a beach house at Byron Bay, intercut with split screen images of girls, including Amanda Coutts, running and tumble-turning along the shore, rolling surf, the family dog, all distilled into the very essence of a blissful summer day. Musically his style is reminiscent of the soft rock/acoustic genre of American singer/songwriter/surfer Jack Johnson.
So Beautiful charted #7 and won the ARIA Award for Most Performed Work 2005, Murray’s next two albums See the Sun (’05) and Summer at Eureka (’08) were both #1 hits, and collectively sold over 400,000 copies, occupying the charts for 59 weeks and 23 weeks respectively. Murray has had something of a love/hate relationship with his first album, revealing that he couldn’t listen to it for 8 years after its release, and it was not until Darren Middleton of Powderfinger contacted him in 2011 to say how much he enjoyed Feeler, that Murray had another listen.He again realized the depth of feeling and emotion that he had invested in the songs, and how they had indeed stood the test of time, Murray’s guiding principle for what makes a song great.Murray was relatively inactive for eight years between 2008-2016, his first marriage to designer Amanda Coutts ended in divorce in 2009 after three years and rearing two sons, the album Blue Sky Blue climbed to #6 in 2015 and sold 35,000 copies, he married photographer Mira Eady in 2016 and a year later his latest album Camacho, was a #3 hit in 2017. His last top 40 hit was Always A Winner, #38 in 2011, and he recently appeared on the Firefight Concert in February 2020, a fund-raising benefit for those affected by recent bushfires that ravaged the east coast of the country, he will also be opening for Robbie Williams on his upcoming Australian tour in 2020, COVID-19 permitting.