This is a group that first found fame on the chart in the mid-90s, and I was rather pleased that they did. Divine Comedy were formed in the late-80s, and released the first of their 12 albums as early as 1990. Their frontman was Neil Hannon, although after several line-up changes, he essentially became the only regular member, and also played various instruments.
Before having a hit, Hannon wrote the theme to sitcom Father Ted, was namechecked in an episode, and also performed “My Lovely Horse” which featured in Ted and Dougal’s dream, which is a great achievement. Another song was briefly used as the theme to Tomorrow’s World. In May 1996, their fourth album “Casanova” was the first to be a hit. Their first hit single was in June 1996 when “Something For The Weekend” reached no. 14, which is one of my favourites by them, and indeed is one of my favourite hits of 1996.
Around the same time, Super Furry Animals released a single with the same title, so this was amended to “Something 4 The Weekend” to avoid confusion, although I don’t know if that’s right or not. Shall I make the inevitable “how on earth is that now 25 years ago?” comment? Well I just did. I also looked forward to the follow-up singles which were “Becoming More Like Alfie” and “The Frog Princess”, and these were very good as well.
Hannon was someone who was rather witty and stylish, although he was insistent that he was never, ever a fop, nor indeed a rake either. In 1998 he contributed a head-spinning version of “I’ve Been To A Marvellous Party” to a Noel Coward tribute album, and it was by this point that he was appearing on magazine covers. In September 1998, “Fin De Siècle” was their first album to make the Top Ten.
And in February 1999, “National Express” became their first and only Top Ten hit single, a fascinating tale about coach travel. Later in 1999, a best-of album was released, which reached no. 3. Hannon has continued to release many more singles and albums since. And in 2009 he launched the side project The Duckworth-Lewis Method, which makes concept albums about cricket. The most recent Divine Comedy album “Office Politics” did make the Top Ten.