You're Beautiful

"You're Beautiful" is a song by English singer-songwriter James Blunt. It was written by Blunt, Sacha Skarbek and Amanda Ghost for Blunt's debut album, Back to Bedlam (2004). It was released as the third single of the album in 2005.

"You're Beautiful"
Single by James Blunt
from the album Back to Bedlam
B-side"Fall at Your Feet" (Acoustic)
Released30 May 2005 (2005-05-30)
  • 3:32 (album version)
  • 3:22 (single edit)
Producer(s)Tom Rothrock
James Blunt singles chronology
"You're Beautiful"
"High (re-release)"
Audio sample
Music video
"You're Beautiful" on YouTube[a]

In the United Kingdom and Australia, the song reached number one and number two respectively. When released as the debut single from Back to Bedlam in Canada and the United States, it reached number one on both charts and received widespread airplay. In 2006, the song won an Ivor Novello Award for airplay.[1] The song has sold 625,000 copies in the United Kingdom as stated by the Official Charts Company, and by October 2012 over three million in the United States.[2] It remains Blunt's biggest hit single in the United States to date, and his only one to reach the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100. In 2012, a new version of the single was issued in Japan. The Q;indivi+ Remix, featuring Japanese performer Keri, was issued on 28 March 2012.[3][4]

The song is performed in the key of E♭ Major.[5]

Writing and inspirationEdit

Newspapers have claimed that "You're Beautiful" is about a former girlfriend of Blunt, Dixie Chassay,[6] casting assistant for the Harry Potter films, although Blunt refuses to confirm or deny this. On 8 March 2006 on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Blunt said of the song, "It's kind of miserable. It was about seeing my ex-girlfriend on the Underground in London with her new man, who I didn't know existed. She and I caught eyes and lived a lifetime in that moment, but didn't do anything about it and haven't seen each other since."[7] According to Blunt, he wrote the lyrics of the song at home in two minutes after meeting her, and then finished the song with Sacha Skarbek in Los Angeles, and with Amanda Ghost also credited as a co-writer.[8] Blunt said of the song: "It's always been portrayed as romantic, but it’s actually a bit creepy. It’s about a guy (me) who’s high and stalking someone else’s girlfriend on the subway. And then the stalker kills himself." In an interview with HitQuarters, co-writer Sacha Skarbek said that Blunt brought the title, verses, and the approach of the chorus to a songwriting session. Skarbek's contribution largely focused on the music aspect to the track, contributing chord ideas for the verses, honing the melodies, and making sure the song stuck to, "a couple of key hooks rather than making it too complicated".[9]

Several versions of the song exist. One lyrical version has an explicit word in it ("She could see from my face that I was fucking high") which was released on Back to Bedlam and most of the "You're Beautiful" singles. The radio edit of the song replaces the explicit lyric, changing it to "She could see from my face that I was flying high". Acoustic, live, and DVD versions have also been released. However, because of the word in question, the album was given a Parental Advisory sticker. When asked about the song, Blunt responded, "It's probably one of the least meaningful songs on the album and by no means people's favourite. The album is like a book covering various aspects of life in a specific order."[10]

At the beginning of the song, Blunt sings the first line twice ("My life is brilliant"). The mistimed delivery was left in the final recording but omitted in most radio versions. This is parodied in "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "You're Pitiful": After the initial start, he says "What, was I too early? Oh, sorry. Should I...Do you wanna start over? Or, keep going? Okay. Now? Now?" and then begins the song again.

Music videoEdit

The music video for "You're Beautiful" was directed by Sam Brown. At least one writer's interpretation is that it shows Blunt taking his own life, perhaps following a Japanese tradition of removing one's shoes and contents of clothing prior to jumping from a great height.[11][12] However, the director of the video states in a "making-of" piece of footage that "[T]he idea [of the video] is built around the last line, where he says, 'I'll never be with you', and that idea of completely forgetting about something, of getting rid of that emotion, and moving on, and I think that the video is a sort of visual manifestation of that emotion."[13]

Blunt removes the upper portion of his clothing in a cold, bare, snowy setting and places all of his personal belongings on the ground. While doing this, seagulls circle overhead like buzzards.[14] At the end of the video, he jumps off a cliff and falls into the water while he sings the lyrics: "But it's time to face the truth, I will never be with you". According to Blunt, he had to jump twice and suffered a split lip in the jumps. The video was filmed in Mallorca, Spain on 23 March 2005.[8]

On November 9, 2021, James Blunt announced the remastering to 4k resolution in YouTube on his Instagram.[15]^[a]

The video has been parodied in a Dead Ringers spoof, with Jon Culshaw impersonating Blunt, singing the song with different lyrics where he explains how he can be cool.[citation needed]

Critical reception and ubiquityEdit gave the song four and a half stars out of five, saying "The simple power of Blunt's songwriting is effective at conveying the pain of realizing he will never be with the object of his affections."[16]

"You're Beautiful" was ranked number seven in a poll conducted by Rolling Stone magazine to identify the 10 most annoying songs.[17] VH1 ranked it number 95 on its list of the 100 Greatest Songs of the '00s.[18] In October 2014, Blunt stated it had become so ubiquitous that it was "force-fed down people's throats".[19] It has been named as one of the worst songs ever recorded, despite its positive critical reviews.

Chart performanceEdit

"You're Beautiful" is Blunt's most successful single release to date. It was also his first successful single and reached number one in ten countries across the world, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Spain, Mexico, Canada, and the Netherlands. The song peaked within the top five in New Zealand, number four, Australia, number two, France, and Germany. Released on 18 May 2005, it entered at number twelve on 5 June and reached number one six weeks later where it remained for five consecutive weeks. The highest position "You're Beautiful" reached in Australia was number two, where it stayed for two consecutive weeks.

In November 2005, "You're Beautiful" was released in North America where it achieved widespread success. In Canada, it ascended to number one (where it remained for four consecutive weeks) 22 weeks following its debut on the BDS Airplay chart. In the United States, it debuted at number 88 before reaching number one 17 weeks later. It replaced Beyoncé's "Check on It" and itself was replaced by Ne-Yo's "So Sick".[20]

The song became the first non-urban or American Idol song to reach the top of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 since Nickelback's "How You Remind Me" in 2001. However, "Hollaback Girl" by Gwen Stefani has also been credited for that accomplishment, but due to its hip-hop-based influences, it's been disputed. This also became the first single by a British artist to reach number one since Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997" (1997).[21] It achieved success on the Billboard Pop 100, Hot Digital Songs, Adult Contemporary, and Adult Top 40 formats. It has been certified double platinum by the RIAA for digital and platinum for mastertone.[22] It has sold over three million in the United States.[2]


The song received three nominations at the 2007 Grammy Awards: Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.[23]

The song won the BMI Internet Award for most plays on BMI-licensed websites in 2007 and was the first song to receive this honor at BMI's London Awards.[24]


The single was released in four official physical formats. CD1 includes an exclusive acoustic recording of "Fall at Your Feet", a cover taken from the BBC Radio 1 live lounge sessions. CD2 includes an exclusive acoustic version of "High", plus the video for "You're Beautiful" and "Making-Of" footage. The 7" vinyl includes an exclusive acoustic version of "So Long, Jimmy". The fourth physical format was an exclusive version of CD1, only available at HMV, which includes an additional third track, in the form of an acoustic version of "You're Beautiful". This version was also sold in Australia.[25]

Track listingEdit

UK CD single number one
  1. "You're Beautiful" (Edit) – 3:22
  2. "Fall at Your Feet" (Acoustic) – 2:25
UK CD single number two
  1. "You're Beautiful" (Edit) – 3:22
  2. "High" (Acoustic) – 4:03
  3. "You're Beautiful" (The Making of the Video) – 3:00
  4. "You're Beautiful" (Video) – 3:23
UK 7" single
  1. "You're Beautiful" (Edit) – 3:22
  2. "So Long, Jimmy" (Acoustic) – 4:14
Australian CD single
  1. "You're Beautiful" (Edit) – 3:22
  2. "Fall at Your Feet" (Acoustic) – 2:25
  3. "You're Beautiful" (Acoustic) – 3:35
Japanese CD single[4]
  1. "You're Beautiful" (The Q;indivi+ Remix) (featuring Keri) – 3:28

Release historyEdit

Country Release date
United Kingdom 18 May 2005 (2005-05-18)
Worldwide 30 May 2005 (2005-05-30)
United States 13 December 2005 (2005-12-13)
Japan (The Q;indivi+ Remix) 28 March 2012 (2012-03-28)



Certifications for You're Beautiful
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[78] Platinum 70,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[79] Gold 15,000*
Belgium (BEA)[80] Gold 25,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[81] 2× Platinum 40,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[82]
Platinum 40,000*
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[83] Platinum 8,000^
Germany (BVMI)[84] Platinum 300,000^
Italy (FIMI)[85]
sales since 2009
2× Platinum 100,000 
Japan (RIAJ)[86]
Digital single
Platinum 250,000*
Japan (RIAJ)[87]
2× Platinum 500,000*
Mexico (AMPROFON)[88] Gold 30,000*
New Zealand (RMNZ)[89] Gold 5,000*
Sweden (GLF)[90] Platinum 20,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[91] Gold 20,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[92] 2× Platinum 1,200,000 
United States (RIAA)[93] 4× Platinum 4,000,000 
United States (RIAA)[94]
Platinum 1,000,000*

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
  Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

See alsoEdit



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General sourcesEdit

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