You're Beautiful

Album: Back to Bedlam (2005)
Charted: 1 1


  • Blunt said on VH1's The Vspot that he wrote this song about seeing his ex-girlfriend with a new man he didn't know about on a train in the London underground. He says they shared a lifetime in their brief moment of eye contact. The words came to him all at once. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Steph - Cape Cod, MA
  • This song is often heard as very romantic, but there's something a little unhinged about this subway encounter that leads him to near obsession and compels him to make "a plan."

    When Blunt did interviews to promote his 2017 album The Afterlove, he often talked about the real meaning of this song, and why it was concealed.

    "It's not the song that people think it is," he said in Time. "It's about this guy who's high as a kite stalking someone else's girlfriend - and should be locked up and put in prison. But people think, 'Ah, he's a sweet romantic.' If you think that's what romance is, then I think you're pretty weird."

    Blunt was marketed as a tender and sensitive balladeer, which skewed perception of the song. By 2017, he was ready to shed that image.
  • In a February edition of Radio Times, James Blunt responded to a question about the girl he sings about: "The girl in question is my ex-girlfriend and she's with her new man. I've always said that I haven't seen her since and then the press tried to find her. I'm not bothered enough to start acknowledging or denying whether they found her."
  • The girl that inspired this song is Dixie Chassay, who works in the casting department on films. Blunt mentions her in the thank you note on his first album. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Emma - Plymouth, England
  • This song reached #1 in its seventh week on the UK chart and after no less than four weeks in the Top 3, a rare feat in the UK where chart toppers usually go straight in at the top of the chart.
  • James Blunt sang this at Elton John's civil partnership ceremony to David Furnish on December 21, 2005, the first day same-sex unions were allowed in England and Wales. John and Furnish got married exactly nine years later, once gay marriage was legalized in England.
  • Back To Bedlam sold 2.37 million copies across the UK in 2005, making it the year's top-selling album.
  • In the video, Blunt jumps into the sea without a shirt. This can be seen as a suicide, as it goes with the last lines of the song, "But it's time to face the truth. I will never be with you." The clip's director, Sam Brown, disagrees and says the act is really about moving on. Blunt had to train with a diving instructor to make the 50-meter (164 feet) leap into the water, which he did twice before cutting his foot.
  • On the unabridged album version of this song, Blunt sings:

    She could see from my face that I was f--king high

    In the radio edit (and also the video), this was changed to "flying high," when puts the song in a completely different context: instead of being high on drugs, he is simply thrilled to see her.

    Blunt told Event magazine: "I'm afraid I do use 'f--k' a lot. It's a very adaptable word. In 'Your Beautiful' I have the line 'f--king high,' and the record company asked me to remove this swearword. I did try putting in 'particularly' and 'especially' instead, I decided that they really aren't suitable substitutes for my favorite word."
  • Weird Al Yankovic recorded a parody of this song called "You're Pitiful," but Blunt's record label (Atlantic Records), blocked the release. Yankovic has allowed the song to be downloaded free. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Cliff - Burkesville, KY
  • Blunt performed this on a 2007 episode of Sesame Street as "A Triangle." Apparently, Blunt has a thing for the three-sided shape. Sample lyric: "It must be those angles put a smile on my face, not to mention the hypotenuse."
  • In an interview with Q magazine February 2008, Blunt was asked about the photo of a pill on the cover of the Back To Bedlam CD. He explained: "It's a ceramic pill about a foot long that I found in Carrie Fisher's house, where I lived when I recorded both albums. It said 'Prozac' on it but I changed it, obviously, to say 20 milligrams of James Blunt. I just thought it looked cool."
  • The Daily Record March 22, 2008 asked Blunt if he was bored with this monster hit. The singer-songwriter replied: "If I had the radio on all the time and they kept playing that song then yes, I'd probably turn it off. But do I still like the song? Absolutely. It's a really personal song about a moment which meant a great deal to me. And I'm sure plenty of guys have seen their ex-girlfriend with a new man at some stage. It bites into you and I captured that in a really honest song. I love that song for capturing that moment. I'm saddened by what it reminds me of, and I appreciate what it did which is advertise an album I'd made."
  • Back To Bedlam was the biggest-selling album of the 2000s in the UK. Dido's No Angel was the second most popular, and Amy Winehouse's Back to Black the third.
  • British Songwriter and producer Sasha Skarbek had been helping James Blunt develop his songcraft for a while when the pair sat a piano one day in LA. During that session they developed this tune from a basic sketch into a complete song in just three hours. "It's strange that the songs you become known for tend to be the ones that come so quickly that you almost question it," Skarbek reflected to Q magazine June 2012.
  • According to the Daily Telegraph, Blunt sang this during the marathon 2008 All the Lost Souls tour 213 times in 58 countries in two months.
  • The ubiquity of this song caused some problems for Blunt, who told the British tabloid Hello! in 2014:

    "There was one song that was force-fed down people's throats - 'You're Beautiful' - and it became annoying. And then people start to associate the artist with the same word."

    Blunt added: "I think, at the end of the day, I was marketed by a record company to appeal to women during Desperate Housewives commercials and you lose 50 percent of the population in doing so. The marketing also painted me out as an insanely serious person, an earnest person and, as all my friends know, I'm anything but. I have a couple of over-emotional miserable songs that I'm known for, but I think it's turned that corner now. People can see I don't take myself that seriously."
  • In the beginning of the song, Blunt sings the first line twice ("My life is brilliant") because he mistimed it. The mistake was left in the final album recording, but omitted in radio versions. Blunt explained in a 2020 interview with The Guardian: "The song has a false start. I sing 'my life is brilliant' twice, which is my little joke, but I think in my elated state, from whatever concoction I might have taken at the time, life did seem really brilliant. The tube certainly looked very colorful."
    Suggestion credit:
    Aline - Montreal
  • Director Sam Brown shot the music video atop a cliff in Mallorca, Spain. He used a rain machine to create a dreary atmosphere, but it was actually a warm summer day that was ideal for Blunt, who had to strip off his clothes in the clip. The shoes he removed weren't his, though. The director lent his own shoes to the singer because Blunt liked them so much.
  • The song's co-writer Sacha Skarbek told Hit Quarters what songwriting lessons he shared with the singer: "When James and I first started working together although he had enormous potential - a great ability with lyrics and turn of phrase - he didn't necessarily have all the songcraft - the understanding of how arrangements work or of how hooks are important and how they work. So not just the technical side but also in how to get your message across - when to make things simple and when to allow a little bit more imagery. I think that was what I was able to offer him at that stage."
  • Blunt's 2019 video for "Cold" follows where "You're Beautiful" left off, showing him washed ashore after diving into the water.

Comments: 49

  • AnonymousJames blunt wrote this song about his ex girlfriend he seen her on the subway she was with her new man, but they seen each other and shared a moment that would last till the end but didn't do anything about it that's why he says I don't think I'll see her again but it's time to face the truth I will never be with you, it's very difficult to face the painful truth now isn't it
  • Andrea from Australia Mmmmmm this is really Interesting, I love the song although I never thought it as "sweet romantic " as more heartbreaking romantic and it still tears me up when I hear it to this very day.
  • Rich from Lake Wylie, ScIn a recent interview with the Huffington Post, James said:

    Everyone goes, "'Ah, he's so romantic. I want 'You're Beautiful' as my wedding song.'" These people are f*ked up... 'You're Beautiful' is not this soft romantic f*king song. It's about a guy who's high as a f*king kite on drugs in the subway stalking someone else's girlfriend when that guy is there in front of him, and he should be locked up or put in prison for being some kind of perv.
  • Matthew from Toronto, OnA maudlin, unexciting song, painful at times to listen to. But it was fun seeing Blunt perform the song wearing a pair of wellies (what the English call rubber boots) at the Glastonbury festival & then strutting about backstage still wearing them. I had to admit I had a new level of respect for them once I saw that.
  • Adrian from Johor Bahru, MalaysiaThe accompanying tune is probably copied from the Lonely Man, the theme from the Incredible Hulk TV series.
  • Ferenc from Budapest, HungaryTraditionally in old hungarian folk songs especially the ones from Transylvania the lines repeated I dont now about old english or irish ballads may be we witness an old tradition lurking back and using it again
  • Alexandre from Santos, BrazilI just don't know why so many people seem to enjoy picking on James Blunt. He's by far one of the greatest musicians of his generation. His songs are meant for those who love, want to love and wish to be loved. Albertoni, Bairro da Aparecida, Santos, Brazil. June 2, 2008.
  • Maladiq from Ploiesti, RomaniaIt is not the best song ever (personaly i prefer i don't want to miss a thing as the best love song because it takes the words out of my mouth), but it is a very good one.
    I bet many of those who say he has an annoying voice also think this about opera player. What James and the opera players have in common is tehnique. I'm not saying he is better than the opera playiers, but before judging try at least to sing as good as him. You can't do that falsetto, so shut up;)
  • Carmelc from Sydney, NsDespite some of the negative comments james Blunt has been given,he definately knows what he is doing yes he does have a plan and obviously whatever it may be,it most certainly is working.And whether your saying james blunt in a negative way or a positive way your still knowing his name now aren't you?I say brilliant good for him keep it up.its definately getting results.
  • Krys from Warner Robins, Gai dont know wy so many people say he can't sing. he is a brilliant singer, he takes falsetto to a new level
  • Vincent from Bucharest, RomaniaIt's a huge song .Simply perfect.
  • Richel from Santa Ana, Cait's shameful how those idiots would judge james blunt by this one song...well sure, go ahead..but have you heard all of his OTHER works, you fool?..unbelievable
    nevertheless, this song is in a league of its own
  • Kelly from Wilmington, NcThis song is beautiful.
    When you listen to the first bit, "My life is brilliant," that could literally mean great, but I always take it in the sarcastic sense-he sees his ex on a subway with another man, "Oh isn't my life just brilliant?" Everything else is pretty much explanitory. Has anyone else ever thought this?
  • Alefiyah from Muscat, Otherhis voice is different and i think quite good.
    i like singers with a diiferent typr of voice not routine.
  • Mike from Falmouth, MaOne more thing, chances are when Weird Al wrote "You're Pitiful" more than likely it was james blunt himself that gave him the inspiration. Face it, the guy's pitiful.
  • Mike from Falmouth, MaThis one the single most annoying songs i've ever had to put up with. With all due respect to our armed forces, this guy sounds like he had his balls removed. As a rock radio dj, i ALWAYS skipped over this song for the sake of the listeners. Their ain't nothin' beutiful about this tune.
  • Adam from Sydney, Australia......2 minutes since my last post and I've already penned a better song than this. You see, it's that easy folks!
  • Adam from Sydney, AustraliaOh, and I encourage everyone out there to start writing songs, because all of us can have a successful music career if this chimp can.
  • Adam from Sydney, AustraliaOh, and how did he ever make the army? my grandmother could snap his neck!
  • Adam from Sydney, AustraliaJames Blunt, my favourite cockney rhyming slang for the female reproductive organs which, incidentally, are far more attractive than him. How did this guy get a record deal!
  • Laura from London, EnglandMy friend was killed in a car accident three days before my birthday, and this was her favorite song. I hated the tune (the lyrics seem conceited. He doesn't know this girl at all, but he wants her just because she is good looking? No thank you) but after she died, it has become my favorite song. The lyrics describe it perfectly, because Grace was a beautiful person, and I don't know what to do because I will never be with her again, and I miss her more than anything.
  • Pxlism from Alkol, WvActually, when I first heard this, I really thought it was a song redone off of one of Elton John's old music, because it sounded so much like him. least I think so. Lol.
  • Summer from Murfreesboro, TnI think it's a wonderful song, but something still bugs the tar out of me. Why does James Blunt sing that first line twice? I thought when I first heard it that he just started the song prematurely and it was a goof, but then I hear him do that every time he performs this. Is it a British thing? Did James purposely write it that was because it has special significance in the song? Or is a goof they kept in because they thought it sounded kinda cool?
  • Jackie from San Diego, CaPlease don't judge him on this song because some of his other songs are way better. (maybe that's just because it's played to much on the radio, as others have said)

    and it might sound crazy but i love his voice it's really what makes the song amazing.
  • Racine from Truro, MaHas anyone heard "You're Pitiful" (Weird Al's spoof of "You're Beautiful)? It's one of the funniest things I've heard this year!
  • Steve from Burkburnett, Txi like the concept of it. I dont listen to mainstrean music enough so its not overplayed in my opinion. Its a real "down to earth song"
  • Trinity from Dl, MnIt is a sad day when a man can make a hit song with a voice like that.
  • Brittany from VirginiaGAH! He doesn't sound like Rod Stewart. And I have to agree with everyone who has said it's overplayed. I'm tired of hearing it by now.
  • Doug from Balintore, Scotlandthe lyrics for this are just terrible in that 'being sick all over the closest person' kind of way
  • Bianca from Windsor, Canadathis is th best song ever!! I can so relate to his last line "But it's time to face the truth i will never be with you" it's so beautiful i wish it wasn't played on the radio so much though because then it becomes old really fast!
  • Jordan from Toronto, CanadaDefinatly among the most annoying songs out there. Heard it in my dentist's office, I would have ran if there weren't sharp instruments in my mouth.
  • Chris from Derwood, MdThis man is a pothead
  • Jc from Auckland, New ZealandIf you ever saw "Rove Live" the guy said that this song is just wierd because he said imagine if you were the new boyfriend...they played the song and he said sonething after each line..OMG it was SO funny...He says things like "Stop busking and stop looking at my girlfriend!!" and after Jame Blunt sing "Cause ive got a plan" he says "Yeah and that plan should be to go away!!" Bit offensive for Jame Blunt and his fans but its just so funny!!But anyway...i dont really like the song.. his voice is a little not my style..I rather like the Wisemen song...hehe
  • Anindya from London, FranceI think the song is fab!!.. James Blunt is reallly cute!!.. song rocks!!
  • Matt from Marion, IaWow. Another one of those cool songs that would be a lot cooler if top 40 radio didn't run it into the ground. Oh well. I find it touching (or maybe I'm a sucker for those sad-but-sweet songs...)
  • Caitlin from Upper Township, NjThe song is pretty and io like the lyrics and music, but i really don't like James Blunt. He just has a very annoying voice. I would love it if this song was done by somebody else.
  • Spencer from West Milford, NjI like the song. My Dad thought it was Rod Stewart. It is very over played. I like it
  • Amay from Edison, NjDon't like the song too much...Like a really annoying Rod Stewart.
  • Troy from London, EnglandThis is the most over played song in years, everyone in the UK is sick to death of hearing it and his winey tones. It is, however very apt that his name could be rhyming slang...
  • Terry from Northampton, EnglandWhen i first heard this song (about 2 months before it was released)i thought "thats not much of a song." By the time it was released i had heard it about 50 times and it had just simply grew on me.It actually became a great song.I wanted it to get to no.1,but it didnt,then it did.What a surprise after being so long in the charts.By this time of course,i had heard it 100 times.One of the best songs this century.
  • Benoit from Paris, FranceYes, I, too, think he sounds like he a little girl, a falsetto...or an silly teenager. I definetly cannot stand his voice, and switch channel everytime I see an advertising about him on french TV. He looks/sounds incredibly foolish and astounded...In my opinion, the lyrics are "flat" : how annoying/incredibly banal to many (in my country, at least, presuming it's everywhere about the same!) females is the "you're beautiful" (!!!) sentence to listen !!! To how many girls we love would we say "you look awful" ??
    I don't think he can even be compared to (great!) Rod Steewart, and about "sentimental" songs, I find Colplay, from far, much more mature and inspired.
    I wonder why he seems to be so successful : maybe because, unlike too many others so called "artists", Blunt makes real music, but nothing more...just casual music.
    Sorry for people who like him (we all are free to like or not), but I still find usual compliments made about him oversized !
  • Parmonie from Westfield, MaHe DOES sound like Rod Stewart! When I first heard it on the radio, I thought it was. Then I saw the video..
  • Phil from Niagara Falls, CanadaThis song became very annoying. Overplayed. It sound like his nose is pinched when he says "your beautiful". also, MadTV made fun of this song and the video, they parodied it
  • Yusuf from Mumbai, IndiaJames Blunt has a very different kind of a voice.I think he sounds good.This is an amazing song ,absolutely love it.The video is also very good.His other songs like goodbye my lover and wisemen are also good
  • Jessica from Orangeville, CanadaJames Blunt sounds like he is a little girl
  • Brandy from Seattle, WaI cannot stand this song!!!! I'm not for the whole falsetto thing. His voice makes me want to gauge out my eardrums.
  • AnonymousAh yes, the falsetto is back, for the first time since when? Biz Marikie on 'Just a Friend'?
  • Bob from San Diego, CaAt the beginning of the song he mentions how he won't lose any sleep over the girl being with another man "cause Ive got a plan." The song seems to go on and contradict that line because he repeatedly says "I dont know what to do." Judging from the video, it seems like suicide is the plan. Still a cool song since I think that is an optional interpretation of that lyric.
  • Rick from Humboldt, IaIncredible song.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Wedding Bell BluesSong Writing

When a song describes a wedding, it's rarely something to celebrate - with one big exception.

Reverend Horton HeatSongwriter Interviews

The Reverend rants on psychobilly and the egghead academics he bashes in one of his more popular songs.

Martin PageSongwriter Interviews

With Bernie Taupin, Martin co-wrote the #1 hits "We Built This City" and "These Dreams." After writing the Pretty Woman song for Go West, he had his own hit with "In the House of Stone and Light."

David Bowie Lyrics QuizMusic Quiz

How well do you know your David Bowie lyrics? Take this quiz to find out.

American Hits With Foreign TitlesSong Writing

What are the biggest US hits with French, Spanish (not "Rico Suave"), Italian, Scottish, Greek, and Japanese titles?

Martyn Ware of Heaven 17Songwriter Interviews

Martyn talks about producing Tina Turner, some Heaven 17 hits, and his work with the British Electric Foundation.