The Corrs are Andrea, Sharon, Caroline and Jim - four siblings from the small town of Dundalk, Ireland which lies north of Dublin near the border with Northern Ireland. When The Corrs were just wee kiddies, their parents, Gerry and Jean Corr, performed in Irish pubs under the name Sound Affair. They would cover hits by groups like ABBA, The Police and the Eagles, often bringing the children along to performances.
When Gerry and Jean Corr received a grand piano as a wedding gift from Gerry's father, they had no idea it would be their children's gateway to fame and fortune. Jim is the oldest Corr and was the first to pick up the instrument when he began tinkling away on the keys around age 4. The others soon followed suit with lessons and encouragement from their parents. Later in their teens, Jim mastered guitar while his sister Sharon took up the violin. Caroline took up drums a bit later, and while Andrea's beautiful voice complimented the other's musicianship well, she didn't start playing tin whistle until 19.
The Corrs got their first big-break in 1991 when the auditioned for Alan Parker's movie The Commitments. Set in the slums of Dublin, it tells the story of one man's quest to bring soul music to the people of Ireland by assembling "the worlds greatest band." All four Corrs received small roles in the film, but only Andrea scored a speaking part as Sharon Rabbitte, the lead character's younger sister. After auditioning for the film, The Corrs scored a manager in musical coordinator John Hughes.
The Corrs second album Talk on Corners
was released in October of 1997 to quite a lukewarm response. Even with production from Glen Ballard, hot on the heels of his collaborative work with Alanis Morrisette, the record received little attention outside of Ireland. But after their cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams
" hit the Top 10 in the UK and was added to a reissue of the record, the band's career took off. Three more Top-10 hits followed, and Talk on Corners
became the UK's highest selling album of 1998.
With In Blue
, The Corrs third studio album, they finally achieved success in the US. Their song "Breathless
" was co-written by well-known producer Mutt Lange and became the group's first Top-40 hit in the US. In 2001 the song was further honored with a Grammy nomination for best pop performance by a duo or group. Unfortunately the Corrs' mother Jean died during the album's production while waiting for a lung transplant, but Andrea and Caroline wrote the song "No More Cry" as a tribute to her. "Our mother wanted us to keep going, to keep getting better," said Andrea. "We have to celebrate that in our music."
The Corrs unique music combines traditional Irish Folk music with elements of Pop, Rock and even Country to create a sound all their own. Caroline calls their music "a blend of modern rhythms and technology with acoustic instruments, violin, tin whistle, drums, and of course the voices." However, 2005's Home is a "purer" collection of Irish-themed tunes—mostly traditional folk songs culled from their deceased mother's songbook.
The Corrs all well-known for their philanthropy. In 1996 they participated in the Pavarotti and Friends for the Children of Liberia concert alongside artists like Bon Jovi, Celine Dion and Stevie Wonder. In 2001 they held a one-off charity concert to benefit Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, England where their mother passed away. The concert raised over 100,000 pounds to expand the hospital's lung treatment center. They're also ambassadors for Nelson Mandela's 46664 campaign and have performed live to raise awareness concerning AIDS in Africa. In 2005 they were made honorary Members of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of their extensive charitable work.