It’s going to be a fine night tonight, it’s going to be a fine day tomorrow. Apparently.
Opus III was the short-lived dance quartet of Kevin Dodds, Ian Munro, Nigel Walton and vocalist Kirsty Hawkshaw (b.1969) that lasted two years and produced one enduring and noteworthy song. Dodds, Munro, and Walton had previously worked together in the late 80’s as the group A.S.K. They released a couple of singles including “Dream”, which worked its way to No.85 on the UK singles chart. In late 1990 they met Hawkshaw, who would become the lead singer and only visible member of the group from now on. The four became Opus III formally in early 1992 and adapted a poem by Edward Barton (b.1958) called “It’s A Fine Day”.
The poem had been turned into a song by ‘Jane’ (Lancaster), Barton’s girlfriend, in 1983, reaching No.5 on the Indie singles chart but doing nothing else. The boys set a transient dance background as Kirsty cited the words as the single was released on Pete Waterman‘s PWL International label in February 1992. “It’s A Fine Day” quickly found its ground and powered up the charts the world over, topping the US Club chart and reaching No.5 on the UK singles chart and No.3 on the dance chart. “It’s A Fine Day” popped up later on in 1992 when UK dance act Orbital used it for their track, “Halcyon” (UK No.37), which even featured Hawkshaw in the video! The harmony of the song/poem was also later ‘used’ for Kylie Minogue’s single, “Confide In Me“, although this was not initially attributed to Barton until he had heard the song and contacted the listed writers, Steve Anderson and Dave Seaman.
As for Opus III, “It’s A Fine Day” would become their one and only singles chart hit. The follow up, “I Talk To The Wind”, flopped, as did their debut album, “Mind Fruit”. The group recorded a second album, “Guru Mother”, in 1994 and achieved a further US Club chart number one with the lead single, “When You Made the Mountain” and reached No.14 on the chart with the second single, “Hand in Hand (Looking for Sweet Inspiration)”. The group separated later that year, chiefly at the request of Hawkshaw, who wished not to become too commercialised and wished to explore her own musical direction. She did that mainly as a guest vocalist on innumerable songs, achieving further top 40 hits with BT in 2000 (“Dreaming”) and Tiësto in 2001 (“Urban Train”) as well as recording with the like of Way Out West, Judie Tzuke, Fragma and Delerium.
Kirsty released the solo single, “Fine Day” (dropping the “It’s”) in 2002, although this was not a commercial hit. Today she mostly records ambient and off-beat material, including the 2020 track, “Love Is All We Need”, with Oona Dahl and “Ghost Town” with Dr. Rod Octopus. She still acknowledges her most famous incarnation. In 2019, she released “It’s A Fine Day 2K19”. Her father, Alan Hawkshaw was a composer for television, most famously writing the Grange Hill theme. He died in October 2021 aged 84. He too was a US chart topper, taking the song “Here Comes That Sound Again” to number one on the US Disco chart, the precursor to the Club chart, in 1979 with his band, Love De-Luxe. I’m sure he was very proud of his daughter topping that chart twice, two decades later. RIP.
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