The first time I heard James Blunt, it was because SXSW made this track available from their website. I listened and thought "Not bad and I will try and see him at SXSW", which I didn't manage to do.
By the time UK radio started playing You're Beautiful as a finished record, I'd forgotten all about the SXSW connection but had convinced myself that James Blunt was a no-hope artist (his singles prior to You're Beautiful got almost no media support). Then I realised that You're Beautiful is one of the five pop songs of the millennium so far. It was also massively exciting for the record industry that James Blunt sold millions of albums around the world thanks to one song (not that the follow-ups were bad but it was this song that drove the sales). If someone made an album containing three songs this good, imagine what it would sell.
You're Beautiful was improved as a song between this demo and the final version. For a start, the demo is too close to Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton. But when I first heard You're Beautiful, I was deaf to its potential as a song. And when I heard it again as a finished UK single, for a while there I let my prejudices about the artist and campaign deafen me to its brilliance.
James has a real shot at an enduring A list career.
You're Beautiful (demo version) - James Blunt (final version on iTunes)