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Originally a quartet whose sound drew inspiration from psychedelia, the Beloved found their greatest success as a rave-influenced dance-pop duo. Throughout the Beloved's fluid existence, the guiding force behind the group remained vocalist Jon Marsh, who formed the band Journey Through at Cambridge University with Guy Gousden and Tim Havard; with the addition of guitarist Steve Waddington a year later, the group renamed itself the Beloved, and gradually evolved into a moody dance outfit not dissimilar to New Order.
In 1986, the Beloved issued their first single, "This Means War"; a series of releases (including the EP Happy Now, the double A-sided single "Surprise Me"/"Heavy Dancing," and the 1987 LP Where It Is) followed, but none garnered any significant critical or commercial success. Consequently, Gousden and Havard exited in 1988, at much the same time that Marsh and Waddington were falling under the sway of London's burgeoning rave community. After first re-emerging with the ambient-styled single "The Sun Rising," the Beloved then scored an international hit with "Hello," a bubbling techno exercise that name-checked many of the group's influences.
In 1990, the duo issued a pair of albums, Happiness and Blissed Out (a remix of its sister release), that achieved significant success both in and out of clubs. A long layoff followed, however, and when the Beloved returned in 1993 with Conscience, Waddington had been ousted in favor of Marsh's wife, Helena, resulting in a more pop-oriented flavor. After another three-year absence, they released X, a foray back into club culture.