The Divine Comedy were formed in Londonderry, Ireland, by Neil Hannon and released their first EP in 1990.
Neil Hannon’s relationship with Universal Publishing began with the album 'Fin De Siècle' in 1998, its biggest hit, the jaunty 'National Express', belied its more intimate, soul-searching tone. Maintaining the balance between these poles, 1999's 'Secret History – the Best of The Divine Comedy' included two new songs ('Gin-Soaked Boy' and 'Too Young to Die') alongside the band's main hits.
A serious side to the band was also in evidence in 2000's collaboration with Ute Lemper on her album 'Punishing Kiss', most of which featured The Divine Comedy as Lemper's backing band. Neil Hannon and Joby Talbot contributed two original songs to the album.
2001 album 'Regeneration' saw Hannon hire famous producer Nigel Godrich to "remake" the band. Neil ditched his suit and donned a Britrock band image. The album was a critical and commercial success, but soon after its release it was announced that The Divine Comedy were splitting up. However, within a year Hannon was touring again with a revised band line-up, playing a series of joint-headline gigs in the United States, United Kingdom and Ireland featuring both The Divine Comedy and Ben Folds, who would cover The Divine Comedy's 'Songs of Love' on his Sunny 16 EP.
In 2004, after moving to Dublin and becoming a father, Hannon - the only remaining member - released the critically acclaimed, self-produced ‘Absent Friends’, a sincere return to form that reunited him with Godrich and long-time collaborator Joby Talbot. Hannon returned to the studio in 2006 for the Divine Comedy's ninth album, ‘Victory for the Comic Muse’, which utilised 28 other musicians and was recorded in just two weeks.