Babybird: Fans taken flight since I spoke about my Jewish family

Mike Cohen
4 min readMar 11, 2024


Jewish Telegraph, March 2024

BABYBIRD’S NEST: Stephen Jones with wife Alison and children Gabe and Delphie

MUSICIAN Stephen Jones — AKA Babybird — has shot back into the spotlight thanks to the inclusion of his biggest hit, You’re Gorgeous, in notorious film Saltburn.
But the Telford-born singer, who is not Jewish, believes that speaking about his Jewish wife Alison and children Delphie and Gabe has cost him fans.
Since the October 7 attacks on Israel and subsequent rise in antisemitism, he has tweeted a number of times on X/Twitter his feelings, especially concerning his wife and children’s safety.
Last week, before deactivating his account, Stephen tweeted: “I’ve noticed, since commenting about what my Jewish family are going through, my sales have gone right down to almost making my releases of music non-viable.”
Stephen, of Cheshire, is pretty prolific on Bandcamp, where he posts new music regularly.
But he told me that his tweet referred more to ticket sales for his forthcoming tour.
He believes that an incident when he last played Liverpool is affecting sales for his show at the city’s Heebie Jeebies on May 22.
“It’s the only one that’s not selling well,” he said.
At Babybird’s last Liverpool concert last year, he says the crowd started doing the ‘oh Jeremy Corbyn’ chant.
“I was probably too angry,” Stephen told me. “They kind of touched a nerve and obviously I’ve not liked him forever.
“But that’s because of his Hamas supporting.”
Delphie, who is currently spending time in New Zealand — where her father was raised from the age of three to seven — read English and media studies at Liverpool University, followed by a Master’s in critical and creative writing.
But in her third year there, the now-22-year-old was violently assaulted twice, although there is no suggesting the attacks were motivated by antisemitism.
Stephen said: “I know from doing gigs in Liverpool that it’s very left Labour. And there’s a lot of weirdness, although I love Liverpool.
“I remember seeing the pro-Palestinian stalls everywhere manned by 50-year-old white women in cardigans.
“Delphie walked past and they saw that she had her Hebrew name necklace on. And one of the younger ones just screamed ‘Zionist’ at her.
“So when Delphie told me that, it was quite shocking.”
Son Gabe, who is 18 on Wednesday, attends Manchester’s King David High School and Stephen finds it upsetting seeing how much security the school needs.
“I deliver Gabe to KD and take him home sometimes,” he said. “You can’t see through the gates.
“It’s just a very bizarre feeling. It’s like they’re all locked in, gated in.
“And obviously, there’s the odd policeman going around the perimeter.”
Stephen has decided to come off Twitter for a while because, despite “so many positive things, when you delve into it you uncover all the horrible nasty things that are being said and just want to leave it alone.
“I see Twitter as not a nice place to be, really. It used to be brilliant. but it’s turned into the place where people vent all their anger.
“Even Alison tells me not to post things, even though she is living and breathing it.
“She wants to move to Israel. She’s much more depressed because she’s Jewish, so I don’t need that extra layer to it.”
His positive experiences with Twitter included images of Brazilians putting Israeli flags on beaches — “the things that the news don’t want to put up there”.
Stephen says he has started switching the news off because of its bias against Israel.
“I put the radio on when I pick Gabe up and have to turn that off,” he explained.
“The BBC not calling Hamas a terrorist organisation or always leapfrogging over the hostages straight on to the Palestinians side of things. It’s not balanced and it makes my blood boil.”
Stephen recently attended the Manchester march against antisemitism.
“It was such an effecting experience,” he said. “I loved every second of that. There were people gawping from the side and you wonder what they’re thinking.
“It’s a bit like Twitter, people just don’t engage. Before I met Alison, I might not have engaged in any way, as it wasn’t on my radar.”
Stephen was delighted that Saltburn used You’re Gorgeous in one scene where one of the main characters even talked about the song.
But what delighted him more was the fact that Margot Robbie produced the film, so “Barbie’s heard my song”.
He revealed that he refused permission for hit film Austin Powers to use the song, “which was probably a really stupid thing to do”.
Filmmakers had wanted to use it in a scene where a naked Elizabeth Hurley has her modesty covered by a series of objects.
You’re Gorgeous reached number three in the UK in 1996 and charted around the world.
Despite it being the twisted story of a photographer exploiting his models, many people play it at their weddings.
Stephen says he writes “political songs with a lower case ‘p’ because “I’m never going to write about the Tories or Labour.
“I like to write about real life, but not forget that it’s music at the end of the day, and people want to be entertained by music.
“So I would never just write destruction and death songs. It has to have a balance and it has to be palatable.
“A lot of my songs are about love, really, but twisting that around.”
Wife Alison, daughter of Arlene Levy, of Whitefield, and the late Brian Levy, took the photographs for the covers of Babybird’s string of hit albums and singles in the 1990s.
Babybird’s 1996 album Ugly Beautiful included the track I Didn’t Want to Wake You Up about Alison’s late father.
The Babybird tour also includes Manchester FAC252: The Factory on May 23, Wardrobe in Leeds the following night before heading down south for a few dates, ending at the 100 Club in London on May 31.



Mike Cohen

Jewish Telegraph deputy editor and arts editor. Email with your Jewish arts stories