Harriet Wheeler (born 26 June 1963) is an English singer and songwriter, best known as the lead singer of the 1980s/1990s alternative rock band, The Sundays.
Wheeler grew up in Sonning Common, near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, the daughter of an architect and a teacher. She studied English literature for her undergraduate degree at Bristol University when she met David Gavurin. The two shared a common passion for music, and despite little musical training (although Wheeler had sung in a band called Jim Jiminee before meeting Gavurin), released demos to various clubs in London.
Wheeler and Gavurin were the core of a popular alternative band, The Sundays, with Paul Brindley on bass and Patrick Hannan on drums. They decided upon the name by default as it was the only one they could all agree on. The Sundays performed their first show in August 1988.
Their debut album, Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic, was released in 1990. Rolling Stone reviewer Ira Robbins called it "an alluring slice of lighter-than-air guitar pop, a collection of uncommonly good songs graced by Harriet Wheeler's wondrous singing." The album sold over half a million copies around the world.
The band released their second album, Blind, in 1992, and it also sold nearly half a million copies, giving the band another gold record. Wheeler's vocals received the lion's share of praise. One reviewer wrote, "Her singing is fluttery, mischievous, and full of unexpected, perverse flashes of tenderness."
In February 1995, Wheeler and Gavurin had their first child, a daughter named Billie. Parenthood prolonged the recording of their third album, but they eventually released Static & Silence in 1997. While some critics said The Sundays sounded exactly the same as before, Kevin Raub of Ray Gun called Static & Silence "the band's most solid effort to date."
Two years after the release of Static & Silence, Wheeler and Gavurin had their second child, a son named Frank in 1999.