Thursday, November 3, 2011
S Club, formerly known as S Club 7, was an English pop group created by former Spice Girls manager Simon Fuller. The group—consisting of Tina Barrett, Paul Cattermole, Jon Lee, Bradley McIntosh, Jo O'Meara, Hannah Spearritt, and Rachel Stevens—rose to fame by starring in their own CBBC television series, Miami 7, in 1999. Over the four years they were together, S Club 7 had four UK number-one singles, one UK numberone-album and had a string of number-one singles throughout Europe. They recorded a total of four studio albums and released eleven singles. Their first album, S Club, had a strong 1990s pop sound, similar to many artists of their time. However, through the course of their career, their musical approach changed to a more dance and R&B sound which is seen mostly in their final album, Seeing Double.
The concept and brand of the group was created by Simon Fuller, who was also their manager through 19 Entertainment; they were signed to Polydor Records. Their television series went on to last four seasons, seeing the group travel across the United States and eventually ending up in Barcelona, Spain. It became popular in 100 different countries where the show was watched by over 90 million viewers.The show, which was a children's sitcom, often mirrored real life events which had occurred in the band, including the relationship of Hannah Spearritt and Paul Cattermole, as well as the eventual departure from the group of the latter.
As well as the popularity of their television series, S Club 7 won two BRIT Awards—in 2000 for British breakthrough act and in 2002, for best British single. In 2001, the group earned the Record of the Year award. The group's success soon changed, however, when Paul Cattermole announced he was to leave in the band, in 2002. Their penultimate single reached #5 in the UK charts, and their final studio album failed to make the top ten.
After Cattermole left the group, S Club 7 fought many rumours presuming that they were about to split.However, on April 21, 2003, during a live onstage performance, S Club announced that they were to disband.
Simon Fuller claims to have chanced upon the concept of S Club 7 the day after he was fired by the Spice Girls in 1997.The group came together after auditioning from over 10,000 hopefuls;Stevens was the only member of the band who did not audition to gain admittance into the group.Instead, two producers from 19 Management approached her and asked her to go into the studio and record a demo tape for Simon Fuller.Both O'Meara and Cattermole were spotted by producers from 19 and asked to audition.After the auditions had been advertised in The Stage newspaper,Lee, Spearritt, Barrett and McIntosh auditioned for the band.After final adjustments, including the removal of three original members, Fuller had created S Club 7.
Once the final lineup was decided, the group flew to Italy in order to become acquainted with each other.Speaking about this first meeting, Stevens remarked that the group "felt comfortable with each other" from the beginning.It is unknown where the name S Club 7 originated, however it has been suggested that the members simply liked that the letter 'S' had many words that began with it.
S Club 7 first came to public attention when they starred in their own 1999 television series, Miami 7.The show first aired on CBBC on BBC One and was a children's sitcom based on the life of the seven members living together in Miami in search of fame in America. Miami 7 was also launched in the United States,where it originally aired on Fox Family, and then later on ABC Family, where it was retitled S Club 7 in Miami. The show was watched by 90 million viewers in over 100 different countries.The group also filmed two TV specials between the first two series of their show. The first, Back to the '50s—which aired on CITV, instead of CBBC—told the story of how the group found themselves back in 1959 when their mileometer tipped over 999,999 miles.In the second TV special, Boyfriends & Birthdays, Stevens' boyfriend gave her an ultimatum of staying with him or remaining with the band.
S Club 7 released their debut single, "Bring It All Back" on June 9, 1999. It was the up-tempo theme music to Miami 7, written by Eliot Kennedy, who had previously worked with the Spice Girls and Take That.The single reached #1 in the United Kingdom, and was made Platinum.On September 20, 1999, the group's second single, "S Club Party", was released. It was written and produced by Norwegian production team Stargate and had a peak position of #2 in the UK and reached #1 in New Zealand.Following the high charting of their first two singles, the group released their debut album, S Club in October 1999. The album rose to #2 in the UK charts,and then became certified Double Platinum.
In December 1999, a double A-side single was released. It featured the ballad, co-written by Cathy Dennis, "Two in a Million" and retro-styled, up-tempo "You're My Number One". "Two in a Million" was the first single where O'Meara took the vocals, setting the standard for future S Club releases. The single soon peaked at #2 in the UK charts.Miami 7 also showcased unreleased tracks, such as "Down at Club S" and "We Can Work It Out", which went on to be included as B-sides on single releases.
The group also recorded vocals for "It's Only Rock 'N' Roll", which raised money for Children's Promise, an alliance of seven children's charities—Barnardo's, Children in Need, ChildLine, The Children's Society, Comic Relief, NCH and the NSPCC.A cover of the Rolling Stones song, the group contributed to the vocals alongside many popular artists, including Mary J. Blige, Natalie Imbruglia and the Spice Girls.It entered the charts at #19, the same week as "Two in a Million/You're My Number One".
In February 2000, the group won the 'British Breakthrough Act' award at the 2000 BRIT Awards. In April 2000, S Club's second TV series, L.A. 7 (renamed S Club 7 in L.A. in the US), was released. The series saw the group depart Miami and move to Los Angeles to seek a record deal. The series introduced the song "Reach", another retro-styled uptempo track, which was again co-written by Cathy Dennis and aired as the main theme tune to the second series.
"Reach" was released as a single in May 2000 and reached #2 on the UK chart.It arguably became one of the group's most successful singles, paving the way for the group's second album, 7 which was released on June 12, 2000. This album was a departure from overtly pop stylings of S Club, with tracks styled more towards R&B than the traditional nineties pop sound of their debut album. The album reached #1 in the UK charts and became certified Triple Platinum;it also became a certified Gold record in the USA.The second single from the album, '"Natural", featured Stevens as lead vocalist. The single reached #3 in September 2000.
S Club 7 took an active part in promoting several different charities during their time as a band. As well as performing for Children in Need, the band launched, on September 25, 2000,a new television series called S Club 7 Go Wild! which saw each band member support an endangered species. Teaming up with the World Wildlife Fund, each member travelled to different destinations worldwide with a hope to raise awareness about the seven endangered creatures, including the Siberian Tiger and the Hyacinth Macaw.In October 2000, the band launched the annual Poppy Appeal Campaign with Dame Thora Hird.S Club 7 also supported Woolworth's Kids First Campaign throughout 1999 and 2000.
In November 2000, S Club 7 were invited to provide the official song for the UK's BBC Children in Need Campaign 2000 and so a new song, the ballad, "Never Had a Dream Come True" was recorded. After topping the UK charts in December 2000,the song was added to a re-release of the 7 album, along with another new track, a cover of Stevie Wonder's "Lately".
On March 20, 2001, Cattermole, Lee and McIntosh were caught with cannabis in London's Covent Garden. The three were cautioned by police at Charing Cross Police Station and released without charge.After the event, they released a public apology stating they were "very stupid" and "very sorry" admitting to having made a "stupid mistake".At the time, BT and Cadbury, who had sponsorship deals with S Club 7, said they were "very disappointed" to learn of the caution but said they would keep their contracts with the band.However, cereal firm Quaker Oats ended talks with 19 Entertainment after learning of the police caution.It was rumoured that merchandising company "PMS International" were to take out an £800,000 lawsuit against the band for declining sales as a direct result of the drugs scandal.However, this came to nothing and any doubts over the future of sponsorship ended when Pepsi signed the band up less than a month after the drugs caution.
"Never Had a Dream Come True" had marked a more mature direction for the group whilst still retaining their pop sensibilities, a direction which continued into their third studio album, Sunshine. The album contained what was to become one of S Club's most popular tracks, "Don't Stop Movin'". The song, which was a disco track and released in April 2001, marked a high point for the group as the single went straight to #1,went Platinum and became the seventh best selling single of 2001.McIntosh, who takes lead vocals with O'Meara in the track, said he was "nervous" about taking lead vocals and was worried how people would react. However, after the song went in at #1, he felt as though he was "supported by the fans" and his fears were alleviated.McIntosh also remarked that the single had broken new ground for the group, and Cattermole thought it to be their "best song by miles".The group won the Record of the Year award for the song,and in February 2002, the single also won the group their second BRIT Award for best British single.The song has since been covered by The Beautiful South for their 2004 album Golddiggas, Headnodders and Pholk Songs, as well as by Starsailor who recorded it for BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge.
By spring 2001, the group were "desperate" to start touring; something which they had always wanted to do, but couldn't because things were "always so hectic".After spending most of early 2001 rehearsing, the S Club Party 2001 tour began on May 19, 2001. Describing the tour, Stevens remarked that seeing a crowd of over 13,000 fans each night coming to see them was "such an unbelievable feeling", and the other members of the group shared an "adrenaline rush" as well as a wave of emotion before going on stage.Once the tour was over, the group had to fly back to the United States in order to film the third series of their television show, Hollywood 7. This third series, which was still set in Los Angeles, was the group's favourite to film because they had more acting experience and could "drop their shoulders" and start to enjoy themselves.The group, however, had to continuously cope with intense schedules and early starts whilst recording for the programme, something which, although the group felt "laid back" about it at the time,was to eventually take its toll and lead to the demise of the band.
Hollywood 7 began airing in September 2001 and dealt with the issue of an on-screen kiss between Spearritt and Cattermole, who had begun dating in real life.Their relationship, which was kept secret for six months, was well received by the band who claimed it had made them all closer as friends.Hollywood 7 aired alongside a new CBBC reality show, S Club Search, which invited children to extend the S Club brand and audition to form a younger version of the band. The new group were to be chosen to sing and dance on tour with S Club 7 on their future S Club 7 Carnival 2002 tour. The eight children who went onto form the band named themselves S Club Juniors and had six top ten UK hits.
The effects of the group's charity single, "Never Had a Dream Come True", were felt when the group handed over £200,000 to Children in Need, from the sales of the CD after the release of "Don't Stop Movin'" in April 2001.As a result, S Club 7 were invited back and asked to record a second consecutive Children in Need single, in November 2001. It was decided that "Have You Ever", a song co-written by Chris Braide and Cathy Dennis, was to be released for the charity campaign. After the success of the previous year's single, the performance on the night featured many primary school children who had pre-recorded their own versions of the chorus.The band felt "overjoyed" that they could, once again, contribute to the Children in Need campaign, feeling that it meant a lot to them to be involved and feeling privileged to be able to help; they also commented that it was nice for British school children to be involved in raising money for charity as well.The single was another success for the group and became their fourth #1;it also became the twenty-first biggest selling single of 2001.
In January 2002, S Club 7 embarked upon their second arena tour, S Club 7 Carnival 2002, which aimed to please fans by stylising their songs to fit with a carnival-like theme with music styles from different countries of the world.Speaking about the tour, McIntosh described it as "older show", a change from S Club Party 2001, which was "more like bubblegum",with Paul Cattermole comparing 2001's "theatrical" tour with the Carnival tour as a more "glitzy, concert stage".The tour was generally well received by the children's media, describing the show as "diverse" and "dazzling",whereas the group was criticised by the broadsheets as being "like a compilation of toddler-friendly Eurovision entries" although conceding that it was a "slick, decent-value show".Cattermole also came in for criticism when he was dubbed overweight and a "heavy-footed dancer".
After the success of their last three singles, all of which had made it to #1, it was disappointing when S Club 7 released their ninth single, "You", and narrowly missed the top spot.The single, which was described as a "candyfloss-bright, tongue-in-cheek 50s pastiche",was to be Paul Cattermole's last single with the band and led the way for a series of events that was to unravel S Club 7's time at the top of the charts, which would ultimately cause the band to split.
In March 2002, Paul Cattermole told The Sun newspaper that it was time for him to "move on" from the group and he wanted to go back to his "rock roots",which heralded back to the time he was part of a nu metal band formed with his old school friends. Talking about his former musical venture three months before he left S Club 7, Cattermole described the band—who had been called Skua—as having a "Limp Bizkit vibe" as well as comparing their style to Rage Against The Machine.Cattermole's resignation came as Skua had decided to reform, and he found it a perfect time to make the transition back from pop to rock as S Club 7's record contracts were up for renewel.Cattermole stayed with the band until June 2002, featuring in five out of thirteen episodes of the group's final television series, Viva S Club, and performing his final concert with the group for Party at the Palace, which was part of Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee celebrations.
After Cattermole's departure, vowing to not disband, the remaining six members stayed together under the name S Club. Despite losing a member of the group, the future remained positive as, although they were very sad to see Cattermole leave the group, they were "delighted" to have extended their contracts meaning they could look forward to new material, a new series of their television show as well as their first feature film.However, media reports of the time weren't so optimistic stating that, as neither the Spice Girls nor Take That had survived once they lost a member of their group, it would be difficult for S Club to remain together in an industry which has a "horrible habit of leaving bands in tatters once the first member has left".After only peaking at #5 in the UK charts with their first single as a six, S Club's positivism was diminished.
Although their progressive musical style was once again furthered with the release of their fourth studio album, Seeing Double, it failed to make an impact on the UK charts, stalling at #17.S Club's time at the top of the charts was slowly coming to an end, and when O'Meara announced that she had an immobilising back condition which could have left her in a wheelchair,and she was unable to take part in television performances, the group was left devastated.
In April 2003, S Club released their first feature film, Seeing Double, which was to be the last time the group would be seen on-screen together. Unlike its television predecessors, the film moved into the realm of children's fantasy, and saw the group fighting evil scientist Victor Gaghan in his quest to clone the world's popstars. The film's release was marked by many rumours that the group were about to split, which were quickly denied by the six.However, ten days after the release of their movie, the rumours were confirmed when it was announced live on stage—during their S Club United tour on April 21, 2003—that, after a final single and greatest hits album, S Club would part ways.The band cited a mutual split, expressing it was simply a time "to move on and face new challenges".Many fans felt "betrayed" and "disappointed" by the breakup, as well as "angry" due to the group denying rumours only two weeks before at the Seeing Double premiere.Many compared the demise of the group to that of fellow pop band Steps, as they too had denied their intentions until the moment before their split, after which they were accused of acting out of "greed and cynicism".Since the split, the members of S Club have commented on how exhausting being in the band was, due to hectic schedules and long filming days.Although confirming the split "wasn't a final straw", Spearritt has remarked that the group had felt it appropriate wanting to do their own thing; she had constantly felt "drained" whilst with S Club.
The final single was a double A-side, coupling "Love Ain't Gonna Wait for You", from their third album Seeing Double, with a new ballad, "Say Goodbye". Returning to the style of their first single, "Say Goodbye" saw vocals shared around the group. The single reached #2 in the UK, beaten to the top spot by R. Kelly's "Ignition (Remix)",and was included on S Club's greatest hits album, Best: The Greatest Hits of S Club 7, released in June 2003. This compilation brought together the group's releases with a previously unreleased track, "Everybody Get Pumped" and 7 track "Bring the House Down". The album reached #2 in the United Kingdom.S Club eventually split up after the release of "Say Goodbye" on May 26, 2003.
On April 27, 2003, it was reported that Spearritt's parents had hired lawyers to chase payments owed to them by Simon Fuller and his management company.They claimed that out of the €75 million fortune the band made for Fuller, they only received €150,000 a year of it.There was also controversy when the band had to travel economy class to America and when Fuller did not turn up for the premiere of Seeing Double.The criticism put to Fuller was similar of that in 1997 when the Spice Girls fired him for being too controlling.
After the group split up, the S Club Juniors rebranded "S Club 8". They also went on to film CBBC show I Dream, releasing their third studio album under the same name.S Club 8 eventually disbanded in 2004.
The style of music S Club 7 normally falls under is pop, or more specifically bubblegum pop, as well as manufactured pop. This is certainly the case for their first album, S Club where simple lyrics, three-chord structures and danceable beats define it so. Their first two singles saw vocals shared equally amongst the seven members of the group, and it was not until their third single, "Two in a Million" that O'Meara became known as their lead vocalist. Although the band were to progressively change their style over the four years they were together, even their first album had many tracks untypical of the pop genre: "You're My Number One" and "Everybody Wants Ya" were motown driven whereas "Viva La Fiesta" and "Buenos Tiempos (It's an S Club Thing)", were both "bouncy, salsa-driven Latino songs".
Over the years, their style and direction changed progressively with each new album. Their second album 7, had songs which had styles far removed from the traditional pop songs rival pop bands of the nineties were releasing. With the release of "Natural" in 2000, S Club 7 showcased a new, R&B-lite sound.The release of their third album, Sunshine, gave audiences their biggest change: the album contained tracks such as the disco-influenced, "Don't Stop Movin'" and the R&B ballad, "Show Me Your Colours". The album marked a more mature approach for the band.
With the departure of Cattermole, S Club released their fourth and final album, Seeing Double which contained many songs with styles not yet explored by the group. The group released "Alive" which was a "power-packed dance floor filler",a style which matched that of their final single "Love Ain't Gonna Wait for You". The album also contained many other dance tracks and songs far removed from their original bubblegum pop stylings, such as the "sex for the CBBC generation" in "Hey Kitty Kitty".Although, in one review, referring to "Gangsta Love", "S Club's spiritual home is the suburban disco, not urban underground clubs, and their attempt to go garage on "Gangsta Love" ends up amusing rather than authentic".
Of course, throughout their releases, S Club 7 always kept their original pop roots, with songs such as "Reach", "You" and "Say Goodbye".
Tina Barrett has kept a relatively low profile since the split. When they first announced they were to break up, she expressed interest in working on a solo career.However, Tina has not released any solo material. In August 2003, a doctor's son was jailed for six months after sending threatening e-mails to Barrett.She was also romantically linked to David Schwimmer in 2004.However, this romance was not taken any further when he moved back to America.
Since leaving S Club 7 in June 2002, Paul Cattermole joined his high school nu metal band Skua. However, they broke up soon afterwards. He then joined Charlie Bullitt but the band broke up in November 2005.Cattermole, after getting together whilst still in the band, continued to date fellow band member Spearritt in a relationship which went on to last for five years.On his MySpace page, he expresses interest in releasing an album in 2008.
Jon Lee stuck to his expressed interest in theatre when he signed up to appear in Les Misérables on the West End in 2004.He played Marius Pontmercy in the production. Lee is also set to appear as the voice of Max in an animated version of Enid Blyton's Famous Five.Lee will also appear in an updated version of James Hick's Telstar where he will play Billy Fury.
Instead of wanting a solo career, Bradley McIntosh wanted to focus on production and writing.However, nothing was heard of him until he joined four other ex-pop stars for MTV's Totally Boyband creating the band Upper Street. After their debut single only reached #35, the group became very quiet and it's presumed that they split up after the departure of their manager Jonathan Shalit.
Jo O'Meara took time out after S Club because of a serious back condition.On October 3, 2005 she released her debut solo single, "What Hurts The Most" and album, Relentless. Her single disappointingly went to #13 and her album charted even more poorly at #48.After her disappointing album sales, Jo went back to her hobby of dog breeding. In 2006, she came third place in BBC talent show Just the Two of Us with partner Chris Fountain.It was not until January 2007 that O'Meara became fully back into the public eye. She appeared on Celebrity Big Brother and was involved in a race row where it was alleged that she, along with Jade Goody and Danielle Lloyd, took part in racial bullying towards Shilpa Shetty.After the event, it was reported that Jo had received death threats and attempted suicide.Since then, Jo has made no public appearances except at a gala performance for Comic Relief.On January 19, 2008, O'Meara announced to the Daily Mail that she is six months pregnant with her first child.In the article, she explains how she feels how her Celebrity Big Brother experience has "made her a better person" and that she is considering taking part in a future charity show organised by Zoe Tyler.
Two days after the split, Hannah Spearritt auditioned for a role in Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London with Frankie Muniz and Anthony Anderson.She won the role of Emily Sommers and her first acting role post-S Club. She took the part as Joan in horror franchise Seed of Chucky and also appeared in BBC's Blessed and independent short film Little Lily. In February 2006, she landed a lead role in ITV sci-fi drama series Primeval as Abby Maitland. After her relationship with Cattermole ended, she got together with Primeval co-star Andrew-Lee Potts and moved in with him. Spearritt also appeared as the murder victim, Tilly Rice, in an ITV production of Agatha Christie's At Bertram's Hotel. She has expressed no interest in starting a solo career since the band split.
Rachel Stevens has perhaps carved the most successful solo career out of all the former S Club 7 members. Less than a month after the group disbanded, Stevens signed a £1 million record contract with Polydor Records and re-signed with Simon Fuller.Her first single, "Sweet Dreams My LA Ex", was released on September 15, 2003 and reached #2 in the UK.Her first studio album, Funky Dory was released on September 29, 2003 and reached #9.Stevens went on to release six more UK singles and a second album, which only reached #28 in the charts.She has released no new material since 2005. More recently, Stevens has expressed an interest in launching an acting career after briefly appearing in Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo and Spider-Plant Man for the Comic Relief 2005 campaign. More recently, Stevens has lent her voice to BBC Scotland animated series "Glendogie Bogey", where she will play Patricia Ravelston.She has described her character as a "real dizzy dora, but at the same time she's really smart and doesn't miss a trick".
In September 2007, Stevens claimed she would never rule out an S Club reunion. In a recent interview with OK! Magazine, Lee and Spearritt discussed how they've both remained friends since S Club's split. They admitted that they've lost touch with O'Meara since the Celebrity Big Brother controversy and Stevens, except when meeting at showbiz parties. When asked about a reunion, Lee said, "Never say never—but no!".