This Is Pop #15

In a desperate attempt not to talk about last Sunday’s football result, or the fall-out from it, I’ve decided to bury myself in some pop records this morning.

As I’m sure many of you do, I love watching the old re-runs of Top of the Pops on BBC4 on a Friday evening, reminiscing about what I was doing and with whom when I first heard some of the songs that feature, wondering who the hell some of the acts – and hosts – are and why I have absolutely no recollection of them, to the extent that I recently bought myself this t-shirt:

I thought it looked pretty cool and retro, until, as she scanned my groceries through, a shop assistant nodded towards it and said “Awww, your kids must think the world of you to have bought you that!”

So, that’s another tee-shirt I will probably never wear out again, shoved into a drawer along with my Teenage Fanclub one, which just gets me waaaay too many suspicious looks from people who don’t know it’s the name of a band and who think I’m a very confident pervert. (Insert joke about them being half right here, if you must.)

Anyway, traditionally my Friday night warm-up to writing something on here involves a) some booze, and b) watching one of the music documentaries shown on BBC4 or, more recently, Sky Arts.

Recently, though, there’s been a new pretender to the throne, and it airs on Channel 5, of all places – a channel I only usually visit when they had the rights to the cricket highlights, which they no longer do.

But for the past couple of months, every Friday night at 10:00, they’ve been showing a succession of shows called, in that way that only a show on Channel 5 can be titled, Britain’s Biggest Hits.

Lasting ninety minutes each week, they play (clips of) the thirty top selling singles from a certain year, with TOTP2 style factoids appearing on the screen, and talking heads from an array of guests.

And what an glittering calibre of guests they have: here’s Tania Evans! (Who? Only the singer from Culture Beat, that’s who!) telling us that she “really liked” a featured song; now here’s some bloke who is in some way which is never explained, linked to Our Price music stores in the 1990s; here’s – wow, someone I’ve heard of! – Shaun Ryder, in slightly (but only slightly, mind) less sweary mode than he is on Celebrity Gogglebox offering such insights as “If you remember the 1990s then you weren’t really there” (no, Shaun, that’s just you – and I say that as someone who loved the Happy Mondays, adored Black Grape, right up until 1997 when they released their second album Stupid Stupid Stupid, which is pure plop) (Note to self: Idea for new feature where I write about truly awful pop songs, called This Is Plop!); here’s Lee Latchford-Evans (y’know, the bloke from Steps that wasn’t H) offering such perceptive insights as : “We were like Marmite, people either loved us or hated us!” which, if nothing else, accurately displays the extent of his original creative input into the band’s success; here’s Lorraine Crosby (Who? Only the lady who sang the female vocals on Meat Loaf’s 1993 smasheroo I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That), but who was replaced by another, more…er…’photogenic’ lady in the video, that’s who!); here’s one of Boyzone – don’t ask me which one: not Ronan, not the dead one or the one who used to be in Corrie, one of the other ones. Possibly the one whose sisters were in B*Witched – moaning about how he hated recording cover versions, before going on to say he loved murdering recording Baby Can I Hold You because he had no idea it was a cover version of Tracy Chapman’s original version from her multi-million selling debut eponymous album, released some nine years earlier. That’s as may be, nameless Boyzone man, but you knew you hadn’t written it yourself, didn’t you?; oh and here’s one of the girls from B*Witched – possibly one of the sisters of…oh, you get the drift – announcing how they had led to teenage girls adopting double denim as the go-to fashion statement, as if that were something to be proud of.

As you can guess, about 80% of the enjoyment I get from the show is the input of the guests, all pompously pontificating in the blandest possible way about whatever tune is being scutinised.

But the show also serves as a timely reminder of some truly great pop records.

Not that you’ll have forgotten (m)any of those featured – as I mentioned, this is a show which focuses on the thirty best selling singles from a certain year, there’s a few surprise inclusions, but ultimately nothing obscure here – but every now and then a single pops up and you remember just how great pop music can be.

Like this one, which appeared in last night’s show, which was about 1998:

All Saints – Never Ever

Here’s what Wiki has to say about them:

All Saints are an English-Canadian girl group formed in London in 1993. They were founded as All Saints 1.9.7.5 by music manager Ron Tom, who later also founded Sugababes, with members Melanie Blatt, Shaznay Lewis, and Simone Rainford. The group struggled to find commercial success upon being signed to ZTT Records and were dropped by the label shortly after Rainford left the group. In 1996, the group were joined by sisters Nicole and Natalie Appleton and signed to London Records under their shortened name.

Part of the 1990s wave of British girl groups, their debut album, All Saints (1997), peaked at number two on the UK Albums Chart and went on to become the UK’s third best-selling girl group album of all time. The album contained three UK number one singles: “Never Ever”, “Under the Bridge”/”Lady Marmalade” and “Bootie Call”. “Never Ever” is the second best-selling girl group single of all-time in the UK, behind the Spice Girls’ “Wannabe”. It also won two Brit Awards: Best British Single and Best British Video, and the group were nominated for Best British Breakthrough Act. Their second album, Saints & Sinners (2000), became their first UK number-one album and achieved multi-platinum success. It included the UK number one singles “Pure Shores” and “Black Coffee”. Amid in-fighting among the group members, All Saints split the following year.

The group later reformed after signing to Parlophone Records to release their third album, Studio 1 (2006). However, the album bowed at number 40 in the United Kingdom and All Saints were dropped by their label shortly afterwards. Following a second split in 2009, the group reunited in 2014 for a series of live performances, prompting the group to release Red Flag (2016), and Testament (2018). As of January 2016, All Saints have sold 12 million records.

One of the talking heads (and I should stress, when I say “the talking heads”, I do not mean the Talking Heads, but you’d got that, right?) gushing forth on the band on last night’s show was 6Music‘s Mark Radcliffe, who, after talking about how the band had influenced the dress sense of teenage girls slightly older than those following B*Witched‘s denim obsession, observed that they had a great songwriter in Shaznay in their ranks, didn’t sound like any other band – girl group or otherwise – and that when you listen to All Saints now, you get a sense that they never quite achieved as much as they should have done.

And I think he has a point; although selling 12 million records shows they were no slouches, you do listen to some of their singles and just wish there had been more.

For example, this, the main song from the soundtrack of Danny Boyle’s ever-so-slightly underwhelming 2000 film The Beach, which, whenever I hear now, I’m immediately transported back to Brighton beach, and Fatboy Slim’s Big Beach Boutique II from 2002, which I was at, and will probably write about come the twentieth (ouch!) anniversary of it next year (if I remember, that is):

All Saints – Pure Shores

And, finally, this, a much under-rated single in my book:

All Saints – Black Coffee

I suspect I will be returning to Britain’s Best Sellers as an inspiration again.

By which I mean: More soon.

This Is Pop! #14

I haven’t mentioned some of the TV shows and films I’ve watched recently for a while, so allow me to redress that.

Sex Education on Netflix is hilariously brilliant, if very rude (warning: the first few minutes of each episode features sex acts and noises which led me to turn the volume down each time, in case the neighbours thought I was watching actual porn); having recently got NOWTV, I’m almost at the end of the first season of True Detective, which is a real slow burner but suddenly combusts into life (I’m told the second and third series are nowhere near as good, so probably won’t bother); I’m persevering with Big Little Lies, which everyone tells me is amazing but just hasn’t ignited for me yet.

And then there’s king of the crop Succession, which I cannot recommend highly enough. Created by Jesse Armstrong, who was the co-creator of Peep Show (it’s not fair to compare the two, they’re such different beasts, both brilliant in their own way), the show tells the story of siblings jostling for position as heir to the throne of a mutli-million pound media company when the owner and creator almost has to retire due to ill-health.

Here’s the synopsis from Wiki: “Succession follows the Roy family, owners of media conglomerate Waystar Royco. The family patriarch, Logan Roy, has experienced a decline in health. His four children – removed oldest son Connor, power-hungry Kendall, irreverent Roman, and politically savvy Siobhan – all with varying degrees of connection to the company, begin to prepare for a future without their father, and each begins vying for prominence within the company.” Which is pretty much what I said.

If you happened to have also watched the recent documentary on BBC2 about the Murdoch family, you’ll have noted the similarities between the two, and it’s no big secret that Succession was loosely based on said family.

Why am I mentioning this in a post about pop music, I hear you ask. Well, because heavily involved in Succession is Lucy Prebble, who also wrote Diary of a Call Girl, which I can’t pretend I’ve watched, but who also wrote the wonderful I Hate Suzie, now streaming on NOWTV.

…Suzie sees Prebble reunited with actress Billie Piper, who starred in Diary… and also a Prebble-penned play The Effect, and tells the story of Suzie Pickles (Piper) as an actress whose life is thrown into turmoil when her phone is hacked and compromising photographs of her are leaked.

The writing is peerless, as are the performances, Piper putting in a real tour de force, which led me to reflect on her short-lived career as a popstar. (See? We got there in the end!)

She came to prominence as a fifteen year old in 1988, with her single Because We Want To which entered the charts at #1 making her the youngest artist to debut at number one, at age 15. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that The Sun did a countdown to her 16th birthday like they did with Charlotte Church and Emma Watson (bear with me on this clip, the relevant bit is brief and at around 4:10 if you want to skip through):

Anyway, I wasn’t all that fussed on much of Billie’s musical output, but I do love this:

Now, the reason I like that tune – and I really do – is not just because I think it’s a brilliant pop record – which I do – but because it reminds me of two other equally great pop records, one of which was released before, the other after, making Honey… a bridge between the two.

Here you go:

All Saints – Never Ever

and this:

Which of course gives me the opportunity to post the video and make the usual joke about how it looks like they’re lighting their farts in it:

Three for the price of one, all utter pop tunes that it’s fine to admit to liking. It’s been a while, but you’re welcome.

More soon.

This Is Pop! #13

Been meaning to post these tunes for a while, and recently I was given an excuse to do so.

On my birthday weekend, Hel had lovingly compiled a playlist of songs that she knew I loved, or which reminded her of me, or more specifically, reminded her of me making an arse of myself to.

Sometime after we were done with trying to explaining to our puzzled friends quite why we both love Bardo’s One Step Further, a tune by today’s popster popped up, and I was suitably impressed that she had remembered how much I like this artiste.

I first heard about her (the artiste, not Hel) via those age-old pages of the NME, back in the days before it went tabloid, and then free-hand out, and then digital only.

Specifically, I was sitting at a train station, reading said music paper, on my way up from Cardiff to visit some friends who lived in the sleepy but cheesy outpost that was Caerphilly.

And there, amongst all the emo-centric rhetoric was an article about a Norwegian singer who has released this incredible – they said (they were right) – album called Anniemal.

I was immediately intrigued, sought the album out and, it will come to no surprise to you since I’m writing about it, I bloody loved it.

Here’s the song Hel chose for the playlist:

Annie – Chewing Gum

I was rather surpised by this choice for the playlist, partly because I didn’t think Hel would remember my love for this Nordic popstrelle, but also because (without wishing to sound ungrateful for a truly wonderful trip down memory lane) if she was going to pick one tune by Annie – and Hel understands the rule of “only one song by each artist” on a playlist more than anyone I know – I would have assumed it would be this one:

Annie – I Know UR Girlfriend Hates Me

I’m not complaining – they’re both total bangerz.

More soon.

This Is Pop! #12

The unusual time that the Easter weekend has landed this year means that today is the day that many kids across the UK will have to haul their arses into school after a two week break.

Because of this, I thought I’d try to remind them…erm…what they go to school for.

And because my admittedly-rashly titled series where I try to bust the Monday morning blues doesn’t really translate to something I’m posting on a Tuesday morning.

And because kids need to learn that you can start loads of consecutive sentences with the words “And because” if you want to.

And because I think this is a bloody great pop record.

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Busted – What I Go To School For

Nope, you’re right. I have no shame.

More soon.

This Is Pop

Girls Aloud: who knew that not only were they responsible for some of the best pop records of the 21st century, but that they were also responsible for managing the work diary of that fat old bearded bloke whose one job is to visit all of the kids on Christmas Eve.

And so here’s the girls telling Santa he has arrived prematurely. I’m pretty sure that’s what it’s about, anyway….

Oh, and in case you were wondering about the choice of sleeve, this is lifted from a Bonus CD of Christmas songs which came with their Chemistry album:

fadd2d7be2704b8b7ac3a5deae53f2c757aa6d63Girls Aloud – Not Tonight Santa

More soon.

This Is Pop #11

Question: At what age does it become unacceptable to still have crushes on pop stars?

I mean, perfectly harmless crushes, of course. Not the sort that develop into going through their bins, appearances in Court and restraining orders being issued.

I ask this because a pop singer’s name came up in conversation with Kay at work (I’m not sure how, I suspect that, as with so many conversations we have, she misheard something I said and asked me why I’d just mentioned this particular pop singer) and on the bus on the way home, the stomping ground of many an obsessed pervert over the years, I realised I’d had quite a thing about this popstress back in the day.

The first time I heard her, back in 1989, just like Vienna she meant nothing to me, for she was what I assumed to be “just” a session singer on a record by an R&B act with a terrible pun for a name. This record, in fact:

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D Mob Introducing Cathy Dennis – C’Mon And Get My Love

D Mob knew something we didn’t at that point, of course. Did you spot it? That’s right: not D Mob featuring Cathy Dennis, but D Mob Introducing Cathy Dennis. “Ladies and Gentlemen, please allow D Mob to introduce you to Miss Cathy Dennis.”

Those crazy D Mob boys knew what they were unleashing on the world alrighty.

My ignoramus belief that she was nothing more than a session vocalist (who, I realise now, are generally incredible singers) seemed to be vindicated when the first three singles she released in her own right stalled at numbers 93, 48 (so close!!!!) and 95 respectively.

And then, in 1991, two years after that inauspicious debut, came the biggest hit of her recording career:

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Cathy Dennis – Touch Me (All Night Long)

I was 21 years old when that came out in 1991, and yet I still recall looking up over the pages of the NME when it came on The Chart Show one Saturday lunchtime, and feeling my little heart beat so hard that I hoped my girlfriend didn’t wander into the room or else I’d have to explain the copious amount of drool on my chin.

Remember I mentioned those three flop singles? Well, actually it was just two, for the one that reached #93 and #95 was actually the same record released twice. Still, third time’s a charm, and so it was that in July 1991 it got released again, and this time: bingo! #13:

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Cathy Dennis – Just Another Dream

Two hits into a career and we all know what record labels want an artist to do next to cash in on them cement their reputation: release a ballad…

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Cathy Dennis – Too Many Walls

…and then follow that up with one last single from her “available in all good record stores now” album:

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Cathy Dennis – Everybody Move

And then, suddenly it was all over. Yes, there were a couple more minor hits, and a brief flirtation with the UK Top 20 again in 1997 with a cover of The Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset” which I’m not going to trouble you with here, and there was the time when she quit Club MTV’s first tour amid claims that she had been sexually harassed by one of Milli Vanilli, who presumably wasn’t lip-syncing on that occasion.

But it seemed to me that just as quickly as she had breezed into my life, so she was gone again.

Or so I thought.

For unbeknownst to me, Dennis had merely gone off to reinvent herself, and boy oh boy did she ever did that, writing or co-writing three of the biggest selling and – let’s be honest – best pop records of the 21st Century, namely this…

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Britney Spears – Toxic

(I think that’s the third time I’ve found an excuse to post that record here)

…and this…

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Kylie Minogue – Can’t Get You Out Of My Head

(Kylie’s Harry Houdini tribute act needed some work)

…and this…

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Katy Perry – I Kissed a Boy

I watched Katy Perry’s Glastonbury performance a few weeks ago, and as I sat there watching it I found myself thinking: No really, at what age does it become unacceptable to still have crushes on pop stars?

More soon.

This Is Pop #10

You were warned.

When I first started writing this sporadic thread, I featured a record by Girls Aloud, and mentioned that others by them would feature again at some point.

And so here we are.

I don’t have anything else to say about Girls Aloud that I haven’t already said, other than to reiterate they made some bloody great pop records.

And this, which almost has a rockabilly feel to it in places, is an absolute corker:

lovemachine

Girls Aloud – Love Machine

More soon.

This Is Pop #9

A little while ago, when I could be arsed to write this regularly, I posted a track by Sugababes, and made reference to a single they did with Richard X.

Well, here’s another single from the same album, this time featuring the gorgeous Kelis singing The S.O.S. Band’s “The Finest”, all mashed up with Human League’s “The Things That Dreams Are Made Of”.

Richard_X_-_Finest_Dreams_single_cover

Richard X featuring Kelis – Finest Dreams

I’d imagine Jamie Theakston, to this day, still has to pinch himself to make sure he didn’t imagine that he once dated Kelis. That’s if he doesn’t have somebody else pinching him, of course, like the prostitute who “tricked him” into visiting a vice club (just the once of course) where he was photographed and subsequently blackmailed.

Which neatly leads me on to another great pop record by that saucepot Kelis:

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Kelis – Trick Me

More soon (after a cold shower).

This Is Pop #8

Generally in this thread, with the exception of the post about Sugababes, I’ve featured pop acts who have made one, maybe two, records that I like.

This week though, a band who I love, who you probably do too, but who it took me some time to actually admit that I like them.

I’d been aware of the Pet Shop Boys since before they were famous, since Head Boy Neil Tennant was writing for the much-missed Smash Hits magazine when I first began getting my Mum to pay for it in the early 1980s, and I remember them getting quite some coverage when he left. There was one interview I remember where he divulged that prior to joining Smash Hits, he had worked for the UK branch of Marvel Comics, employed to anglicise the text, and to ensure that no drawings of female characters included any surreptitious nipples. Can’t think why that stayed in my mind.

I’d thought “West End Girls” was pretty good, liked “Suburbia”, loved “What Have I Done To Deserve This?”, their duet with Dusty Springfield (mostly because of Dusty, it has to be said), but not enough to actually, you know, buy any of their records.

Have a listen to a piece of impeccable pop:

Pet Shop Boys - What Have I Done To Deserve This

Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield – What Have I Done To Deserve This?

There’s a bit in “What Have I Done….” where Tennant’s delivery always, without fail, makes me think of T. S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Arthur Prufrock”, a poem I had studied at 6th Form at roughly the time that the single came out, and which I had fallen in love with almost immediately. You can read it here.

And then there’s Dusty; the bit where she just breezes into the chorus is just…heavenly.

Yet still my shelves remained a Pet Shop Boys-free zone

And why would that be? Well, I’ve written elsewhere admitting that when I was growing up, I had a general aversion to any record which didn’t contain anything sounding even slightly like a guitar, and today’s group definitely fall into that category.

As well as this unjustifiable phobia, they had annoyed me by keeping The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl’s “Fairytale of New York” from the Number One spot in the UK with a bloody cover version, a heinous crime in my book.

By now, I had graduated from the glossy fortnightly pages of Smash Hits to the grubby weekly music paper NME.

And then, this happened:

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This really annoyed me. Not in a Noel Gallagher “Jay-Z shouldn’t headline Glastonbury” kind of way; I had no issue with the Pet Shop Boys being on the cover of my beloved NME, it was the tag-line that got my back up.

“The Smiths you can dance to“.

The inference being that you can’t dance to The Smiths. This incensed me at the time. How they dare imply such a thing??

A few years ago I found myself in an Indie club, and the DJ dropped “This Charming Man”, and I suddenly realised they had a point. Have you ever tried dancing to that, without resorting to doing a Morrissey impression? It’s nearly impossible, the time signature is not conducive to anything other than an awkward Dad-dance shuffle.

So, in short, that tag line confirmed everything I thought: the Pet Shop Boys were the enemy.

I’m not entirely clear when that changed, but it was probably when Johnny Marr formed Electronic with Barney Sumner of New Order fame, and got Neil Tennant to make a guest appearance on a couple of tracks. Hang on a minute…if Johnny likes them, then what the hell was my problem?

Fast forward a few more years and one day I was in Cardiff’s branch of Fopp (R.I.P.) and there was their Greatest Hits album, “Discography”, going for £2.00. I examined the track-listing. How could anyone resist this list of supremely arch and, yes alright, danceable list of hits:

Pet Shop Boys - Discography trasera

Not one duff track to be found there. Why were these songs not already in my life?

Because sometimes I’m an idiot, that’s why.

I admitted defeat. I had been wrong. Moments later it was mine.

If I had to pick one song by them that I love more than any other, it’s this next one. The lyrics evoke “The Day Before You Came” by ABBA, which I’ve written about before.

Older and (a bit wiser) I now realise that a band who can make you think of one of the greatest pop singles ever recorded and poetry within two songs is a very special band indeed.

And that record is this:

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Pet Shop Boys – Left to My Own Devices

In 2010 I was at Glastonbury and was lucky enough to catch Pet Shop Boys’ headline set on The Other Stage on the Saturday night. They were incredible, without doubt one of the greatest sets I’ve seen, not just down on Pilton Farm, but ever. The set was a mix of “the classics” – Dusty made an appearance, albeit via a video screen – and new stuff which was so instantly loveable it felt like I knew them already.

There was even a cover of a song which I didn’t recognise as being by Coldplay until it was way to late to stop myself joining in with the crowd-singing.

Have a look for yourself:

Majestic.

Sometimes it’s alright to be late to the party, as long as when you finally arrive you’re able to admit that you wish you’d set off earlier.

More soon.

This Is Pop #7

Over the years, Sugababes, with their ever-changing line-up, which now consists of precisely none of the original members, have become the source of many a joke for precisely that reason. Since the line up has changed, Sugababes should no longer be called Sugababes, goes the argument.

I think that’s rather unfair. Nobody says Arsenal shouldn’t be called Arsenal anymore, just because it hasn’t got the same players as it had in 1886, do they? They might win more games if they did, mind (I know, I know: unwise words when the North London derby is on the horizon). No, any right minded football fan insists they should be called Woolwich, where the club was formed.

Anyway, formed in 1998, founder members Siobhan Donaghy and Mutya Buena – both aged 13 – had been signed by All Saints manager Ron Tom as solo acts, but met at a showcase and decided to work together. Buena invited her friend Keisha Buchanan to watch them rehearse one day, and Tom invited her to join the band, comparing the three of them to the United Colours of Benetton advertising campaign which was causing as much controversy as it could at the time.

Originally named the Sugarbabies, this was changed to Sugababes when they signed to London Records, to give them a more mature image. They had their first hit in 2000. Which makes them 15. I wonder: is it appropriate to foist the moniker “babes” on 15 year old girls?

I’m reminded of a routine by comedian Ed Byrne, who, believe it or not, has done jokes which are not about Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic”:

In 2001, Donaghy quit the band, and was replaced by former member of Atomic Kitten, Heidi Range. Of course, when looking for a new band member, your first port of call would naturally be someone who used to work with Kerry Katona.

To be fair, it seemed to work, for in 2002 the band enjoyed their first Number One single in the UK with the Gary Numan/Tubeway Army sampling cover of American R&B singer Adina Howard’s “Freak Like Me”, and their second with the follow-up “Round, Round”. There’s a cracking Soulwax remix of that which I posted some time last year, so the link’s probably dead by now. I’ll dig it out again sometime.

The next single was “Stronger”, written by the band along with a chap called Jony Rockstar. I suspect this may not be his real name.

A year later, they were back, with their third album, entitled “Three” (see what they did there…?), but not before they had released “Shape”, which sampled Sting’s “Shape of My Heart”. Critics were sneery about the sample, yet I don’t recall anyone complaining that 1994 classic movie Léon was spoiled by having the Sting song played in its entirety over the closing credits.

Buena left the band in 2005 and was replaced by Amelle Berrabah (you are keeping up with all of this, aren’t you?) leaving just Buchanan as the sole original member. Four years later, and with the band’s selling powers on the wane, she followed suit, being replaced by Jade Ewen who had represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest earlier that year (we’ve been here before, I think…). She performed the Andrew Lloyd Webber penned “It’s My Time”, which it clearly wasn’t as she came fifth.

Sugababes, I’m surprised to learn, have not officially split up, although they haven’t released anything new since 2010. For some time the remaining members occasionally announced that they were either in the studio or working on new material, as if it were the sort of announcement that should be immediately followed by a ticker-tape parade and the announcement of a public holiday.

But band members old and new have kept themselves busy: Mutya Buena appeared in, and walked out of, Celebrity Big Brother 6. She now owns the rights to use the Sugababes name on paper, cardboard, stationery and gift wrapping products, but crucially, not on any records. But you can’t move for Sugababes embossed paper, cardboard, stationery and gift wrapping products can you, so it sounds to me like she got a pretty sweet deal.

Keisha Buchanan recorded 50 songs for a solo album which never saw the light of day; in an interview she explained “there is no particular musical direction” which might explain why she wrote that many songs. Either that or she mistakenly thought she had joined The Magnetic Fields.

In 2012, it was reported that Range was going to join the Spice Girls, replacing Victoria Beckham, a rumour quickly scotched by Emma Bunton. Instead, she turned her attention to television, where she was to be a team captain on ITV1’s “Totally Senseless”, along with Brian Dowling and host Steve Jones. Ever heard of it? Me neither. Probably because ITV ultimately declined to pick the show up.

Just let that sink in for a moment: a show so bad that even ITV won’t air it.

I’m shocked – how could a show with such a glittering line-up of talent fail?

In 2013, she was first to be eliminated from the 8th series of Celebrity Masterchef, when she presented Greg Wallace with a Pop Tart.

In 2013, Jade Ewen was one of the celebrity contestants on ITV1’s godawful diving show “Splash!”; she was the first to leave the show and revealed afterwards that she only did the show for the money. No shit, really?

Just let that sink in for a moment: “Totally Senseless” was considered by the powers that be at ITV to be worse than “Splash!”

In November 2015 Ewen announced that she had won the coveted role of Princess Jasmine in “Aladdin”, which is definitely a musical and definitely not a pantomime.

In 2006, British Hit Singles & Albums named the Sugababes as the most successful female act of the 21st century. Yes, you read that correctly: the most successful female act in a century that was a whole six years old.

But enough of this sniping. Sugababes genuinely did make some bloody great pop records, and today’s choice is where it all began, back in 2000,with this, which has the greasy paw-prints of one Mr Rockstar all over, it if I’m not mistaken:

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Sugababes – Overload

More soon.