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All Saints & Take That
Does it feel like it’s the 1990s again to anyone? If two of UK’s most successful groups have it their way it will be, but only in terms of chart success ~ with a brand new set of tunes, superstars Take That and All Saints return to the music scene, recharged and raring to go.


Meet The Band
Gary Barlow
Mark Owen
Jason Orange
Howard Donald

Back Then
By the mid-90s, Take That had become one of the most successful British bands since The Beatles, having to their credit eight #1 singles and selling a staggering 25 million records across the globe. It had all begun in Manchester in 1990, when music manager Nigel Martin-Smith decided to inject some much-needed excitement into the British music scene by providing them with a brand new sensation. He assembled a group of five working class teenagers to form a band that would sing some great pop songs and perform a riveting live show. The line-up he picked consisted of 19-year-old Gary Barlow, who had been singing and playing the organ on the northern club circuit for five years, 21-year-old Howard Donald, a vehicle painter, DJ, dancer and model, 19-year-old painter and decorator Jason Orange who had danced on a TV programme, 16-year-old Mark Owen, a former child model and Manchester United trialist, and 16-year old body popper Robbie Williams.

The boys all had past performing experience in some form, equipping them to take on the challenge of playing live with this group. Gary in particular had learned to work the tough pub crowds early on. He says, “I think it made a massive difference to us. At 17 I’d been performing in clubs where I’d have to read the crowd straight away, quickly pick a set list, and within 40-45 minutes have everyone on their feet clapping. It teaches you to work a room. If you look at our shows, they are so theatrical, it's almost in cabaret in a way. That all stems from those days.”

Right Now
In the years that followed the band went their separate ways until 2004, when the quartet met again to discuss a greatest hits package. The talks evolved to include plans of a documentary, which the band wanted to be in charge of creatively so that their story would be told interestingly. Robbie was the only one the rest of band hadn’t been in touch with and they were unsure as to whether he would agree to participate. To their surprise, he did agree to be filmed, albeit separately from the rest of the band. As filming progressed, talk of a reunion tour began to circulate and the band themselves started to get excited about performing together again. The documentary was released in 2005 and was cited a huge success, earning an impressive seven million plus audience and a prestigious Rose D'Or nomination.


Meet The Band
Natalie Appleton
Nicole Appleton
Shaznay Lewis
Melanie Blatt

Back Then
All Saints started out in 1993 as a band called All Saints, named after the year of their births and the London street on which they had met while doing backing vocals at a recording studio. Melanie Blatt and Shaznay Lewis formed the original line-up with a third member called Simone Rainford who eventually left the band in 1995. Soon after that Mel and Shaznay met up with sisters Nicole and Natalie Appleton and the group recorded a demo for the song I Know Where It’s At in 1996. Just one year later, with a new record deal in place, the song was released as their debut single and it was an instant success, breaking the Top 10 on the UK charts. The next single, a lush mid-tempo track called Never Ever was the one that really kicked their careers into high gear. The song sold over a million copies in the UK and won them a series of awards including two Brits and an MTV Europe Music Award for Breakthrough Artist Of The Year. The girls, it seemed, were unstoppable, releasing hit singles like Pure Shores (which featured in the Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach), Black Coffee and a successful cover of the Red Hot Chili Peppers song Under The Bridge. In five years, the girls had released eight singles, all of which had charted in the UK Top 10, out of which five went to #1. Their two albums had sold over ten million copies across the globe.

Right Now
Melanie Blatt says it best when she sums up the new phase in the band’s career ~ "This is not a comeback. It's a continuation." As soon as word got out that the four All Saints were friends again, the record company Parlophone, who had already been in negotiations with Shaznay to write for some of their acts, offered the quartet a recording deal. The four women were thrilled at the offer but not sure they could take it on. Says Mel, “[We were thinking…] ‘We're all mums, we're all in our 30s, can we still do this?' Then we were like, 'Of course we can, let's go for it!'"

You can read the rest of our feature on All Saints & Take That in the January 2007 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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