S Club 7 were a British manufactured pop group, popular between 1999 and 2003. Marketed as a modern Monkees, they were created in 1999 by their manager Simon Fuller, who had previously managed the hit girl group The Spice Girls, intended to be equally television stars as well as a pop group, although it was as singers that they are best remembered.
Just like when The Monkees were formed, the band members were among thousands of young people who auditioned for the role. Simon Fuller would later re-use his experience gained in auditioning candidates for S Club 7 to create the Pop Idol television series in 2001 and a spin-off group, S Club Juniors.
In the five years they were together, S Club appeared in four television series, several feature length dramas and a film. They also had four Number One singles in the UK, and one Number One album before splitting up in 2003.
As the name suggests, S Club 7 originally had seven members. The seven were:
- Tina Barrett
- Paul Cattermole
- Jon Lee
- Bradley McIntosh
- Jo O'Meara
- Hannah Spearitt
- Rachel Stevens
The band were renamed 'S Club' after Paul Cattermole left the band in early 2002, leaving the previous name painfully inaccurate.
Before releasing any records, the group shot to fame after appearing together as the main characters in a BBC children's television sitcom in 1999, entitled Miami 7. The seven members essentially played themselves, and ended each episode with one of their own songs. The programme told the story of a band living in Miami trying to become famous, but was entirely fictional.
The band also starred in other television specials throughout 1999 in a concerted bid to gain fame and success. These included Back to the '50s, in which S Club 7 ended up travelling back in time to that decade, Boyfriends & Birthdays, in which the character of Rachel considered leaving the group, and a guest appearance in The Greatest Store in the World, in which they turned up to sing.
In the latter three series of the group's television show the programme changed its name as the setting changed. This created surprising and innovative titles such as LA 7 for the series set in Los Angeles in 2000, and Hollywood 7 for 2001's series. The fourth and final series, aired in 2002, was the only one not filmed in the USA. This was called Viva S Club and was set in Barcelona, Spain.
They even starred in a feature-length film, Seeing Double, in 2003. The plot revolved around the six remaining band members being cloned.
Their debut single, Bring It All Back, was released to coincide with the group's first television series in June 1999. This single was followed by S Club Party, produced by Stargate and released in October the same year. It reached an admirable position of number 2 in the UK singles chart. The band would release a total of five albums, including the greatest hits collection, entitled Best - The Greatest Hits, in addition to 11 singles.
The first album was simply named S Club, but did feature all seven members of the band. Containing 11 songs, it became Double Platinum1 and reached a peak chart position of number two after its release on 4 October, 1999. The songs on the album that were also singles were:
- 'Bring It All Back' – The group's first record release and their first single, this was a UK Number 12.
- 'S Club Party' – The second single, released in September 1999, and a UK Number 2 hit.
- 'You're My Number One' – In fact, a Number 2. This was released as a Double-A-Side with 'Two In A Million', another song on the album, in December 1999.
Originally released 12 June, 2000 in the UK, the album was later re-released on 4 December, 2000. This album topped the UK's Album Chart and went triple-platinum. It also supplied three singles. Originally released with ten songs, later releases featured five additional songs not on the first version including 'Never Had A Dream Come True'. The singles from this album were:
- 'Reach' – Perhaps their most infamous single, this number 2 hit had been released as a single on 22 May 2000.
- 'Natural' – A UK Number 3, this song was released in September 2000.
With a peak chart position in the UK of number three, this 15-song album from 2001 had three singles. This was the last album to contain all seven band members. Singles:
- 'Never Had a Dream Come True' – The BBC's official Children In Need Single and consequently a UK Number 1 on its release in November 2000. Released on the extended version of the 7 album, its popularity also led to it being re-released on Sunshine.
- 'Don't Stop Movin'' – Loved by young and old alike, the biggest hit with the critics, this single was released on St George's Day 23 April, 2001 and was their third Number 1 single3. 'Don't Stop Movin'' was later covered by The Beautiful South. The album contained two versions, including the Jewels & Stone Radio Mix
- 'Have You Ever' – After their success in 2000, the BBC asked S Club 7 again to supply the official Children In Need Single in 2001, and so this was a UK Number 1 on its release in December 2001.
- 'You' – released in February 2002, this song was a Number 2 hit.
The band's last album of new material, released in 2002, named to coincide with their film title. It was also the only album of new material released by 'S Club' rather than 'S Club 7'. It also had 14 songs on its initial release, 16 on later extended versions. Marking the decline of both their popularity and that of manufactured popgroups, it reached a peak of only 17 in the UK Album Chart. Two singles were released from this album.
- 'Alive' – the first single released without Paul Cattermole and under the S Club name. Released in November 2002, it reached Number 5. Another version of this song, entitled 'Alive (Almighty Mix)' was a bonus track on the re-released version of this album.
- 'Love Ain't Gonna Wait for You' – a Double-A-Side with the non-album song 'Say Goodbye', this was released after the band had announced that after a final single they would split. This final single, released in May 2003, peaked the UK singles Chart at number two.
BEST - The Greatest Hits of S Club
A year after their final album and after they announced their split, a greatest hits album was released. In a heart-warming display of the nation's fondness for one of the most successful popgroups of the early noughties, the best-of reached an impressive number two in the UK Album Chart. It contained their singles in chronological order of their initial release as well as the first album-release of 'Say Goodbye' and two bonus songs.
S Club Juniors
Also known as S Club 8, the S Club Juniors were a spin-off band created in 2001 to be a support act for S Club 7. The members of the group were auditioned in television series S Club Search by S Club 7 and had some success, releasing five top-ten singles, two other singles and three albums and appearing in a television series before splitting up in 2005.
Since The Split
Since the break up, the members of the band have had varying degrees of success in forging solo roles for themselves:
Tina Barrett – Tina released a cover of Rod Stewart's 'Do Ya Think I'm Sexy' in 2004 as part of The Girls Of FHM, which reached number 10.
Paul Cattermole – the first to leave S Club 7, he continues to pursue a singing career and has performed with Bradley McIntosh and Jo O'Meara as 'S Club 3'.
Jon Lee – Jon is continuing his acting career and has had various small roles and voice-over work.
Bradley McIntosh – Bradley appeared in an MTV television show called Totally Boyband starring male members of disbanded groups. The boy band created, Upper Street released a single in 2006 which only reached number 35. He has performed with Paul Cattermole and Jo O'Meara as 'S Club 3'.
Jo O'Meara – Jo sadly suffered from a back injury that affected her career and prevented her from doing dance routines. Her debut single 'What Hurts The Most' reached number 13 in 2006 and her first album Relentless only reached 48. In 2007 she appeared on Celebrity Big Brother4, in which Jade Goody and Danielle Lloyd took part in apparently racist bullying behaviour towards Shilpa Shetty. Jo was present at many of the incidents and did nothing to prevent the bullying, despite Shilpa appealing to her for help. Jo did mock Shilpa's accent on more than one occasion, but has denied racism. In 2008 at a performance with Paul Cattermole and Bradley McIntosh as 'S Club 3' in Bradford she suffered a head injury when hit with a glass bottle thrown as a retaliation against her alleged racist behaviour. She has since concentrated on her family.
Hannah Spearitt – Hannah has pursued a successful acting career, starring in Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London immediately after S Club split. Between 2007-2011 she has had a lead role in science-fiction series Primeval, playing pants-wearing dinosaur-kicking Abby Maitland.
Rachel Stevens – The most successful singing former club member, Rachel Stevens has released several singles, including number 2 hits 'Sweet Dreams My LA Ex' and 'Some Girls', number 3 'More More More' and top ten hits 'Negotiate With Love' and 'So Good', from albums Funky Dory and Come And Get It. In 2008 Rachel Stevens came second in television dance competition Strictly Come Dancing.
In late 2011 and early 2012, rumours that the band will one day reunite and return to the charts began to circulate. Yet it was not until 2014 that S Club 7 reunited. This took place in front of a live television audience on 14 November, 2014 as part of Children in Need, performing a medley of their greatest hits. They were introduced to the programme by Sir Terry Wogan and former S Club Junior, Rochelle Humes.
Despite being intended to be a manufactured band aimed at children, S Club 7 have transcended their routes to become affectionately remembered.