Friday, 1 February 2013

The Big Reunion: more 90s/00s pop hasbeens return!

ITV2's latest reality show, The Big Reunion, kicked off last night. It follows the story of six late 90s/early 00s pop acts that imploded for one reason or another and are now getting back together for a one-off live concert at the Hammersmith Apollo in London at the end of the month. I've managed to get tickets to this once in a lifetime event and shall endeavour to review the spectacle once I've returned. The first show was an intriguing look at the rise and fall of the six acts featured, namely Five (5ive), 911, B*Witched, Atomic Kitten, Liberty X and Honeyz. Between them these acts managed more than ten UK chart toppers, despite none of them ever really being in the same league as the likes of Steps, Boyzone, Take That and Spice Girls, the a-listers of turn of the millennium pop who have all staged successful comebacks in recent years. Spice Girls had a huge world tour, Boyzone and Steps scored #1 albums and sold out arenas and Take That have rewritten the rulebook in 'how to mount a successful comeback'.

These six acts were more the second rung of UK pop, the type of acts whose singles would generally enter high thanks to a loyal fanbase but drop down the charts quickly. However, all six of them hold a place in my heart to some extent and the concert should make for a fascinating live experience and it will be interesting to see if they actually sing live! Rather than going into great detail about each act, as this will be documented during the show's run, I'm going to pinpoint my personal favourite single from each act, they all had at least one that I loved. Feel free to comment below if you disagree, I know I've made some unorthodox choices in some cases!

B*Witched - To You I Belong

Starting with the formerly denim-clad Irish quartet. To You I Belong was the girls' third UK No.1 single, topping the charts in the week before Xmas 1998. A stunning Celtic ballad, I'd actually comfortably place this inside my top 20 songs of the 1990s, gorgeous.

911 - Private Number

Before the crap flop Wonderland, 911 rounded off their career with a trio of cover versions that all went top three in the UK, their excellent take on More Than A Woman, their less good version of A Little Bit More (their only UK #1) and this fantastic version of the William Bell song Private Number, which featured uncredited vocals from Natalie Jordan. It went to #3 in May 1999 and deserves some attention!

5ive - Until The Time Is Through

One of a number of boyband singles to be denied the UK #1 by Cher's mammoth hit Believe (see also E-17's Each Time and Boyzone's I Love The Way You Love Me), 5ive went to No.2 with their first ballad release in late 1998. Clearly the template for Westlife's opening few singles, if you didn't already know that this was by 5ive, you'd think it was by the Irish boyband. A classic sleek string laden ballad penned by Swedish legend Max Martin, it's one of their most overlooked singles.

Atomic Kitten - Eternal Flame

During 2001-2004, Atomic Kitten were actually probably my favourite group, despite being a bit MOR I actually preferred them to Sugababes and even early Girls Aloud material. That said, I only became a 'fan' once Kerry had left, so I'm not overly thrilled at the prospect of her returning over the brilliant Jenny Frost. Eternal Flame, their Bangles cover and second UK #1 was my favourite of theirs but my favourite song of theirs with Kerry would be either Right Now or Follow Me. I always found Whole Again hugely overrated, it's rather plain after all.

Liberty X feat Rev Run - Song 4 Lovers

Liberty X's final top five hit, the uplifting Song 4 Lovers was released in late 2005. A brilliant hybrid of pure pop (which wasn't exactly ruling the charts at this time), an inspired rap from Run DMC's Rev Run and a bit of gospel, it's one of the best pop songs to come from that era, even if it's not exactly well remembered. In fact it wasn't even mentioned in the Liberty X section of The Big Reunion last night!

Honeyz - End Of The Line

Of all the acts featured in The Big Reunion, the presence of the Honeyz surprised me. The only one of these acts to have not scored a UK #1 single, they seemed to be in a slightly lower league to the rest. That said, I always thought they were pretty great - all five of their top ten singles are underrated and forgotten classics, espeically their debut single Finally Found and the ever so slightly better End Of The Line. 

So fingers crossed that most of these songs get performed on the night, although I wouldn't actually be surprised if most were missed out in favour of the likes of C'est La Vie, Bodyshakin', Keep On Movin' Whole Again, Just A Little and Finally Found - the signature hits of those respective groups! The TV show should continue to make fascinating viewing though!


  1. I missed this programme, but love the Liberty X song 'Song for Lovers', they were a cool band back in the 00s!

  2. Agreed James, Song 4 Lovers was my favourite of theirs, so uplifting!