Reach for the Stars: S Club 7
Pop group S Club 7 told us to reach for the stars – and this is just what the band members themselves did in order to achieve global success, enjoying a string of hit records across the world.
The English pop group – formed by former Spice Girls’ manager Simon Fuller – was a huge phenomenon born in the late ’90s. After rocketing to superstardom, they were soon playing to packed stadiums and attracting a following in the UK, Europe, the United States, Asia, Africa and Latin America.
They sold more than 10 million records, won two Brit Awards, had their own television series, made a feature film called Seeing Double in 2003 and were judges and mentors in a TV reality show, S Club Search, to find the pop stars of the future.
Fuller auditioned band members for his new group, S Club 7, in 1998, after advertising for new recruits in The Stage magazine. The successful applicants were Paul Cattermole, Tina Barrett, Rachel Stevens, Hannah Spearritt, Jo O’Meara, Jon Lee and Bradley McIntosh.
They signed to Polydor Records and then launched their own TV series, Miami 7, on CBBC in 1999. It was billed as a children’s sitcom and was the fictitious story of how the group had moved to America as part of their search for success.
Catapulting the group to international stardom, the programme was bought by the US channel Fox and later by the ABC Family network. This led to two spin-off TV specials, Back to the ’50s, followed by Boyfriends and Birthdays, both in 1999.
The band members in the television series were based on their own real-life characters, but these were exaggerated versions of the real people. Running for four series, at its peak the show was watched by more than 90 million viewers in around 100 countries.
Later in 1999, they also had cameo roles in a made for TV film, The Greatest Store in the World – a family Christmas tale based on a book by Alex Shearer that was filmed in the famous London department store, Harrods.
S Club 7’s career at the top lasted for five years, during which time they won two Brit Awards for Best British Breakthrough Act and Best Single for Don’t Stop Movin’ in 2002.
They had four UK number-one singles (Never Had a Dream Come True, Bring It All Back, Don’t Stop Movin’ and Have You Ever) and a number one album called Seven in 2000. They also had top ten hits in Europe, the US, Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Perhaps their most famous single was Reach, released in May 2000. Reaching number two in the UK singles chart, it contained the famous inspirational line, “Reach for the stars, follow your heart’s desire.”
The message of the song was to follow your dreams and not to give up, even when times were hard. It likened the path of life to driving down an open road, leaving your past behind you and always aiming for better things. The song remains as popular today as it was when it was first released.
S Club 7’s legion of mainly young fans loved their energy and in particular their lively videos. They were always shamelessly upbeat and their videos were full of great moves, thanks to the band members’ ability to sing and dance.
The band announced they were to go their separate ways during a live performance in April 2003, following months of speculation. However, in October 2014, the original line up reunited in aid of the BBC Children in Need fundraiser. This sparked an announcement of a full UK reunion tour in 2015.
In December 2017, three original band members (Tina, Jo and Bradley) announced plans for a new world tour as SC3. They also released a new single called Family – their first in 14 years.
As well as still being a performer, Bradley is a company director for Yoghurt Media and also runs Citiboy Entertainment.
After S Club 7 split, Hannah branched out into acting, playing the lead role in the science-fiction TV series, Primeval, to great critical acclaim. Paul joined a new group, Skua, who haven’t yet achieved the same degree of success as S Club 7. Sadly, an injury left him unable to work for some time.
Jon began starring in theatrical productions, appearing in hit musicals including Les Miserables and Jersey Boys. He also released his debut solo album, Fallen Angel, in 2013.
Rachel has enjoyed the greatest success since S Club 7 split, grabbing a six-figure solo record deal and releasing hit songs such as Sweet Dreams My LA Ex, More More More and Some Girls. She has also appeared as a competitor in Strictly Come Dancing and has been a guest mentor on X Factor New Zealand.
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