Atomic Kitten

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Atomic Kitten
Atomic Kitten (cropped version).jpg
Atomic Kitten in 2013.
Background information
Origin Liverpool, England
Genres Pop, dance-pop, Europop
Years active 1998–2004, 2012–present
Labels EMI, Innocent, Virgin
Website atomickitten.com
Members Liz McClarnon
Natasha Hamilton
Kerry Katona
Past members Jenny Frost
Heidi Range

Atomic Kitten are an English pop girl group formed in Liverpool in 1998 by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) frontman Andy McCluskey, who served as a principal songwriter during the band's early years. The line-up consists of Liz McClarnon, Natasha Hamilton, and Kerry Katona. Former Precious singer Jenny Frost joined the group in January 2001 when Kerry Katona quit on becoming pregnant; when the group reformed in 2012, Katona replaced Frost. To date the group have had three UK #1 singles: "Whole Again", the fourth-best-selling girl-group of all time; "Eternal Flame", a song originally recorded by The Bangles; and "The Tide Is High (Get the Feeling)", a song originally recorded by The Paragons and by Blondie.[1] They have also had two double-platinum #1 albums in the UK: their debut Right Now, and its follow-up Feels So Good.[1][2] They released their final studio album, Ladies Night, on 10 November 2003.

As of April 2013, Atomic Kitten have sold over 10 million records worldwide.[3]

The group announced their split following Hamilton's departure in April 2004, although they returned briefly the next year to release a new version of their single "Cradle". They also made one-off appearances in 2006 and 2008 to release charity singles. On 4 March 2012, Hamilton claimed that the group would be reforming during the year,[4] although squabbling between Katona and Frost made this dubious. Then on October 18, it was announced that McClarnon, Hamilton, and Katona would reunite for the ITV2 series The Big Reunion, along with five other pop groups of their time—B*Witched, Five, Liberty X, Honeyz and 911.[5] Frost was unable to take part in the comeback because of pregnancy, but Hamilton has since confirmed that Frost would be welcomed back if she wanted to rejoin the group in the future.[6]

History[edit]

1998–2001: Formation, Right Now and Katona's departure[edit]

Atomic Kitten founder Andy McCluskey performing with OMD in 2011.

Atomic Kitten was first conceived in 1998 by British musician Andy McCluskey, whose globally successful new wave group, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), had disbanded two years before and would remain inactive until 2006. McCluskey explained on BBC Breakfast in 2010: "I left the music industry kicking and screaming in terms of performing, because at the height of indie rock and Britpop, [OMD] were totally out of fashion. I was conceited enough to think I could still write songs, and [founded Atomic Kitten]."[7] He has stated that Karl Bartos of Kraftwerk suggested he create a new band as a vehicle for his songs following the dissolution of OMD.[8] McCluskey, also a Merseyside resident, served as a principal songwriter on Atomic Kitten's studio recordings in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The original lineup featured Liz McClarnon, Kerry Katona, and Heidi Range, but Range quit because of artistic difference and moved on to the Sugababes; meanwhile, she was replaced in Atomic Kitten by Natasha Hamilton.

The group's debut single, "Right Now", was released in late-November 1999 and reached #10 on the UK Singles Chart. Their second single, "See Ya" (originally by Wham! and Frankie Goes to Hollywood) followed in March 2000 and was an even bigger success, reaching #6.[1] Following this initial success, Atomic Kitten performed an Asian tour and scored their first #1 hit there with "Cradle". The album, also titled Right Now, was first released in Japan on 16 March 2000 and subsequently released in the United Kingdom on 23 October 2000 following the release of two further singles, "I Want Your Love" and "Follow Me", with a slightly modified track list. In 2000 they also recorded a cover of "The Locomotion" for the movie Thomas and the Magic Railroad. The album was unsuccessful upon its first release, peaking at #39 on the UK Albums Chart.[1] There were no initial plans to focus on the global marker and Atomic Kitten's label, Innocent Records, was even considering dropping them because of their limited success. However, the record company was persuaded to let the group release one more single from the album.[9] That single, "Whole Again", became their first #1 hit in the United Kingdom and stayed at the top for four consecutive weeks.[1] Due to this success, "Whole Again" was released globally, and reached #1 in 18 other countries, including 6 weeks in Germany and New Zealand and 27 weeks at number one in the Republic of Moldova.[10] The song and video for "Whole Again" originally featured Kerry Katona, Katona's vocals were also in "Hippy", "Get Real", "Strangers", and "Turn Me On", but several days before the single's release, she left because of her pregnancy.[11] Former Precious singer Jenny Frost replaced her in the line-up and the single's music video was re-shot; a US video for "Whole Again" was also released. Their fourth single was "Follow Me". The Katona-Frost switch led to the decision to partially re-record and re-release the Right Now album which then went to #1 in the UK in August 2001, and was certified double Platinum.[1][2] The album also reached the Top 10 in several European countries, including Germany and Denmark.[12][13]

Their next single, "Eternal Flame", a cover of The Bangles' 1989 hit, became their second #1 single in the UK and New Zealand and is featured in the film The Parole Officer and the So Far So Good DVD.[1][14] Atomic Kitten's first album was repackaged with 3 brand-new tracks: "Eternal Flame", "You Are", and "Tomorrow & Tonight" and includes vocals from Jenny Frost in "Whole Again". It became their biggest single in France—peaking at #2--and eventually went Gold. In late 2001, the band announced they would be releasing a final single from the repackaged album, "You Are". A video was recorded and promo singles were sent out to radio, but the single was ultimately shelved, never getting a full commercial release.[15][16] That same year, "Right Now" was featured in Konami's hit arcade videogame, Dance Dance Revolution 5th MIXA deluxe edition of "Right Now" was also released with extra tracks including "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town", "Holiday", "Real Life", and "Dancing in the Street", includes remixes for "I Want Your Love", "Right Now", "Eternal Flame", "Whole Again", "You Are", "See Ya", and "Follow Me", plus 8 music videos and live performances.

2002–03: Third line-up, Feels So Good and international breakthrough[edit]

Following the success of Right Now, a new album, Feels So Good, was recorded. The songwriting and production agreement with Andy McCluskey was an increasing source of tension within the group, and McCluskey departed halfway through the recording of the album. Released tracks from the studio album were "It's OK", "The Tide Is High (Get The Feeing)", "The Last Goodbye","Love Doesn't Have To Hurt", and "Be With You". The unreleased single was "Feels So Good" sung by Kylie Minogue and Atomic Kitten. "The Last Goodbye" was the 3rd single from their second studio album, "Feels So Good" and "Be With You" was from their third album, "Ladies Night".

The first single, "It's OK", peaked at #3 in the United Kingdom. The next single was "The Tide Is High (Get the Feeling)", a remake of the 1965 song by The Paragons that Blondie covered in 1980, which gave the group their third #1 single in the UK and New Zealand.[1][14] In April 2002 Hamilton announced that she was pregnant but opted to continue with the scheduled 2002 tour, appear in the "Tide is High (Get the Feeling)" video, and appear at Party in the Park before going on maternity leave. There was also a Feels So Good Medley live at Party in the Park including "Be With You", "The Tide Is High (Get The Feeling)", It's OK", "Feels So Good", "The Moment You Leave Me", and "The Last Goodbye".[17]

During January and February 2003, Atomic Kitten toured Southeast Asia, visiting Singapore, Thailand, and Korea. Hamilton, who had given birth to her son Josh on 24 August 2002, brought him on the tour.[18]

2003–04: Ladies Night, Hamilton's departure and split[edit]

In April 2003, the album Atomic Kitten was released in the United States, which consisted of tracks from their first two albums. The album was unsuccessful, although "The Tide Is High (Get the Feeling)" appeared on the soundtrack for the Disney Channel Original Movie The Lizzie McGuire Movie. Following this, the group opted to focus solely on the European, Oceanian, South African and Asian markets.[19]

Before recording their third album, Kool & the Gang approached the group about a collaboration for their album of duets, Odyssey. Kool & the Gang wanted to record an updated version of their hit "Ladies Night" and were looking for a girl group to sing the lyrics. Atomic Kitten liked the idea and inquired whether they could use it for their next album which was subsequently named Ladies Night in honour of this collaboration. Released tracks were "Be with You", "If You Come to Me", "Ladies Night" and the final single released was "Someone like Me". Unreleased tracks such as "I Won't Be There", "Always Be My Baby" etc.[20]

Their first single of the album, excluding "Be with You", was "If You Come to Me". It peaked at number three on the UK top 40.[1] Atomic Kitten spent late 2002 and early 2003 in the studio recording their third and final studio album. Up until the recording of Ladies Night, the group mainly relied on songwriters, though they had occasionally co-written songs featured on their albums. While recording Ladies Night, they decided to be directly involved in the creation of eight of the fifteen songs. Ladies Night was released on 10 November 2003 and peaked at number five in the UK album chart. It was certified Platinum for sales in excess of 300,000 copies.[1][2] The album released the group including "Be With You", "Ladies Night" and "If You Come To Me". A deluxe edition of her third album was released with extra tracks including remixes of Be With You, Ladies Night and Someone Like Me

In early 2004, a tour to support the Ladies Night album and the upcoming release of their Greatest Hits album was planned. Shortly before the tour kicked off, the group announced they would be taking an extended break after the completion of the tour.[21] After the group's 2012 reunion, it was revealed during The Big Reunion that Hamilton that quit the group under the pressure of being a new mum and touring which later led to the band splitting because they didn't want to replace Hamilton.

2004–12: Occasional one-off appearances and solo projects[edit]

In January 2004, Hamilton announced she wanted to take a hiatus from the group and devote more time to her young son. Atomic Kitten released the double A-side single Someone like Me/"Right Now 2004" as a "goodbye" to their fans, but were reunited on Valentine's Day 2005 to release the charity single "Cradle 2005", a new version of the original song from their album Right Now which was a number one hit in Asia back in 2000. "Cradle 2005" peaked at number ten, selling 35,000 copies worldwide, with proceeds going to World Vision.[22]

In 2005, Atomic Kitten were featured on the soundtrack of Disney's Mulan II with the song "(I Wanna Be) Like Other Girls". In 2005, they also performed together in Krakow on 28 August at the Coca-Cola SoundWave Festival.[23] In 2006, they released a cover version of The Farm song "All Together Now". It became a charity single for the 2006 FIFA World Cup and was released only in German-speaking countries. It peaked inside the German Top 20.[citation needed]

The group reunited in December 2006 for The Nokia New Year's Eve Music Festival, performing in Hong Kong on 31 December 2006. They once again reunited to perform at The Number One Project at the Liverpool Echo Arena on 19 January 2008, which celebrated Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture and the fact that Liverpudlian artists have had a collective 56 UK number one singles. Also to mark the event, the same month the group released a cover of "Anyone Who Had a Heart", which peaked at number 78 on the UK Singles Chart.[24]

Although a reunion was due to surface after reuniting in 2008, it never materialised and the girls continued with solo projects: Hamilton gave birth to her third son Alfie in June 2010, Frost presented the first four series of Snog Marry Avoid?, and McClarnon presented Hotter Than My Daughter and also appeared at the Liverpool Empire in December 2012 alongside Coleen Nolan in Cinderella.[25]

2012–13: Reformation of original line-up, The Big Reunion and touring[edit]

Atomic Kitten performing live in Glasgow on 7 May 2013 as part of The Big Reunion arena tour.

In March 2012, Hamilton confirmed that the group were reuniting for a summer tour, and that they would love to perform at the Diamond Jubilee Concert. She also stated that the group were in talks to star in their own reality television show regarding the comeback, following on the success of the 2011 Steps reunion and reality show.[4] Hamilton stated that she hoped Katona, who quit the band in 2001, would join her, McClarnon and Frost on stage for a performance. The reunion was later dismissed by all members due to the fight between Katona and Frost.

However, on 18 October 2012, it was announced that the original line-up of Atomic Kitten (McClarnon, Katona and Hamilton) would reunite for an ITV2 series along with five other pop groups of their time – 911, Honeyz, B*Witched, Five and Liberty X.[5] Frost was not involved because she was expecting twins, whom she gave birth to in January 2013.[26]

On 20 November, the girls were spotted leaving a recording studio together. The Daily Mail reported that they were seen filming their reformation for The Big Reunion.[27] In an interview with the Radio Times on 29 January, the group confirmed that they would continue their reunion beyond the one-off performance with Katona saying "It's been so much fun so far, why wouldn't we continue it?". We came into this knowing we'd have a bit of a laugh, but not that it would be this much fun, so why would we stop when it's been so good? Watch this space...". They also confirmed that Frost had been involved in early meetings to reform the group but decided to focus on her pregnancy.[28] The group later confirmed that the setlist would consist of "Right Now", "See Ya", "I Want Your Love", "Whole Again", "It's OK", "Be with You" and "The Tide Is High (Get the Feeling)". On 1 February 2013, the group were interviewed on This Morning discussing the reformation.

The bands were originally only supposed to perform a one-off concert at London's Hammersmith Apollo on 26 February 2013, but when the entire show sold out in under five minutes shortly after the premiere of the first episode on 31 January 2013, rumours circulated that the show may become a full arena tour around the UK.[29] On 11 February, it was confirmed that, due to high ticket demands and the popularity of The Big Reunion, a UK arena tour would be taking place from 3–14 May 2013.[30] Two more dates were later added for 16 and 17 May, taking the tour total to 14 shows.[31] Due to the massive success of The Big Reunion, it was announced that the bands would also be going on a "Christmas party tour" in December 2013.[32]

In December 2013, Atomic Kitten recorded their first new material in ten years when, along with the other groups from the show, they recorded a Christmas charity single for Text Santa.

2013–present: Current Projects and uncertain future[edit]

On 17 February 2013, Atomic Kitten made an appearance on The Alan Titchmarsh Show and Katona announced that the group have signed a deal to release their own perfume fragrance. Hamilton later added that they would be releasing new material, saying: "We've already been in the studio, we want to write some more music, so it's all very exciting."[33] On 14 March, Hamilton confirmed yet again that the group would release new material, saying "There is definitely going to be a single and there will be an album, hopefully". Also speaking about their fragrance deal, she added: 'We have got a perfume deal - we are going to be releasing our own Atomic Kitten fragrance. "Right Now", "The Tide Is High" and "Whole Again" are taken from The Big Reunion Album. It's going to be three different smells to represent the three of us. Fans will get the three in one packet. We went to the company's offices and created our fragrances.'[34]

Hamilton has stated that Frost will be welcome back if she wants to rejoin the group in the future.[6] On 27 March, Hamilton tweeted "I'm off the studio to vocal @AtomicKOfficial potential come-back single!! Could today get anymore freakin' exciting!"[35] At the Health Lottery champagne tea at Claridge's in London, she said: "We actually recorded our new single last night. We've literally just done it. I got out of the studio at 11pm and I couldn't stop singing the song. I couldn't get to sleep - I was in bed, singing! It's modern so we've progressed. That's all I can say right now. If there's a single, there's definitely going to be an album."[36]

The group featured on The Big Reunion charity Christmas single I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday peaking at #13. Following the announcement of Katona's pregnancy, the group confirmed that they were unsure of the group's future, or if any new material would be released. Liz McClarnon announced on 6 April that Atomic Kitten would be touring with East 17 and All Saints and others in November 2014. The next week it was announced that unforeseen circumstances had cancelled the tour.

Discography[edit]

Tours[edit]

Members[edit]

Member 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2012 2013 2014
Liz McClarnon
(1998–2004, 2012–present)
Natasha Hamilton
(1999–2004, 2012–present)
Kerry Katona
(1998–2001, 2012–present)
Jenny Frost
(2001–2004)
Heidi Range
(1998–1999)
  • Note: those in bold are current members.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "UK Charts > Atomic Kitten". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 27 July 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "BPI Certified Awards". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 4 September 2009. 
  3. ^ "Nothing going on but the Rent for Atomic Kitten star Natasha Hamilton". Lancashire Evening Post (Johnston Press). 11 March 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Colin Daniels (4 March 2013). "Atomic Kitten reunion confirmed by Natasha Hamilton". Digital Spy. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "The 90s are back: reunions from Atomic Kitten, 5ive, and more". Gigwise. 18 October 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Atomic Kitten's Natasha Hamilton: 'Jenny Frost could return'". Digital Spy. 28 March 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  7. ^ OMD interview. BBC Breakfast. 13 September 2010.
  8. ^ McCormick, Neil (9 September 2010). "OMD: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Noughties". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  9. ^ "Atomic Kitten's perfect year". BBC News. 30 December 2002. Retrieved 9 July 2006. 
  10. ^ "Chartverfolgung / Atomic Kitten / Single" (in German). musicline.de PhonoNet. Retrieved 29 July 2010. 
  11. ^ BBC News: McFadden and Katona tie knot. Retrieved 30 July 2006
  12. ^ "Chartverfolgung / Atomic Kitten / Longplay" (in German). musicline.de PhonoNet. Retrieved 27 July 2010. 
  13. ^ "Danish Charts > Atomic Kitten". danishcharts.com Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 July 2010. 
  14. ^ a b "New Zealand Charts > Atomic Kitten". charts.org.nz Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 July 2008. 
  15. ^ "French Charts > Atomic Kitten" (in French). lescharts.com Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 July 2010. 
  16. ^ "Disque en France > Certifications Singles > Or > 2002". Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 28 July 2010. 
  17. ^ Fun Trivia: Atomic Kitten. A deluxe edition of their second album was released with extra tracks including "Be With You", "Whole Again", "Eternal Flame" and "Ser tu Pasion, eres mi Obsesion", and 5 remixes plus 5 music videos, 5 live performances and a Feels So Good medley live in Party in the Park. Retrieved 29 July 2006
  18. ^ Atomic Kitten active – News 9 January 2003. Retrieved 30 July 2006
  19. ^ The Arkansas Traveler online: Atomic Kitten: what America is missing. Retrieved 16 August 2006
  20. ^ "Ladies Night interview". CBBC News. Retrieved 29 July 2006. 
  21. ^ "Atomic Kitten reveal new tour dates". CBBC News. Retrieved 30 July 2006. 
  22. ^ AtomicKittenz. Retrieved 31 December 2005
  23. ^ "Kerry Katona 'wants Atomic Kitten reunion' – Music News". Digital Spy. 16 March 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  24. ^ "Atomic Kitten Reunite For Liverpool’s The Number One Live Concert". popdirt.com. 2007-12-29. Retrieved 2013-02-20. 
  25. ^ Jones, Catherine (2012-07-13). "Liz McClarnon and Coleen Nolan star in Cinderella at the Liverpool Empire this Christmas". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2014-06-04. 
  26. ^ "Ex-Atomic Kitten Jenny Frost gives birth to twin girls". The Sun. 24 January 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  27. ^ "Atomic Kitten recording comeback with Kerry Katona, not Jenny Frost?". Digital Spy (Hearst Magazines UK). 21 November 2012. 
  28. ^ "Atomic Kitten On Staying Whole Again". Radio Times. 29 January 2013. 
  29. ^ Daniels, Colin (3 February 2013). "'Big Reunion' UK arena tour in the works". Digital Spy (Hearst Magazines UK). Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  30. ^ Nissam, Mayer (11 February 2013). "5ive, Atomic Kitten, B*Witched, Liberty X, 911 for Big Reunion arena tour". Digital Spy (Hearst Magazines UK). Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  31. ^ "The Big Re-Union announces show at The O2 and Odyssey Arena". Goldenplec. 14 February 2013. Retrieved 14 February 2013. /
  32. ^ "5ive, B*Witched, Atomic Kitten for 'Big Reunion' Christmas Party tour". Digital Spy. 27 March 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  33. ^ "New Atomic Kitten Material". Digital Spy. 17 February 2013. 
  34. ^ "Atomic Kitten to launch new fragrance with three different scents". Digital Spy. 14 March 2013. 
  35. ^ Natasha Hamilton (27 March 2013). "Natasha Official: "I'm off the studio to vocal @AtomicKOfficial potential come-back single!! Could today get anymore freakin' exciting!"". Twitter. Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  36. ^ "New Atomic Kitten music on way". Irish Independent. 29 March 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2013. 

External links[edit]