Blue (English band)
Blue performing in Manchester on 2011.
|Years active||2000–2005; 2009; 2011–present|
|Labels||Innocent, Virgin, EMI|
|Associated acts||Stevie Wonder, Elton John, RedOne, Bruno Mars|
Blue are an English R&B Brit Award-winning group consisting of members Antony Costa, Duncan James, Lee Ryan and Simon Webbe. The band originally formed in 2000, releasing three studio albums, All Rise (2001), One Love (2002) and Guilty (2003) that all peaked at number one in the United Kingdom alongside releasing sixteen singles, over a four year period. The group also worked alongside artists such as Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Lil Kim. In late 2004, the group announced that they would be going on a two year hiatus and released their first compilation album, Best of Blue on 15 November 2004. However in 2005, the group confirmed that they would be splitting due to wanting to pursue solo careers.
On 28 April 2009, the group announced that they had reformed, and would return to the stage in the summer of that year. The band represented the United Kingdom at the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest in Düsseldorf, Germany with the song "I Can" coming in 11th place with 100 points. Blue released their fourth studio album, Roulette on 25 January 2013 with "Hurt Lovers" as the lead single. On 21 February 2013, it was confirmed that the group would be joining The Big Reunion in which six groups from the past reform for a one off gig including Liberty X, Atomic Kitten and 5ive. From May 2013, the group will be touring the UK and Ireland with the other groups in The Big Reunion concert series. On 27 March 2013, the group announced they would embark on their first headlining tour later on in the year, their first tour in nearly ten years.
2000–01: Formation and All Rise
Blue formed in 2000 with Lee Ryan and Anthony Costa meeting at the ages of 14 and 16 when auditioning for a boyband on This Morning with Simon Cowell putting the group together. Ryan made the band alongside Pop Idol winner Will Young, although Costa was not chosen for the then final line-up. Ryan and Costa remained friends following their meeting and in 2000, alongside Duncan James, decided to form a group. The members wanted a fourth member feeling that something was missing so they went on to audition for their fourth member, in which they met Simon Webbe who later joined the group. The group started recording for their debut album following their new line-up. The band released their debut single "All Rise" in May 2001 and it reached number 4 on the UK Singles Chart. Their follow up single "Too Close" was released in August 2001 peaking at #1 on the UK Singles Chart. They went on to achieve a second number one in November with the ballad "If You Come Back". The album All Rise was released in time for Christmas and reached number one, eventually selling in excess of 1.8 million albums in the UK. The final single from the album, "Fly By II", reached number six in March 2002. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on New York City, the group was being interviewed on BBC and, in the midst of it, Ryan commented that "This New York thing is being blown out of proportion" and asked "What about whales? They are ignoring animals that are more important. Animals need saving and that's more important". The other members of the band tried to silence him but Ryan went on causing a huge media backlash resulting in them losing a record deal in the United States and campaigns to sack Ryan from the group.
2002–04: One Love and Guilty
Their second studio album, One Love was released in October 2002, entering at #1 on the UK Albums Chart and selling more than 150,000 copies. Three singles were released from the album: "One Love", which peaked at #3, "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word", featuring vocals from Elton John, which peaked at #1, and "U Make Me Wanna", which peaked at #4. The song "Supersexual" was issued in parts of South America and Spain in order to promote the band in the region. In June 2003, Hugh and David Nicholson of 1970s Scottish band Blue took the group to court. The case was a high-profile High Court case over the rights to use the name Blue. After some negotiation, the two groups agreed to drop the case and were both allowed to continue to be known as Blue and to use the name commercially.
Their third studio album, Guilty, was released in autumn 2003, entering at #1 on the UK Albums Chart and selling 100,000 copies on the week of release. The album spawned four singles, including the title track, "Guilty", which peaked at #2, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours", featuring vocal from Stevie Wonder and Angie Stone, which peaked at #11, "Breathe Easy", which peaked at #4, and "Bubblin'", which peaked at #9. The album ended up selling more than 1 million copies in the UK alone. The song "The Gift" was released to promote the album in Japan.
2004–05: Best of Blue and break up
The band made the decision to split in 2004 after Elton John publicly suggested that their popularity was decreasing and that they should concentrate on making solo careers. As such, Best of Blue, a greatest hits compilation, was released in November 2004. The album spawned the singles "Curtain Falls", which peaked at #4 in the UK, "Get Down on It" and "Only Words I Know", which peaked at #2 in France and Italy. The album peaked at #2 on the UK Albums Chart and was awarded a double platinum certification. Following the release of Best of Blue, band members Simon Webbe and Antony Costa made the decision to release an album compiling a selection of the group's b-sides, remixes and previously unreleased material. The album also includes three tracks only previously in Japan: "The Gift", "It's Alright" and "Elements". The album also includes band member Duncan James' debut solo single, "I Believe My Heart". By the indication of the album booklet, a live version of "Lonely This Christmas" from CD:UK was intended to be track seven on the album, however, was removed from the tracklisting for unknown reasons. The album was released in July 2005, becoming available in several European countries, as well as Japan, Thailand and China, however, was a commercial failure and failed to chart anywhere. The album was not released in the UK, despite copies being widely available.
2009–2012: Occasional appearance and return
In April 2009, the band agreed to perform at the Silverstone Classic festival in August 2009. It was revealed that Blue had reformed and had written new material, due to be released in a joint partnership with Innocent Records and EMI Music, but it never happened at the time.
It was announced on 29 January 2011 that Blue would reunite and also represent the United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest 2011, with their entry "I Can". It coincided with the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the band in 2001 and a one hour documentary was broadcast in April 2011 celebrated their preparations for the final. It was the third time the group has Eurovision ambitions as group member Lee Ryan wrote and composed "Guardian Angel", Andy Scott-Lee's song for the 2005 edition of Making Your Mind Up. Furthermore, Antony Costa came second in the 2006 edition of the show with the song "It's A Beautiful Thing". Group member Duncan James was a panellist on all episodes of the Eurovision: Your Country Needs You series in 2009, which Jade Ewen won. He also announced the UK votes in the Eurovision Song Contest 2009 final. Blue became the first UK representatives since The Shadows in 1975 to have had multiple no.1 singles in the UK chart prior to appearing in Eurovision, and the first since Sonia in 1993 to have had a no.1 at all before entering the competition. The song "I Can" premiered on 11 March 2011, on The Graham Norton Show. In the contest, they came 11th with 100 points. After the contest Blue said they were the victims of political voting, claiming they would have finished higher if countries had voted for the performance rather than their neighbours. It later turned out when the European Broadcasting Union (who runs Eurovision) released the split Televote & Jury results, That Blue came in 5th place with the European voters and the final result was down to coming in 22nd place on the Jury vote. Duncan James insisted that the result of their Eurovision bid won't affect their UK comeback, adding: "Should the worst happen, we're still going to press ahead with the album. It won't be the last of us – we're all fully committed to this band again."
They revealed during an interview in March 2011 that they had recorded a collaboration with American R&B superstar Bruno Mars for their upcoming fourth studio album. Discussing the record with Digital Spy, Lee Ryan said: "We've been writing with Ne-Yo, and I've written at least a couple of songs on my own that will probably make the album. We've also been working with Bruno Mars on a song called "Black and Blue" – he's sending his parts over from a demo we recorded a while ago. It's got some haunting notes on the chorus." They also revealed that three tracks on the album had been produced by RedOne, and that they felt that the material was "their best work to date". During February 2012, the band embarked on a small tour across Manila, performing with fellow boyband A1 and Jeff Timmons in three special concerts, two of which included the Smart Araneta Coliseum on 25 February 2012, and the Singapore Indoor Stadium on 28 February. The tour was billed as "Boybands: The Greatest Hits Tour".
On 22 June 2012, the band premiered their new song, "Hurt Lovers", during a concert in China. In an interview shortly after the concert, the band claimed that "Hurt Lovers" was one of the first tracks they recorded after re-uniting, and that it was an obvious choice for their comeback single. The track was co-written by the band, along with Jez Ashurst, David Jost, Martin Schmidt and Alexander Zuckowski. It received positive reception across Asia, before being officially premiered in Germany on 6 October 2012. Thus, the creators of the film Schluss Macher approached the band, and asked if the song could be used as the official theme for the film. Thus, the track will receive an early release in Germany on 4 January 2013, before being released across the world later in the year. In promotion of the single, the band performed it live on Vocea României on 4 December 2012, as well as embarking on an acoustic radio tour across six cities in Germany.
2013–present: Reality television and Roulette
In October 2012, the group confirmed via their official Facebook page that the title of their fourth studio album would be Roulette. It was also revealed that the album will receive an early release in Germany, being made available from 25 January 2013. The band shot the album's artwork in a deserted casino in November 2012. On 21 February 2013, it was confirmed that the group would join ITV2's reality series The Big Reunion. When asked why they chose to join The Big Reunion, Blue said: "Phil Mount, the 'Big Reunion''s producer, has always been a long time supporter of the band, giving us our first TV break, he really wanted us to be surprise special guests announced half way through the series and to perform on the Hammersmith Apollo show. This sounded like a lot of fun, giving us the perfect chance to perform together again in the UK for our fans and reconnect with the other acts, many of whom are friends of ours and started out around the same time as us. For us the 'Big Reunion' is a great chance for all of us bands to come together for one BIG party on Tuesday night!"
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. Liberty X's Michelle Heaton said on Twitter: "As the Hammersmith Apollo show sold out in 5mins, producers are in talks about a possible UK Arena Tour!". A DVD of the Hammersmith Apollo concert will be released in April 2013. On 11 February, it was confirmed that, following high ticket demands and the popularity of The Big Reunion, a full 12-date UK tour would be taking place from 3–12 May 2013. Irish fans initially looked set to miss out until it was announced on 14 February that the bands would also be bringing the show to Dublin on 16 May and then over to Belfast the following day, bringing the tour to a total of 15 shows.
On 15 March 2013, it was reported that following the group's first appearance on The Big Reunion, their first greatest hits album, Best of Blue, had climbed into the iTunes chart, peaking at number 7. On 27 March 2013, the group announced live on This Morning that they would be embarking on their first headlining tour later on in the year.
- "Blue Reform For Summer Gig". Sky News. 28 April 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2011.
- "Blue Join Reality Show The Big Reunion". mtv.com (MTV). 22 February 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
- Virginmedia.com. Virginmedia.com. Retrieved on 2011-12-03.
- "Blue bands settle name dispute". 30 June 2003.
- "4Ever Blue Thailand edition". Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- "All Rise (from the ashes): Boy band Blue reunite after four years". Daily Mail (London). 28 April 2009.
- "Boyband Blue to get back together? – Music News". Digital Spy. 21 April 2009. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- "Eurovision Song Contest – Dusseldorf 2011 | News – Blue to represent the United Kingdom at Eurovision". Esctoday.com. 30 January 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- "Blue are back! And they’re doing Eurovision! Here’s what we know so far…". teentoday.co.uk. 30 January 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- "Eurovision Song Contest – Dusseldorf 2011 | News – UK: Daz Sampson to Athens!". Esctoday.com. 5 September 2008. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- "Blue". Chart Stats. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- "Sonia". Chart Stats. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- Montebello, Edward. "News - Exclusive: Blue speaks to esctoday.com". ESCToday. Retrieved 12 February 2011.
- "Blue blame politics for Eurovision defeat". Yahoo News. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
- "Blue confirm "haunting" Bruno Mars collab – Music News". Digital Spy. 13 March 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- "THE ULTIMATE BOYBAND CONCERT: BLUE, A1 AND JEFF TIMMONS FROM 98 DEGREES". 25 January 2012.
- Blue - Hurt-Lovers [OFFICIAL VIDEO - 'Schlussmacher' Version. YouTube (2012-12-13). Retrieved on 2013-02-18.
- "VOCEA ROMÂNIEI. Grupul britanic Blue, invitat special în ediția de marți" (in Romanian). Realitatea TV. 3 December 2012.
- Blog Archive *Video* (The Voice Romania) Sorry Seems To Be..., December 4th. AllRiseForBlue.COM (2012-12-04). Retrieved on 2013-02-18.
- "Name of Blue's new album". 5 November 2012.
- "Blue Join Reality Show The Big Reunion". mtv.com (MTV). 22 February 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
- "Blue to join ITV's Big Reunion". musicnews.com. 26 February 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
- Daniels, Colin (3 February 2013). "'Big Reunion' UK arena tour in the works". Digital Spy (Hearst Magazines UK). Retrieved 11 February 2013.
- Twitter / wonderwomanshel: RT: BREAKING NEWS As the Hammersmith Apollo show sold out in 5mins, producers are in talks about a possible UK Arena Tour!
- "The Big Reunion Live 2013 - DVD". amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- 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.
- Cuffe, Aidan (14 February 2013). "The Big Re-Union announces show at The O2 and Odyssey Arena". Goldenplec. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Blue (English band)|
with "That Sounds Good to Me"
|UK in the Eurovision Song Contest
with "Love Will Set You Free"