|Also known as||5 star|
|Origin||Romford, Essex, England|
|Years active||1983–1994, 2001–2002, 2012–2013|
|Labels||Tent Records, RCA Records, Epic Records|
Five Star (also styled as 5 Star) are a British pop/R&B group, formed in 1983. Comprising siblings Stedman, Lorraine, Denise, Doris and Delroy Pearson, they were known for their flamboyant image, matching costumes and heavily choreographed dance routines. Between 1985 and 1988, Five Star had four top 20 albums and 15 Top 40 singles in the UK, including the top 10 hits "System Addict" (1986), "Can't Wait Another Minute" (1986), "Find the Time" (1986), "Rain or Shine" (1986), "Stay Out of My Life" (1987) and "The Slightest Touch" (1987). They won the 1987 Brit Award for Best British Group.
The five-piece group of siblings from Romford, Essex were masterminded by their father and manager, Buster Pearson, in the style of The Jackson 5. He was a former recording artist and session musician who had worked with Wilson Pickett and had set up Tent Records Ltd in 1982. Their debut single was released on Tent in 1983 and although it did not chart, it gave them TV exposure and a record deal with RCA Records (with future releases being joint Tent/RCA releases). After two unsuccessful singles in 1984, their chart breakthrough came in 1985 with the release of "All Fall Down" which peaked at number 15 on the UK Singles Chart and number 65 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US where it also reached the top twenty of the Hot R&B Singles chart and the top ten of the Hot Dance/Disco chart.
The group released their debut album, Luxury of Life, in June 1985. It included their last three singles and was followed by the single "Let Me Be the One" which was another UK Top 20 and US Hot 100 hit, also peaking at number 2 on the US Hot R&B chart. After another two singles in the UK in 1985 which failed to reach the Top 20, the group scored their first Top 10 hit in early 1986 with "System Addict", the seventh UK single from their debut album. The single peaked at number 3 and was certified Silver. Its success also lead to increased sales of the album which peaked at number 12 in the UK Albums Chart in early 1986 and would be certified Platinum in the UK later in the year. Also in early 1986, the instrumental track "First Avenue" (which had been released as the B-side of "All Fall Down") was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best R&B Instrumental Performance and a remixed version of "Love Take Over" gave them another US Hot R&B top 10 hit.
Their first new material in 1986, the single "Can't Wait Another Minute", gave the group another top 10 hit on the UK Singles, US Hot R&B and US Hot Dance/Disco charts and also their highest ever US Hot 100 peak, reaching number 41. After another UK top 10 hit ("Find The Time"), the group released their second album, Silk and Steel, in August 1986. The album reached number one and sold 1.2 million copies in the UK (being certified 4 x Platinum by 1987). The single "Rain Or Shine" gave the group their highest ever UK chart position, peaking at number 2. "If I Say Yes" (a UK Top 20 hit) became their final entry on the US Hot 100.
In 1987 two further singles from Silk And Steel, "Stay Out Of My Life" (penned by Denise) and "The Slightest Touch", made the UK Top 10 with US-only single "Are You Man Enough?" (remixed by Shep Pettibone) making the US Hot R&B top 20. The group won the 1987 BRIT Award for Best British Group with Silk And Steel also nominated for Best British Album.
At the height of their success the family bought Stone Court, a large security gated mansion in Surrey, in which they all lived and worked (with a built in recording studio). They also owned a fleet of supercars including Lamborghinis and Ferraris. Their affluent lifestyle was heavily publicised in the press and on television.
New single "Whenever You're Ready" narrowly missed the UK Top 10 (peaking at number 11) but its only placing in the US was number 39 on the Hot R&B chart. August 1987 saw the release of their third album, Between The Lines, which reached number seven in the UK and was another Platinum album but sales did not match their previous success. The Diane Warren penned ballad "Strong as Steel" was taken as the next single but it peaked at number 16 in the UK and failed to chart at all in the US. The next UK single "Somewhere Somebody" failed to reach the top 20 and no further singles were released from the album.
In 1988 the group attempted to change their clean-cut image to a more adult-oriented "leather clad" look, matched with a slightly harder-edged dance sound. Led by the Leon Sylvers III produced single, "Another Weekend" in the UK (which reached number 18), their fourth album Rock the World met with only moderate success, and was their last Top 20 album peaking at number 17. The album's second UK single, "Rock My World", became their last Top 40 hit, and further singles from the album were unsuccessful. In the US, "Someone's in Love" was chosen as the lead single but that and "Another Weekend" only managed minor placings on the Hot R&B chart.
In April 1989 their new single "With Every Heartbeat" again missed the Top 40, peaking at number 49. Later in the year, a Greatest Hits collection was released but peaked at a lowly number 53 on the UK album chart. Amid reports of bankruptcy, the family had been forced to sell their Berkshire mansion after only two years. The family then moved to Hatfield, Hertfordshire.
While promoting "With Every Heartbeat", the group made a now infamous appearance on the British children's TV show Going Live, when, during a live phone-in, a teenaged caller asked why they were "so fucking crap".
Now at loggerheads with RCA, Buster Pearson signed the group to Epic Records in 1990, and the group's fifth studio album, simply titled Five Star, was self-produced at the family home with every track being written by the group members. Despite heavy promotion, its two singles, "Treat Me Like A Lady" and "Hot Love", failed to reach the Top 40. The album itself failed to chart and a planned third single, "What About Me Baby" was shelved.
In October 1990, Stedman Pearson pleaded guilty to a charge of public indecency after being arrested in a public toilet in New Malden in London. Following this, the band relocated to the United States.
After the 1991 release of their sixth album, Shine (which wasn't released at all in the UK), Epic Records dropped the group. In 1994, the group released an album independently on their father's own Tent label, Heart And Soul, which was reissued in 1995 in the UK. Again, chart success eluded them and the group informally ended. Denise got married and had children, and Delroy went into music production.
In 2001, a new Five Star single, "Funktafied", peaked at number 99 on the US Hot R&B chart. However, the accompanying new album Eclipse was not a success and was the group's final album to date. Five Star returned to the UK in 2002, as a trio of Stedman, Denise and Lorraine, to perform on various tours, including the Here and Now nostalgia tour. In 2005, "System Addict" was re-recorded and re-released. Five Star were booked to perform a gig at Butlins in October 2006, in which all five members were billed. However, three impersonators were used to mime to backing tapes.
Denise Pearson said in 2007 that she was working on solo material, resulting in the release of her debut single in 2009.
For Five Star's 25th anniversary in 2008, Denise joined Stedman and backing dancers for gigs at Butlins during October and November 2008. Earlier that year, Denise stated in an interview with The Guardian newspaper that if she could convince sister Lorraine to join them, then all five original members of the group would like to perform one last tour together. The following year, she made her West End debut performing in Thriller - Live at the Lyric Theatre from January to December 2009.
In 2010, Cherry Pop Records released expanded Special Edition versions of the group's first two albums Luxury of Life and Silk and Steel. By 2013, they had released expanded versions of all six albums originally released on RCA and Epic (both labels now being part of Sony BMG).
The very first song recorded by Five Star from 1983, "Problematic", was released digitally on 18 July 2011, along with a previously unreleased track called "It", which is an outtake from the Heart and Soul album sessions from 1994.
Five Star performed, with all five original members, at the 2012 Rewind Festivals on 21 July at Scone Palace, Perth, Scotland, and on 18 August at Henley-On-Thames. The band's father and manager, Buster Pearson, died in 2012.
In 2013, Cherry Pop Records released The Remix Anthology which included 7" and 12" remixes of the singles released on RCA and Epic between 1984 and 1991 which they had not already included on the Special Edition album reissues. This is the first compilation to include the non-charting 1984 singles, the US-only singles from 1987–8 and the Epic singles from 1990–1.
- Luxury of Life
- Silk and Steel
- Between the Lines
- Rock the World
- Five Star
- Heart and Soul
- Simpson, Dave (26 June 2008). "Let's go round again". The Guardian (London).
- Caroline Westbrook (27 June 2015). "12 Moments Of Extreme Awkwardness From 80s TV". Metro Newspaper (website). Associated Newspaper Ltd. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
It was all going so well for the five-piece band of siblings – who fair dominated the charts in the latter part of the decade – as they appeared on the Saturday morning kids’ show to promote new single With Every Heartbeat. Until, that is, the now infamous moment when one Eliot Fletcher called in to ask the band ‘why they’re so f*****g crap!’ Cue shocked expressions all round, and presenter Sarah Greene not knowing quite what to say.
- Appelby, Marion (2012). Are We Live? The Funniest Bloopers from TV and Radio. London: Michael O'Mara Books. ISBN 1843179636. Retrieved 24 Mar 2016.
- The Telegraph. Top Ten Television Moments of the 80s. (26 Aug 2010)
- Mirror's Top 10 on air cock-ups
- "Sex Disgrace of 5 Star Stedman". The Sun (London). 9 October 1990 (Page 5).
- "We Are Family" (Documentary interview with 5 Star). BBC Television. (7 January 2003)
- Virgin Media – "80s Stars: Where Are They Now" article on Five Star
- Larkin, Colin (1998). The Virgin Encyclopedia of R&B and Soul, (p.121). Virgin Books/Muze Inc. London, England. ISBN 0-7535-0241-0
- Rees, Daffyd & Crampton, Luke (1991). Rock Movers and Shakers, p.172-173 (1991 Rev. Edition). ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara, U.S. ISBN 0-87436-661-5.
- "Funktafied" at Billboard.com
- Denise Pearson Official MySpace
- "A Five Star Return (Breakfast, BBC Television, 12 July 2012)" (webpage, video). BBC. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
- Five Star Official Site (Bio)