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Hear'Say in 2001
|Origin||London, England and Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom|
|Labels||MCA Music, Polydor
|Associated acts||Liberty X, Steve Lee, Boom!|
|Past members||Danny Foster
Hear'Say was a British pop group. It was created through the ITV reality TV show Popstars in February 2001, the first UK series of the international Popstars franchise. The group, who were signed to Polydor Records, originally consisted of Danny Foster, Myleene Klass, Kym Marsh, Suzanne Shaw, and Noel Sullivan. Sullivan is originally from Cardiff, Wales and Marsh is from Wigan, but the other members originate from London, England. Hear'Say achieved instant fame, breaking chart records with their debut single "Pure and Simple" and the album Popstars. However, their second album failed to match this success.
In January 2002, Marsh left Hear'Say due to conflicts with Klass and Sullivan. She was replaced by former Boom! member Johnny Shentall a month later. During a summer promotional tour, Hear'Say were constantly harassed by members of the public. "Lovin' Is Easy," the group's only single to be released with Shentall, failed to make a commercial impact. Hear'Say announced their split in October 2002, eighteen months after their formation, citing "abuse from the public" as the main reason for their demise. Since the dissolution of the band, the members have had individual success in acting, presenting, and singing.
2000–01: Formation, Popstars and Everybody
Over the course of six weeks in late 2000, thousands of hopeful singers attended open television auditions for ITV's Popstars talent show. The contestants were judged by Nigel Lythgoe, Paul Adam (director of A&R at Polydor Records, who had rights to the finished group), and Nicki Chapman, who had worked with the Spice Girls. The judges reduced the contestants to a group of ten, before visiting each of them at their homes to reveal whether or not they had been selected for the group. The five chosen singers – Danny Foster, Myleene Klass, Kym Marsh, Suzanne Shaw, and Noel Sullivan – formed Hear'Say. The five unsuccessful finalists went on to form the group Liberty (later renamed Liberty X after a legal dispute). The programme documented Hear'Say recording and promoting their first single with the series ending on the night the single charted in the UK Singles Chart. Popstars became an instant success, taking in audiences of over 10 million viewers.
In March 2001, Hear'Say released their first single "Pure and Simple," a cover of a little-known album track by Girl Thing. The song went straight to number one on the UK Singles Chart in March 2001, selling just under 550,000 copies. "Pure and Simple" was the fastest-selling debut single at the time, as well as the fastest-selling non-charity single – a record beaten a year later by Pop Idol winner Will Young. The track spent two more weeks at number one. With the release of their debut album Popstars, Hear'Say became the first act in UK chart history to simultaneously top the UK Singles Chart and UK Albums Chart with their debut releases. Popstars sold 306,631 copies in its first week, breaking yet another record for fastest-selling debut album. The album featured cover versions of "Monday Monday" by The Mamas & the Papas and "Bridge over Troubled Water" by Simon & Garfunkel, alongside original tracks purchased for the group.
Hear'Say released their second single, "The Way to Your Love," in June 2001. The song became their second consecutive number one single. The group were invited to perform at the 80th birthday celebrations of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Hear'Say went on to appear in the ITV show Hear'Say It's Saturday, featuring performances, sketches, and celebrity guests. This followed on from a mini-series named Meet the Popstars which was intended to allow the public to get to know the group and their music away from the talent show format. In August 2001, Hear'Say toured the United Kingdom. They initially announced five dates which quickly sold out, causing the band to schedule thirty more dates. However, the new dates struggled to sell out as hundreds of tickets remained unsold. The group also released a live DVD.
Whilst on tour, the group recording their second studio album, Everybody. In November 2001, just nine months after the release of their debut album, Hear'Say released Everybody. The album was preceded by a single of the same name. The single debuted at number four, while the album crept in to the chart at number 24. Everybody went on to sell just one fifth as many copies as Popstars. Despite the second album's lack of success, it did achieve Gold status by the BPI but over a decade after its release and plans were made for an arena tour but these were later cancelled.
2001–02: Line-up changes, decline and break-up
Tabloids began reporting that Kym Marsh, who had gained attention due to her relationship with former EastEnders actor Jack Ryder, had left the band following feuds with bandmate Myleene Klass. A representative for Hear'Say denied the reports, stating: "Everybody who is involved with Hear'Say will be sitting down this week to discuss the future. Kym Marsh is still with the band." However, in January 2002, Kym Marsh announced that she was leaving Hear'Say, later revealing she often fought with Klass and Noel Sullivan. Auditions were held to find Marsh's replacement.
The audition process was due to be televised, mirroring the procedure during which the original members of Hear'Say were chosen. Johnny Shentall, husband of Steps singer Lisa Scott-Lee, won the auditions, joining the group on 5 February 2002. Controversy erupted when it was found out that Shentall had previously been a member of short-lived pop group Boom! and a back-up dancer for Hear'Say. In March 2002, Hear'Say cancelled their planned arena tour to allow Shentall time to "settle in" to the group.
Hear'Say began recording their third album. During the summer of 2002, the group toured the UK radio roadshows circuit, where they were constantly booed and abused by members of the public, with a performance in Brighton being cut short due to the animosity concerned – evidence of the degree of public animosity that had built up. During the tour, the group's vehicle was threatened by an apparently armed man at a motorway service area on the M1 motorway in Leicestershire. The man, later arrested, claimed to have been playing a prank on the group. In August 2002, Hear'Say released their only single with Shentall, entitled "Lovin' Is Easy". The track had a new sophisticated feel in an attempt to regenerate interest in the group's music. The single became Hear'Say's lowest charting single to date when it peaked at number six. Media reports suggested that Polydor Records wanted the single to at least reach the UK Top 5. Following the disappointing sales of the single, it was thought that they would be dropped by the label, though no official word came from Polydor.
Hear'Say split up on 1 October 2002, citing "abuse from the public" as the main reason. The group admitted to being a fad that had passed. Hear'Say's popularity had been eclipsed by that of Liberty X, a band composed of the five other finalists of Popstars.
Myleene Klass went on to record a classical album for Polydor Records' classical division, before becoming a presenter on CD:UK. Klass also presented the Sunday breakfast show on Classic FM in 2006. Klass appeared on the sixth series of ITV's I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, where she came second. She went on co-host LivingTV's Ghost Towns with Derek Acorah, and also part of the quiz panel for the BBC's 2007 show The National Lottery People's Quiz. Klass was the second female co-host of The One Show on BBC One, before quitting in August 2007, to give birth to a baby girl called Ava. Since 2008, Klass has hosted Last Choir Standing, 10 Years Younger, and has co-hosted the American version of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!. In January 2010 Klass presented the ITV1 show Popstar to Operastar along with Alan Titchmarsh. The celebrities on this show included Klass' former bandmate Kym Marsh. They're both on good terms.
Kym Marsh, opting for an adult contemporary sound, released three UK Top 40 singles – "Cry", "Come on Over" and "Sentimental" – and an album, on Polydor's sister label Island, before she was dropped due to low sales. She later went on to become a guest presenter of Loose Women, and entered Making Your Mind Up 2006, the UK show devised to pick a singer and song for the Eurovision Song Contest, but did not win. She appeared in Hollyoaks: In the City before her character was killed, and she is now appearing in UK soap Coronation Street as barmaid and mother Michelle Connor, for which role she won Best Newcomer at The British Soap Awards in 2007. She married EastEnders actor Jack Ryder in 2002, but in March 2008 it was announced that the couple were to separate. In January 2010 Marsh participated in the ITV celebrity reality television programme Popstar to Operastar, presented by her ex-bandmate Myleene Klass. They're both on good terms along with her former bandmate Noel Sullivan.
Suzanne Shaw has gone on to have a successful career both as a singer and actress on stage (such as in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Rocky Horror Show, White Christmas and Chicago) and also as a model, television presenter and popular media personality. She had a high-profile relationship with Darren Day, whom she met whilst starring in the 2003 tour of Summer Holiday. The pair now have a son, Corey Mackenzie Day, although they are no longer in a relationship. Shaw has appeared in TV shows, including dramas such as The Courtroom and The Bill. Suzanne was a member of the Loose Women panel, has written weekly columns for Woman Magazine and was crowned winner of ITV's hit show Dancing on Ice in March 2008. In June 2009, she married long-term boyfriend Jason King, one half of the presenting duo JK and Joel. Since April 2010, Shaw has been appearing in the UK soap Emmerdale as Eve Birch, granddaughter of longstanding character Edna Birch. As of January 2014, Shaw is currently competing in the final series of Dancing on Ice in an All Star series featuring past champions, finalists and favourites.
Noel Sullivan is now a stage performer. In 2005 he starred in West End musical Love Shack with former Steps star Faye Tozer and former S Club singer Jon Lee, before moving on in 2006 to What a Feeling, which visited all parts of Britain and received country-wide accolades. After What A Feeling, Sullivan then hosted and starred in two shows in Las Vegas, Cover Girls and Simply Ballroom. In 2006 Sullivan appeared in Five's reality show Trust Me - I'm A Holiday Rep. Starting in July 2008, Sullivan starred alongside Bruno Langley and Bernie Nolan in a nationwide tour of Flashdance. He later appeared in the West End production of Grease as Danny Zuko, before being cast as Galileo in We Will Rock You.
Danny Foster has kept a relatively low profile since the group split. He leads a successful soul group and has appeared in the Channel 4 show The Games in 2005, replacing actor Jonathon Morris, and Channel Five's Trust Me – I'm A Beauty Therapist in October 2006. He has been a reserve on Dancing on Ice for 2009 and 2010. In May 2013, Danny auditioned for the BBC talent show 'The Voice' where he failed to move on to the next round, but received positive comments regarding his performance.
Johnny Shentall starred in MTV's Totally Scott-Lee alongside his wife, and has also made a smaller name for himself starring in musicals such as Starlight Express. Shentall also appeared on ITV2 show CelebAir with wife Lisa Scott-Lee, finishing in 6th and 7th place.
The reason for the apostrophe in the group's name was for a while open to conjecture. Some commentators said it was a deliberate attempt to appeal to a youthful audience by imitating an informal, uneducated style; others suggested it was simply a case of bad grammar on the part of its creator; but others say it was simply that the owner of the domain hearsay.com, refused to license the name to the band. One explanation for its inclusion is that a Canadian band had already been using the name "Hearsay" since 1992. Interviewed on BBC1's Breakfast on 4 June 2008, Suzanne Shaw stated that the apostrophe was included because "it looked good on paper, it was a design thing". In her bestselling book on punctuation, Eats, Shoots & Leaves, the author Lynne Truss states that "the naming of Hear’Say in 2001 was [...] a significant milestone on the road to punctuation anarchy."
Everybody (UK No. 24, 5 weeks on chart, December 2001)
- "Everybody" (Martin Harrington, Ash Howes, Richard Stannard, Julian Gallagher & A. Caine)
- "Suddenly" (Cathy Dennis & O. Paul)
- "We Go On" (Mikkel S. Eriksen, Hallgeir Rustan & Tor Erik Hermasen)
- "Back Down to Zero" (Liz Winstanley & S. Robson)
- "Play to Win" (Mikkel S. Eriksen, Hallgeir Rustan & Tor Erik Hermasen)
- "Angel in My Heart" (Eliot Kennedy, Suzanne Shaw & Tim Woodcock)
- "You're All I Need to Get By" (Ashford & Simpson)
- "Not the End of the World" (Eliot Kennedy, T. Lever, M. Percy, Tim Woodcock & Cawley)
- "Don't Go Believing" (Ray Hedges, Nigel Butler & Suzanne Shaw)
- "Home Again" (Cathy Dennis & Simon Ellis)
- "A Good Thing" (Ray Hedges, Nigel Butler & Hear'Say)
- "Straight from the Heart" (Tim Hawes, Pete Kirtley & Tracy Ackerman)
- "Pure and Simple" (New Version) (Tim Hawes, Pete Kirtley & Alison Clarkson)
- "Bridge over Troubled Water" ("Pure and Simple")
- "Can't Stop Thinkin' About It" ("Pure and Simple")
- "Look Inside Yourself" ("The Way to Your Love")
- "Boogie Wonderland" ("The Way to Your Love")
- "Brand New Day" ("The Way to Your Love")
- "I Knew You Were Waiting" ("Everybody")
- "The Way I'm Feeling Tonight" ("Everybody")
- "Once in a Lifetime" ("Everybody")
- "Pure and Simple" (2002 Mix) ("Lovin' Is Easy")
- "Everybody" (2002 Mix) ("Lovin' Is Easy" cassette single)
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Certifications||Album|
|"Pure and Simple"||2001||1||3||1||29||Popstars|
|"The Way to Your Love"||1||10||44||—|
|"Lovin' Is Easy"||2002||6||31||–||—||Non-album single|
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
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- I'm A Celeb US: Get Myleene Out Of Here!
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- [dead link]
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- [Official Site] (Deleted)