Olive (band)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

OriginLondon, England
GenresElectronic, trip hop, breakbeat
Years active1994–2003
LabelsRCA, Maverick
Past membersRuth-Ann Boyle
Tim Kellett
Robin Taylor-Firth

Olive were a British trip hop group from London, England. The founding membership consisted of producer, instrumentalist and songwriter Tim Kellett, producer and keyboard programmer Robin Taylor-Firth, and singer Ruth-Ann Boyle. The band has released two albums, the second without Taylor-Firth. Their 1996 single "You're Not Alone" reached number one on the UK Singles Chart.[1]


Pre formation[edit]

Two of Olive's founding members had been members of successful acts. Tim Kellett was a member of Simply Red from 1985 until 1991.[2][3] Robin Taylor-Firth had decided to branch out although continuing with George Evelyn's project Nightmares on Wax.[4] The two met through a mutual friend who had recently joined Simply Red as bassist and formed a musical collaboration.[5]

Demos to success[edit]

By 1994, three demos (which would become "Miracle", "Falling" and "You're Not Alone")[5] were recorded in Kellett's cellar studio,[4] upon which the two began their search for a singer. At this time, Kellett went on tour as keyboardist with Vini Reilly's The Durutti Column, with whom he had played for a decade prior to joining Simply Red. While playing back pre-recorded keyboard samples on stage, Kellett heard a favourable vocal sample; the voice was that of Ruth-Ann Boyle, who had provided the samples for The Durutti Column's 1994 album Sex and Death.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

Kellett contacted Boyle about singing for the collaboration;[8] at the time working in a bar, and though disillusioned from past experiences singing in bands,[8][9] Boyle accepted. After an audition with "Miracle",[2][7] Boyle's membership in the band was set. The completion of the three initial demos attracted the interest of various UK record labels, and Olive signed with the top bidder, RCA,[4] in September 1995.[5]

The songwriting and recording process concluded with the completion of their first album in January 1996.[5] The first single, "You're Not Alone," was released in 1996. It reached number one in 1997, after the release of a remixed version, selling over 500000 copies.[3][4][7] Popularity in America and Australia was muted, with the track falling short of an American Top 40 position and being restricted to a small musical niche with Australians. "Outlaw" followed not long after, with similar responses, as well as their first album, Extra Virgin in 1997.

Riding the success of the remixed single, Extra Virgin was re-released in 1997 with a bonus disc of remixes by producers including Monkey Mafia, Roni Size, and duo Paul Oakenfold and Steve Osborne.[5]

The band went on tour to promote the album with a seven-piece band,[4] playing three episodes of Top of the Pops ("You're Not Alone" twice in May 1997, "Outlaw" in August),[10] a ten-date UK tour,[5] as well as legs in Germany and the US[4]

In the time leading up to the release of the follow-up album, Taylor-Firth had left the group to concentrate on Nightmares on Wax, and begin other projects (Sub Machena,[11] BudNubac, Piano Segundo[12]) bringing it down to a duo. He also founded BlancoMusic, a release platform for the aforementioned acts, plus others such as Mil i Maria. Meanwhile, Olive lost the support of RCA's UK branch, which dropped the band; however, they were then picked up by Madonna's Maverick Records, supposedly with Madonna's personal approval after she attended one of their concerts in Germany.[2]

In 2000, their second album Trickle was released. The album was more dance-oriented, and a cover of the 10cc song "I'm Not in Love" reached number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart. The song also featured on the soundtrack to The Next Best Thing.

From that point on the band's profile became lower and the band entered an extended hiatus. Kellett focussed on songwriting for other artists so that he could spend more time with his family. Boyle joined Enigma as a vocalist and released her first solo album What About Us on 4 June 2007. It was released exclusively through iTunes.

In 2009, Tinchy Stryder released a version of 'You're Not Alone', sparking new interest in Olive. Around the same time, Digital Spy announced that Olive was working on its third album, due for release in early 2011. The album was to feature Ruth Ann on vocals once more, as well as featuring other special guest vocalists, but as of 2014, the album has not been released.[13]


At the 1997 Ivor Novello Awards (28 May 1998), Kellett and Taylor-Firth received the Best Dance Music award for "You're Not Alone".[14] The song was also covered as a 2002 single by German dance producer ATB.

During the American leg of the Trickle promotional tour, the band suggested that 60–70% of their audience demographic at the time was gay. This was recognised to the extent that the final show of the tour was played at the San Francisco Pride festival.[15]

Today, Olive is generally placed alongside mid-1990s trip hop and electronica artists such as Moloko, Beth Orton, and the Sneaker Pimps.[16]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions

Extra Virgin
  • Released: 19 May 1997
  • Label: RCA
  • Format: CD
  • Released: 30 May 2000
  • Label: Maverick
  • Format: CD
"—" denotes a title that did not chart or was not released in the region.


Title Year Peak chart positions Album
"Miracle" 1996 118[18] Extra Virgin
"You're Not Alone" 42
"Miracle" (re-release) 1997 41
"You're Not Alone" (re-release) 1 40 3 56 5
"Outlaw" 14 4
"Miracle" (2nd re-release) 41 10
"You Are Nothing" (promo) 1 1998
"I'm Not in Love" 1 2000 1 Trickle
"Tell Me" (Kojak featuring Olive) 2003 Every Room on Every Floor
"—" denotes a title that did not chart or was not released in the region.

1 – Released in the United States only.

Music videos[edit]

Title Year Director
"Miracle" 1996 Karen Lamond
"You're Not Alone" Pascal d'Hoeraene
"Outlaw" 1997
"I'm Not in Love" 2000 Natalie MacGowan Spence


Year Nominated work Award Category Result
1997 "You're Not Alone" Ivor Novello Awards Best Dance Music Won[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 406. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  2. ^ a b c d Jung, Fred. "A Fireside Chat with Olive". Jazz Weekly. Retrieved 17 August 2006.
  3. ^ a b c "Olive: Like an Extra Virgin". MTV. 25 September 1997. Retrieved 17 August 2006.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Hip Online: Artists: Olive". Hip Online. Retrieved 17 August 2006.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Robinson, Dave. "People: Olive". The Mix. Archived from the original on 21 June 2007. Retrieved 17 August 2006.
  6. ^ Krbechek, Randy (3 November 2000). "Where's the Olive?". CD Shakedown. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 17 August 2006.
  7. ^ a b c "Olive branches out with 'Extra Virgin'". Pause and Play. 13 November 1997. Retrieved 17 August 2006.
  8. ^ a b "Drew Live: 5 Minutes with... Olive". Dr. Drew. Archived from the original on 17 May 2006. Retrieved 17 August 2006.
  9. ^ Weisblott, Marc (9 October 1997). "Pimentos and Olive". Eye Weekly. Archived from the original on 26 September 2006. Retrieved 17 August 2006.
  10. ^ "BBC – Top of the Pops – Performance Database". BBC. Retrieved 17 August 2006.
  11. ^ UK. "Subma Chena |". Myspace.com. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
  12. ^ "BlancoMusic". www.blancomusic.com. Archived from the original on 4 March 2012. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
  13. ^ uao (31 August 2009). "Whatever happened to... Olive?". Digital Spy. Retrieved 1 November 2009.
  14. ^ Tseng, David (28 May 1998). "Morrissey presented with the "PRS Outstanding Contribution To British Music" award". News Archive. Morrissey-solo.com. Retrieved 17 August 2006.
  15. ^ Kahn, Brenda (2000). "Olive: Trickle Back in America". Womanrock.com. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2006.
  16. ^ uao (18 July 2005). "Sunday Morning Playlist: Trip-Hop". Blogcritics. Retrieved 30 August 2006.
  17. ^ a b Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (PDF ed.). Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 208.
  18. ^ "The Official Zobbel Homepage". Zobbel. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  19. ^ "The 43rd Ivor Novello Awards – 1998 Winners". Archived from the original on 13 August 2018. Retrieved 17 June 2015.

External links[edit]