Pure and Simple

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"Pure and Simple"
Single by Hear'Say
from the album Popstars
Released 12 March 2001
Format CD single
Recorded 2001
Genre Pop
Length 3:47
Label Polydor
Writer(s) Tim Hawes, Pete Kirtley, Alison Clarkson
Producer(s) Tim Hawes, Pete Kirtley
Hear'Say singles chronology
"Pure and Simple"
"The Way to Your Love"

"Pure and Simple" is a song by British pop group Hear'Say, the winners of the UK version of Popstars. It was a cover of the original version recorded three years earlier by English-Dutch girl group Girl Thing, who were dropped from Polydor Records before the song was given to Hear'Say. The song was released on 12 March 2001 as the lead single from Hear'Say's debut studio album Popstars (2001). The B-side is a cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge over Troubled Water". The song was co-written by Pete Kirtley, Tim Hawes and Betty Boo (under her real name of Alison Clarkson). It debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart after selling 550,000 copies in its first week, which, at the time, made it the fastest-selling debut single of all time in the UK. It spent a total of three weeks at the top and has sold over 1.2 million copies in the UK, making it one of only 142 songs ever to achieve this feat. As of 2012, it is the seventh biggest-selling debut single of the 21st century.

In 2006, "Pure and Simple" was covered by America's Got Talent winner Bianca Ryan on her self-titled album.

Critical reception[edit]

Many critics noted that the song had an uncanny resemblance to Oasis's "All Around the World" and All Saints' "Never Ever".[1][2][3] BBC Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles even recorded a parody version of "Pure and Simple" that included the song lyrics from these two songs.[4] Despite this, when it was suggested that Oasis take legal action, Noel Gallagher simply laughed at the hypocrisy of such an act from a man who was famous for "borrowing" from other artists.[5]

Commercial reception[edit]

On 18 March 2001, "Pure and Simple" debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart. It sold almost 550,000 copies in its first week, making it (at the time) the fastest-selling debut single of all time in the UK,[6] a record beaten a year later by Will Young, the winner of the first series of Pop Idol, with his debut single "Evergreen" / "Anything Is Possible".[7] The song spent a total of three weeks at the top of the UK chart.[8]

"Pure and Simple" sold 1.07 million copies in 2001, making it that year's second best-selling single. It was beaten only by Shaggy's "It Wasn't Me", which sold 80,000 copies more.[9] By the time Hear'Say split up in 2002, the song had been certified double Platinum for sales of over 1.2 million copies,[10] making it one of the few singles to achieve that feat during the 2000s. It is also one of only 145 singles ever to sell 1 million copies in the UK.[11] As of 2012, "Pure and Simple" is the seventh biggest-selling debut single of the 21st century in the UK.[7] It is also the UK's 96th best-selling song of all time.[12]

The song was also a huge hit in New Zealand, where it was number one for five consecutive weeks.


  1. "Pure and Simple"
  2. "Bridge over Troubled Water"
  3. "Can't Stop Thinking About It"

Charts and certifications[edit]

Other versions[edit]

"Pure and Simple" was covered by America's Got Talent winner Bianca Ryan for her self-titled debut album in 2006.


  1. ^ "Have you hear'd this before?". Daily Mail (DMG Media). Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "SOME MIGHT HEAR'SAY". NME. 15 March 2001. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  3. ^ Andr3w (3 February 2010). "NUMBER ONES OF THE 2000s: 2001 Hear'Say – Pure and Simple". blogspot.com. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Chris Harris (2 September 2004). "Chris Moyles". chrismoyles.net. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  5. ^ Leigh, Spencer (8 July 2010). "When it comes to songwriting, there's a fine line between inspiration and plagiarism". The Independent. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  6. ^ "Hear'Say hit number one". BBC News. 18 March 2001. Retrieved 23 September 2007. 
  7. ^ a b Lane, Dan (7 September 2012). "The biggest selling debut singles of the 21st Century revealed!". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  8. ^ a b "Hear'say: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company.
  9. ^ a b "Shaggy's single is UK's best-seller". BBC News. 27 December 2001. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  10. ^ "Hear'Say split up". BBC News. 1 October 2002. Retrieved 23 September 2007. 
  11. ^ Kreisler, Lauren (5 December 2013). "Passenger's Let Her Go adds to the UK's biggest haul of million-selling singles in 15 years!". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  12. ^ Lane, Daniel (17 July 2013). "Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines becomes fastest selling single of 2013!". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  13. ^ "Ultratop.be – Hear'say – Pure and Simple" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  14. ^ "Musicline.de – Hear'say Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  15. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Hear'say – Pure and Simple". Top 40 Singles.
  16. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Hear'say – Pure and Simple". Swiss Singles Chart.
  17. ^ "Top 50 Singles Chart, 09 September 2001". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  18. ^ "British single certifications – Hear'Say – Pure and Simple". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Pure and Simple in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
Preceded by
"Uptown Girl" by Westlife
UK number one single
18 March 2001 – 8 April 2001
Succeeded by
"What Took You So Long?" by Emma Bunton