The rise and fall of this manufactured female vocal group offered a damning indictment of the state of the UK pop market at the start of the new millennium. Michelle Claire Barber (b. 5 January 1979, Blackpool, Lancashire, England), Linsay Sarah Martin (b. 2 April 1981, Manchester, England), Anika Bostelaar (b. 5 June 1981, Etten-Leur, Netherlands), Nicola Jane Stuart (b. 4 July 1979, Bradford, West Yorkshire, England), and Jodi Albert (b. 22 July 1983, Chingford, London, England) were recruited by ex-Spice Girls manager and S Club 7 creator Simon Fuller through an advertisement in The Stage. Despite misgivings from many sectors of the industry, a recording contract with BMG Records followed at the end of 1999. Everything seemed to be going to plan with the UK Top 10 success of the following year’s debut single ‘Last One Standing’, but the relative failure of ‘Girls On Top’ and the group’s self-titled album proved fatal in a notoriously fickle marketplace. Despite building up a substantial fanbase in Australia and the Far East, the writing was on the wall for the quintet when ‘Pure And Simple’, a track featured on Girl Thing, was axed as their third UK single and instead passed on to television pop sensations Hear’Say. BMG dropped Girl Thing in March 2001, barely a week before Hear’Say broke several UK sales records in the process of debuting at number 1 on the singles chart.
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