My favorite band never won any awards. They were only together for 18 months. They only released 4 singles, and 2 albums. My favorite band is Hear'Say.
Hear'Say were formed by the very first series of Popstars. Before Pop Idol, American Idol, and The X Factor there was Popstars. Before Will Young, Kelly Clarkson, and Alexandra Burke there was Hear'Say. Before Cheryl Cole, Nadine Coyle, Sarah Harding, Nicola Roberts, and Kimberley Walsh there was Danny Foster, Myleene Klass, Noël Sullivan, Suzanne Shaw and Kym Marsh. Even before 'Mr. Nasty' Simon Cowell there was 'Nasty Nigel' Lythgoe.
Both Hear'Say and Popstars were unique to their own time. Popstars was the only real talent show out of all of them. These days there are live audiences during the auditions, and weekly public votes. None of that was there during the first series of Popstars. It was billed as a "documentary on the formation of a modern pop group". A documentary it was, and it gripped the nation. Everyone was watching, not to see the poor misguided souls who thought they could sing and were hopelessly wrong. No, we watched to see who got through each week, who was going to make it into the final band? After six weeks we found out who was in the final five and who was not. They weren't called on stage and then buzzed out crying. We went to their houses, we met them, we saw where they lived. When they cried, they were comforted by those around them.
So, Hear'Say were formed. We saw the make-overs, and the recording sessions that went into making their album, the photoshoots for the albums booklet.
Hear'Say's first single Pure & Simple was released on March 12th 2001. The last episode of Popstars aired on March 18th and was hosted by Davina McCall and this episode was broadcast live in a simulcast with Mark Goodier on the Top 40 show onBBC Radio 1. I remember that night so vividly, my best friend Samantha was over and we were in my bedroom and while we were waiting for the show to start we got a cassette recorder and tuned into BBC Radio 1 and recorded the show on a cassette tape. I was so excited, it was almost as if I were in the group. I sat there with my make-up on and my hair done, in my nicest outfit just waiting to hear where 'my babies' were. Yes, Hear'Say were older than I me and they didn't even know I existed but they were my babies. I loved them, with all my heart. If you had cut open my chest and looked at my heart the Hear'Say logo would have been emblazoned across it shining proud for all to see. So here it was the moment of truth, the bands families were there, the cameras were there, the nation was there. Will they or won't they? "Number three, Shaggy It Wasn't Me." Oh my God! "Number two..." We held our breaths. "Westlife Uptown Girl" Aaaggghhh!!! They were number one! Samantha and I were screaming at the top of our lungs, crying and jumping up and down on my bedroom floor. The memory of that moment still brings tears to my eyes 11 years later. Even though I was only a fan, I felt so proud. They were number one, they were real people, they were down to earth, they were recognised by the country. The make-up Samantha and I had so carefully applied was now streaming down our faces. We watched the end of the show like the giddy schoolgirls we were, then we listened to the recording of them on the radio and when Pure & Simple was played we danced (a routine I still proudly remember) and sang at the top of our lungs. A night I never wanna forget.
Pure & Simple facts: Fastest selling début single in the UK at the time. In the first week of it's release the CD sold 549,839 copies. It was the second highest selling single of 2001. It also achieved a Double Platinum certification, one of the few singles to do that that decade.
Even after Popstars finished Hear'Say were everywhere. On every show, in every magazine which was great for me (not so great for my pocket money). Then came the only way I was going to meet the band, their dolls! I could only afford one doll before my birthday so I had to choose which one was coming home with me at the end of the day. I was actually getting fitted for a bridesmaids dress that day but the only thing that was on my mind was "I have to get my doll!" My mum had ordered it from Argos the day before, I was sent off with my little code and then I had to wait until my aunt and cousin could be bothered to take me to the store in between getting fitted for dresses. I was so happy when I finally gave my money to the cashier. That night I went to bed with my very own Noël. On my 13th birthday which was only a week or so later I got the rest of the band. That's all I remember getting that birthday.
The next single was The Way To Your Love released June 25th, which was also a must have for me. It went straight to number one.
The band were then on a sell-out 29 date tour (which killed me because I couldn't get tickets!) I spent the whole summer listening to the Popstars album. I bought it on both CD and cassette tape. I listened to it as I went to sleep and when I got up in the morning. The wasn't a word or a beat in any of those 15 songs that I didn't know by heart.
"I was falling through my sleep all night, In a dream I could be with you, Out of nowhere, Your guiding light shines through" So we all know that Noël was singing to me there. O.K., O.K. maybe not, but a girl could dream right? Their third single, Everybody, was released November 26th 2001 and to this day reminds of Christmas. I was a member of the Hear'Say Fan Club so I got sent a free Christmas Calendar in the mail. Even though there was no chocolate I loved it. I did feel bad about having to tear bits of the bands faces off though.
A second album also entitled Everybody was released in December. The soundtrack of Christmas right there.
Then in February 2002 it happened. Kym left. From then on I noticed that the press reaction to the band was much more negative. A new single was released in August with Kym's replacement, Johnny Shentall. Lovin' Is Easy was a great song a more sophisticated sound, a new edgy look. But on October 1st Hear'Say announced that they were going their seperate ways. I would usually say that the reason a band breaks up usually isn't that important. Not so in this case. The reason given was "negative public reastion". If you read what these people went through it is horrible. I was heart-broken when they broke up, but now having read what memebers of the group have said they went through I see why they did.
So why did I love Hear'Say so much then and still love them and label them my favorite band today? That is something I can't put into words adequetly enough. It wasn't so much a thought process of "Hey they're cool" it was a connection. Something about them I connected with. Maybe because we saw them go from auditionees to celebrities. Maybe because they were the original. I never met them, I never got a signed picture, I never saw them live but I felt like they were there for me. Through music and on some weird spiritual level that only an obssessed 13 year old can explain. All I know is that where my favorite band then and they are favorite band now.
As a fan I suppose it's expected of me to want a reunion tour (such as S Club 7 and Steps have done) but I wouldn't demand that of them. I'd prefer a documentary where they all explain what happened and what they went through to help others understand what happened but above all I want them to have long happy careers and if that involves nothing of Hear'Say, so be it.
So if Danny, Kym, Myleene, Noël, and Suzanne were to ever read this (unlikely but just in case) I want to apologise to you for what the public did, said and put you through. I'm sorry my screams of love weren't louder than the words and actions of the naysayers and bullies. But I also want to say thank you for the memories and the music. My love and admiration is forever pure & simple because with you guys lovin' is easy (sorry but it had to be done!)