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Tuesday, 9 January, 2001, 13:59 GMT
All Saints: Where it's at
All Saints
All Saints: Series of rows
Speculation is mounting that pop group All Saints are on the verge of breaking up after releasing two albums and spending almost four years together.

All Saints, the cool girl's answer to the Spice Girls, burst onto the pop scene in August 1997 with debut single I Know Where It's At.

They provided a smoother, more streetwise antidote to the energetic girl power of the Spice Girls, although within a similar middle-of-the-road pop genre.

From the outset, the four women were keen to distance themselves from comparisons with the Spice Girls, pointing out that they were not manufactured and wrote their own material.

Shaznay Lewis
Shaznay Lewis is All Saints' main songwriter
Shaznay Lewis, 24, and Melanie Blatt, 25, met at All Saints studio in west London in 1993 while both working as session singers.

After three years of working on demos, they joined forces with Canadian sisters Nicole Appleton, 25, and Natalie, 26, old stage school friends of Melanie, and soon signed to London Records.

Their eponymous debut album spawned four top 10 hits including their first number one, Never Ever in 1997, which Shaznay wrote after splitting with her boyfriend of the time.


It went multi-platinum, selling more than 10 million copies worldwide. The following year, they scooped two Brit awards for Never Ever and its video.

Melanie Blatt
Melanie Blatt founded the band with Shaznay Lewis
The group's credentials were enhanced by the involvement of singer Neneh Cherry and Massive Attack producer Cameron McVey on the debut album.

After Booty Call and Under the Bridge, both number ones, they proved their enduring appeal last year when their hit Pure Shores, from the Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach, took the charts by storm.

It was for a long time the best-selling single of 2000, until beaten at the last minute by Bob the Builder.

The song did, however, make the UK's favourite single of 2000 in a poll by cable channel VH-1.

Natalie Appleton
Natalie Appleton was brought up in Canada
The group's new album Saints and Sinners, produced by William Orbit who has worked with Madonna, has been praised and panned in equal measures.

Their appeal remains - in November they were named best pop act at the MTV Europe Music Awards in Stockholm.

But the stresses and strains have been clear over recent months and the act have been reported to be close to splitting on a number of occasions.


The Appleton sisters enjoy the celebrity circuit, unlike Shaznay and Melanie.

Nicole dated bad boy of pop Robbie Williams, then left him in a much-publicised break-up.

She is now seeing the even wilder Liam Gallagher of Oasis, and recently announced she was to have his baby.

Nicole Appleton
Nicole is expecting Liam Gallagher's baby

The antagonism between the two men regularly surfaces, with Gallagher most recently insulting Williams at this year's Q Music Awards.

Natalie is now seeing the Prodigy's Liam Howlett, after ending relationships with Jamie Theakston and actor Jonny Lee Millar.

Melanie, in contrast, took maternity leave from the group in 1998 to have baby Lily with her partner Stuart Zender, ex-guitarist of Jamiroquai.


Main songwriter Shaznay Lewis also shuns the limelight.

She was the only All Saint not to appear in Dave Stewart's gangster movie Honest, after it was said there was no role suitable for her.

The film was released last year and was a resounding flop, now chiefly known for a scene in which the band members take their tops off.

But comments that she and Melanie are the talented ones in the group are rumoured to have upset the Appletons.

Shaznay is also said to be upset that the other three band members are taking time out to have children.

See also:

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