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Thursday, 27 December, 2001, 16:12 GMT
Stepping up to stardom
Steps reinvented themselves in the fashion stakes
Steps burst onto the scene in 1997, appealing to an army of young fans and line dancers alike. Four albums later the group have announced they have split.

Following the success of boy and girl groups such as the Spice Girls, Five and Boyzone, pop music guru Pete Waterman decided the time was right for a mixed act.

Thousands of wannabe pop stars replied to an advert in the performers' bible The Stage for girls and boys for the group.

Claire Richards, Faye Tozer, Lisa Scott-Lee, Lee Latchford-Evans and former Butlins Redcoat H (Ian Watkins) were the lucky five to be chosen to form Steps.

Their first single 5,6,7,9 did not make it into the top 10 when it was released in 1997 but its popularity with both young record buyers and line dancing fans kept it in the top 40 for three months.
Faye, Lee and Prince Charles
Faye and Lee persuaded Prince Charles to join with Tragedy

Comparisons to Swedish pop icons Abba were swift, compounded by a collaboration with other teen favourites Billie, B*Witched, Cleopatra and Tina Cousins on a medley for the 1999 Brit Awards.

Steps second single, Last Thing on My Mind, began their trademark of covering classic songs and stamping their own brand of pop on it.

They also began their pop careers wearing co-ordinating, brightly-coloured outfits before ditching them in favour of a more contemporary wardrobe.

Bee Gees

Last Thing on My Mind, originally recorded by Banarama, charted at number six and sold more than 300,000 copies.

The popularity continued to rise as their third offering, One for Sorrow, hit number two.

But it was the release of the double A-side Heartbeat and the classic Bee Gees track Tragedy which put them on the pop map.

Tragedy became a disco favourite. With a catchy tune and a simple dance routine it became a prerequisite for any festive party.

Steps notched up four albums in nearly five years the group were together.

Greatest hits

Step One was followed by the number one hit Steptacular and Buzz, featuring the usual blend of covers and original hits, many penned by Hit Factory impresario Pete Waterman.

Claire and H
Claire and H presented Steps to the Stars
Buzz saw for the first time writing contributions from the members of Steps, collaborating with respected writers such as Cyndi Lauper, Andrew Frampton and Nigel Butler.

In 2001, after less than half a decade in the business, they put out a greatest hits album.

Entitled Steps Gold - Abba also had a Gold greatest hits album - the release featured some of the bands biggest sellers such as Chain Reaction and Deeper Shade of Blue.

It also included the Kylie Minogue hit Better the Devil You Know, which they had performed to great success on tour.

The energy they showed on stage during long and arduous tours won them the title of Best Selling British Live Act at the 2000 Brit Awards.

Talent show

Despite topping the charts in countries across the world, Steps only managed to rack up a single number one in the UK, when Stomp reached the top in 2001.
Claire and Faye
Out went the bright costumes and in came sophisticated black

The quintet set off on a mammoth 30-venue area tour towards the end of 2001, showcasing their biggest hits under the banner Steps Gold.

They were recently presented with a commemorative disc by Sir Tim Rice to celebrate their entry into the top 100 acts of all time.

Earlier in the year they denied the tour would signal the end of Steps as a group but members had already started to branch out.

Television presenting was a natural progression for the squeaky clean teen heroes, and Richards and H bagged the talent show Steps to the Stars.

Like Five before them, the individual members felt the time was right to break out of the mould and go their separate ways - signing off with the usual statement that they remain good friends.

Now only time will tell who will be the Robbie Williams of the set-up and go on to bigger and better things and who will be the Gary Barlow - and the rest of Take That - and fall into oblivion.

Vote for your favourite Steps song on CBBC Newsround OnlineStep back!
Vote for your favourite Steps song on CBBC
Steps breaking up - what do you think?



178 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

24 Dec 01 | Music
Chart stars and flops of 2001
02 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Steps rocket in at...No 72
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