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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 May, 2005, 14:22 GMT 15:22 UK
Why Kylie's star still shines
By Stephen Dowling
BBC News

Kylie Minogue
Where Kylie goes, her fans usually follow
When Kylie Minogue began her career on Young Talent Time in her native Australia in 1983, there was no clue as to what a long-lasting effect she would have on pop culture.

From tinkering under the bonnet as mechanic Charlene in Neighbours and her plastic pop beginnings as one of the Stock, Aitken & Waterman production line to her recent maturing as a serious pop phenomenon, Kylie endures.

And it seems no-one is immune to her charms.

From young pop consumers to serious music fans - and her enormous gay following - Kylie's varied career turns have sometimes alienated her various fan factions but she has always won them back.

How has a woman who seemed nothing more than a flash-in-the-pan soap star managed to maintain such loyalty?

'Ghastly records'

Sean Smith, who wrote the recent biography Kylie Confidential, says it is because she's "able to change".

"She doesn't stand still. She's also been quite fortunate - we live in a nostalgia boom, and a lot of the quite ghastly records she made for Stock, Aitken & Waterman are regarded with great affection."

Kylie Minogue's musical career is currently on a high thanks to the chart-topping success of recent albums Light years (2000), Fever (2002) and Body Language (2004).

Kylie in the Spinning Around video
The Spinning Around video put Kylie back on the map

Mr Smith cites her performance at the opening of the Sydney Olympics in 2000 - where she came on stage cloaked in feathers - as a moment that kickstarted her career after a period in the doldrums.

It came after many of her pop fans had deserted her, as Kylie ditched the bubblegum in favour of working with more credible artists such as fellow Australian Nick Cave and Welsh band Manic Street Preachers.

Harvey Marcus, the entertainment editor of women's magazine Marie Claire, says before the comeback single Spinning Around - the video of which featured her in, now famous, hotpants - she risked fading from sight.

'Good entertainer'

"She was in danger of becoming a 'GAY' staple and that was it," he says. "She came back in a pair of gold hotpants, and it was as if the old Kylie from the days of Stock, Aitken & Waterman was back."

The success of that reinvention - which has been built upon through the iconic videos for singles such as Can't Get You Out of My Head - shows no sign of fading.

It is easy to forget the lowpoints - such as her decision to appear in the film of the video game Street Fighter, for instance - because she is constantly giving her fans something new to talk about.

"She's a good entertainer and she's got good stamina," Mr Marcus says. "People criticise her for following in the footsteps of Madonna, but on her latest record she's working with the Scissor Sisters - she does go down her own road."

Nick Cave
Nick Cave was one of Minogue's collaborators in the mid-90s

Mr Smith believes that not only has she managed to change at just the right time, but she has made some brave decisions.

"She loves taking chances. Don't forget, that she came on stage to a poetry event run by Nick Cave [with whom she duetted on Cave's 1995 hit Where the Wild Roses Grow] and recited the lyrics to I Should be so Lucky."

It is that "what-will-she-do next?" persona that keeps her fans interested.

Certainly, anyone in 1988 betting that the new Neighbours star would one day be asked to headline Glastonbury would probably have stood to make a fortune.

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