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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 December 2007, 00:47 GMT
Pop star Kylie's showgirl success
Kylie Minogue
Minogue has spent 20 years as a recording artist
Kylie Minogue, who has been appointed an OBE in the New Year's Honours, has established herself as one of pop music's most enduring figures.

She began her career as an actress in Australian children's series Skyways and The Henderson Kids before securing the role of feisty mechanic Charlene Mitchell in soap opera Neighbours.

First broadcast on BBC One in 1986, the soap's UK success soon matched its popularity in Australia, with Minogue and co-star Jason Donovan becoming household names.

Simultaneously, Minogue ventured into pop - recording a cover version of Little Eva's vintage hit The Loco-Motion which went to number one in Australia in 1987.

This success persuaded her to fly to the UK to record a single with production team Stock Aitken Waterman.

Kylie and Jason
Kylie and Jason were a couple when they recorded Especially For You
I Should Be So Lucky was famously recorded in a hurry after producer Pete Waterman forgot to alert his colleagues to Minogue's UK visit.

Nevertheless the song, accompanied by a day-glow perm-filled video, went to number one in January 1988, the first of 42 hit singles Minogue has secured in the UK.

Minogue followed her debut success with Got to Be Certain and a remixed version of The Loco-Motion. Meanwhile, the wedding ceremony between her Neighbours character Charlene and Donovan's Scott Robinson drew millions of viewers.

The pair's off-screen relationship further boosted the soap's popularity but, after starring in 1989 movie The Delinquents, Minogue left Neighbours to concentrate on her music career.

New image

During a high-profile romance with INXS frontman Michael Hutchence, Minogue adopted a more sexual pop persona for hits such as Better the Devil You Know and Shocked.

But Stock Aitken and Waterman's sound began to sound cheap and dated in comparison to Minogue's more mature image, and she left her team of hitmakers to work with UK dance label Deconstruction, home of artists such as M-People.

Kylie Minogue
Minogue's early image was of a squeaky-clean pop princess
Minogue's subsequent hits, such as Confide in Me and Put Yourself in My Place, demonstrated a more adult sound - underscored by her 1995 duet with Nick Cave, Where the Wild Roses Grow.

But this more experimental phase - which also saw her collaborate with the Manic Street Preachers - alienated some of Minogue's audience.

Poor sales for her 1998 album Impossible Princess - renamed simply "Kylie Minogue" in the UK in the wake of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales - meant Minogue was dropped by her record label.

Nevertheless the album was a huge success in Australia, where a flamboyant tour consolidated her position as a gay icon and presented Minogue's vivacious "showgirl" persona for the first time.

Spinning Around

Having recorded the song In Denial with the Pet Shop Boys for their 1999 album Nightlife, Minogue joined the same label as the pop duo - music industry giant Parlophone.

The label steered Minogue back towards a more commercial sound, and she regained her chart status in the UK in 2000, when Spinning Around - her first Parlophone single - became her fifth number one.

Kylie Minogue in the video for Spinning Around
The video for Spinning Around helped to relaunch Minogue's career
Its suggestive video - in which Minogue wore a small pair of gold hotpants - helped regain the attention of heterosexual music fans, and Minogue was re-established as a mainstream pop star.

Fourteen months later she would go further by establishing Can't Get You Out of My Head as the best-selling single of 2001, scoring a US hit in the process.

The song earned the best international video prize at the 2002 Brit Awards, where Minogue was also named best international female.

A year later she returned to the top of the charts with the slow-burning electronic ballad Slow - a more assured step into experimental, club-orientated material than any of her Deconstruction-era records.

Its parent album, Body Language, duly entered the top 10 with US music bible Billboard praising "Minogue's knack for picking great songs and producers".

Her return to the top of the pop profession was marked with a 40-track greatest hits album and 2005's flamboyant Showgirl tour.

Cancer diagnosis

But in a break between the UK and Australian legs of the tour, while visiting family in Melbourne, Minogue was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer.

The singer, who said her first reaction was to continue with her tour, was convinced to abandon all future engagements and have immediate treatment.

She finished chemotherapy in December 2005, but said she was left physically weak and had to spend hours on "that walking machine" to build up her stamina and "start from the beginning".

Kylie Minogue
The Showgirl Tour featured a variety of flamboyant costumes
During her recuperation, she stayed out of the limelight, writing a children's book to fill up her spare time.

But she made a triumphant return to the stage in December 2006, finally performing the Australian shows she had postponed 18 months earlier.

"I'm thrilled to be back - I've been waiting for this day for such a long time," she told reporters before taking to the stage.

Since her return, Minogue says she has been more choosy about the projects she takes on - but her workload barely seems diminished.

In 2007, she launched an exhibition of her stage costumes, starred in the Christmas episode of Doctor Who, released her 10th studio album, X, premiered a documentary about her recovery from cancer and announced a world tour.

Amongst all her commitments in 2008, she will have to squeeze in a trip to Buckingham Palace to collect her OBE.


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