S Club 7 seemed to appear out of nowhere, complete with a hit TV show and a number one single. How the seven chosen for the customised pop outfit - Tina, Paul, Jon, Hannah, Bradley, Jo, and Rachel - were packaged remains a mystery, as does the significance of the "S".
The multi-ethnic band went on to sell over two million albums with their debut single Bring It All Back
going to number one in the UK, and the follow-up, S Club Party
, climbing to number two. A TV series, Miami 7,
followed, as well as the inevitable merchandising onslaught, complete with singing dolls and pencil cases. In 1999, they picked up a prestigious Brit Award for best newcomer.
Having built their reputation on wholesomeness, by 2001 the band was undergoing something of an image shift, and their single Natural,
revealed a sultry side to the septet.
The outfit's squeaky clean image was tarnished somewhat, however, when boys were cautioned by the police in March of that year after they were caught with a small amount of cannabis on them.
With virtually no promotion other than that offered by the band's TV show, their debut single Bring It All Back
sold an impressive 150,000 copies in the US, while the follow-up Never Had A Dream Come True
kept up the momentum. A second album, 7,
came out in June 2000 with a third Sunshine
following behind it to widespread acclaim a year later.
Offstage, in February 2002, Rachel became engaged to Holby City
actor Jeremy Edwards, but the two later split up. Band-mate Jo sports a three-carat diamond ring presented to her by mechanic boyfriend Lee. In October 2001, Paul and Hannah revealed they had been dating each for six months and even though Paul left the group in March the following year, they remain an item.
In March 2002, Paul made the announcement that he was leaving S Club 7 to join nu-metal act Skua. The remaining six vowed to continue, however, under the new name S Club, knocking out sterling performances during summer 2002 at the Golden Jubilee concert in Buckingham Palace gardens and the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Manchester.
Within a year, however, the group's four-year career in music would come to an end. Shortly after S Club's April 2003 film debut in Seeing Double,
the sextet announced they would be calling it quits. "We can't thank each and every one of our fans enough for their constant support," read a statement from the band, "and we hope that they will continue to support and understand us in our decision."