By Dan Lane
There’s less than a week to go before Pete Waterman Presents Hit Factory Live – the greatest retro-pop fest ever - takes over London’s Hyde Park (win tickets here). As official online media partners of this inevitably fabulous celebration of hit singles, OfficialCharts.com will be counting down the days to July 11.
Today, we reveal Steps’ Official Top 10 biggest selling hits.
Formed in May, 1997, Steps consist of Claire Richards, Faye Tozer, Ian ‘H’ Watkins, Lee Latchford-Evans and Lisa Scott-Lee. The band’s debut hit, 5,6,7,8 (Number 4 in our ultimate Steps countdown), followed in November of that year. Though it didn’t quite break the Top 10, (it peaked at Number 14), it was a consistent seller, and spent ten weeks in the Top 20. The group’s management knew they had the potential to be more than one hit wonders, and secured them a deal with Jive Records the following year.
“We really did evolve as a line-dancing band,” Lisa told OfficialCharts.com. “We had a one single deal and it’s incredible to think we went on to release four albums!”
The label brought in producer Pete Waterman who envisioned Steps as a pre-millennial reimagining of ABBA. Their debut single for Jive was a cover of Last Thing On My Mind (Number 5 in our countdown), a track Waterman and songwriting partner Mike Stock had penned for girl group Bananarama some six years previous. It faired considerably better than 5,6,7,8, peaking at Number 6. Follow-up release, One For Sorrow (Number 2 in our countdown), peaked at Number 2 in August, paving the way for Steps’ debut album, Step One, the following month. Despite impressive week one sales, it also peaked at Number 2.
The group’s bid for the 1998 Christmas Number 1 also seemed out of their grasp; having dominated the previous two years’ Christmas charts, the Spice Girls and their then forthcoming single Goodbye - the girlgroup’s first single since the departure of Geri Halliwell – seemed like a shoe in for Number 1. And so, Jive made a tactical decision to release Steps’ next single – a double A-side of album track Heartbeat and a new cover of The Bee Gees' 1979 classic, Tragedy – in November.
“When I first heard Heartbeat, I loved it but I also knew it needed the right voice to make it a hit,” recalls Pete Waterman. “So the demo sat in my desk drawer for years! Then I found Steps. To begin with, they were a line-dancing group but, with the right songs, I knew they had the potential to be the perfect pop act.”
Heartbeat / Tragedy debuted at Number 2 in the Official Singles Chart and continued to sell well over the Christmas period. Then, after eight weeks in the Top 10, on January 3, it knocked the Spice Girls off Number 1 and became the first chart topper of 1999. It is Steps’ biggest selling single to date, selling over 1.1 million copies in the UK, and Number 1 in our ultimate Steps countdown!
“Heartbeat really came into its own,” recalls Pete. “As a double A-side with Tragedy, it became Steps’ first Number 1, sold a million and took everything to the next level!”
“What was great is that we really appreciated it because it didn’t go straight in at Number 1,” adds Lisa. “It took weeks to get to Number 1 and it was the first Number 1 of 1999. We were away on holiday but when we came back we all congratulated each other.”
Steps’ next album, 1999’s Steptacular, hit Number 1 in June of that year, and they would go on to have 11 more Top 5 singles before disbanding in 2001. The group officially reformed in 2011, and their Greatest Hits package The Ultimate Collection topped the Official Albums Chart in October of that year.
“I loved being in Steps and it was very much a dream come true for me,” says Lisa. “I had been singing and dancing from the age of four and that was where I was always hoping to end up. Looking back you do pinch yourself and think ‘wow!’”
You can view Steps' Top 10 biggest selling singles in full below:
|02||ONE FOR SORROW|
|03||BETTER BEST FORGOTTEN|
|05||LAST THING ON MY MIND|
|06||LOVE'S GOT A HOLD ON MY HEART|
|07||SAY YOU'LL BE MINE/BETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW|
|09||IT'S THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL|
|10||DEEPER SHADE OF BLUE|
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