By Dan Lane
'Tay, Tay, Tay, Tay, T-t, T-t, T, Tay, Tay, Take or leave us, only please believe us, we ain't ever gonna be respectable...'
25 years ago this past week, Respectable by Mel and Kim topped the Official Singles Chart.
The track not only provided the London-born duo (made up of sisters Melanie and Kim Appleby) with their first Number 1 single, it also gave one of the most successful production partnerships of all time, Stock Aitken Waterman, the first Official Number 1 they’d both written and produced, too.
Kim recalls, "Mike [Stock] and the boys came up with this title when Mel's nude modelling photos were splashed all over the tabloids. We knew it was just a matter of time before they would surface, just didn't think it would happen so quickly! Mel and I went to see Pete [Waterman] to warn him about the pictures and what was about to come out. Pete, being Pete, turned to Mel and said, 'Kid, just tell me there are no animals involved!' We all laughed so much!"
Respectable initially debuted at Number 25 in the UK's Official Singles Chart upon its release in February 1987, before steadily climbing up the Top 40 to reach Number 1 three weeks later. It became one of the biggest selling hits of that year, shifting over half a million copies in the UK and topped the charts in The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand.
"After having a big hit with Showing Out [(Get Fresh at the Weekend) the previous September], the industry was wondering and waiting to see if we could follow it up," continues Kim. "Respectable was to give us and Stock Aitken and Waterman our first Number 1 in the UK and went on to be a bigger international success than Showing Out..., giving us a Number 1 song in the American dance charts."
Sadly, Mel and Kim would only go on to enjoy two more Top 10 singles before their career was cut tragically short. While on a promo trip to Japan in the summer of 1987, Melanie Appleby was bedridden with chronic back pain. Upon the sisters' return to the UK, she was diagnosed with spinal cancer and sadly passed away on January 18, 1990. She was 23 years old.
"I like to think that Mel and I were among the pioneers of the Stock Aitken Waterman sound," says Kim. "We also gave them their first written and produced Number 1, which remains special to me up until this day."
Fans of the Stock Aitken Waterman sound are currently gearing up to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Pete Waterman's PWL label this Summer. The poptastic outdoor show - featuring sets from Steps, Jason Donovan, Rick Astley, Dead Or Alive, Sonia and many many more - will take place in London's Hyde Park on July 11 under the banner of Hit Factory Live. Respectable kick-started the soundtrack of a generation, and is one tune we definitely want to hear on that sunny afternoon. Pretty please?
2012 is shaping up to be a real celebration of the hit single – later this year the Official Singles Chart is set to celebrate its 60th anniversary. Look out for more Official Charts Flashbacks in the coming weeks, and be sure to follow Official Charts on Facebook and Twitter for the latest Official Charts news.Back