Girls Aloud are a UK girl group that
were created on the ITV1 talent show Popstars: The Rivals in 2002. The
group, consisting of singers Nadine Coyle, Nicola Roberts, Cheryl Cole,
Sarah Harding and Kimberley Walsh have been successful in achieving a
string of 20 consecutive UK Top 10 singles (including four number ones and
four number twos, also 15 top 5 singles), two UK number one albums,all
albums are certified platinum and having been nominated for four BRIT
Awards, winning Best Single in 2009 for "The Promise".
Girls Aloud have become one of the few UK reality television acts to
achieve continued success, amassing a fortune of £25 million by May 2009.
Guinness World Records lists them as "Most Successful Reality TV Group" in
the 2007 edition. They also hold the record for "Most Consecutive Top Ten
Entries in the UK by a Female Group" in the 2008 edition. The band have
been working with Xenomania, who produce all of their material, since the
start of their careers. The group has sold ten million records worldwide.
Girls Aloud are currently in a year-long hiatus to pursue solo projects,
but will reunite for a new studio album in 2010.
Girls Aloud were formed on 30 November 2002, in front of millions of
viewers on the ITV1 programme Popstars: The Rivals. The concept of the
programme, hosted by Big Brother presenter Davina McCall, was to produce a
boyband and a girlgroup who would be "rivals" and compete for the 2002
Christmas number one single. Following the initial success of Hear'Say
(winners of the original Popstars show), several thousand applicants
attended auditions across the UK in hope of being selected. Ten girls and
ten boys were chosen as finalists by judges Pete Waterman, Louis Walsh and
Geri Halliwell. However, two of these were disqualified before the live
shows began: Hazel Kaneswaren was found to be too old to participate
whilst Nicola Ward refused to sign the contract, claiming the pay the
group would receive was too low. Kimberley Walsh and Nicola Roberts, who
had made it into the final fifteen but not the final ten, were chosen as
During October and November, the finalists took to the stage participating
in weekly Saturday night live performances (alternating week-by-week
between the girls and boys). Each week the contestant polling the fewest
phone votes was eliminated, until the final line-ups of the groups
emerged. The five girls who made it into the group were (in the order
announced by the host) Cheryl, Nicola, Nadine, Kimberley and Sarah; Javine
Hylton missed out on a place in the group, despite previous expectations
that she would be placed in the line-up. The group were named Girls Aloud
and were managed by Louis Walsh until 2005 when Hilary Shaw replaced him.
The two groups competed to become 2002's Christmas number one single.
Girls Aloud won the battle with their single "Sound of the Underground",
produced by Brian Higgins and Xenomania. The song spent four consecutive
weeks at number one and was certified platinum in March 2003. "Sound of
the Underground" received critical acclaim; Alexis Petridis of The
Guardian wrote that it "proved a first: it was a reality pop record that
didn't make you want to do physical harm to everyone involved in its
manufacture." "Sound of the Underground" and another Xenomania production,
Sugababes' "Round Round", have been called "two huge groundbreaking hits",
credited with reshaping British pop music for the 2000s. The Telegraph
placed the song at number 15 on a list of 100 songs that defined the
noughties, while NME included it at number 39. Spinner.com named "Sound of
the Underground" the eighth best British song of the 2000s. Originally
tipped to be more successful than Girls Aloud, One True Voice released
just two singles before disbanding in the summer of 2003.
2002–03: Sound of the Underground
After the success of their first single "Sound of the Underground", Girls
Aloud spent five months recording the follow-up single and their debut
album. Sound of the Underground was completed in April 2003 and released
the following month, described as a mix of "Blondie and Bananarama, with a
smattering of the Spice Girls at their best thrown in." The album entered
the charts at number two and was certified platinum by the British
Phonographic Industry. One of the tracks, "Girls Allowed", was written for
the group by ex-Westlife star Bryan McFadden, while "Some Kind of Miracle"
was co-written by former B*Witched member Edele Lynch. The second single,
"No Good Advice", was also released in May 2003 to similar success. Nadine
Coyle said, "We waited from December to May before releasing a second
single because we knew it had to be our strong point or we might as well
kiss our careers goodbye." Kimberley Walsh further exclaimed, "We knew it
was strong enough to come back with." Girls Aloud's third single, "Life
Got Cold", charted at number three in August 2003. The song features a
guitar riff similar to that of the 1995 Oasis hit "Wonderwall", for which
Oasis songwriter Noel Gallagher has been credited.
In November 2003, Girls Aloud released a cover of the Pointer Sisters'
1980s dance hit "Jump". The song appeared on the soundtrack to the 2003
film Love Actually, recorded at the request of director Richard Curtis.
According to Cheryl Cole in Girls Aloud's 2008 autobiography Dreams That
Glitter - Our Story, the single "was the point when we realized everything
we'd been doing was quite down and moody [...] and that's not what people
wanted." Nicola Roberts further stated it "was meant to be. It was a
turning point and everyone loved it." The single, which charted at number
two, accompanied a new edition of Sound of the Underground. The reissue
featured a new album cover and the replacement of three original songs
with "Jump", "You Freak Me Out" (which appeared on the soundtrack of
Freaky Friday) and "Girls on Film" (a cover of a Duran Duran song
originally a B-side to "Life Got Cold"). "You Freak Me Out" was planned as
the group's fifth single; however, the plans for this release were
scrapped as work began on a second album.
2003–05: What Will the Neighbours Say?
After a brief hiatus, Girls Aloud released "The Show" in June 2004, the
first single from their second album. It had an unusual structure for a
pop song, consisting of a number of interchanged sections rather than the
more typical verse-chorus form. Polydor built excitement for the release
and the group's new look with a promotional campaign featuring five empty
director's chairs with each of the girls' names on. "The Show" entered the
charts at number two. The next single, "Love Machine", also peaked at
number two in September 2004. "Love Machine" was nominated for ITV's The
Record of the Year and finished in sixth place. Girls Aloud recorded a
cover of The Pretenders' "I'll Stand by You" as the official Children In
Need charity single. Released in November 2004, the cover became Girls
Aloud's second number one single, holding the position for two weeks.
What Will the Neighbours Say?, the group's second album, was entirely
written and produced by Xenomania. Released on 29 November 2004, it
entered the top ten and was quickly certified platinum. What Will the
Neighbours Say? received excellent reviews; most critics deemed it an
improvement on their debut release. The final single from the album, "Wake
Me Up", was released in February 2005. It charted at number four, making
it their first to miss the top three but still their eighth top-five
single. In early 2005, the group won Glamour Magazine's "Band of the Year"
award, and were also nominated for a BRIT Award for Best Pop Act.
Following the album's success, Girls Aloud announced their first tour What
Will the Neighbours Say? Live, which took place in May 2005. The group
also released their first DVD, Girls on Film.
Following their first tour, Girls Aloud began work on their third studio
album, Chemistry. The album was described as "a concept album which
relates to the girls and what it's like to be a twentysomething girl in
London". The Guardian said that the album's "lyrics sound like Blur's
Parklife rewritten by the editorial staff of Heat magazine" and "holds a
distinctly ambiguous mirror up to noughties celebrity." The album peaked
on the charts at number eleven, their lowest so far, despite overwhelming
critical acclaim. It was their third consecutive album to be certified
platinum. MSN listed Chemistry as one of the decade's best albums.
The first single from the album was "Long Hot Summer", recorded for
inclusion on the soundtrack to the 2005 Walt Disney Pictures reboot of the
Herbie franchise, Herbie: Fully Loaded, although plans fell through.
Released in August 2005, the single ended Girls Aloud's run of top five
singles when it charted at number seven. The single was followed by the
critically acclaimed "Biology". The single saw a return to the top five
for Girls Aloud, peaking at number four. Peter Cashmore of The Guardian
labeled it "the best pop single of the last decade". Despite Girls Aloud's
near total obscurity in the United States, the song was listed at number
245 on Pitchfork Media's "The Top 500 Tracks of the 2000s" list in 2009.
The release was followed by a cover of Dee C. Lee's "See the Day",
released in the Christmas week of 2005. "See the Day" became Girls Aloud's
biggest hit in terms of radio airplay since "Sound of the Underground",
but became their lowest-charting single at the time when it peaked at
number nine. Girls Aloud won the Heart Award for the single at the O2
Silver Clef Lunch. The group travelled to Australia and New Zealand in
February 2006 to release "Biology" and Chemistry. Despite, a one-week
promotional tour, "Biology" peaked at number twenty-six on the ARIA
Singles Chart, failing to break the group in the Australian market. "Whole
Lotta History", the fourth and final single to be taken from Chemistry,
was released in March 2006. The single charted at number six. In May 2006,
Girls Aloud embarked on their second UK tour (and first arena tour),
Chemistry Tour. The group performed for over 100,000 people across ten UK
arenas, receiving critical acclaim. In the same month, Girls Aloud were
moved to Fascination Records, a sub-label of Polydor Records; all future
Girls Aloud releases will be published by Fascination Records.
2006–07: The Sound of Girls Aloud
In October 2006, Girls Aloud released their first greatest hits
collection, The Sound of Girls Aloud. It debuted at number one on the UK
album chart and went on to sell over one million copies. A limited edition
was also available, featuring a bonus disc containing previously
unreleased tracks. The album was accompanied by the single "Something
Kinda Ooooh". Girls Aloud became the first British act to reach the top
five purely on download sales; the single peaked at number three following
its physical release. The next single was a cover of "I Think We're Alone
Now", was dedicated to Jordan Duncan by "Cheryl Cole", this was previously
a hit single for Tommy James and The Shondells (in 1967) and for Tiffany
(in 1987). The release marked the third time Girls Aloud had entered the
Christmas chart battle; it peaked at number four. The song was also the
official theme to the film It's a Boy Girl Thing. Girls Aloud collaborated
with fellow British girl group Sugababes for their fifteenth single, a
cover of the song "Walk This Way" by Aerosmith. The track was released in
March 2007 as the official single for Comic Relief, billed as "Sugababes
vs. Girls Aloud". It became the group's third number one and their
fifteenth consecutive top ten single. In May 2007, Girls Aloud went on
their third tour, The Sound of Girls Aloud: The Greatest Hits Tour. During
the tour, the group appeared at fifteen arenas across the UK and Ireland.
2007–08: Tangled Up
Girls Aloud released their fourth studio album, Tangled Up, in November
2007. Called "yet another unrelenting pop masterpiece" by BBC, the album
received was another commercial and critical success. It continued their
streak of platinum albums. In 2009, The Times included it at number 62 on
a list of the decade's best pop albums, while the Daily Mail listed it as
the twentieth best album of the decade.
The first single, "Sexy! No No No...", was another top five single. It was
described as "one of the most daring songs they've yet released" and "yet
another sample of their [Girls Aloud's] perfect pop: bold, sassy, slightly
loopy and unbelievably catchy." "Call the Shots", which entered the top
three, welcomed even more critical acclaim, with pop music journalist
Peter Robinson calling it the "greatest pop song of the 21st century."
Cheryl Cole cited the song is her favourite from Tangled Up, and that it
"gives me goosebumps". The third and final single from the album, "Can't
Speak French", continued Girls Aloud's top ten streak. A French version
and "Hoxton Heroes", a satirical track aimed towards indie bands, as
B-sides. Girls Aloud also received their second BRIT Award nomination in
2008, nominated for the Best British Group award. In May and June 2008,
Girls Aloud embarked on the Tangled Up Tour — their third arena tour and
fourth overall. They played a total of 34 concerts around the UK.
2008–09: Out of Control
In 2008, Girls Aloud released their fifth studio album Out of Control. The
group called it their "most exciting and thrilling album yet". It entered
the UK Albums Chart at number one. The album's lead single, "The Promise",
became their fourth number one on the UK Singles Chart, selling more than
77,000 singles in its first week of release — making it the
fastest-selling single of 2008 up to that point. The single returned the
group to the top two on the Irish Singles Chart.. Brian Higgins said, "We
knew that was the piece of music Girls Aloud needed to announce them as a
supergroup in this country, so we knew we couldn't drop the ball
melodically or lyrically." He described it as "the theme tune to the
biggest girl group on the planet". Girls Aloud also performed at the BRIT
Awards for the first time in their careers, with "The Promise" being
awarded Best British Single. They were also nominated for Best British
Group, but lost to Elbow.
"The Loving Kind", co-written by Pet Shop Boys, became the girls'
twentieth consecutive top ten single. "Untouchable", the third single from
the album, was released to coincide with the Out of Control Tour, which
commenced in April 2009. In September 2009, Girls Aloud supported Coldplay
along with Jay-Z at two Wembley Stadium dates. Fascination Records
released a singles boxset collection to coincide with the tour.
2009–present: group hiatus
Girls Aloud have signed a new record deal with Fascination which will see
the group release another three albums. In 2009, it was announced that
Girls Aloud would partake in a year-long hiatus to pursue solo projects,
but would reunite for a new studio album in 2010. Cheryl Cole continued
her role as a judge on The X Factor, as well as launching a solo career.
Her debut single "Fight for This Love" and the album 3 Words topped the
charts. Nadine Coyle is also expecting to launch a solo career in 2010.
She is working with Guy Chambers, Toby Gad, and Tony Kanal, among others.
Sarah Harding starred in 2009's St. Trinian's II: The Legend of Fritton's
Gold, recording three tracks for the soundtrack. Kimberley Walsh has been
made the face of high street clothing store New Look, while Nicola Roberts
is extending her make-up range Dainty Doll - designed for girls with
extremely fair complexions.
In January 2010 an online campaign was launched to get Untouchable into
the top ten. When the single was initially released in 2009, its highest
UK chart position at number 11 ended the band’s record breaking run of
consecutive top ten hits. The campaign organizers have set a download week
which is from the 31st January 2010 to the 6th February 2010. The campaign
is very much inspired by the Rage Against The Machine Campaign on social
networking site Facebook which resulted in Rage Against The Machine
becoming Christmas number one in 2009. Support has been forthcoming from
celebrities, including Nadine Coyle who tweeted about the Untouchable
campaign. As of the 31th January 2010, the Facebook Group has over 9,700