Its time to begin so count it in…
I’m actually not a fan of their first single but it certainly did the job and got them noticed…
Formed in 1997, Ian Watkins and Lisa Scott-Lee were left from the original line up after losing 3 original members who apparently just weren’t feeling it and Claire Richards (formally of TSD), Faye Tozer and Lee Latchford-Evens were found to form the final and famous five.
Steps have sold over 20 million records worldwide, had two No.1 singles, two No.1 albums and 14 consecutive Top 5 singles the UK, won a BRIT award in 2000 for ‘Best Selling Live Act’, supported Britney Spears on tour (where H shared her private jet but sssh, we won’t mention that) and have had THE comeback of the decade when they returned in 2017 and had massive success all over again, thanks largely to a massive and loyal following (GO THE GAYS!) as well as returning with a new album in the middle of a worldwide pandemic to brighten the darkest days we have seen since the plague.#
They are simply one of my favourite acts of all time and I truly believe that Claire Richards has one of the best voices ever, but she sounds better and is far more comfortable as part of Steps. I know there has been evidence of the group not being happy with the dishing out of vocals, but if you go to war you want your strongest soldier leading, and Claire has the strongest voice. I truly believe that they can all sing, and they sound great together, but as a fan, it’s Claire’s voice that is ultimately Steps, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Collectively they all bring something. Steps are not Steps without all five members. It’s just the way it is.
Their debut album was a massive hit, hitting No.2 on the UK Album Chart, and went 5 x Platinum with sales of over 1.4 million copies. It went Platinum in Australia and New Zealand, 2 x Platinum in Belgium, and Gold in Japan. It was also a hit in America, entering the US Billboard Album Top 100 at No.79.
This was the song that took them to the next level and confirmed my own personal fandom…
This song just screams Christmas to me. A truly beautiful moment where they really got to show their vocals and Claire got to show what a true powerhouse she is.
This was their first UK Album Chart No.1, selling over 1.2 million copies and going 4 x Platinum. It was a massive hit across Europe selling over 1 million copies, and was certified platinum in Belgium. It scored them 6 consecutive Top 5 singles in the UK.
This song was the soundtrack to the summer of ’99. I simply loved it and it confirmed by fandom.
The Abba-esque After The Love Has Gone had a stunning video to go with it.
Deeper Shade Of Blue was where they really found their feet for me. This had an edge that no-one was expecting from them and the video was just such a moment.
This is a real favourite of mine. It sounds so beautiful when they sing it live…
The end of 2009 saw Steps embark on a massive tour, The Next Step, which I was very lucky to attend. It was such a great show and have watched the VHS of it many, many times. It was one of the first big concerts I attended and I loved every second.
This was a particular highlight for me…
This album brought a more mature sound for the band and also found each member having writing credits for the first time. Although this album did not sell as well as the previous two, I believe it to be far more superior and a step (sorry) in the right direction towards the material they are releasing today. It has been certified 2 x Platinum here in the UK and peaked in the UK Album Chart at No.4 so it still did very well.
Another personal favourite of mine… This would’ve been another No.1 hit for them here in the UK but after being released a week early by accident it only reached No.2! Still none too shabby…
Buzz for me was their best album so far. It hinted at a change of direction with a slightly more mature sound, following the direction of their opus A Deeper Shade Of Blue. Buzz and Paradise Lost also had single potential and have become iconic to their fans. So much so that Paradise Lost found it’s way onto the set list for their Party On The Dancefloor concert.
If You Believe was another standout for Faye, and it had a complete make over for their 2002 tour. Check it out…
After a No.1 selling greatest hits album and a tour to go with it that I was lucky enough to attend at Wembley Arena it appeared to be the end of the line…
In 2001, on Boxing Day of all days, it was revealed to the world that Steps would be no more…
We had some stellar singles from H & Claire, plus an album, which was very much the album Steps would’ve released next. We were also treated to a triplet of #TopTier singles from Lisa Scott-Lee who even had a tv show based around her next single hitting the Top 10 or she would quit, but the less said about that the better. I actually have a promo copy of her album and it’s got some great tracks.
But all was not lost… In 2011 a deal with Sky TV saw the band come together to lay their shit bare, kiss and make up and reform! This also lead to another greatest hits called The Ultimate Collection and was a No.1 hit in the UK Album Chart. Hurrah! This also lead to a very special show at Osbourne House on the Isle of Wight which I attended with a former boyfriend and two of my best friends. It was a great show, and really special to see them together on stage again.
2012 even saw them release a fragrance called Guilty Pleasure!
light up the world
The same year saw them create their own record label and release a Christmas album and lead single Light Up The World. This is another of my personal favourites. Both the single and album are so overlooked but I feel it contains some of their strongest material. Plus the Christmas Tour was so wonderful. I took my mum to The London Palladium and it was such a special night for the both of us. It’s one of my fondest memories. Very emotional to see them on stage in such an intimate setting.
tears on the dancefloor
Then, in 2017, my favourite Steps song was unleased…
Written by Carl Ryden and Fiona Bevan, Scared Of The Dark was No.1 on the iTunes chart less than 12 hours after it’s release. It was received well within the industry, The Daily Express reported: “It’s exactly what Steps should be releasing in this era: big, dramatic pop music that doesn’t try to be too clever or doesn’t try to chase any particular trend (no guest rappers here, mercifully).“
Story Of A Heart written by Benny & Bjorn first recorded by Abba for their first compilation album was recorded by Steps for their new album and released as the 2nd single. It was the perfect opportunity for Steps to reminisce of their past and celebrate all they have achieved and brought their fans right along with them. It was a stand out moment from their Party On The Dancefloor concert.
Tears On The Dancefloor is my favourite album from them. It is just so damned brilliant has so many highlights. Arguably every track has single potential. To see them return with their best material to date as well as have it be a hit was just amazing.
what the future holds
Written by Sia and slept on by Steps for over a year, with a very apt title What The Future Holds was the perfect song for Steps’ return to allow a little sparkle during the global pandemic. As with Scared Of The Dark, this song managed to capture the very essence of their back catalogue with an added kick and slick production to make it a relevant hit.
Something In Your Eyes is so very Abba-esque I cant help but think it would be the very song they would release if they were still releasing music. This bop was another perfect antidote for the grey clouds of the pandemic.
So, Claire, Ian, Faye, Lee and Lisa. I simply cannot thank you enough for your contribution to Pop, and for bringing all of us so much joy. You are part of my music legacy, songs of yours remind me of so many happy times in my life, and you are one of the reasons I wanted to run my very website.
Thank you for your inspiration.