Last updated: 04/08/2013 04:17:39 PM
STEP ONE - Only The Best Will Do
They have single-handedly changed the shape of brit-pop. And are renowned for their easy to follow dance routines. They are now more than just another band. STEPS have become a phenomenon. But it hasn't been an easy road to success and behind the smiles are five young, talented, hard working and determined individuals with their own personalities and opinions. It all started way back in 1997 when an advert was placed in 'The Stage' magazine. Thousands of applicants saw the ad and plucked up their courage to go and try their luck at standing out among the crowd of hopefuls. Of course only five people had what was needed to head the freshest, most happening band the world has yet seen.
After a long period of auditions, a whole lot of line-dancing, and six months later, the five best applicants were chosen for their skills in singing and dancing as well as having a fun attitude. Those five individuals are the members of STEPS that we all now know and love as Lisa Scott-Lee, Ian Watkins (H), Claire Richards, Lee Latchford-Evans and Faye Tozer.
STEP TWO - Time For The World To Be Introduced To The Band
STEPS rocketed into the UK charts in 1997 with the upbeat line dancing / pop song "5-6-7-8", which quickly started rumours that they were to be the next group to really dominate the charts world-wide. The song stayed in the UK top 40 for a whopping three months selling over 290,000 copies. It is also the biggest song of the 90's not to reach the UK top 10. Around the world it went straight in at number 1 in a number of countries, Belgium in particular spear heading the band's popularity as STEPS became the country's most popular singing sensation with their debut release.
Doubters of the band's staying power were soon to be proved wrong when STEPS shocked the music industry with the beautiful vocals and catchy dance tune of their second release, a cover of the Bananarama classic "Last Thing On My Mind". It shot straight into the top 10 on the 19th of April 1998, and went on to sell more than 330,000 copies in the UK alone, peaking at number 6 in the charts.
STEP THREE - Release The Debut Album
Then came the two releases that really secured their position in the music scene, their third single "One For Sorrow" and the stunning debut album "STEP ONE". It was "One For Sorrow" that really launched the band's status. It was also the track that allowed the member's voices to really stand out. Coupled with the simple to follow dance routine the group finally saw their dreams coming true when they received a chart position of number 2 with their third single in August 1998 selling 363,000 copies. For the next few months everyone was talking about the group, they were in every magazine and on every TV show, infact, due to popularity the fab five appeared on 'Top Of The Pops' a number of weeks in a row. With a multi-platinum selling album and three huge chart hits, STEPS were finally getting the recognition they so rightfully deserved and were at last being taken seriously.
STEP FOUR - Thousands Of Christmas Parties Later!
But it was the end of 1998 that had the biggest impact of all on the band, reaching all new heights of popularity with the release that changed their career forever. On the 6th November 1998 the fourth single from the debut album was released. A double A-side consisting of the slow ballad "Heartbeat" and the uptempo cover of the Bee Gees classic "Tragedy", the song hung around in the UK top 10 right up until Christmas, when an all time high of STEPS-fever hit the nations of the world. People had heard the song "Tragedy" and couldn't get enough of it! With the simplest of all dances to follow and it's fun party feel it quickly became the most popular track to be played during the Yule-tide period.
What really made them stand out was Faye's wild new hair cut - dreadlocks! This high level of interest in the five young singers increased as the weeks went on, seeing the band on what seemed like every channel throughout the holidays and saw the single gradually climbing up the charts. Then on the 2nd of January 1999 STEPS hit the coveted top spot, after 8 weeks of hanging around the top 10 they got the first number one of the year and their first ever number one single with "Heartbeat / Tragedy". The single then continued to hang around in the charts for what accumulated to a total of 16 weeks in the UK top 40 selling over 1 million copies!
STEP FIVE - Millions Of Adoring Fans And More Hit Singles
They had started off the year with a bang, STEPS were now the most popular group in the UK with legions of fans everywhere. This started off what is undeniably the most amazing year the band has had so far. Something had happened to the group in between the release of the Christmas single and their next single, with comparisons to the biggest names in the industry such as the Spice Girls and of course the Swedish super group, ABBA. Which still seems an astonishing feat for a group that were once heralded as one hit wonders. But it is clear to see why the group are so popular, everyone loves them from teenagers to grandparents, there is not one person left that doesn't know the dance to a STEPS song!
The final release from the "STEP ONE" album was "Better Best Forgotten" which went straight into the charts at number 2. It was kept off the top spot by Boyzone's "When The Going Gets Tough" which was selling well because it was the Comic Relief single. After this STEPS also appeared along side Billie, B*Witched, Tina Cousins and Cleopatra at the 1999 Brit awards to sing a medley of ABBA hits, which due to public demand (mostly from STEPS' fans), was released as a single reaching number 4 in the charts.
STEP SIX - Time For A Change
Behind them STEPS had six storming pop records, a sell out tour, a debut album that received great reviews in every music magazine and newspaper, selling well over 3 million copies. But the time had now arrived. In early 1999 STEPS announced plans for a second album.
STEP SEVEN - A Steptacular Announcement
What do you do to follow up such an impressive roller coaster ride of a career with so many highs it could become the next big attraction at a theme park? Do better of course! After shutting themselves into the recording studios for months on end, Claire, Lee Faye, H and Lisa were busy recording the follow up album to "STEP ONE". With a top secret title, all information regarding the most anticipated album of the year was kept under lock and key until one day the announcement was made. The album was to be called "Steptacular". And from it the new single, with possibly the longest title to a song known to mankind, "Love's Got A Hold On My Heart" was released. It again reached number two, with a closely fought battle for the top spot with Ricky Martin and his summer time hit "Livin' La Vida Loca". At one point it looked as if STEPS would snatch the position from the Latino god, but in the final show down they were beaten by a mere 3300 copies.
STEP EIGHT - A Record Breaking Tour
Since the release of "Love's Got A Hold On My Heart" STEPS have conquered every country, even going on tour with the pop princess Britney Spears in America during July of 1999. Then came the release of the next single "After The Love Has Gone" this reached number 5 and has sold over 100,000 copies. With a completely different dance routine, taking on an oriental theme it became one of the favourite songs for fans to dance along to at their 'Next Step' arena tour. They started this tour on the 20th of October 1999. The tour had completely sold out with more than 350,000 people going to see the band live. In total they will play a mammoth 33 dates, which is the biggest tour the UK has ever seen, STEPS recently entered the record books because of this.
STEP NINE - A Platinum Selling Second Album
Now it was time for STEPS to release the album everyone wanted to get their hands on, "Steptacular!". It is a startling success, going to number one on the first week of release beating off tough competition from Shania Twain. The popularity of the album hasn't slowed down since maintaining the number one spot for a second week preventing Westlife's debut album from taking their place. Sales were so strong that in just three weeks 250,000 copies had been sold. They have since appeared on the show 'ABBAMANIA' which aired on the 6th of November 1999. STEPS have had over 8 number ones world-wide, receiving countless awards for their efforts, and are the only band to have achieved such global success in such little time excluding the Spice Girls. In the short space of two and a half years STEPS have gone from a line dancing group to the five coolest and most loved people on earth.
STEP TEN - Get Into The 'Spirit' Of Things
On the 31st of October 1999 the band performed live in front of tens of thousands of people across the UK in their first ever live television broadcast on Sky Box Office. The show was a spooky spectacle with a special Halloween theme throughout and a truly hair raising rendition of "Ghost Busters", which had the crowd on their feet and dancing in no time at all! It was also the first time that STEPS' Christmas single, a double A-side with "Say You'll Be Mine" and "Better The Devil You Know" was heard by the public. The two songs went down well to say the least! After being warmed up by "Say You'll Be Mine" and it's simple to learn dance routine, the crowd went wild when flames came shooting from the stage as part of an elaborate set for the second A-side, a cover of a song first done by Kylie Minogue.
After a steptacular display of dancing by STEPS' dancers the band appeared from various parts of the stage dressed in red leather coats and hellish devil horns! The crowd soon realised the next colour scheme, but they weren't going to be caught out as they too were equipped for the performance with their own horns and joining in with the easy to follow dance. The show went out with a bang by getting every one up and dancing along to "Tragedy", which after a year of release is still undeniably the ultimate party song. There wasn't one person in the entire arena who didn't join in. All in all it was a remarkable achievement and has since hushed the band's critics by proving that the Steppers are here to stay.
STEP ELEVEN - Don't Stop At Just Singing And Dancing!
But their talents don't stop at the catchiest chart music ever made, they are branching out into the world of presenting. Lee, Faye and Lisa have all had their turn presenting the 'Pepsi Chart' on Channel 5 doing a superb job, Lee in particular showing he was born to be behind the camera. Claire has presented the popular BBC entertainment program 'Electric Circus' as well as teaming up with geordie duo Ant and Dec to present 'CD:UK', proving to the world that she is a magnificent presenter. Then it was Faye's turn to do the same, presenting 'CD:UK' and 'SMTV'. Of course they weren't new to the program as the whole band had presented 'CD:UK' during the 1999 Easter special.
Lisa wasn't left out of the action however, as she did a terrific job at presenting 'Late Lunch', wowing the viewers of one of the most popular TV shows on at the 6'o'clock time slot. She also showed everyone what she was made of when she held STEPS' end up on the music quiz show 'Never Mind The Buzzcocks' recently. All this as well as the five of them going on countless other shows to co-present or perform their songs all around the world. In the future H and Claire are set to present a talent show at the start of the year 2000 on CBBC called 'STEPS To The Stars'. The program is a talent show contest hosted by the two members of the band, if that isn't exciting enough the five steppers will be popping into the studios to perform a different STEPS song on each episode. Make sure you don't miss it!
STEP TWELVE - Present The Most Prestigious Award Show In Pop (And Win In The Process!)
On the 5th of December 1999 STEPS presented the final Smash Hits Poll Winners Party of the millennium, putting on a fab show and kicking the whole thing off with a preview of the Steptastic new Christmas single - "Better The Devil You Know". The Stepsters came on stage with a roar of flames and a huge explosion of smoke, accompanied by their ten dancers in full devil gear. The song proved popular with the crowd as the majority of people at the show were already wearing the latest STEPS fan fashion accessory, a pair of devil horns, as well as joining in with the hand shakingly good dance steps. Once the audience had calmed down after such an amazing entrance the group went on to present awards to the biggest names in pop, doing every fan proud with a flawless show.
Artists that attended the ceremony were US tour mate, Britney Spears who walked away with the awards for best female singer and most fanciable female, A1, the Back Street Boys who won 5 awards, Texas and Boyzone to name but a few. STEPS didn't just steal the show because they proved how talented they are at presenting and with best performance of the night but they also came third in the category for best band in the universe, second for the best band in the UK and H now officially has the fifth best haircut in pop! Most notably however H walked away with the award for being the funniest person in pop!
STEP THIRTEEN - Charts, Charts And More Charts!
During December of 1999 STEPS released their successful double A-side single "Better The Devil You Know/Say You'll Be Mine". The single entered the UK charts at number 7 but continued to climb throughout the holiday season all the way to number four, the single reached gold certificate status in the new year. At the turn of the new millennium STEPS' incredibly popular video "The Next Step Live" shot back up to the top of the music video charts to number one. A position it has maintained well into the year 2000. Amazingly, their first video "STEPS : The Official Video", released over a year ago, is still charting high and re-entered the music video top ten in February.
A more bizarre chart statistic under STEPS' belt came when their year 2000 calendar topped the calendar charts, out selling a large number of major celebrities! While all this was going on the album "Steptacular" continued to sell in astounding numbers and turned 4xPlatinum with over 1.2million copies shipped. It was at number one in the UK album charts for 4 weeks making it one of the most popular and successful albums of 1999.
STEP FOURTEEN - Giving Acts A Step Towards Stardom
It was on Friday the 11th of February at 4.30pm that the very first TV series starring and hosted by STEPS started. In a run of shows, 'STEPS To The Stars' has received critical acclaim from people within the music industry and fans alike. Featuring three acts on every episode who were whittled down from the many thousands of applicants who attended the nation-wide auditions. At the end of each week's episode viewers get the chance to phone in and vote for their favourite act from the show. The winner of each 'heat' is then announced on the next episode and will come back for the final. Out of the seven finalists only one can win the coveted 'STEPS To The Stars' trophy.
The winner gets the chance to appear on Live & Kicking alongside STEPS to receive the trophy and to perform live on the Saturday morning show as well as to spend a day with the band! The fun doesn't stop there, if you didn't already know, the entire series is presented by H and Claire. Both Steppers have had plenty of experience presenting and we think you will agree have done a fabulous job presenting the series. But what has really been getting everyone excited is the final act. At the end of all the episodes Lee, Lisa and Faye join our two presenters in bringing the house down as they perform one of their massive hit songs taken from both of their albums, so watch out for your fave. A series not to be missed.
STEP FIFTEEN - Be Presented With A Special Award At The Brits!
On Friday 3rd of March the Brit Awards 2000 ceremony was held and STEPS were presented with the special achievement award for - 'Best Selling British Live Act'. The reason for them getting the award was because of the level of sales the band made throughout 1999. Which included their sell-out, record breaking 33 date tour of the UK in the autumn of '99. They played to over 350,000 people on the tour over the course of a month and a half. They we're also recognised for being the best selling British album artists of 1999 selling as they sold over 1.8 million albums in the UK during the year from sales of both their debut album "Step One" which has now gone 5xPlatinum since it's release in late 1998 and their latest album "Steptacular", now 4xPlatinum which was released only in October of 1999.
STEP SIXTEEN - Hit The Road Again For The Start Of The Biggest Pop Tour Ever!!
On the 5th of May 2000 pop's premiere five piece embarked on what is to be their biggest tour yet. The first section of the tour saw a step forward for the band's concerts with a jaw dropping set and visually stunning special effects. Everything was deliciously over the top, right down to the stand out solo performances from each member. The solos saw Lee appear as if from nowhere, Faye pulling off a fabulous dance routine, H flying above the audience, Claire a top a Harley Davidson motorbike and Lisa ripping off a wedding dress to reveal 70's disco gear complete with afro wigs! If you've been on tour with STEPS you've seen it all! The band are now set to continue the tour in summer with their open-air and winter dates.
STEP SEVENTEEN - Get The Crowds Partying Like There's No Tomorrow!
Over the summer the two biggest concerts in the UK of the year were held in London's parks all in one week. A total number of people in the two audiences of a whopping 185,000 people. On the 1st of July STEPS took over Finsbury Park for the largest gay festival with 85,000 on lookers. Acts came and went but it was clear that everyone was only there to see one band, and you know who that was! When STEPS came on stage the area in front of it became packed as everyone rushed to catch a glimpse of the stars. The screams and shouts were deafening and as soon as the music started everyone knew the dances off by heart, everyone!! Then it was time for Capital FM's Party In The Park as it is without a doubt the biggest with a 100,000 strong crowd and going out on TV and across the internet to millions world-wide on the 9th of July. The band were second up and performed their most popular songs to a sea of arms copying the dances, a truly amazing sight. One things for sure, the band really know how to get the crowds ex
Thanks to Andrew Molloy STEPS FAN for submitting the biography.