All Saints (group)

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All Saints
Also known as All Saints (1993–95)
Origin London, United Kingdom
Genres Pop, soul, dance, R&B, hip hop [1]
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1993–2001, 2006–09, 2013–present
Labels ZTT Records, London, Parlophone, Fascination
Members Melanie Blatt
Shaznay Lewis
Nicole Appleton
Natalie Appleton
Past members Simone Rainford

All Saints are a British-Canadian girl group. Originally founded in 1993 as All Saints, the group was re-founded in 1995 as a quartet consisting of British members Melanie Blatt and Shaznay Lewis, and Canadian sisters Natalie and Nicole Appleton. They became one of the most successful pop groups of the 1990s, with nine top ten singles on the UK Singles Chart (including five number-ones), two multi-platinum albums and two gold albums. By 2002, the band had sold in excess of 11 million albums worldwide.[2][3]

All Saints were formed as a trio in 1993 with Blatt, Lewis and Simone Rainford, who released two singles before Rainford's departure in 1995. Natalie and Nicole Appleton joined the group for the production of their debut album, All Saints (1997), which produced three UK number-one singles, including "Never Ever" which won the Brit Awards for Best British Single and Best British Video at the 1998 Brit Awards. As of March 2013 it is the second best selling single by a girl group of all time in the UK, only behind "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls.[4][5]

Their second album, Saints & Sinners (2000), was also a success and yielded two UK number-one hits, although the group broke up in 2001. They later reformed for a third album, Studio 1 (2006), which sold poorly. All Saints were confirmed to have split up for a second time in 2009, but reunited again in 2014 for a series of live performances.


1993–95: Formation and line-up changes

Melanie Blatt and Shaznay Lewis started their career by singing backing vocals at Sarm West Studios, the ZTT recording studios near All Saints Road, London. In 1993, Blatt, Lewis and Simone Rainford were signed to ZTT Records, and music manager Ron Tom decided the trio should become a group. All Saints were launched as a trio in the vein of girl group Eternal. In 1994, All Saints performed for their first time at the Touch Magazine stage at the Notting Hill Carnival.[6] They released two singles together, but they were not successful. Additionally, Rainford and Blatt had conflicting visions of All Saints's musical direction which caused tensions within the group.[citation needed]

By 1994, the complicated recording sessions had produced the group's first single, "Silver Shadow", and they performed throughout the UK. In mid-1995, Rainford departed and ZTT Records dropped the remaining duo from their label. Regardless, Blatt and Lewis set out to find a replacement for Rainford. Conducting many auditions, Blatt's father met Nicole Appleton in May 1996 whom Blatt knew from her days at the Sylvia Young Theatre School. Nicole's sister Natalie subsequently became the fourth member of the group.

1996–99: All Saints

After forming a new group in May 1996, the four singers met with Karl "K-Gee" Gordon, a former band member of Outlaw Posse, who recorded a demo for "I Know Where It's At". The band began looking for a new record deal, but most record labels wanted to model them after the Spice Girls, who had become an international sensation by that time. The demo made its way to London Records, where John Benson finalised the recording deal in November 1996.[7] All Saints recorded their debut album, All Saints, with producers such as Cameron McVey, Magnus Fiennes, Karl "K-Gee" Gordon, John Benson, Johnny Douglas, and Nellee Hooper.

In mid-1997, the single "I Know Where It's At" broke the group into the mainstream, reaching number four on the UK Singles Chart. Their second single, "Never Ever", was issued in November 1997 and launched them worldwide, peaking at number one in the UK and Australia. The single sold 1.2 million copies in the UK alone (receiving a double platinum certification from the British Phonographic Industry) and won the group two BRIT Awards in 1998: Best British Single and Best British Video. The album All Saints was released in November 1997, reached number two on the UK Album Chart, and was BPI-certified five times platinum in the UK for sales of 1.5 million. The third single from the album was the double A-side "Under the Bridge / Lady Marmalade", which became their second UK number-one single in May 1998, earning a gold certification for 400,000 copies sold. The same month, the album was re-released with a slightly different track listing. "Bootie Call", the fourth single, also went to number one, and the silver-certified "War of Nerves" (the fifth and final release) peaked at number seven, selling 200,000 copies.

The album achieved success in countries such as Australia (double platinum, selling 140,000 copies), Canada (triple platinum, 300,000 copies), and the United States, where All Saints was certified platinum by the RIAA for sales of one million and produced two top forty singles on the Billboard Hot 100: "I Know Where It's At" and "Never Ever". In November 1998, All Saints received the MTV Europe Music Award for Best Breakthrough Artist and performed at the ceremony, although Blatt was absent due to her pregnancy.

2000–01: Saints and Sinners, All Hits and break-up

All Saints returned in February 2000 with the single "Pure Shores", written by Shaznay Lewis and William Orbit (the latter also produced the song) for the soundtrack of the film The Beach (starring Leonardo DiCaprio). "Pure Shores" was their fourth number-one single in the UK and the second best-selling single of 2000, with 600,000 copies sold; it also became their first and only number-one single in Ireland and was a substantial hit across Europe and Australia. The song won an Ivor Novello Award for Most Performed Work.[8] All Saints performed the song at the 2000 MTV Europe Music Awards. Also in 2000, the Appleton sisters and Blatt made their film debut with Honest, which was directed by former Eurythmics member Dave Stewart. Honest is a black comedy set in Swinging London in the late 1960s, in which the singers playing three street-wise, saucy sisters who head "up West" to pursue a life of crime. The film received attention for the Appleton sisters topless scenes.[9] Their performances were widely panned; one critic remarked, "It is the worst kind of rubbish, the kind that makes you angry you have wasted 105 minutes of your life watching it."[10]

In October 2000, All Saints released the single "Black Coffee", which became their fifth and final number-one single in the UK, selling 200,000 copies. This preceded their second studio album, Saints & Sinners, which debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart, eventually reaching double platinum certification in the UK for sales of 600,000 copies. The second and final single was "All Hooked Up" in January 2001, which peaked at number seven. In February 2001, All Saints announced that they were to take a break so that they "could clear the air between themselves". Melanie Blatt said later that year that it was uncertain if they would reform, citing their difficulties with the financial and business aspects of the group.[11] Shaznay Lewis later explained that the catalyst for the break-up was a disagreement over who would wear a certain jacket for a photoshoot: "I would never in a million years have put money on the group ending over a jacket incident. But when that incident happened, it fired up so strong, it had to be over. And the way I was then, the state we'd got into then, there was no way she was getting that stupid jacket."[12]

In November 2001, London Records released a greatest hits compilation entitled All Hits. It contains the group's hit singles and Blatt's first solo single, "TwentyFourSeven", a collaboration with Artful Dodger. The album peaked at number eighteen on the UK Albums Chart and was later certified gold, selling 100,000 copies. In 2008, a slightly altered edition of the album was given away for free as part of a promotion with The Mail on Sunday.[13]

2006–08: First reunion and Studio 1

On 24 January 2006, it was announced that the band had reformed and signed a record deal with Parlophone.[14] They subsequently began work on their third studio album, Studio 1. The first single, "Rock Steady" (released in November 2006), reached number three on the UK Singles Chart. Studio 1 entered the albums chart at number forty, falling significantly short of the success of "Rock Steady" and the group's previous releases; it has since sold 60,000 copies according to the BPI, being certified silver.

A second single, "Chick Fit", followed in February 2007, but promotional appearances and a physical release were cancelled and it failed to reach the top 200. It was subsequently reported that All Saints and Parlophone had parted ways and the group cancelled their planned UK tour. Blatt discussed the reunion's failure in an interview with i-D magazine in 2012: "I don't think it was done for the right reasons... I know that I did it for the money. We got signed before we had even made music again, it wasn't like we felt we had something to give back to the world... we were given an opportunity and took it, without really thinking about it too hard". She also said she never felt comfortable with the success the band had and that "it was not necessarily the plan at the beginning; there was a lot of compromise involved".[15]

In January 2008, Nicole Appleton and Melanie Blatt served as "hijackers" on E4's Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack, during which Blatt said that they had a record deal with an undisclosed company in a conversation with housemate Nathan Fagan-Gayle.

In February 2008, in a press release for the Wideboys' single with Shaznay Lewis ("Daddy O") posted on the official website of All Around the World, it was stated that All Saints were recording in the studio and would be back with new material before the end of 2008. Because no record label was mentioned in the update, fans assumed that the group's new label was All Around the World.[16] In September 2008, All Around the World discredited claims that All Saints had been signed with them with a post at their official website.[17]

In August 2009, Melanie Blatt told the London Lite: "All Saints are never getting back together again. I never want to sing again. I recently did the Brits with Nic and we just went round chatting to people and then got drunk. That's my goal—to get paid for chatting to people and getting drunk!".[18] In 2013, Blatt said of a second reunion: "I can't see it, but then I never thought I'd see Michael Madsen in [Celebrity] Big Brother either. Who knows what will happen".[19] A second compilation album, Pure Shores: The Very Best of All Saints, was released in September 2010.[20] This two-disc collection features the group's hit singles alongside a selection of album tracks and B-sides.

2013–present: Rainford's death and second reunion

On 25 May 2013, original All Saints member Simone Rainford died from kidney cancer a month after her 38th birthday in her home in Greenwich.[21]

In November 2013, it was announced that the group would be officially reforming for a second time to support the Backstreet Boys for five dates across the UK and Ireland in 2014.[22] The same year, they performed at G-A-Y and V Festival. Blatt said in an interview that the group had no plans to record new material and were "just taking each day as it comes and doing it for pure enjoyment".[23]

Artistry and cultural impact

Musicians including Jessy Lanza, M.O, and Charli XCX have cited All Saints as an influence on their work.[24][25][26] The group's influence on British fashion in the late 1990s has been noted, particularly their signature style of cargo pants in promotional imagery and live appearances.[27][28][29]

Solo careers

Melanie Blatt was the first member to record after the group disbanded. In September 2001, she collaborated with Artful Dodger on the track "TwentyFourSeven", which peaked at number six in the UK. In February 2002, Blatt replaced Kelis's vocals on the UK release of the track "I'm Leavin'" by Outsidaz and Rah Digga; the single reached number forty-two. Her third single, "Do Me Wrong", was released in August 2003 through London Records and peaked at number eighteen. Blatt was dropped by the label due to low sales, and the album she was working on at the time never materialised. In April 2005, Blatt returned to the music industry with a new single, "See Me", which was included on the Robots film soundtrack and peaked at number seventy-eight in the UK. The single was released through Swollen Ankle Ltd, with whom Blatt began working on an album. During mid-2005, she played small venues in the UK and performed material from the album, which was shelved when All Saints reunited in early 2006. In 2013, she became a judge and mentor on The X Factor in New Zealand.

Natalie and Nicole Appleton wrote and recorded their own album, formed the duo Appleton and signed a contract with Polydor Records. In September 2002, the Appleton sisters launched their first single, "Fantasy", which reached number two in the UK. Their autobiography, Together, was published the following month. Their second single, "Don't Worry", was released in March 2003 and reached number five in the UK before the release of their first album, Everything's Eventual, the same month. The album peaked at number nine; its final single was "Everything Eventually", which was released in July 2003 and peaked at number thirty-eight. Appleton and Polydor subsequently parted ways.

Shaznay Lewis released her first solo single, "Never Felt Like This Before", in July 2004; it reached number eight in the UK. Her album Open followed two weeks later via London Records and peaked at number twenty-two, although the second single, "You", charted only at number fifty-six. In November 2004, Lewis was one of the artists involved in the Band Aid 20 re-recording of "Do They Know It's Christmas?". In early 2008, Lewis collaborated with Wideboys on the UK top forty hit "Daddy O".


Awards and nominations

Year Recipient/Nominated work Award Result
1998 "Never Ever" BRIT Award for Best British Single Won
BRIT Award for Best British Video Won
All Saints BRIT Award for Best British Breakthrough Act Nominated
"Never Ever" MTV Europe Music Award for Best Song Nominated
All Saints MTV Europe Music Award for Best Album Nominated
All Saints MTV Europe Music Award for Best Group Nominated
MTV Europe Music Award for Best New Act Won
1999 "Under the Bridge" / "Lady Marmalade" BRIT Award for Best British Video Nominated
All Saints BRIT Award for Best British Dance Act Nominated
2000 MTV Europe Music Award for Best Pop Won
2001 "Pure Shores" BRIT Award for Best British Single Nominated
BRIT Award for Best British Video Nominated
All Saints BRIT Award for Best British Group Nominated
"Pure Shores" Ivor Novello Award for Most Performed Work Won
All Saints NME Award for Best Pop Act Nominated

See also


  1. "Billboard". 1998-02-07. p. 17. Retrieved 2015-10-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Destroyed by fame". Daily Mail. 9 January 2002. Retrieved 13 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "10 Million Worldwide". BBC News. 9 January 2001. Retrieved 13 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Sedghi, Ami (2012-11-04). "UK's million-selling singles: the full list | Music". Retrieved 2014-03-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Lane, Daniel (27 June 2013). "Daft Punk's Get Lucky becomes one of the UK's biggest selling singles of all-time!". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 22 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Montreal Mirror. Retrieved 31 December 2005
  7. [1][dead link]
  8. "Craig David, David Gray, All Saints Win at Ivor Novello Awards". MTV News. Retrieved 26 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Top 10 Worst Vanity Projects". Retrieved 26 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Honest (2000)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 26 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "All Saints 'split over money'". BBC News. 17 August 2001.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Vernon, Polly (10 October 2004). "Patience of a saint". The Guardian. London.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Free CD inside today's Mail on Sunday – All Saints: All Hits". Daily Mail. Retrieved 26 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "All Saints confirm reunion". Contact music. Retrieved 13 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. [2][dead link]
  16. "Saints set for new comeback". The Sun. London. 7 April 2008. Retrieved 13 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "All Saints – a bit of clarification". Retrieved 13 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Melanie Blatt: All Saints will never get back together". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 26 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "NEW NOISE: Mel Blatt". Wonderland Magazine. Retrieved 26 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Pure Shores: The Very Best Of: Music". Retrieved 26 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Simone Rainford, original All Saints member, dies aged 38 – Celebrity News – – UK TV Forums". Retrieved 26 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. James Robertson. "All Saints reunite to support Backstreet Boys on UK tour next year". mirror. Retrieved 26 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Sarah Walters. "All Saints tour: Melanie Blatt said Never Ever to reunion until Backstreet Boys called – Manchester Evening News". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 26 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. "Charli XCX on How She Wrote The Biggest Pop Song of the Year". Junkee.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. Jonathan Roome (15 October 2014). "Interview: Jessy Lanza – The Line Of Best Fit". The Line of Best Fit.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. "Quick-fire interview questions with girl trio M.O". Daily Star. United Kingdom.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. "Cargo pants for spring". Daily Mail.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. Stuart Heritage. "Will the All Saints comeback be pants?". The Guardian.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. "All Saints comeback: six style shockers they inflicted on the fashion world". The Daily Telegraph.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links