They swore on the bible that they needed you. Call that love? Now do you remember Deuce?
by Christopher Smith
Now let’s begin with a bold statement and say that pop quartet Deuce SHOULD of represented the UK at the 1995 Eurovision Song Contest! Their song “I Need You” had winner written all over it, and I’m sure would of fared much better than the joint ninth place we came that year with that “Love City Groove” thing.
Deuce were the product of Tom Watkins, a hugely successful manager and promotor behind groups like The Pet Shop Boys and creator of successful groups like East 17, 2wo/3rds and Bros. In 1994 he recruited Kelly O’Keefe, who had been on work experience at his office, and decided to put together another group, this time of two boys and two girls. She brought along her school mate Lisa Armstrong and half the group was already in place. Watson advertised for two boys and after many auditions, dancer Craig Young and Paul Holmes were recruited.
A mid-90’s pop/dance sound was selected for the group involving coordinated dance routines and catchy anthems that would appeal to the teen-early 20’s market. The group released their debut single “Call It Love” at the beginning of January 1995. After five weeks of climbing the UK singles chart, it peaked at No.11. Their second single “I Need You” was entered into the selection can for the 1995 Eurovision Song Contest and whilst having a very Euro-style beat, came third in the audience telephone vote. The song was released as a single in April and entered the UK chart at No.10, one place higher than “Call It Love” had peaked.
The group’s third single “On The Bible” was released at the end of July 1995 and speedily rose to No.13 in the UK. The group released their debut album “On The Loose” the following month and it peaked at No.18 in the UK, gaining a Silver certification for sales of over 60,000 copies.
The ballad “Let’s Call It A Day” had been scheduled as the fourth track to be taken from the album in the late-Autumn of 1995, but Kelly O’Keefe quit the group that November and the single was shelved. O’Keefe was swiftly replaced by Amanda Perkins and the group participated in the Childline charity single “The Gift Of Christmas” that December, along with the likes of The Backstreet Boys, Peter Andre and Boyzone to name but a few. The song peaked at No.9 in the UK.
The group were dropped by London Records at the end of that year but with the new line up, were next signed up by non other than Mike Stock of Stock Aitken Waterman fame and his Love This record label. A new single “No Surrender” was released in July 1996 but could only manage No.29 in the UK. The group was heavily promoted in Australia at the same time, where “On The Bible” reached No.27 there. Craig Young left the group after this and was replaced by ‘Clinton’. “No Surrender” was released ‘down under’ but failed to chart. Deuce did call it a day, and the group parted company, apparently forever.
Young has become something of a celebrated actor appearing on the London stage as well as in a number of TV series including crap football ‘drama’ Dream Team, Lost and Charmed. Paul Holmes went on to become a songwriter and has written for the likes of late Bee Gee Robin Gibb. Lisa Armstrong went on to become a make-up expert would marry Ant McPartlin of Ant and Dec fame in 2006. The couple separated in 2018. And if you know the whereabouts of Kelly O’Keefe…answers on a postcard or stuck-down envelope!
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