U got 2…know, let the music, move on baby or maybe you wanna know where Cappella are now?
by Christopher Smith
Italian Eurodance producers Cappella are one of the original house/dance acts of the late 1980’s club scene and certainly one of the first to make it big commercially. Formed in 1987 by Gianfranco Bortolotti, Stefano Lanzini, Diego Leoni and Pieradis Rossini, the producer/DJ team released their debut single “Bauhaus (Push The Beat)” in late 1988 and although it proved a massive hit in clubs around Europe, failed to reach a general audience, although the song made No.60 on the UK singles chart.
The group pushed into 1989 with their follow up “Helyom Halib” which scored a bigger hit reaching No.11 in the UK. This was a time when nightclubbing and raves were hitting the international news, perhaps for all the wrong reasons. Big club anthems from Inner City, D-Mob, MARRS and The Beatmasters were penetrating the commercial singles chart around the world and now Cappella added their mind-bending anthems to the mix.
The group retreated to the club underworld following this and re-emerged in 1992 with the song “Take Me Away”, which sampled Loletta Holloway’s 1980 hit “Love Sensation”, which had already been used on Blackbox’s 1989 six week UK chart topper “Ride On Time”. The track reached No.25 in the UK.
They followed this with “U Got 2 Know”, which sampled Siouxsie and The Banshees 1980 single “Happy House”. The single made No.43 in the UK, but Cappella were sued by the group for failure to pay publishing royalties. It was re-released in June 1993, this time making No.6 in the UK as well as making the top 40 in Germany, Switzerland and Belgium.
With a new front line up of singers Rodney Bishop and Ipswich-born Kelly Overett, Cappella now entered their most successful period. They followed “U Got 2 Know” with “U Got 2 Let The Music” in October 1993, which would chart top ten in fifteen countries and making No.1 in Austria, Finland and Switzerland.
This was mirrored in February 1994 with “Move On Baby”, which charted top ten in over a dozen countries and again reached No.1 in Austria and Switzerland.
Further hits came with “U And Me” in May 1994 (Finland No.1, UK No.10) and “Move It Up” in August 1994 (UK No.17). The group released the album “U Got 2 Know” in March 1994 which topped the chart in Finland and Switzerland and made No.10 in the UK receiving a Gold certification for sales of over 100,000 copies. Kelly Overett was sacked from the group in late 1994 and it would eventually transpire that it was not her voice on any of the tracks!
Vocals on “U Got 2 Know” came from Chicago singer Xaviera Gold, “Move On Baby” were provided by session singer Eileina Dennis and those on “Move It Up” came from Jackie Rawe of 80’s band Shakatak.
The group returned in 1996 with a new line up, including Allison Jordan, who had a minor hit in 1992 with the single “Boy From New York City”. The lead single “Tell Me The Way” (Italy No.6, No.15 Finland and No.17 UK) and the album “War In Heaven” which failed to repeat the success of “U Got 2 Know”. Two further singles “I Need Your Love” and “Turn It Up And Down” were top ten hits in Finland.
The group generally disbanded in 1998 although a greatest hits was released in 2005 and in 2013 founder member Gianfranco Bortolotti began touring with husband and wife duo Lis and Marcus Birks and released an expanded greatest hits album in 2016.
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