When will they, will they be famous? I CAN answer that, about 1987-88 to be precise! They owe us nothing at all. They are Bros!
by Christopher Smith
If you are of a nervous disposition or are/were a Brosette, perhaps it would be best not to read any further, I wouldn’t want anyone fainting! Bros were one of those phenomenon’s of popular music that came, conquered and then went. Their time afforded was brief but immensely successful. Could they of survived and still be knocking out hits 30+ years on, that’s debatable, but for about two years from late 1987-late 1989, Bros achieved eight consecutive UK top ten hits and a multi-million selling debut album as well as global fame and breaking the hearts of many thousands of fans in doing so.
The Bros story starts in 1986 with twins Matt and Luke Goss (born September 1968) and Craig Logan (born April 1969) who all attended Collingwood School in Camberley, England. After playing some gigs around school, they won a record contract with CBS and came under the direction of Tom Watkins, who had already helped The Pet Shop Boys to stardom. They released their debut single “I Owe You Nothing” in September 1987, but this could only manage No.88 in the UK. It was their second, and perhaps aptly titled single, “When Will I Be Famous?” that would propel them to fame and fortune. Released in December 1987, the song would make the top ten in fifteen countries from across Europe to Australia and the Far East. It spent two weeks at No.2 in the UK in January 1988 and eventually ‘broke’ the US charts peaking at No.83.
They followed this at the beginning of March with “Drop The Boy”, which pretty much duplicated the success of “Famous” by reaching the top ten across the globe including topping the Irish singles chart and making No.2 in the UK. This quickly established Matt’s ‘trademark’ “ruuuueeerrrrrr” growl that is a feature of pretty much all their songs, and perhaps the reason so many fans were overcome with emotion?(!)
The boys quickly followed this up with the release of their debut album “Push” at the end of the month, which would follow the singles into the charts at a global level. At the albums launch in HMV Oxford Street, London, police struggled to contain the 130,000 fans who turned up to meet and get a signed copy of the album! Brosmania was born and the Brosette was the label carried by one and all. “Push” topped the album chart in Ireland and New Zealand and peaked at No.2 in the UK, where it has sold over 1.2 million copies and became the fourth biggest seller of the year there! To date “Push” has sold ten million copies worldwide.
Bros followed this in June with a re-release of their first single “I Owe You Nothing” which would prove to be the most successful thus far. The song would make the top ten in fourteen countries and top the UK singles chart. It also made No.10 on the US hot play chart, equaling the placing made my “When Will I Be Famous” earlier in the year, although “Nothing” would fail to make the Billboard singles chart. The album “Push” stopped at No.171 Stateside.
September saw the release of “I Quit” (perhaps an ironic song in light of what was to happen). The single entered and peaked at No.4 in the UK. That Christmas, Bros sealed their year in music with a double A side release of “Cat Among The Pigeons” and “Silent Night” which entered the UK chart at No.2 giving them five consecutive top five singles within the space of twelve months! The song also peaked at No.4 in Ireland and No.15 in Australia.
When not promoting and signing albums, Bros spent most of 1988 touring and played dozens of sell out concerts across the world. They played nineteen consecutive nights at Wembley Area and remain to date, the youngest group ever to achieve such a feat. But just as Bros stood at the very top of the music mountain, 1989 would begin with some shocking and sad news.
Craig announced his departure from the band at the beginning of the year, citing ill health (it would later transpire he was suffering from ME) and the stress of fame and stardom as his reasons. Matt and Luke made the decision to continue as a duo and began writing for their second album. The ‘new’ Bros would make a return to the charts in July that year with the song “Too Much”, which would go straight into the UK top 40 at No.2 and again top the Irish singles chart, their third No.1 there! The song would also chart high in Australia and New Zealand, two countries that had given consistent support to the group from the very beginning.
Prior to the second album, Matt and Luke would release “Chocolate Box” in September 1989, that would chart at No.9 in the UK and No.2 in Ireland. Sadly by now, much of the groups support and following in Europe was dwindling, with “Too Much” charting low in France, Germany and Switzerland, and “Chocolate Box” only charting in Belgium and The Netherlands.
The album “The Time” was released in October and made No.4 in the UK, where it was certified Gold for sales of over 100,000 copies, No.7 in Japan and reached the top 20 in Italy and Spain. The third single “Sister” was released at Christmas 1989 and made No.10 in the UK (their eighth consecutive top ten hit) and No.5 in Ireland. A fourth single “Madly In Love” was released in March 1990 reaching No.14 in the UK and No.7 in Ireland.
The brothers returned in late 1991 with their third album “Changing Faces” which was preceded by the single “Are You Mine?”. The single reached No.12 in the UK and No.6 in Ireland and briefly made an appearance on the charts in Sweden and Belgium. The album would peak at No.18 in the UK but fail to do anything anywhere else. A further single “Try” would reach No.27 in the UK and No.39 in Belgium. Although an end to Bros was never formally publicised, Matt and Luke called it a day in early 1992 and embarked upon their own, very different journeys.
Matt has continued to record, if only sporadically, and released “The Key” in 1995 (UK No.40), “If You Were Here Tonight” in 1996 (UK No.23), “I’m Coming With Ya” in 2003 (UK No.22) and “Fly” in 2004 (UK No.31). He has since become an acclaimed showman, living and working in Las Vegas, where he is a regular and popular performer at The Palms Resort and Caesars Palace. Luke has taken up a career as an actor, first appearing on stage in productions of Grease in the mid-90’s before making it big in film. His credits include ‘Blade II’ (2002), ‘Charlie’ (2004), ‘Hellboy II’ (2008), ‘Death Race 2’ (2010) and his most recent ‘Traffik’ in 2018. Craig Logan teamed up with his girlfriend Kim Appleby and co-wrote her debut solo single “Don’t Worry” in late 1990, which reached No.2 in the UK and was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award. He joined EMI in 1994 and has written, recorded and been a tour manager for likes of Robbie Williams, Tina Turner and Garth Brooks. He left there in 1999 to work with artist manager Roger Davies with Sade, Joe Cocker and M People. Perhaps his biggest signing during this period was Pink, who has gone on to sell over 90 million records globally. He joined Sony Music in 2006 as managing director of the RCA label and in 2010 started his own management company and currently looks after Anastacia, Dido and Cher Lloyd to name but a few!
In August 2017, Matt and Luke (minus Craig) reformed and played two nights at the O2 in London and in Manchester. Other venues had originally been planned but were cancelled due to “unforeseen logistical circumstances”. These took place twenty eight years after Bros had played to 77,000 people at Wembley Stadium, the biggest single concert of their career. And who knows, one day all three original members of Bros may take to the stage and be famous all over again…!
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