2 Unlimited

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? 2 Unlimited

Let the beat control your body folks – there’s no limit – are you ready for this?

Dutch dance duo 2 Unlimited formed in 1991 with Ray Slijngaard and Anita Doth, both born in 1971. They were signed to Pete Waterman‘s PWL Continental record label and began life with songwriters Jean-Paul De Coster and Phil Wilde, who released the single “Don’t Miss The Party Line” under the name of Bizz Nizz in 1990. The song was a top ten hit across Europe and later that year, the two wrote the song “Get Ready For This”. They chose not to release the song themselves, but this time lend it elsewhere.

Ray had been a vocalist on the Bizz Nizz follow up song “Money, Money” and was also friends with club singer Anita back in Amsterdam. They soon formed a performing duo and picked the name 2 Unlimited. The pair released “Get Ready For This” in September 1991 and it quickly became a huge hit the world over, reaching No.2 in the UK and No.38 in America. Wilde and DeCoster had a busy 1991, also co-writing the song “I Guess I Like It Like That” with Kylie Minogue, which featured on her album “Let’s Get To It” and was later released under the title “Keep On Pumpin’ It Up” with ‘The Visionmasters’ (whoever they were). The song samples “Get Ready For This”, so the pair were really cashing in on this!

From that moment, 2 Unlimited were unstoppable, notching up ten top ten hits over the next three years. Their follow up, “Twilight Zone”, came in January 1992 and matched “Get Ready For This'” chart position in the UK as well as topping the singles chart in The Netherlands. Two more singles came that year with “Workaholic” and “The Magic Friend” both going top ten across Europe. The duo’s ‘limit’ came at the beginning of 1993 with their fifth release, “No Limit”. The song became and remains their signature tune and went on to top the charts in sixteen countries worldwide, selling more than three million copies. It was held off the top spot by Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” in many countries for a number of weeks, before it could claim the top, thus ensuring big sales, even before its eventual peak.

For the next eighteen months, Ray and Anita dominated the charts with follow up singles “Tribal Dance”, “Faces” and “Maximum Overdrive” in 1993, “Let The Beat Control Your Body”, “The Real Thing” and “No One” in 1994, and “Here I Go” and “Nothing Like The Rain” in 1995, confirmed in their “Hits Unlimited” retrospective later that year. But despite this unprecedented run of success, following the release of “Jump For Joy” in 1996, Ray and Anita announced that it was all over. Arguments over creative input as well as tensions between them had lead to a refusal to carry on. But Phil and Jean-Paul, who still owned the name ‘2 Unlimited’, were not done yet! They simply recruited two new performers, Romy van Ooijen (b.1971) and Marjon van Iwaarden (b.1974), and carried on!

The ‘new 2 Unlimited’ released the single “Wanna Get Up” in 1998, but although it was a top ten success in The Netherlands, it flopped everywhere else. Two further singles came in 1998, “Edge Of Heaven” and “Never Surrender”, but following both’s abysmal performance, 2 Unlimited did indeed ‘surrender’, indefinitely. A number of repackaged hits collection then swamped the market for the rest of the century and into the next, before Ray and Anita reunited in 2009 for the first time in thirteen years. Even this caused controversy as their performance as ‘2 Unlimited’ was not authorised! Permission had not been given by Wilde/DeCoster to use the name, however, an agreement was made whereby DeCoster attended the gig and gave help ‘preparing backing tracks’!

Ray and Anita recorded a brand new track, “In Da Name Of Love”, in 2010 under the name of Ray & Anita and followed this with “Still Unlimited”. They re-released new versions of “Get Ready For This” and “No Limit” in 2013 and 2014 respectively, but in 2016, Anita quit the band seeking a solo career of her own accord. To this day, Ray continues, with Jean-Paul DeCoster with the project along with replacement singer Kim Vergouwen. The pair tour extensively and appear at 90’s reunion gigs where they are met with enormous applause. Apparently, Anita has given her total backing to her replacement and has called her “worthy”. Anita has primarily been a guest artist on a number of Euro dance hits, most recently on “Take Me to Your Rhythm” in 2018, with a certain Mr. Phil Wilde…!

2 Unlimited 2019

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Written by Christopher Smith

So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!
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