Everybody get up! 5ive WILL make you get down! C’mon everybody, ‘let’s dance’!
5ive were/are one of those put-together boy bands that just happened to make it big. It was all the work of Chris and Robert Herbert, who had ‘created’ the Spice Girls and following their success, thought it was time for a male alternative. 3,000 were shortlisted from the many applications sent in (one coming from future comedian and actor Russell Brand!) and of those 3,000, five (ironically) young lads were selected for the band. They were Sean Conlon (b.1981), Ritchie Neville (b.1979), Scott Robinson (b.1979), Richard Breen (b.1979) and Jason Brown (b.1976). The group were signed by Simon Cowell to RCA Records and that was that!
They released their first single, “Slam Dunk (Da Funk)”, at the end of 1997 which just made it into the UK top ten. It also did fairly well across Europe and even broke the US singles chart, peaking at No.86. The follow, “When The Lights Go Out”, built on that success when it was released in March 1998, getting to No.4 in the UK and going top ten in America. 5ive continued this run of success that Summer with “Got The Feelin'”, which was written by Richard Stannard and Julian Gallagher, and went to No.3 in the UK and was a top ten success in over ten other countries, although it flopped Stateside. They fivesome released their debut album, “Five”, shortly afterwards and this would top the UK chart, selling over 600,000 copies and also broke the US album chart at No.27.
Their next single would be the biggest yet, “Everybody Get Up”, released that August. The song went to No.2 at home and was a huge hit from Austria to Australia. 5ive released “It’s The Things You Do” in America at the same time, which went to No.53 there, giving the band three charting singles. Although Cowell had asked that “Baby One More Time” should be recorded by them. How big would 5ive have been then?! Simon was also interested in “Bye Bye Bye” for the group, but this was later recorded by rival US boy band, NSYNC. ‘Five’ singles didn’t appear to be enough from the album, so in November, a full year on from their debut, “Until the Time Is Through” was released, giving the quintet a fifth UK top ten hit with an equal placing to “Everybody Get Up” as well as a second chart topper in New Zealand!
5ive were back the following year (1999) with a brand new track, “If Ya Gettin’ Down”, released that Summer and becoming their third No.2 hit in the UK. US interest had dried up by now, but the boys were still guaranteed success across Europe and ‘down under’. That Autumn a second single came prior to the release of their second studio album. “Keep On Movin'” was another Stannard/Gallagher (Kylie’s “Love At First Sight”) penned number and it would be this seventh release that would take the boys to the very top of the UK singles chart. “Invincible”, the second album, came the following month and while it would peak at No.4 at home, it matched its predecessor in being certified double Platinum and whilst none of the singles charted Stateside, the album did, somehow, find its way to No.108 over there.
“Invincible” would supply two more top ten hit singles with “Don’t Wanna Let You Go” and a teaming with Queen for a new recording of their 1977 classic “We Will Rock You” in 2000, which became 5ive’s second UK chart topper. By now, the band were beginning to have more of their own influence on the direction they were taking and had also co-written many of their most recent singles. This extended to the third album as the boys took time out to write and record this themselves. Stannard and Gallagher were on hand still and together with 5ive, they crafted the lead single from that forthcoming long player, “Let’s Dance”. But it was also at this time that cracks began to appear, as Sean Conlon had to withdraw from the video for the single. It was official stated that he had been suffering from glandular fever, but in reality, he was mentally exhausted and stressed from the band’s success. Scott Robinson also disappeared at the time with family commitments.
The three remaining members carried on with the promotion of “Let’s Dance” and the subsequent album, “Kingsize”, but audiences seemed oblivious of this when “Let’s Dance” became their third UK number one and a huge hit globally. “Kingsize” followed in August, but the remaining trio were also now struggling to hold things together themselves. The album charted at No.4 in the UK but ultimately, no further singles were released. Jason, Richard and Neville, after meetings with RCA, announced the following month that 5ive were done. A hastily issued “Greatest Hits” was released at the end of 2001 that included a new recording, “Closer To Me”, which gave the group an upbroken run of top ten hits in the UK when it peaked at No.4 that November. The “Greatest Hits” would also complete a run of top ten albums and would be certified Platinum, taking their worldwide sales total to five million records.
‘Five’ years later, the news came that 5ive would reform and after some setbacks, announced recording for a new album was in progress, although with only four of the original five as Conlon wished to pursue a solo career. In 2007, it was announced that half the album was finished and exerts of three songs, “70 Days”, “Settle Down” and “It’s All Good”, were released. But having failed to secure a record deal, the four surviving members called it a day once more. Fast forward another ‘five’ years and in 2012 all five members of the group were to of taken part in The Big Reunion TV series, but once again, conflicts arose and in the end, just four made it to the show, with Jason Brown stating he had moved on and no longer wished to be associated with the band. Richard “Abz Love’ Breen continued with the quartet into 2013 with the 5ive Greatest Hits Tour and in 2014, they supported McBusted on tour.
‘Abz’ left the group soon after the tour was finished and to this day, Conlon, Neville and Robinson continue as a trio, performing their greatest hits, if only in a depleted form that fails to add up to the required sum total. ‘Abz’ pursued a solo career, enjoying three UK top ten hits in 2002 and 2004 and has since been the subject of a number of reality TV shows centred around farming! Jason “J” Brown went on to appear in the 2008 series of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here and finished third. He has generally led a more quiet life but does enjoy work as a songwriter and producer for other acts. He spoke in a 2013 interview of his own personal traumas in the band and his reluctance to appear with the group and perform again.
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