In the 1990’s, their radio rocked and so did ours. Hear the sound of PJ and Duncan – let’s get ready to rhumble!
Actors Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, both born in 1975 in Newcastle Upon Tyne, met on the set of children’s drama series Byker Grove in 1989 and became the best of mates straight away. Ant played Peter ‘PJ’ Jenkins and Declan, Duncan Sperring in the programme that ran until 2006. The pair were always known for their love of music and performances around the youth centre that formed the centre of the drama, so much so that in 1993, the duo recorded and released the single, “Tonight I’m Free”. It wasn’t a major hit peaking at No.62 but in early 1994, their second single, “Why Me?”, off the back of a storyline where PJ was blinded in a paintball session, did find a footing and it landed at No.27.
The boys left the series at this time to focus primarily on their music career and began recording for their debut album that would emerge later in 1994. They really hit the big time in the early Summer with “Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble”, which would ultimately become their signature tune. The song would make the UK top ten, peaking at No.9, also their highest charting single of the decade. The album, “Psyche”, taken from a line in “Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble”, came in November that year and would chart at No.5 in the UK. It produced three more top twenty hits with “If I Give You My Number” (No.15), The Christmas smoocher “Eternal Love” (No.12) and “Our Radio Rocks” (No.15) in early 1995. ‘PJ and Duncan’ were on a roll and not stopping for one breath, they unleashed “Stuck On U”, “U Krazy Katz” and “Perfect” throughout 1995. all of which made the top twenty, a lot better than their second album, “Top Katz”, which came twelve months after their first.
The boys covered The Monkees “Stepping Stone” in early 1996 (UK No.11) before ditching their teen identities and reverting to their real duo names of Ant and Dec, which for many, they would best be known as. Under their rebrand, the pair released “Better Watch Out” in 1996, which would put them back in the top ten for the first time in over two years. It was the lead single from what would be their third studio album, “The Cult Of Ant & Dec”, although this would not see the light of day until 1997 and would follow two more single, “When I Fall In Love (No.12) and “Shout”, another top ten hit in early 1997. A fourth single, “Falling”, would give Ant and Dec a twelfth consecutive top twenty hit before they began hosting the Saturday morning kids programme SM:TV, which would bring an end to their music recording career. For the time being, anyway. A full five years would pass before Ant and Dec went back into the studio but in 2002 they were back on the ball.
This time for the 2002 World Cup, the duo recorded “We’re On The Ball” for the England football team and it would give them their biggest hit yet when it debuted at No.3, shifting over 200,000 copies. While the lovable duo have rarely been off out TV screens for more than thirty years now, a 2013 re-release of “Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble” saw the song become their very first number one hit, bettering its original chart hit by eight places, some 19 years later. There have been some greatest hits albums since 1999, but no studio releases since the late 1990’s. Whether they do so in the future is anyone’s guess. If they can be found in the jungle or to the side of the Britain’s Got Talent stage, or in any number of TV adverts, please see if you can pin them down and enquire…
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