Scooch were flying the flag for you and for the UK in 2007. But how high did it fly on the night?
Natalie Powers (b.1977), Caroline Barnes, David Ducasse and Russ Spencer (b.1980) were brought together in 1998 by Mike Stock and Matt Aitken of Stock Aitken Waterman fame to form Scooch. Mike and Matt had enjoyed success with Nicki French in the mid-90’s and were now on the lookout for the next big thing. The group won a music contest on Saturday morning show Live & Kicking and in 1999 they released their debut single, “When My Baby”, which made it to No.29 in the charts. Scooch toured with B*Witched and later boy band 5ive and it worked as their next release, “More Than I Needed to Know”, went top five, putting Mike and Matt back in the top ten for the first time in five years.
2000 saw Scooch achieve two further top twenty hits with “The Best Is Yet To Come” and “For Sure”, the title track of their debut album released that August. The album was not a commercial hit and after two more singles failed to chart, Scooch were dropped by their record label in 2001. Undeterred, the foursome continued to perform live as well as pursuing solo projects from television presenting to acting on stage and the odd solo single release. Scooch made their return in 2007 when they beat Liz McClarnon of Atomic Kitten, East 17‘s Brian Harvey and Big Brovaz to represent the UK at that years Eurovision Song Contest with “Flying The Flag (For You)”, a song co-written by Russ Spencer with Morten Schjolin, Andrew Hill and Paul Tarry. Scooch ‘flew’ to Helsinki, Finland, where the Contest was being held, but not without some controversy or criticism first.
It was first claimed that Scooch had used unseen backing singers in their performance, and that the members of Scooch were not actually singing themselves. Singer Charlotte Church (remember her?) later launched a scathing attack on the song stating it was not worthy of entry. And to cap it all, Swedish singer Pandora claimed the group had stolen the chorus of her song “No Regret” and attempted to halt the entry on grounds of plagiarism. This was overturned and it was confirmed that “Flying The Flag (For You)” was an original song and was eligible for inclusion. All of this took its toll on the song and on the night of the final, the UK came joint 22nd out of 24 entrants. The song, however, did well in the charts and went to No.5, Scooch’s joint highest peaking single to date. Although Scooch have not released any further singles or new material, they still pop up from time to time.
The four members returned to their solo projects with Russ taking to the stage in a variety of productions and later as a director and producer with musicals ranging from Dirty Dancing to Sting – The Last Ship. Natalie covered Laura Branigan’s “Shattered Glass” in 2008, but having started a family soon after, she now works as a singing coach at All Stars Academy. Caroline and David found that flying the flag took on a different meaning and became a couple and took part in the 2010 series of Coach Trip! But as long as there is Eurovision, you can guarantee that Scooch will fly their flag as one of the kookiest, campest, and perhaps most irritating songs ever to not win the long running Contest!
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