Atomic Kitten

Atomic Kitten were an English girl group from Liverpool, first established in 1997. Created by Andy McCluskey, the final line-up, and most commercially successful, consisted of Natasha Hamilton, Liz McClarnon, and Jenny Frost. Heidi Range andKerry Katona were two original members, however, they were replaced respectively by Hamilton in 1999, and Frost in 2001.

The band had three UK number one singles; "Whole Again" originally recorded byPlay, the fourth best-selling single by a girl group of all time; "Eternal Flame", a song originally recorded by The Bangles, and "The Tide Is High (Get the Feeling)", a song originally recorded by The Paragons and later by Blondie. They also had two UK number one albums, Right Now, a re-issue of their debut album, and Feels So Good, both going double platinum in the United Kingdom. Atomic Kitten also managed to gain numerous top ten hits across Europe (in particular German-speaking Europe), Asia, Oceania and South Africa.

History

1997–2001: Beginnings and Right Now
Atomic Kitten was first conceived in 1997 by Andy McCluskey of 1980s band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. The original line-up featured, Liz McClarnon, Kerry Katona and Heidi Range (now in the group Sugababes), but Range decided to quit due to artistic differences, and was replaced by Natasha Hamilton. This line-up was finalised in 1999.

The group's first single, "Right Now", debuted in December 1999 and reached the UK Top 10. After their initial success, Atomic Kitten performed an Asian tour and scored their first number one hit there with "Cradle". The album, also titled Right Now, was first released in Japan on 16 March 2000, and subsequently released in the United Kingdom on 23 October 2000 with a slightly modified track list. In 2000, the group also recorded a cover version of "The Locomotion" for the movie Thomas and the Magic Railroad.

Right Now was unsuccessful upon its first release, peaking only at #39 in the UK album chart. Initially, there were no plans to focus on the global market and Atomic Kitten's record label, Innocent Records, was even considering dropping them because of their limited success. However, the record company were persuaded to allow the group to record one more single. The single, "Whole Again", became their first number-one hit in the United Kingdom, and stayed at the top for four consecutive weeks. Due to this success, "Whole Again" was released globally, and reached number one in eighteen other countries, including six weeks in Germany and New Zealand. The song and video for "Whole Again" originally featured Kerry Katona; however, she left the group several days prior to the number-one position due to of her pregnancy. Jenny Frost replaced Katona in the line-up and the single was re-recorded. This led to the decision to partially re-record and re-release Right Now, which then went to number-one in the UK on August 2001, and was certified double platinum. The album also served well internationally, reaching the top ten in many European countries, including Germany and Denmark.

Their next single, "Eternal Flame", a cover version of the 1989 hit by The Bangles, became their second number-one single in the UK and New Zealand. It became their biggest single in France peaking at number two and eventually went gold. In late 2001 the band announced they would be releasing a final single from the repackaged album, entitled "You are". A video was recorded and promo singles were sent out to radio, but the single was shortly shelved, never getting a full commercial release.

2002–2003: Feels So Good
Following the success of Right Now, a new album, Feels So Good, was recorded. The songwriting and production agreement with Andy McCluskey was an increasing source of tension within the group, and the girls decided to terminate the contract with McCluskey halfway through the recording of the album.

The first single off the album was "It's OK!". Even though this song performed well in the charts, securing a number three position in the United Kingdom, it was the next single, "The Tide Is High (Get the Feeling)", a remake of the 1965 song by The Paragons (also made famous by Blondie in 1980), which attained Atomic Kitten their third number-one single in the UK and New Zealand. The single became one of the Kitten's largest hits. In April 2002, Hamilton announced that she was pregnant, but rather than leave the group, she opted to continue with the scheduled 2002 tour. Hamilton filmed the music video for "The Tide Is High (Get the Feeling)", and made an appearance at Party in the Park before finally going on pregnancy leave.

During January and February 2003, Atomic Kitten toured around Southeast Asia, visiting Singapore, Thailand, and Korea. Hamilton, who had given birth to her son, Josh, on 24 August 2002, decided to take her newborn baby with her on the tour as well.

2003–2004: Ladies Night and split
In April 2003, the group released the album, Atomic Kitten in the United States. Until that time, the group had not focused on the American market, and the album consisted of tracks from their first two albums, Right Now and Feels So Good. Promotion for the album began with the single, "The Tide Is High (Get The Feeling)", appearing on the soundtrack for the Disney film, The Lizzie McGuire Movie and managed to debut and peak at number forty-two. However, the single plummeted to number eighty-eight in its second week. In addition, after the album only managed to peak at #102 on the US Billboard 200, it was decided the group would focus solely on the European, Oceanian, South African and Asian markets.

Before recording their third album, Kool and the Gang approached the group about a collaboration for their album of duets, Odyssey. Kool and the Gang wanted to record an updated version of their hit "Ladies Night" and were looking for a girl group to sing the lyrics. Atomic Kitten liked the idea and enquired whether they could use it for their next album which was subsequently named Ladies Night in honour of this collaboration.

Their first single of the album, excluding "Be with You", was "If You Come to Me". It peaked at number three on the UK top 40. Atomic Kitten spent late 2002 and early 2003 in the studio recording their third and final studio album. Up until the recording of Ladies Night, the group mainly relied on songwriters, though they had occasionally co-written songs featured on their albums. While recording Ladies Night, they decided to be directly involved in the creation of eight of the fifteen songs. Ladies Night was released on 10 November 2003, and peaked at number five in the UK album chart. It was certified Platinum for sales in excess of 300,000 copies.

In early 2004, a tour to support the Ladies Night album and the upcoming release of their Greatest Hits album was planned. Shortly before the tour kicked off, the group announced they would be taking an extended break after the completion of the tour.

Since 2004
On 23 January 2004, Hamilton decided to devote more time to her young son and wanted to take a hiatus from the group. Atomic Kitten released the single "Someone Like Me/Right Now 2004" as a "goodbye" to their fans, but were reunited on Valentine's Day 2005 to release the charity single "Cradle 2005", a new version of the original song from their album Right Now which was a number one hit in Asia back in 2000. "Cradle 2005" peaked at number ten, selling 35,000 copies worldwide, with proceeds going to World Vision.
In 2005, Atomic Kitten was featured on the soundtrack of Disney's Mulan II with the song "(I Wanna Be) Like Other Girls". In 2005, they also performed together in Krakow on 28 August at the Coca-Cola Sound Wave Festival.

Discography

Studio albums
  • Right Now (2000)
  • Feels So Good (2002)
  • Ladies Night (2003)

Compilation albums
  • Atomic Kitten (2003)
  • The Greatest Hits (2004)
  • The Collection (2005)
  • Access All Areas: Remixed and B-Sides (2006)
  • Essential (2007)
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