Liberty X

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Liberty X
LibertyXAberUni.JPG
Liberty X performing Aberystwyth University May Ball in 2006
Background information
Also known asLiberty (2001–02)
OriginLondon, England
Genres
Years active
  • 2001–2007
  • 2012–2014
Labels
Associated acts
Website libertyxofficial.com
Members Jessica Taylor
Kelli Young
Kevin Simm
Michelle Heaton
Tony Lundon

Liberty X (originally called Liberty) were a British-Irish group consisting of Michelle Heaton, Tony Lundon, Kevin Simm, Jessica Taylor and Kelli Young.

Michelle Heaton British singer

Michelle Christine Heaton is an English pop singer, actress, television personality and personal trainer. Heaton was a member of the pop group Liberty X from 2001 until they announced their split in 2007: they reformed one year later for a small gig. In October 2012 it was confirmed the group would reform for a one-off appearance at the Hammersmith Apollo and feature in the ITV2 series The Big Reunion with other pop groups Atomic Kitten, B*Witched, Five, 911 and Honeyz.

Anthony William James "Tony" Lundon is an Irish singer, dancer, cinematographer, director, producer, writer, presenter plus actor. He is best known as a member of the pop group Liberty X.

Kevin Ian Simm is an English pop singer. He won The Voice UK on 9 April 2016. Simm was in the group Liberty X from 2001 until the band's split in 2007 and is currently the lead singer of the group Wet Wet Wet.

Contents

The group was formed by the five finalists of the ITV talent show Popstars who failed to make it into the group Hear'Say. Liberty X went on to achieve ten consecutive UK Top 20 singles, and various charting singles worldwide, leading to greater commercial success than Hear'Say. Following the release of two singles the group were forced to change their name due to another act already using the name Liberty, the group took legal action although lost and therefore altered their name. The group released their debut album Thinking It Over on 27 May 2002 which featured their biggest single "Just a Little", which gave them international success. They released their second studio album Being Somebody a year later on 3 November 2003 although not matching the success of their debut. Following disappointing sales the group were dropped and later signed with V2 and released a final studio album X on 10 October 2005. Liberty X disbanded in early 2007, though not officially confirming a split due to their popularity in the media eye declining. However they re-formed a year later in 2008, for a one-off appearance in Belfast performing their biggest hits, this would be their final appearance as a band before reforming in 2012.

ITV (TV network) TV network in the United Kingdom

ITV is a British free-to-air television network with its headquarters in London, it was launched in 1955 as Independent Television under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to BBC Television, that was established in 1932. ITV is also the oldest commercial network in the UK. Since the passing of the Broadcasting Act 1990, its legal name has been Channel 3, to distinguish it from the other analogue channels at the time, namely BBC 1, BBC 2 and Channel 4. In part, the number 3 was assigned because television sets would usually be tuned so that the regional ITV station would be on the third button, with the other stations being allocated to the number within their name.

HearSay band

Hear'Say were a British pop group. They were created through the ITV reality TV show Popstars in February 2001, the first UK series of the international Popstars franchise. The group, who were signed to Polydor Records, originally consisted of Danny Foster, Myleene Klass, Kym Marsh, Suzanne Shaw, and Noel Sullivan. Sullivan is originally from Cardiff, Wales and Marsh is from Wigan, but the other members originate from London, England. Hear'Say achieved instant fame, breaking chart records with their debut single "Pure and Simple" and the album Popstars. However, their second album failed to match this success.

<i>Thinking It Over</i> (album) 2002 studio album by Liberty X

Thinking It Over is the debut studio album by British-Irish pop group Liberty X. The album was released on the back of their success on television talent show, Popstars, and was recorded in the year following the series' finale, where the band became runners-up to Hear'Say.

On 18 October 2012, it was announced that Liberty X would be reforming for the ITV2 documentary series The Big Reunion , along with Five, Atomic Kitten, 911, B*Witched and Honeyz. The show, which aired from 31 January to 28 March 2013, followed the groups rehearsing for two weeks ahead of one major comeback performance at the London Hammersmith Apollo on 26 February. Lundon confirmed that Liberty X would not continue following the series and that this would be their chance to "say a proper goodbye to fans". However, on 2 February 2014, the group announced via their Facebook page that they had signed to 365 Artists Management "for our future creative and business affairs." [1]

ITV2 television channel in the United Kingdom, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands

ITV2 is a British free-to-air television channel owned by ITV Digital Channels Ltd, a division of ITV plc. It was launched on 7 December 1998 and is available digitally via satellite, cable, IPTV and terrestrial (Freeview) platforms. For a number of years, it had the largest audience share after the five analogue terrestrial stations, a claim now held by its sister service ITV3 both of which are freely available to a majority of households.

<i>The Big Reunion</i> television series

The Big Reunion was a British reality-documentary series that began airing on ITV2 on 31 January 2013. The show featured chart-topping bands who were big in the UK pop music scene between the 1990s and early 2000s, and the programme followed them as they reunited for the first time in a decade and went through their two weeks of intensive rehearsals before finally stepping back on stage for a comeback performance.

Five are a British boy band from London consisting of members Sean Conlon, Ritchie Neville, and Scott Robinson. They were formed in 1997 by the same team that managed the Spice Girls before they launched their career. The group were mostly known as a five-piece, consisting of Robinson, Neville, Conlon, Abz Love and Jason "J" Brown. Five enjoyed remarkable success worldwide, particularly in their native United Kingdom, as well as most of the rest of Europe and Asia.

History

2001–02: Popstars, formation and name change

While the five winning contestants of Popstars formed Hear'Say, the five runner-up contestants—Michelle Heaton, Tony Lundon, Kevin Simm, Jessica Taylor and Kelli Young—formed the group Liberty. The name Liberty was chosen to reflect the freedom the members experienced following their participation in Popstars. Amidst pejorative media commentary (including the term "Flopstars"), the act signed a multi-million-pound record contract with Richard Branson's independent record label, V2 Records. Branson said: "From our first meeting I was completely wowed by their determination, optimism and refusal to give up. But it was when I heard their music that I knew they were going to be a huge success." [2]

Jessica Taylor is an English singer, television personality, and dancer who was a member of the Brit Award-winning pop group Liberty X.

Kelli Young is an English pop singer. She was a member and lead singer of British pop group Liberty X from 2001 until they split in 2007 and again in 2012 when they reformed for a one off reunion for an ITV2 series and performance at the Hammersmith Apollo.

Richard Branson English business magnate, investor and philanthropist

Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson is an English business magnate, investor, author and philanthropist. He founded the Virgin Group, which controls more than 400 companies.

Shortly after forming, Liberty received a legal challenge in the UK High Court from a funk R&B band, also called "Liberty", who achieved success in the 1990s, including being awarded Capital Radio Band of the Year, playing Wembley Arena, European tours and the release of albums in the USA, Europe and UK. The original Liberty claimed that the newly formed Liberty was taking advantage of the goodwill that had been created by the former's success (known in English law as the "tort of passing off"). The final judgment was in favour of the funk R&B band and the ex-Popstars then asked readers of UK tabloid newspaper The Sun to suggest a new name. The winning name was "X Liberty",[ citation needed ] but the group used the entry as the basis for the official title, Liberty X.

English law legal system of England and Wales

English law is the common law legal system of England and Wales, comprising mainly criminal law and civil law, each branch having its own courts and procedures.

A tort, in common law jurisdictions, is a civil wrong that causes a claimant to suffer loss or harm resulting in legal liability for the person who commits the tortious act.

In common law countries such as the UK, Australia and New Zealand, passing off is a common law tort which can be used to enforce unregistered trade mark rights. The tort of passing off protects the goodwill of a trader from misrepresentation.

2002–03: Thinking It Over and touring

On 24 September 2001, whilst the group were known as Liberty, they released their debut single, "Thinking It Over". It was an instant hit, reaching number five on the UK Singles Chart; the single's physical release featured remixes by the Wideboys and Boy George. The follow-up single, "Doin' It", released on 3 December 2001, peaked at number fourteen. Following a five-month gap, in which the band were involved with the High Court dispute regarding their original name, their third single, "Just a Little", was released. That song reached number one in the UK and became the ninth best-selling single of 2002, as well as becoming a top ten hit in several other countries. It was also the fifth most played song on the radio of the 2000s. [3]

Thinking It Over (song) 2001 single by Liberty X

"Thinking It Over" is the debut single released by English-Irish pop group Liberty X, known at the time as Liberty. The 2-step-influenced song was produced by Pete Devereux and The Wideboys. It was co-written by band members Kelli Young and Tony Lundon. In the United Kingdom, the single was a hit, making it to number five, but was not as successful internationally, peaking at number 29 in Ireland and number 81 in Australia.

UK Singles Chart British singles sales chart

The UK Singles Chart is compiled by the Official Charts Company (OCC), on behalf of the British record industry, listing the top-selling singles in the United Kingdom, based upon physical sales, paid-for downloads and streaming. The Official Chart, broadcast on BBC Radio 1 and MTV, is the UK music industry's recognised official measure of singles and albums popularity because it is the most comprehensive research panel of its kind, today surveying over 15,000 retailers and digital services daily, capturing 99.9% of all singles consumed in Britain across the week, and over 98% of albums. To be eligible for the chart, a single is currently defined by the Official Charts Company (OCC) as either a 'single bundle' having no more than four tracks and not lasting longer than 25 minutes or one digital audio track not longer than 15 minutes with a minimum sale price of 40 pence. The rules have changed many times as technology has developed, the most notable being the inclusion of digital downloads in 2005 and streaming in July 2014.

Boy George English musician

Boy George is an English singer, songwriter, DJ and fashion designer. He is the lead singer of the pop band Culture Club. At the height of the band's fame, during the 1980s, they recorded global hit songs such as "Karma Chameleon", "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" and "Time ". George is known for his soulful voice and androgynous appearance. He was part of the English New Romantic movement which emerged in the late 1970s to the early 1980s.

"Just a Little" preceded the release of Liberty X's debut album, Thinking It Over (originally called To Those Who Wait). The album reached number three on the UK Albums Chart, eventually selling over one million copies worldwide.[ citation needed ] Two more hit singles were released from the album, the first being a cover of the 1990 track by electro funk group Mantronix, "Got To Have Your Love"; Mantronix's founding member, Kurtis Mantronik, remixed the Liberty X version for the single release, which peaked at number two in the UK. The final single was "Holding on for You", released in December 2002. The single peaked at number five.[ citation needed ] During 2002, the group headlined their first arena tour.

2003–05: Being Somebody and record label change

Following a short break, the group released "Being Nobody", a mash-up of Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody" and The Human League's "Being Boiled". The single was produced by Richard X and released under the billing of Richard X vs Liberty X, featured on Richard X's album Richard X Presents His X-Factor Vol. 1 . "Being Nobody" reached number three on the UK singles chart. Proceeding their second album, Being Somebody , the group released "Jumpin", which peaked at number six. Being Somebody was released in November 2003, debuting at number twelve on the UK albums chart, but sold around 200,000 copies, significantly less than sales of their debut. The group released the album's final single, "Everybody Cries", in January 2004. The music video featured the group walking along disused railway lines, for which they were criticised by safety organisations. The single underperformed, reaching number thirteen.

The group took a hiatus following record-label issues, and each member decided to work on different individual projects. Kevin Simm appeared on Channel 4's The Games , competing in a series of sporting events (in which he placed second overall, behind Philip Olivier). Michelle Heaton appeared on ITV's ill-fated Celebrity Wrestling . Jessica Taylor appeared on BBC's Strictly Ice Dancing . Tony Lundon and Kelli Young took the time to work on new tracks for the band's third album, whilst producing and writing for other artists. During this period, The Sun newspaper reported that the group were to re-release Being Somebody with a cover of the 1990 hit "Back to Life", but this never materialised. They also released a cover version of the Kool & The Gang song "Fresh" which was released in a selection of European countries, but not the United Kingdom. It peaked at number 35 in France.

2005–07: X and split

In mid-2005, it was announced that Liberty X had left V2 Records and signed to independent label Unique Corp Records. Their third album, X , was released in October 2005. The first single, "Song 4 Lovers" (featuring Rev Run of Run–D.M.C., who also co-wrote the track), had been recorded when they were signed to V2, but they re-recorded it because V2 did not consider the song suitable as a Liberty X single. It was released in September 2005 and was well-received, achieving a large amount of television and radio airplay; it entered the UK charts at number five to become their first top ten hit in two years. X, however, peaked at number 27, failing to match the success of "Song 4 Lovers", and sold just 10,000 copies in the UK.

In late October, the group announced they had been asked to record the official 2005 Children in Need single, so they teamed up with producer Rod Gammons to record two tracks for double A-side release: "A Night to Remember" (a cover of the Shalamar song) and "Everybody Dance" (a (Chic cover). The group performed both singles live on the night, 18 November 2005. The double A-side single entered at number six in the UK; it also peaked at number 16 in France, becoming their biggest hit there since "Just a Little".

In May 2006, the band were featured in the line up of Aberystwyth University May ball, alongside Chesney Hawkes and BodyRockers. Their set was cut short when a smoke bomb was set off during the first two minutes, filling the room with smoke. Firefighters gave the all-clear after 50 minutes, but Liberty X failed to reappear. Students were told the band were not returning to finish their set, met by jeers from the crowd, who had paid £37 each for the evening. [4]

Liberty X returned in June 2006 with the single "X", a remixed version of the X album track. It peaked at number 47. The re-release of the album, which contains "A Night to Remember" and the new version of "X", failed to attract significant consumer interest. "X" also reached just number 89 in France. Despite rumours of splitting, Liberty X announced in 2006 that they were still together but concentrating on solo projects. Michelle Heaton wrote on the group's official site that they would be releasing a new single in the new year (2007), a song from a forthcoming film, but this did not happen. Heaton married her partner of four years, Andy Scott-Lee, Taylor got engaged to cricket star Kevin Pietersen, Simm appeared on Channel 4's The Games: Champion of Champions (competing for his team), and Lundon wrote tracks for what would have been the band's fourth album. On 20 May 2007, Liberty X posted a message on their website that said they would no longer record together after the tour:

All of us have separate projects we're working on and are excited about. We're still the best of friends and we'll still be doing all the dates on the current club tour. Also, we still intend to come together sometimes as Liberty X, for one-off events.

The group performed their last gig on 2 September 2007, alongside Liz McClarnon, Lisa Scott-Lee and Stonefoxx at the Wiltshire Crime Stoppers charity event held in the grounds of Bowood House, near Chippenham in Wiltshire. The band reunited in August 2008 to perform at Belfast's gay pride celebrations, the first time they had been on stage together in over a year.[ citation needed ]

2012–14: Reunion

On 18 October 2012, it was announced that Liberty X, along with five other pop groups of their time – B*Witched, Honeyz, 911, Five and Atomic Kitten – would reunite for an ITV2 series called The Big Reunion , in which they would reveal about their individual stories about their life in the band before reforming for a gig at the Hammersmith Apollo, singing their greatest hits. [5] [6] [7] [8] The show, which aired from 31 January to 28 March 2013, followed the groups rehearsing for two weeks ahead of one major comeback performance at the London Hammersmith Apollo on 26 February.

Liberty X performing live in Glasgow, as part of The Big Reunion arena tour. Liberty X live in Glasgow.jpg
Liberty X performing live in Glasgow, as part of The Big Reunion arena tour.

Tickets for the Hammersmith Apollo reunion gig went on sale shortly after the premiere of the first episode of The Big Reunion and sold out in less than five minutes. Due to this, it was confirmed that a full UK tour was in the works, later confirmed again by Heaton on her Twitter account. [9] The bands were originally only supposed to perform a one-off concert at London's Hammersmith Apollo on 26 February 2013, but when the entire show sold out in under five minutes shortly after the premiere of the first episode on 31 January 2013, rumours circulated that producers of the show were planning to tour the concert around the UK. [10] On 11 February, it was confirmed that due to high demands for tickets and the popularity of the show, an arena tour around the UK would be taking place from 3–12 May 2013. [11] On 27 March 2013 it was announced that the bands would perform a mini Christmas tour in December 2013. [12]

On 29 March 2013, Heaton confirmed that Liberty X would yet again disband following the concerts, saying: "We talked about it, and we thought we've got so many children between us and quite a few things individually going on that we didn't want the pressure to be successful again. We just wanted to have fun. I know some of the other bands are planning to release new material but Liberty X, we are not planning to do that. We are just enjoying it for what it is. We're going to enjoy the gigs, all the performing and have fun and not take it too seriously – and know at the end, we go back to being mums and dads to our children. That's how it's different." [13] Whilst on Lorraine on 12 September, however, Heaton said, "When we filmed [ The Big Reunion: On Tour ] in May, we said 'no' and we said we weren't going to do anything, but because we love it so much, I'd like to say 'never say never'. So maybe ask me again after Christmas." [14] The group performed their final gig together on 15 December 2013. During The Big Reunion: On Tour, broadcast in September 2013, Heaton, Taylor and Young broke down whilst discussing the subject of splitting up.

On 1 February 2014, Liberty X posted on their Facebook page that "We have an announcement coming tomorrow ... but before that we've got some business at G-A-Y to attend to tonight, if you're coming we'll see you later!"[ citation needed ] The next day, following the performance at G-A-Y, [15] they announced that they had signed to 365 Artists Management "for our future creative and business affairs."[ citation needed ] The group subsequently performed at a series of sporadic gigs during the spring and summer of 2014. In 2016, Simm auditioned for the fifth series of The Voice UK , making it clear that he left Liberty X as he felt the group were officially over since 2014. He was mentored by coach Ricky Wilson and subsequently won the competition. On 28 May 2016 Liberty X performed Birmingham Gay Pride performing songs hits "Got to Have Your Love", Holding on for You", Being Nobody", "Song 4 Lovers" and "Just a Little. [16] [17] [18] [19]

Solo careers

Discography

Concert tours

Headlining
Co-headling
Opening act

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References

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