Long before they became a parody of modern pop, whereby one face/name/voice/personality is interchangeable with another, the Sugababes were easily one of the strongest groups in British pop – a fact borne out with their record as one of the most successful groups of the 21st Century.
The trio were considered to be somewhat unsuccessful by London Records following their début album, One Touch (it was only certified Gold status…), leaving them to regroup and consider their future.
At this early stage, original member Siobhán Donaghy departed the band during a tour in the Far East, paving the way for former-Atomic Kitten vocalist Heidi Range to join.
Within a short period, Sugababes had been picked up by Island Records, beginning a process that would lead to their reputation blossoming. This second line-up would be the most famous, staying together for the next four years, scoring multiple hits along the way.
Late-summer 2002, they released their second album Angels With Dirty Faces, led by a cover of Adina Howard’s single, ‘Freak Like Me’. The song, – originally a mash-up bootleg by Richard X – was re-arranged to fit around a sample of ‘Are Friends Electric?’ by Gary Numan and became the Sugababes’ first UK number 1, leading the album to be one of the highest sellers of the decade.
Not only was Angels With Dirty Faces a commercial success, but also a critical one as it neatly weaved modern pop, electronica, garage and R&B together in an easily digestible sound. This was bolstered by ‘Round Round’ and ‘Stronger’, before they released their third album, Three, in 2003 to similarly positive reactions.
Taller in More Ways was the final long-player for the classic line-up and some months after its release, Amelle Berrabah replaced founding member Mutya Buena.
The circle broken, things would begin to take a downhill slide for Sugababes; Universal sensing the end might be on the cards, rush-released a greatest hits package prior to the Christmas run in.
In the time since, Keisha Buchanan has also departed (replaced by Jade Ewan), leaving the current version of the group with none of its original members.
Three further albums have been released since then, but none have captured the success of their earlier days – an eighth album is expected early next year.