All Saints (group)

All Saints
Also known as All Saints (1993–95)
Origin London, England
Years active
  • 1993–2001
  • 2006–10
  • 2013–present
Members Melanie Blatt
Shaznay Lewis
Nicole Appleton
Natalie Appleton
Past members Simone Rainford

All Saints are an English-Canadian girl group formed in London in 1993. Originally founded as All Saints by members Melanie Blatt, Shaznay Lewis and Simone Rainford, the group struggled to find commercial success upon being signed to ZTT Records and were dropped by the label shortly after Rainford left the group. In 1996 the group were joined by sisters Nicole and Natalie Appleton and signed to London Records under their shortened name.

The group's debut album, All Saints (1997), peaked at number two on the UK Albums Chart and went on to become the third best-selling girl group album of all time in the UK. The Appleton sisters' private lives soon became a staple feature among tabloid newspapers to the extent that it detracted from the group's music. All Saints' second album, Saints & Sinners (2000), became their first number-one album and achieved multi-platinum success. Amid in-fighting among the group members, All Saints controversially split the following year. The group later reformed after signing to Parlophone Records to release their third album, Studio 1 (2006). However, the album bowed at number 40 in the UK and All Saints were dropped by Parlophone shortly afterward. Following a second split in 2009, the group reunited in 2014 for a series of live performances, prompting the group to sign to London for a second time for the release of their fourth album, Red Flag (2016).

In their career, All Saints achieved a string of nine consecutive top-ten hits in the UK, including five number-ones: "Never Ever", "Under the Bridge"/"Lady Marmalade", "Bootie Call", "Pure Shores" and "Black Coffee". "Never Ever" is the second best-selling girl group single of all-time in the UK, behind the Spice Girls' "Wannabe".[1] The group have also won two Brit Awards, two MTV Europe Music Awards and one Ivor Novello Award. As of January 2016, All Saints have sold 12 million records.[2]


1993–95: Formation and line-up changes

Melanie Blatt and Shaznay Lewis started their career by singing backing vocals at Sarm West Studios, the ZTT recording studios near All Saints Road, London. In 1993, Blatt, Lewis and Simone Rainford were signed to ZTT Records, and music manager Ron Tom decided the trio should become a group. All Saints were launched as a trio in the vein of girl group Eternal. In 1994, All Saints performed for their first time at the Touch Magazine stage at the Notting Hill Carnival.[3] They released two singles together, but they were not successful. Additionally, Rainford and Blatt had conflicting visions of All Saints's musical direction which caused tensions within the group.

By 1994, the complicated recording sessions had produced the group's first single, "Silver Shadow", and they performed throughout the UK. In mid-1995, Rainford departed and ZTT Records dropped the remaining duo from their label. Regardless, Blatt and Lewis set out to find a replacement for Rainford. Conducting many auditions, Blatt's father met Nicole Appleton in May 1996 whom Blatt knew from her days at the Sylvia Young Theatre School. Nicole's sister Natalie subsequently became the fourth member of the group.

1996–99: All Saints

After forming a new group in May 1996, the four singers met with Karl "K-Gee" Gordon, a former band member of Outlaw Posse, who recorded a demo for "I Know Where It's At". The band began looking for a new record deal, but most record labels wanted to model them after the Spice Girls, who had become an international sensation by that time. The demo made its way to London Records, where John Benson finalised the recording deal in November 1996.[4] All Saints recorded their debut album, All Saints, with producers such as Cameron McVey, Magnus Fiennes, Karl "K-Gee" Gordon, John Benson, Johnny Douglas, and Nellee Hooper.

In mid-1997, the single "I Know Where It's At" broke the group into the mainstream, reaching number four on the UK Singles Chart. Their second single, "Never Ever", was issued in November 1997 and launched them worldwide, peaking at number one in the UK and Australia. The single sold 1.2 million copies in the UK alone (receiving a double platinum certification from the British Phonographic Industry) and won the group two BRIT Awards in 1998: Best British Single and Best British Video. The album All Saints was released in November 1997, reached number two on the UK Album Chart, and was BPI-certified five times platinum in the UK for sales of 1.5 million. The third single from the album was the double A-side "Under the Bridge / Lady Marmalade", which became their second UK number-one single in May 1998, earning a gold certification for 400,000 copies sold. The same month, the album was re-released with a slightly different track listing. "Bootie Call", the fourth single, also went to number one, and the silver-certified "War of Nerves" (the fifth and final release) peaked at number seven, selling 200,000 copies.

The album achieved success in countries such as Australia (double platinum, selling 140,000 copies), Canada (triple platinum, 300,000 copies), and the United States, where All Saints was certified platinum by the RIAA for sales of one million and produced two top forty singles on the Billboard Hot 100: "I Know Where It's At" and "Never Ever". In November 1998, All Saints received the MTV Europe Music Award for Best Breakthrough Artist and performed at the ceremony, although Blatt was absent due to her pregnancy.

2000–01: Saints and Sinners and break-up

All Saints returned in February 2000 with the single "Pure Shores", written by Shaznay Lewis and William Orbit (the latter also produced the song) for the soundtrack of the film The Beach (starring Leonardo DiCaprio). "Pure Shores" was their fourth number-one single in the UK and the second best-selling single of 2000, with 600,000 copies sold; it also became their first and only number-one single in Ireland and was a substantial hit across Europe and Australia. The song won an Ivor Novello Award for Most Performed Work.[5] All Saints performed the song at the 2000 MTV Europe Music Awards. Also in 2000, the Appleton sisters and Blatt made their film debut with Honest, which was directed by former Eurythmics member Dave Stewart. Honest is a black comedy set in Swinging London in the late 1960s, in which the singers playing three street-wise, saucy sisters who head "up West" to pursue a life of crime. The film received attention for the Appleton sisters topless scenes.[6] Their performances were widely panned; one critic remarked, "It is the worst kind of rubbish, the kind that makes you angry you have wasted 105 minutes of your life watching it."[7]

In October 2000, All Saints released the single "Black Coffee", which became their fifth and final number-one single in the UK, selling 200,000 copies. This preceded their second studio album, Saints & Sinners, which debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart, eventually reaching double platinum certification in the UK for sales of 600,000 copies. The second and final single was "All Hooked Up" in January 2001, which peaked at number seven. In February 2001, All Saints announced that they were to take a break so that they "could clear the air between themselves". Melanie Blatt said later that year that it was uncertain if they would reform, citing their difficulties with the financial and business aspects of the group.[8] Shaznay Lewis later explained that the catalyst for the break-up was a disagreement over who would wear a certain jacket for a photoshoot: "I would never in a million years have put money on the group ending over a jacket incident. But when that incident happened, it fired up so strong, it had to be over. And the way I was then, the state we'd got into then, there was no way she was getting that stupid jacket."[9]

In November 2001, London Records released a greatest hits compilation entitled All Hits. It contains the group's hit singles and Blatt's first solo single, "TwentyFourSeven", a collaboration with Artful Dodger. The album peaked at number eighteen on the UK Albums Chart and was later certified gold, selling 100,000 copies. In 2008, a slightly altered edition of the album was given away for free as part of a promotion with The Mail on Sunday.[10]

2006–08: First reunion and Studio 1

Main article: Studio 1 (album)

On 24 January 2006, it was announced that the band had reformed and signed a record deal with Parlophone.[11] They subsequently began work on their third studio album, Studio 1. The first single, "Rock Steady" (released in November 2006), reached number three on the UK Singles Chart. Studio 1 entered the albums chart at number forty, falling significantly short of the success of "Rock Steady" and the group's previous releases; it has since sold 60,000 copies according to the BPI, being certified silver.

A second single, "Chick Fit", followed in February 2007, but promotional appearances and a physical release were cancelled and it failed to reach the top 200. It was subsequently reported that All Saints and Parlophone had parted ways and the group cancelled their planned UK tour. Blatt discussed the reunion's failure in an interview with i-D magazine in 2012: "I don't think it was done for the right reasons... I know that I did it for the money. We got signed before we had even made music again, it wasn't like we felt we had something to give back to the world... we were given an opportunity and took it, without really thinking about it too hard". She also said she never felt comfortable with the success the band had and that "it was not necessarily the plan at the beginning; there was a lot of compromise involved".[12]

In January 2008, Nicole Appleton and Melanie Blatt served as "hijackers" on E4's Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack, during which Blatt said that they had a record deal with an undisclosed company in a conversation with housemate Nathan Fagan-Gayle.

In February 2008, in a press release for the Wideboys' single with Shaznay Lewis ("Daddy O") posted on the official website of All Around the World, it was stated that All Saints were recording in the studio and would be back with new material before the end of 2008. Because no record label was mentioned in the update, fans assumed that the group's new label was All Around the World.[13] In September 2008, All Around the World discredited claims that All Saints had been signed with them with a post at their official website.[14]

Melanie Blatt told the London Lite that "All Saints are never getting back together again." Despite this, on 6 June 2010, British radio station Capital FM forced the band to reform to take part in its Summertime Ball concert at Wembley Stadium alongside artists such as Justin Bieber, Jason Derulo, The Who, Madness, Chipmunk, Dizzee Rascal, Usher and Rihanna. Three months later, a second compilation album called Pure Shores: The Very Best of All Saints, was released. This two-disc collection features the group's hit singles alongside a selection of album tracks and B-sides.

2013–present: Second reunion and Red Flag

Main article: Red Flag (album)

On 25 May 2013, original All Saints member Simone Rainford died from kidney cancer a month after her 38th birthday in her home in Greenwich.[15]

In November 2013, it was announced that the group would be officially reforming for a second time to support the Backstreet Boys for five dates across the UK and Ireland in 2014.[16] The same year, they performed at G-A-Y and V Festival. Blatt said in an interview that the group had no plans to record new material and were "just taking each day as it comes and doing it for pure enjoyment".[17] On 27 January 2016, it was confirmed that All Saints will release their fourth studio album Red Flag on 8 April 2016. The lead single from the album, "One Strike", preceded the album on 26 February 2016.[18]

On 22 February 2016, All Saints announced their first headlining show in over a decade at London's KOKO.[19] On 15 March 2016, the group announced their first headlining tour in 15 years in support of their 2016 comeback album, Red Flag.[20] The Red Flag Tour will visit 10 British cities throughout October 2016, beginning in Newcastle upon Tyne and ending in Norwich.[21] The group revealed that the tour set list will comprise all of their successful singles as well as some tracks from Red Flag.[22]

Red Flag debuted at number 3 on the UK Albums Chart.[23] The group confirmed the second single from the album would be "This Is A War".

On 22 October 2016, it was announced that All Saints will support Take That on their UK & Ireland tour in May and June 2017.[24]

Artistry and cultural impact

Musicians including Jessy Lanza, M.O, and Charli XCX have cited All Saints as an influence on their work.[25][26][27] The group's influence on British fashion in the late 1990s has been noted, particularly their signature style of cargo pants in promotional imagery and live appearances.[28][29][30]

Solo careers

Melanie Blatt was the first member to record after the group disbanded. In September 2001, she collaborated with Artful Dodger on the track "TwentyFourSeven", which peaked at number six in the UK. In February 2002, Blatt replaced Kelis's vocals on the UK release of the track "I'm Leavin'" by Outsidaz and Rah Digga; the single reached number forty-two. Her third single, "Do Me Wrong", was released in August 2003 through London Records and peaked at number eighteen. Blatt was dropped by the label due to low sales, and the album she was working on at the time never materialised. In April 2005, Blatt returned to the music industry with a new single, "See Me", which was included on the Robots film soundtrack and peaked at number seventy-eight in the UK. The single was released through Swollen Ankle Ltd, with whom Blatt began working on an album. During mid-2005, she played small venues in the UK and performed material from the album, which was shelved when All Saints reunited in early 2006. In 2013, she became a judge and mentor on The X Factor in New Zealand.

Natalie and Nicole Appleton wrote and recorded their own album, formed the duo Appleton and signed a contract with Polydor Records. In September 2002, the Appleton sisters launched their first single, "Fantasy", which reached number two in the UK. Their autobiography, Together, was published the following month. Their second single, "Don't Worry", was released in March 2003 and reached number five in the UK before the release of their first album, Everything's Eventual, the same month. The album peaked at number nine; its final single was "Everything Eventually", which was released in July 2003 and peaked at number thirty-eight. Appleton and Polydor subsequently parted ways.

Shaznay Lewis released her first solo single, "Never Felt Like This Before", in July 2004; it reached number eight in the UK. Her album Open followed two weeks later via London Records and peaked at number twenty-two, although the second single, "You", charted only at number fifty-six. In November 2004, Lewis was one of the artists involved in the Band Aid 20 re-recording of "Do They Know It's Christmas?". In early 2008, Lewis collaborated with Wideboys on the UK top forty hit "Daddy O".




  • All Saints Tour (1999)
  • Saints & Sinners Tour (cancelled) (2001)
  • Red Flag Tour (2016)

As supporting act

Awards and nominations

Year Nominee/work Award Result
1998 "Never Ever" BRIT Award for Best British Single Won
BRIT Award for Best British Video Won
All Saints BRIT Award for Best British Breakthrough Act Nominated
"Never Ever" MTV Europe Music Award for Best Song Nominated
All Saints MTV Europe Music Award for Best Album Nominated
All Saints MTV Europe Music Award for Best Group Nominated
MTV Europe Music Award for Best New Act Won
1999 "Under the Bridge" / "Lady Marmalade" BRIT Award for Best British Video Nominated
All Saints BRIT Award for Best British Dance Act Nominated
2000 MTV Europe Music Award for Best Pop Won
2001 "Pure Shores" BRIT Award for Best British Single Nominated
BRIT Award for Best British Video Nominated
All Saints BRIT Award for Best British Group Nominated
"Pure Shores" Ivor Novello Award for Most Performed Work Won
All Saints NME Award for Best Pop Act Nominated

See also


  1. Sedghi, Ami (4 November 2012). "UK's million-selling singles: the full list". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  2. Vincent, Alice (27 January 2016). "All Saints announce comeback single about Nicole Appleton and Liam Gallagher's relationship breakdown". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  3. Montreal Mirror Archived 17 December 2004 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 31 December 2005
  4. "Craig David, David Gray, All Saints Win at Ivor Novello Awards". MTV News. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  5. "Top 10 Worst Vanity Projects". Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  6. "Honest (2000)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  7. "All Saints 'split over money'". BBC News. 17 August 2001.
  8. Vernon, Polly (10 October 2004). "Patience of a saint". The Guardian. London.
  9. "Free CD inside today's Mail on Sunday – All Saints: All Hits". Daily Mail. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  10. "All Saints confirm reunion". Contact music. Retrieved 13 August 2009.
  11. Archived 5 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. "Saints set for new comeback". The Sun. London. 7 April 2008. Retrieved 13 August 2009.
  13. "All Saints – a bit of clarification". Retrieved 13 August 2009.
  14. "Simone Rainford, original All Saints member, dies aged 38". Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  15. James Robertson. "All Saints reunite to support Backstreet Boys on UK tour next year". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  16. Sarah Walters. "All Saints tour: Melanie Blatt said Never Ever to reunion until Backstreet Boys called". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  17. Amy Davidson (27 January 2016). "All Saints announce new single 'One Strike', and it was inspired by Nicole Appleton's split from Liam Gallagher". Digital Spy.
  18. "All Saints announce first headline show in over 10 years". TV3. 22 February 2016. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  19. White, Jack (15 March 2016). "All Saints announce Red Flag UK tour dates". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  20. Nolfi, Joe (15 March 2016). "All Saints announce reunion tour ahead of new album". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  21. Flint, Hanna (15 March 2016). "All Saints announce Red Flag UK tour - are they coming to a Pure Shore near you?". Metro.
  22. "All Saints miss out on album top spot". BBC News. BBC Online. 15 April 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  23. McCreesh, Louise (22 October 2016). "Take That are taking us to Wonderland with their 2017 tour – and All Saints are joining them!". Digital Spy.
  24. "Charli XCX on How She Wrote The Biggest Pop Song of the Year". Junkee.
  25. Jonathan Roome (15 October 2014). "Interview: Jessy Lanza – The Line Of Best Fit". The Line of Best Fit.
  26. "Quick-fire interview questions with girl trio M.O". Daily Star. United Kingdom.
  27. "Cargo pants for spring". Daily Mail.
  28. Stuart Heritage. "Will the All Saints comeback be pants?". The Guardian.
  29. "All Saints comeback: six style shockers they inflicted on the fashion world". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 16 April 2015.

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