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Origin United Kingdom
Genres Pop
Years active 2001–2002
Labels MCA Music / Polydor
Associated acts Liberty X
Former members
Danny Foster
Myleene Klass
Suzanne Shaw
Noel Sullivan
Kym Marsh (2001)
Johnny Shentall (2002)

Hear’Say were a British manufactured pop group created in February 2001 from the winners of Popstars, an ITV reality TV show based on a New Zealand show of the same name. They enjoyed huge success with their debut single, "Pure and Simple", helped by the publicity surrounding the ITV programme, the first of its kind in the UK. The group split eighteen months after their formation. During their short time together, Hear'Say sold nearly three million records worldwide.

The downfall of Hear'Say raised doubts about the longevity of reality-TV singers; however, it has failed to damage the success of the programmes themselves, as The X Factor and the various Idol series feature high in the ratings in the UK and abroad.




2000–2001: Popstars

Over the course of six weeks in late 2000, thousands of hopeful singers attended open television auditions for ITV's Popstars talent show. The contestants were judged by Nigel Lythgoe, Paul Adam (director of A&R at Polydor Records, who had rights to the finished group), and Nicki Chapman, who had worked with the Spice Girls. The judges reduced the contestants to a group of ten, before visiting each of them at their homes to reveal whether or not they had been selected for the group.

The five chosen singers — Danny Foster, Myleene Klass, Kym Marsh, Suzanne Shaw and Noel Sullivan — formed Hear’Say. The five unsuccessful finalists went on to form the group Liberty (later renamed Liberty X after a legal dispute). Before Hear'Say, Danny Foster had appeared on the Michael Barrymore music quiz show My Kind of Music, as the singer from his team.

The chosen members were moved to a secret house in order to keep the group's line-up from leaking to the press. From there they were flown around the world in order to record their first album Popstars, and to prepare for the launch. The show followed the group up to the point their first single made its debut on the UK Top 40 chart.

2001: Pure and Simple

Hear’Say’s first single, "Pure and Simple", a cover of a Girl Thing album track that was released only in Japan, Australia and New Zealand, went straight to number one in the UK Singles Chart on 24 March 2001. It became the fastest selling non-charity single in the UK (a record that was beaten a year later by Pop Idol winner Will Young), and went on to sell over 1 million copies. The single was followed by an equally successful debut album entitled Popstars. The album featured cover versions of "Monday Monday" by The Mamas & the Papas and "Bridge over Troubled Water" by Simon & Garfunkel, alongside original tracks purchased for the group. The album also reached number one, three weeks after the single, making Hear’Say the only British band to have had a debut single and album at number one simultaneously.

After another number one single — a remix of album track "The Way to Your Love" — Hear’Say went on to appear in the ITV show Hear’Say It’s Saturday. This followed on from a mini-series named Meet the Popstars which was intended to allow the public to get to know the group and their music away from the talent show format.

2001–2002: Everybody

During 2001 the group toured, performing 29 sellout[citation needed] arena dates across the UK, and released a live DVD. While on tour, the group were also recording a second, follow-up album, entitled Everybody. In November 2001, just a few months after their debut, Everybody was released, preceded by a single of the same name. The single debuted at number four. The album proved to be less successful, creeping in to the hugely competitive Christmas chart at number 24 and going on to sell just one fifth as many copies as Popstars.

2002: Line-up changes, decline and breakup

Despite this lack of success, plans were made for an arena tour in 2002. At the time, group member Kym Marsh was prominent in the headlines because of her relationship with former EastEnders actor Jack Ryder. Ryder was five years younger than Marsh, and she already had children from a former relationship. This caused controversy in some parts of the media, and speculation mounted that she was unhappy in the group due to lack of family time.

In February 2002, Marsh announced that she was leaving and auditions were held for her replacement, to be aired on television, mirroring the procedure through which the original members of Hear’Say were chosen. One of the group’s former dancers and member of short-lived group BOOM!, Johnny Shentall (husband of Steps singer Lisa Scott-Lee), won these auditions, but further negative publicity followed when it was claimed that the result had been rigged. These claims were weakened as it came to light that many other people who had previously worked with the group had also auditioned, most not even making it past the first round.

With a new line-up, Hear’Say began recording a third album, cancelling the planned 2002 arena tour to give Shentall time to adjust to the group. During the summer of 2002, the group toured the UK radio roadshows circuit, where they were constantly booed and abused by members of the public – evidence of the degree of public animosity that had built up. During the tour, the group’s vehicle was threatened by an apparently armed man on the M1 motorway in Northamptonshire. The man, later arrested, claimed to have been playing a prank on the group.

In August 2002, Hear’Say released their only single with Shentall, entitled "Lovin’ Is Easy". The track had a new sophisticated feel in an attempt to regenerate interest in the group’s music. The single charted and peaked at number 6, falling outside of the UK Top 20 the following week. Media reports suggested that Polydor Records wanted the single to at least reach the UK Top 5. Following the disappointing sales of the single, it was thought that they would be dropped by the label, though no official word came from Polydor.

Hear’Say split up on 1 October 2002, citing negative public reaction as the main reason. A third album had been recorded, though many believe Polydor had no intention of releasing it following the poor performance of "Lovin' Is Easy".

After Hear’Say

Following Hear’Say’s breakup, Myleene Klass went on to record a classical album for Polydor Records’ classical division, before becoming a presenter on CD:UK. Klass also presented the Sunday breakfast show on Classic FM in 2006. In the same year, she also revealed herself to be an amateur astronomer, publicly deploring the proposed closure of the London Planetarium and explaining on television how to view Venus in the early morning. At around the same time, Klass did a photo-shoot for the "lads’" magazine, Maxim.

In September 2006, Klass co-presented The All Star Talent Show on Five. Klass appeared on the 2006 series of ITV's I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!, where she came second, and co-hosts LivingTV's Ghost Towns with Derek Acorah. She was also part of the quiz panel for the BBC's 2007 show The National Lottery People's Quiz, as well as "being in talks for a prime-time series, involving new talent", believed to be a new Saturday night talent show provisionally titled Saturday Night Talent Show. Recently, she co-hosted The One Show on BBC1. Since March 2007, Klass has hosted a movie show, The Screening Room, on CNN International (also shown on BBC World News), which reaches a global audience of over 200 million people. In August 2007, she gave birth to a baby girl called Ava. Klass is also one of the faces of a Marks and Spencer advertising campaign.

Kym Marsh, opting for an adult contemporary sound, released three UK Top 40 singles — "Cry", "Come On Over" and "Sentimental" — and an album, on Polydor's sister label Island, before she was dropped due to low sales. She later went on to become a guest presenter of Loose Women, and entered Making Your Mind Up 2006, the UK show devised to pick a singer and song for the Eurovision Song Contest, but did not win. She appeared in Hollyoaks: In the City before her character was killed, and she is now appearing in UK soap Coronation Street as barmaid and mother Michelle Connor, for which role she won Best Newcomer at The British Soap Awards in 2007. She married EastEnders actor Jack Ryder in 2002, but in March 2008 it was announced that the couple were to separate.

Suzanne Shaw has gone on to have a successful career both as a singer and actress on stage (such as in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Rocky Horror Show, White Christmas and Chicago) and also as a model, television presenter and popular media personality. She had a high profile relationship with Darren Day, whom she met whilst starring in the 2003 tour of Summer Holiday. The pair now have a son, Corey Mackenzie Day, although they are no longer in a relationship. Shaw has appeared in TV shows, including dramas such as The Courtroom and The Bill. Suzanne was a member of the Loose Women panel, has wrtitten weekly columns for Woman Magazine and was crowned winner of ITV1's hit show Dancing On Ice in March 2008. Shaw now has a settled family life; she won "Celebrity Mum of the Year"[citation needed] in 2008, and in June 2009 she married long-term boyfriend Jason King, one half of the presenting duo JK and Joel.

Noel Sullivan is now a stage performer. In 2005 he starred in West End musical Love Shack with former Steps star Faye Tozer and former S Club singer Jon Lee, before moving on in 2006 to What a Feeling, which visited all parts of Britain and received country-wide accolades.[citation needed] After What A Feeling, Sullivan then hosted and starred in two shows in Las Vegas, Cover Girls and Simply Ballroom. Sullivan recently appeared in Five's reality show Trust Me - I'm A Holiday Rep. Starting in July 2008, Sullivan starred alongside Bruno Langley and Bernie Nolan in a nationwide tour of Flashdance. He is set to replace Ray Quinn as Danny in the West End production of Grease this Christmas.

Danny Foster has kept a relatively low profile since the group split, although he has appeared in the Channel 4 show The Games in 2005, replacing actor Jonathon Morris, and Channel Five's Trust Me – I'm A Beauty Therapist in October 2006.

Johnny Shentall starred in MTV's Totally Scott-Lee alongside his wife, and has also made a smaller name for himself starring in musicals such as Starlight Express. Shentall also appeared on ITV2 show CelebAir with wife Lisa Scott-Lee, finishing in 6th and 7th place.

The name "Hear'Say"

The reason for the apostrophe in the group's name was for a while open to conjecture. Some commentators said it was a deliberate attempt to appeal to a youthful audience by imitating an informal, uneducated style, while others suggested it was simply a case of bad grammar on the part of its creator. In her bestselling book on punctuation, Eats, Shoots & Leaves, the author Lynne Truss states that "the naming of Hear’Say in 2001 was [...] a significant milestone on the road to punctuation anarchy." One explanation for its inclusion is that a Canadian band had already been using the name "Hearsay" since 1992.[citation needed] Interviewed on BBC1's Breakfast on June 4, 2008, Suzanne Shaw stated that the apostrophe was included because "it looked good on paper ... it was a design thing".



  • March 2001 - Popstars #1
  • December 2001 - Everybody #24


Year Title Chart positions Album
2001 "Pure and Simple"
"The Way to Your Love"
2002 "Lovin' Is Easy"
Single Only

Album details

Popstars (UK #1, 27 Weeks on Top 100, March 2001)

  1. Pure and Simple(Tim Hawes, Pete Kirtley & Alison Clarkson) - 3.48
  2. The Way To Your Love(Mikkel S. Eriksen, Hallgeir Rustan & Tor Erik Hermasen) - 3.15
  3. “One Step Closer” (Ray Hedges, Norman Butler, Danny Foster & Kym Marsh) - 3.33
  4. “Another Lover” (Yoyo Olugbo & Henry Binns) - 3.47
  5. “One” (Mikkel S. Eriksen, Hallgeir Rustan & Tor Erik Hermasen) - 2.46
  6. “Not the Kind” ( Yoyo Olugbo & Henry Binns) - 3.58
  7. “Make It Happen” (Ray Hedges, Norman Butler, Mylene Klass, Noel Sullivan & Suzanne Shaw) - 3.43
  8. “Breathe” (Mikkel S. Eriksen, Hallgeir Rustan & Tor Erik Hermasen) - 3.37
  9. “Carried Away” (Ray Hedges, M. Brannigan & Tracy Ackerman) - 3.40
  10. “Sweet Alibi” (Ray Hedges, Norman Butler & Tracy Ackerman) - 3.18
  11. “I Didn’t Want You Anyway” (A. Romdhane, J. Larossi & R. Mitra) - 3.00
  12. “Colourblind” (S. Lee, Wayne Wilkins & A. Mackintosh) - 3.41
  13. “Love Will Never End” (Halligeir Rustan & Tor Erik Hermansen) - 3.30
  14. Monday, Monday(John Phillips) - 2.21
  15. Bridge over Troubled Water(Paul Simon) - 4.49

Running time 43.06

Everybody (UK #24, 5 Weeks on Top 100, December 2001)

  1. Everybody(Martin Harrington, Ash Howes, Richard Stannard, Julian Gallagher & A. Caine) - 3.54
  2. “Suddenly” (Cathy Dennis & O. Paul) - 4.03
  3. “We Go On” (Mikkel S. Eriksen, Hallgeir Rustan & Tor Erik Hermasen) - 2.50
  4. “Back Down to Zero” (Liz Winstanley & S. Robson) - 3.24
  5. “Play to Win” (Mikkel S. Eriksen, Hallgeir Rustan & Tor Erik Hermasen) - 3.45
  6. “Angel in My Heart” (Eliot Kennedy, Suzanne Shaw & Tim Woodcock) - 3.46
  7. You're All I Need to Get By(Ashford & Simpson) - 2.52
  8. “Not the End of the World” (Eliot Kennedy, T. Lever, M. Percy, Tim Woodcock & Cawley) - 3.39
  9. “Don’t Go Believing” (Ray Hedges, Nigel Butler & Suzanne Shaw) - 3.15
  10. “Home Again” (Cathy Dennis & Simon Ellis) - 3.45
  11. “A Good Thing” (Ray Hedges, Nigel Butler & Hear'Say) - 3.26
  12. “Straight from the Heart” (Tim Hawes, Pete Kirtley & Tracy Ackerman) - 3.59
  13. Pure and Simple” (New Version) (Tim Hawes, Pete Kirtley & Alison Clarkson) - 3.50

Running time 43.21


  • Bridge Over Troubled Water” (“Pure and Simple” B-Side)
  • “Can’t Stop Thinkin’ About It” (“Pure and Simple”)
  • “Look Inside Yourself” (“The Way to Your Love”)
  • Boogie Wonderland” (“The Way to Your Love”)
  • “Brand New Day” (“The Way to Your Love”)
  • “I Knew You Were Waiting” (“Everybody”)
  • “The Way I’m Feeling Tonight” (“Everybody”)
  • Once in a Lifetime” (“Everybody”)
  • “Pure and Simple 2002 Mix” (“Lovin’ Is Easy”)


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