Documentary celebrating the careers of Annie Lennox, Alison Moyet, Kylie Minogue, Geri Halliwell, Amy Winehouse and Leona Lewis, who took us from post-punk to The X Factor.
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Here come the girls. Six stars who span the three decades from post punk to the X Factor.
Through these variously hot, mad, driven and genius women,
this is a celebration of female artists,
who from the '80s to now, went from the token one on Top Of The Pops, to world domination.
Meet the next generation of queens of British pop.
# Who's that girl running around with you?
# Tell me Who's that girl?
# Running around with you
# Tell me Who's that girl? #
"Is it a boy or a girl?" Parents shouted in the beginning watching Top Of The Pops.
But soon, everyone knew who it was.
Annie Lennox. The lady-boy tiger with the voice of an angel.
She's very chameleon-like in her musical styles, but the voice is constantly soulful.
# Thorn in my side
# You know that's all you ever were... #
She just seems like an incredibly powerful woman.
Previously, looking like a boy was an insult, but Annie Lennox pioneered glam-drogyny.
Annie I think was really the first woman to blur the gender roles.
# I shoulda known better... #
The person I know is like multi-faceted.
Incredibly sensitive, massive bouts of loneliness, she's a whole roller-coaster.
But before Annie started going up and down, she had to get out of her home town, Aberdeen.
My passport out of Scotland was, you know, my place at the Royal Academy Of Music
to study flute as a performer, and piano as a second instrument.
And when I looked around at the academy at that time,
it felt very stultifying,
it felt very institutionalised, and the people there were OK,
but I never felt like I met any soul-mates there.
Her future was not with the flute, but a man called Dave.
There are people in your life that come in and they're kind of like, a bomb goes off, phew, you know.
And he was one of the bombs.
A bomb had already gone off
in Sunderland hippy Dave Stewart's life, thanks to his regular intake of LSD.
He was crashing into the wall when I met him.
-Sort of holding him up by the scruff of his neck,
slapped him around the face a few times and said, "Stop it!"
We became a couple and we were together we were like,
"That's it, we're together, we're doing this thing"
There was only us in the bubble, and we were just obsessed with us and what we were doing.
And nothing else really existed.
High on punk and love, in 1978, Annie and Dave joined a new-wave band, The Tourists.
# Blind among the flowers I'm unable to see... #
There has to be a kind of time in your life, you can do that, you're young enough,
you're game enough, you're crazy enough, or you're innocent enough
to go for that, just super-driven to make music.
In 1980, both The Tourists and Dave and Annie's personal relationship ended.
What was left was a desire for a new name and a new kind of music.
And that was Eurhythmics.
We came to find a sound. I think it was really, finally encapsulated in Sweet Dreams.
# Sweet dreams are made of these Who am I to disagree?
# I've travelled the world and the seven seas
# Everybody's looking for something. #
What I was always interested in is kind of creating two opposites.
Like a juxtaposition within a song or a piece of music.
Eurhythmics sound was a blend of a kind of R'n'B, with this modern,
cold, icy, European synthesized sound.
But the sound of the Eurhythmics was only half of it.
At least as contradictory as the music was the way Annie Lennox looked.
She opened up a whole new wing in the mansion of pop,
and turned it into a playground for sexual identity.
I wanted to be like an equal with Dave as well like "Oh look, we're like these twins."
And what he does is what I do and we're this partnership.
We were suffering from folie a deux,
-have you heard of that?
-I'm about to. No, carry on.
It's the madness of two people who become so close
that they can't speak outside their own situation, you know,
we'll demonstrate some.
THEY SPEAK GIBBERISH
# And I want you And I want you
# And I want you
# And I want you so it's an obsession... #
Annie in all her videos takes on the traditional,
stereotypical role of a woman and completely flips it.
The bit that always sticks in my mind is her pulling off the wig to reveal this short, close cropped,
I think the hair was red at the time, and she just looked amazing.
She teases you with these different images and different things
and parts that she plays within songs,
you kind of try to find the real Annie.
Sometimes she's wearing wigs, sometimes she's masculine, sometimes she's feminine.
# Who's that girl running around with you? #
I like to make a statement. I like to make a powerful statement.
And to utilise the music and the performance to provoke thinking.
To play in performance with gender, I thought that was really interesting.
I sort of used those characterisations
to deflect this sense of image, you know?
To sort of avoid being categorised as such.
Of course the ultimate challenge is to alarm and arouse everyone simultaneously,
which was the plan of the Eurhythmics Grammy performance in 1984.
As you can imagine, the Grammys is a very, very serious moment in performance,
because it's live, it's broadcast live to millions of people, it's in front of a live audience,
they've been working on this thing for a year. It's right down to the nub, everybody's like sweating blood.
Nominated for best new artist, ladies and gentlemen, the Eurhythmics!
People had been speculating about my sexuality so much, I just thought,
"You want me to be a man? You think I'm a man, you speculating.
"Aye, OK, I'll give you man. Here's a man. I'll be a man."
# Sweet dreams are made of these Who am I to disagree?
# I've travelled the world and the seven seas
# Everybody's lookin' for something
# Some of them want to use you
# Some of them want to get used by you... #
I just wanted to utilise the male aspect and to show something of power
because women are so historically always kind of in this role of being submissive to men
and very sexy for men, that didn't feel right to me.
-# I love to
-Listen to Beethoven
# I love to... #
She just did not play to the perceived rules
of the way a female artist should look,
the way a female artist should, you know, behave, and all of those things.
She kind of just threw all of that out the window.
In 1990, after 14 years together, she and Dave Stewart parted.
Dave wanted to do one thing, and I wanted to do another thing, and that's OK.
But it did take me a long time to kind of get my confidence and my strength
and to realise that I needed to do something artistically and musically alone, as it were.
I never thought I'd have any particular success with it, I had no expectations whatsoever.
# Why... #
Her first solo album, Diva, was all about Annie. Out there, on her own.
There was still a lot of raiding the dressing-up box, but not as a man any more.
When Annie went solo it very much felt as though
this is a woman striding into independence. REAL independence.
# Sing, my sisters, sing Let your voice be heard... #
Annie stopped messing with her on-screen personas,
and started to use her fame to promote causes she cared about.
But even now, we shouldn't think the real Annie has finally been revealed.
I don't think anybody in the public have a clue who Annie is, really.
Most people, when they look back at themselves ten years before, it's not the same person any more.
So who is the person? When are you really "the person"?
It's all smoke and mirrors.
Alison Moyet is our most reluctant queen.
Unlike Annie Lennox, she was almost crushed by the music industry.
# I came into the city Walked into the door
# I turned around when I heard
# The sound of footsteps on the floor... #
Alison's voice always stood out, but being fashioned into a pop star nearly destroyed her.
She wasn't prepared for how bullish
the industry was going to be, how they would treat her
like a product rather than a person.
I know she gets a bit insecure sometimes with her singing,
but to me she's no need to because she's really a natural born singer.
# Baby, make your mind up Give me what you've got... #
The natural born singer may have struggled with her career, but the public didn't know.
We just heard a voice like no other.
I can't believe that, A, she isn't queen of our country,
and B that she isn't hailed as, well,
I would say the greatest female voice that's come out of this country, ever.
Alison started her singing career in a punk band called The Vandals in her home town of Basildon.
As I hit teens was when punk came in and when we were all a little bit disaffected.
I was a misfit and I was a loner. We had rooms and we could form bands
and it was very incestuous and we all did that.
Alison had a nickname. We all had nicknames, actually,
in the band, but her nickname was Alf.
I didn't have girly attributes, I was built, I always had practical haircuts
and was just a bit rough.
I thought Alison was like a butch dyke.
I was the kind of girl that my friends' parents, in the most,
didn't want their daughters to associate with.
Another band from her presumably shocked Basildon school was Depeche Mode,
featuring Vince Clarke on keyboards.
# When I'm with you, baby I go out of my head... #
When Vince stormed out of the Mode, he got in touch with Alison because he loved her voice.
Gutsy, incredibly soulful, emotional, powerful.
He had this demo that he'd like me to sing on and would I go round to his flat.
And I got on my motorbike at the time and went round there and he played me Only You.
From bedroom demo to number two in the charts in under a month.
Only You put a 20-year-old girl called Alf on Top Of The Pops.
That's Vince and Alf and Only You. Here are Yazoo and it's a great hit record too.
# Looking from a window above It's like a story of love
# Can you hear me?
# Came back only yesterday I'm moving further away
# Want you near me
# All I needed was the love you gave
# All I needed for another day
# And all I ever knew
# Only you... #
And then we had this kinda soul diva, and this kind of techno whizz-kid.
# When it's only a game And I need you... #
There was just something about her that was a bit mysterious.
And there's something very seductive about that.
# All that time we had I don't want to be a page in your diary... #
But Yazoo wasn't so much an institution, more temporary accommodation.
It was just like these two strangers who had met on a train
who were kind of looking at each other a bit bemused.
You know, it's like, "You and I are eternally linked. Who are you?"
Two albums, three singles, and that was it.
Yazoo split in 1983.
Yazoo split up because in 18 months we recorded two albums,
did one tour, and never took the time to get to know each other.
But even though Vince Clarke had been a mere acquaintance,
he had been a very useful one.
The problem that had happened with Yazoo is that when I started working with Vincent,
the record company was his, the contacts were already his,
so when we split up, I was completely on my own.
Alison may have been on her own, but she was also definitely in demand.
There were four or five major record companies, they all wanted to get me to sign.
I got my accountant and we went round the different record labels
and saw what different people had to offer.
And what was the outcome of that?
I ended up signing to CBS.
When you get a £1 million record deal, it comes with certain things -
pressure, expectation and the producers behind Spandau Ballet and Bananarama -
Tony Swain and Steve Jolley.
And they in turn came with something else - doubt.
She was very punky looking, you know, in her appearance.
So actually her appearance didn't cross over that neatly to what we were doing with her.
What we were doing with her was very slick,
very produced, very polished.
# What can I do to make light of this dull, dull day? #
And when she was working with Swain and Jolley, they tried to make her into a pop princess, really.
Her videos got more expensive in that fashionably '80s way, with exotic locations and added camels.
Now she was on a big record label, Alison's image became an issue.
And a Bedouin get-up wasn't the answer.
The press made some adverse comments about her appearance, and I don't think that was justified at all.
I know there is this kind of perception
that she is outside of the norm for women in her industry,
but the fact is, she's amazingly attractive.
Personally, I think her size, if you like, adds to that.
It becomes a word, it's just very descriptive to me, if someone says, "You're fat," it's like, "Yeah?"
Only halfway through making Alf, her first album, the record company dropped a bombshell.
They wanted it rushed out for Christmas in two weeks.
We'd done nine tracks and the record company wouldn't wait for it any more so they took it away and put it out,
it went triple platinum and I was the biggest selling female singer that year,
it was massive.
I'd like to say this makes me feel very chipper. Thank you very much.
Alison didn't like that album, I don't think,
because she was being pushed in a direction she didn't want to go,
but you know at the end of the day, there are great songs on that record.
# I'm all cried out
# You took a whole lot of loving For a handful of nothing. #
I think I ended up having problems with that record more to do with
what it did to my life as opposed to the record itself.
What I did notice about Alison was that she retreated more and more, into her home and into herself.
# I feel like I'm invisible... #
I went from being a comfortable dark person into being an uncomfortable dark person
and that kind of reverted into agoraphobia for a while.
I finally moved out when the milkman started turning up at seven o'clock
in the morning bringing kids with him saying, "Go on, tell them who you are."
Early morning gawpers seemed the worst of it
until she looked at her record contract.
It was mental - the first period was for four albums, but they had another three periods they could take up,
so they could end up having 13 albums in total, and I wasn't allowed to get out of that
but they could drop me for 50 quid.
We always talked about the problems she had with various parts of her industry,
and because I didn't know anything about that industry,
I was just gob-smacked at how she was abused, really.
You're 21 and you're naive and you believe people when they say
they love you and they're never gonna rip you off.
With a number one pop album, Alison's record company certainly loved her
and wanted another one, just like it, straight away.
Alison, however, was a stroppy old punk and gave them a slow,
sultry cover of a Billie Holiday single instead.
# It's that ole devil called love again... #
I was quite surprised when Ole Devil Called Love came out
because this was a sudden sort of shift to Alison Moyet, jazz artist.
It is a bit of a departure from the stuff you've been doing. Are you a blues evangelist now, Alison?
It's a departure from the stuff I recorded, but my recording career has only been two years
and I've been singing for about eight or nine. I like doing all sorts of things.
The general populace weren't aware of Billie Holiday, it was a left-field thing to do.
It just so happened that the record came out and it was massive.
Ole Devil Called Love went in at number two.
Love Letters, another cover, did the same.
# Love letters straight from your heart... #
Alison Moyet was starting to have an accidental career as a covers artist.
I don't blame the record company for wanting me to carry on doing the same thing,
it's just I didn't have it in me.
# Should I feel that it's over? #
The next decade was spent, first in struggle, then in litigation with her record company.
Despite number one albums and Grammy nominations,
Moyet was effectively fired from her own career.
It was two years into the new century before she regained control,
with Hometime in 2002
and The Turn in 2007.
They're the my two high points of my career. Unfortunately your high points always seem to be
your money years, you know, and that's not the way I see it at all.
If I'd have had to stop after my money years, I'd have been very sad.
The money years came around twice for our next queen.
Kylie Minogue - half showgirl, half titan.
It doesn't matter what professional or personal tragedies you throw at her, she always bounces back.
It's no coincidence that Kylie is an Aborigine word for boomerang.
She might have been born in Australia,
but it took the British pop machine to turn her into Kylie Minogue.
She's an honorary Brit. She's more British than she is Australian.
We've even given her a medal, just for being Kylie.
'Miss Kylie Minogue, for Services to Music.'
But it's not just services to music. Kylie's job is to be permanently six months ahead of the rest of pop
with her hair, her harmonies and her hot pants.
If you see the same Kylie two months in a row, you must be in Madame Tussauds.
But whichever Kylie she is, she gets that rare public response.
Kylie's been around my whole life and, you know, I've always got a little spot for Kylie in my heart.
She just looks gorgeous, you could eat her. That's what it is.
It's been her job to be Kylie since she became a child actor at the age of 11.
But we first met her as the tinder-haired Charlene in Neighbours.
# Neighbours... #
She was already a massive star in Australia,
she was already on the front of magazines, she was on TV talk shows.
People were following the storyline of Neighbours every day.
-Losing my voice.
Enter three young producers.
'Stock, Aitken and Waterman might sound like a firm of solicitors,
'but together this unassuming trio are changing the face of pop.'
We had this deal in Australia with this Australian record company.
So I sort of, in a foolish moment,
promised we would produce this girl called Kylie Minogue.
I came for about a week or ten days,
was completely ignored up until about the last day,
and I recorded I Should Be So Lucky virtually on the way to the airport.
They taught her the song, she picked it up straight away, she sang it and was gone, that was it!
# I should be so lucky Lucky, lucky, lucky
# I should be so lucky... #
The video and the song were perfect enough to totally change her life in three minutes flat.
We gave her one of those little songs that every now and again comes along
and absolutely fits the picture perfectly.
# Put your hand on your heart and tell me
# It's all over I won't believe it... #
It was the late '80s, but it was a pretty retro picture.
Love was for kissing, videos were for pretty shoes. Kylie was safe for the kids.
It was like rock'n'roll had never happened.
It was almost like '50s love songs, but with like, '80s instrumentation.
The girl is in a fantastic relationship and she doesn't want to believe it's over
until this guy puts his hand on his heart and says that it's over, until he really means it.
"Put your hand on your heart and tell me," that's such an old-school notion.
-Can I have a word with Charlene?
Kylie became more tantalising thanks to rumours of an on-set romance with her Neighbours co-star.
Tea-time Britain was glued to the puppy-love affair of Charlene and Scott, played by Jason Donovan.
Oh, who ever said there was anything special about me anyway?
Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey! I reckon you are!
Every generation, there's a TV romance that comes along that people put their hopes and dreams on,
and that was, you know, Kylie and Jason.
# Especially for you... #
This was the start of us getting enthralled with who Kylie was kissing.
Lindsay! What's your question?
'Do you think you're going to get married in real life?'
-Well are you?
We've actually worked together for a long time and we've been really good friends.
As we were saying before, the press tend to beat up stories that we're more than what we do on television.
Well, Jason and Kylie were together, which I can confirm, everybody.
Jason and Kylie were together from day one.
But Jason's days were numbered.
We get a call from Kylie, in her car, just saying,
"Look, I've gotta warn you, you might have the press all turn up at your door in a minute."
"Why?" "Well, I've just announced that I'm going out with Michael Hutchence."
# So slide over here and give me a moment
# Your moves are so raw I've got to let you know. #
Hutchence, lead singer of Australian rock band INXS, was all leather trousers and long hair.
Kylie had gone to the dark side.
We could handle Jason because we knew him. We knew where he was going,
we knew what the threats were.
And I remember turning round to Mike Stock and saying "You know what? It's always better the devil you know."
And he went, "That's the title! Off we go!"
# Better the devil you know Better the devil you know... #
When asked what his hobbies were, Michael Hutchence said, "Corrupting Kylie."
From Michael Hutchence, Kylie grew up.
She became very aware of her own sexuality.
"How much clothes can I take off in this video?
"How seductive can I be with this male dancer?"
She became stronger in her opinions about her career, about her image.
It was like a switch, it just went click.
Her videos got steamier.
She even played a pint-sized hooker in the video for Word Is Out.
Stock, Aitken and Waterman couldn't believe it.
Kylie was the girl next door.
I Should Be So Lucky, Better The Devil You Know, obviously were believable for the public,
Word Is Out and dancing in a dark corner dressed as...everybody went,
"This is not the Kylie, this is not our Kylie."
Kylie is not a prostitute.
End of story.
Although there were six singles after that, when the contract was up in 1994,
Kylie left Stock, Aitken and Waterman.
I look back at when I started, which was very controlled.
But I don't think you're meant to leave that kind of hit factory,
and I wanted to have more to do with the end result.
It would have been very easy to stay there
and be the oldest pop star in the history of old pop stars.
But Kylie was growing up, she didn't want that.
# Confide in me... #
Kylie wanted credibility. She wanted the freedom to have black-and-white photo shoots and to wear glasses.
Her first single, Confide In Me, was weird and swoony. It didn't sound like the Kylie we knew.
And that was exactly the point.
I didn't know that Confide In Me was a Kylie song.
I'd heard this great song on the radio and for me,
I liked the sparseness of it and the slightly eerie nature of the vocal.
It's quite a spooky song.
It said that she was here to stay
and she was standing on her own two feet.
As a singer, not just as a pop star.
More confident than ever, Kylie Minogue says she's changed and so have her fans.
No more hysterical teenagers. These days, the press makes more noise.
And the new album means unveiling yet another new image.
# They call me the Wild Rose
# But my name was Eliza Day... #
The teenagers had stopped screaming for her.
Not that Kylie could hear anyway, she was covered in duckweed.
Then just in time for the new millennium, Kylie remembered she wasn't an indie princess,
but a pop queen.
She lost herself then she found herself. Then suddenly she started singing pop songs again.
Even though she'd already had this career,
like, you know, as an actress and singer.
And then she kind of like, evolved,
and came out as this really sexy, gorgeous woman.
# I'm spinnin' around Move out of my way... #
In 2000, she saw the light. And so did half her arse cheeks.
Spinning Around was a monumental hit.
There was a prerequisite from the record company
that it had to be smiley
and she had to be blonde, because that was the Kylie
that people had previously responded to the best.
# Baby, baby, baby... #
She tried them on and put on a pair of high-heels and it was like, "Oh, my God. Yeah, wear those."
# Baby, baby, baby... #
Those hot pants? I think they're in a museum.
# I just can't get you out of my head
# Boy, it's more than I dare to think about... #
Can't Get You Out Of My Head was the biggest single of her career a year later in 2001.
And it gave Kylie what she'd been chasing in the '90s - a hit with credibility.
The kind of Can't Get You Out Of My Head period where she really leapt back into people's consciousness,
you know, that was a genuinely influential record.
I wanted her to be more aggressive, I wanted her to be a little bit dirtier than you'd seen Kylie before.
It redefined the pop video, it redefined that very cold,
sort of icy electro-pop sound and became something people are copying for the next five years.
Here we are at Earls Court!
On a roll once again with a world tour, the only thing that could stop the showgirl did -
The pop singer Kylie Minogue has been diagnosed with the early stages
of breast cancer. This morning, the 36-year-old star
postponed the Australian leg of her world tour
to begin immediate treatment at her home in Melbourne.
But she said she hoped to be back at work soon.
Back at work she was. Within 18 months, she was in remission, and back on stage.
It was the biggest come-back of her life.
London! Are you ready for this?!
MUSIC: "I Should Be So Lucky"
She comes back from adversity, and she does it with absolute panache.
There's something about Kylie, also, that she's so likeable. And you're rooting for her.
We love Kylie, because she pulls off what our native British stars find so tricky.
She can do sexy one minute, and cute the next.
She ain't been around for so long by doing the same old thing the same old way every time.
She does things that shock people, keeps people interested.
# Lucky in love. #
# Tell me what you want What you really, really want! #
Compared to head-girl Kylie,
our next '90s queen was more like the mouthy schoolgirl hanging round the bike sheds.
Geri Halliwell democratised pop for women like no-one else.
With her big shoes, cheery determination and loud voice,
she was like the Mr Noisy of pop, but a girl!
Geri was the one with all the spunk,
she was the one who'd come out there and say what she feels.
I love that she was the fiery one.
She was ginger,
she was the outspoken one.
Geri was a grammar school girl from Watford.
She was a wannabe with a mission - to be famous.
From a teenager onwards, she used everything she had to break into showbiz.
Geri worked so hard. She made it happen for her.
She was never going to be discovered.
She had to make sure she was discovered.
But the closest she got was glamour modelling, and impersonating a policeman on cable TV.
This is the fashion police, and baby, you're busted.
Then, at 22, she saw this advert for a new female pop act, and begged for an audition.
She, kind of, came into that, absolutely as bold as brass,
you know, bounced into the room and just sort of,
gave us some cheeky line, and kind of won us over with personality alone.
Tell you what, there's millions of kids out there who wanna be pop stars.
And we're actually taking steps, getting closer and closer to a dream.
You kind of thought, well, she's got confidence.
The embryonic Spice Girls began some embryonic dance routines,
finally gelling as a new kind of girl band.
I get enough BLEEP off this lot...
But even then, Geri's ability to hustle was becoming apparent.
Behind the scenes, I think she had been convincing the other girls
that they needed to take a faster route to get there.
I'm so ambitious and I just wanna get there. That's the whole point of it, I just want my ego fed.
The Spice Girls left their management, but walking in a funny way...
I heard that she had taken one of the tapes and stuck it down her knickers,
and used that as a means to smuggle it out. And that's Geri. That's what she would have done.
MUSIC: "When Will I Be Famous?" by Bros
Geri blagged her way in to a bigger manager, Simon Fuller.
His vision for them
was way beyond what anyone else had ever tried to do with a pop band.
It wouldn't have happened without him.
It would have happened, but not to the size it did without him.
# It only takes a minute, girl... #
At the time, the only games in town were boy bands...
# All the people... #
..and Britpop. No-one wanted girl bands, especially such a motley bunch.
So, when they did arrive, it was with the shock of punk rock. Only louder.
AND, AND, AND there's more. This is our single, which is out on Monday.
'The girls just ran amok.'
And they literally, if there was any man there,
they'd be sitting on their knee,
'they'd be undressing them, undoing their tie...'
Go on, then! Ha-ha-ha!
They came into the offices, they were all over me like a rash.
Jumping on my desk, kissing me, putting lipstick on, doing the whole job.
Geri was the one who would always come straight up to your face.
She had this thing of literally being a few inches away from your nose.
"Who are you? My name's Geri. What can you do for us?"
Joining me now it's - behave! - it's Geri!
No-one forgot meeting Geri for the first time.
'It was very obvious from the beginning that she was the director of the group.'
She sat next to me and spelled out
everything that was going to happen to them for the next two years.
The next two years made them the biggest girl band in the world,
starting with their first single, Wannabe.
# I really, really, really Wanna zig-a-zig-aah! #
Throughout the video, they're kind of coming at the camera.
'They're coming towards the camera, not backing away from it or standing at a distance.'
The confidence was incredible.
# Get your act together We could be just fine. #
I think the choice of Wannabe as the first single was so important,
because of what it stood for as a record. You can go out with me,
but you've got to like my mates as well, and if you don't you can clear off.
# If you wanna be my lover. #
I think if you asked most people on the street, what do they remember about the Spice Girls,
after the music, they'd say, "Girl power!"
ALL: Girl Power!
Geri was the one that was all about the girl power.
Asserting girl power is, basically, being yourself.
Being strong... True to yourself.
She recognised that that actually was a call to arms to millions of teenage girls.
# I'm giving you everything
# All that joy can bring
# This I swear
# I'll give you everything
# And all that I want from you
# Is a promise you will be there. #
I remember being completely obsessed with the Spice Girls.
And I literally had their wallpaper, picture frames, bed sheets...
Are you joking me? I'm the biggest Spice Girls fan ever.
Oh my God, they're my life. Yeah. Best band ever.
Ginger, Sporty, Scary, Baby and Posh,
the all-conquering Spice Girls!
At the Brit Awards in 1997, Geri was the pin-up girl for Cool Britannia.
# The race is on to get out of the bottom. #
You know, rule Britannia, everyone was very proud to be British.
Here was a girl group that were selling 55 million albums across the world.
Who would have thought that a girl wearing a black dress,
with a Union Jack pinned to it by her sister, would make the front pages across the world?
As she took to the world stage, it was clear that she'd never run short of something to say.
And she would never be boring.
She was very good at the publicity side of it.
She was really good at getting the right picture, the right shot, the right quote.
You're as young as the girl you feel and I'm 25!
If Geri could make world leaders giggle and royalty blush,
then surely she could take control of her own girl band?
She persuaded the other girls to ditch their manager.
'Simon Fuller was told the news after the MTV Music Awards on Thursday.
'Ginger Spice, Geri Halliwell, masterminded the split.
'The group expects to turn over £300 million by the year 2000.'
They haven't just fired Simon Fuller,
they've fired the whole Spice Girl machine that surrounds them.
I saw Geri Halliwell on the phone booking cars for the girls.
"It's gonna be fine, it's gonna be fine. Don't worry about it, it's gonna be fine."
But you know how annoying it can be going on hold to a mini-cab office.
Geri Halliwell, otherwise known as Ginger Spice, has confirmed that she has left the Spice Girls.
Aargh! I don't believe it, not Geri.
Geri's my favourite. Geri's the one that keeps it all together.
She's the one with the bounce, the go, girl power, not Geri. Why?
She was my favourite. She broke my heart and left. Now, Mel B's my favourite.
I was so angry. I was like, "What's she doing?! This is my group!"
And I was upset for ages. That broke a lot of girls' hearts.
Sorry, Geri, but it really did.
-Something has changed, hasn't it?!
It's more relaxed.
There's more room on the couch, where's Geri gone?
THEY SING: # Where's Geri gone? Where's Geri gone? #
Clearly not to the Jobcentre,
but to the very-expensive-music-video-shop
to launch her solo career.
Everyone was, really, looking at her as the spirit of the Spice Girls.
Except it was the Spice One.
Geri was on a mission to show
there was more to her than being a mouthy redhead.
Look At Me was her first solo single.
That video was amazing.
Because, in it, Geri killed Ginger.
'If I was a Spice fan, I wouldn't want to see a Spice Girl, like, buried in a coffin.
'Like, saying, "I'm turning my back on all that life, it's the new me."'
I didn't want to say goodbye to Ginger.
The new Geri was thinner, blonder, quieter and more mature.
She looked like a proper pop star, from a pop star catalogue.
But that, of course, was never the point of her.
She made such a difference, I think, in the '90s.
People will always remember her.
She drew from her predecessing queens before her,
and as a result, took the crown from them, and owned that '90s pop era.
Geri seemed to want the world stage, just to be able to wave hello.
By the time our next queen took to the world stage,
it looked like she was already waving goodbye.
Amy Winehouse is the voice and the talent of her generation.
But when you sing your hits of heartbreak and say no to rehab,
you awake the appetite of mass media.
But just imagine if you'd never read the papers
and only heard her voice on the radio.
# He left no time to regret
# Kept his ... wet... #
The first time I heard her sing, I thought she was this old black woman
that'd lived through everything and seen everything.
She's, like, a little white girl from London!
She just projects this soul on to you.
"I'm singing about it and I mean it."
First and foremost, she's an incredibly talented, genius songwriter.
Amy grew up in Southgate, a quiet suburb in North London.
Unusually, for a '90s teenager, she was into 1950s jazz.
When I was growing up and listening to jazz,
it still wasn't a social thing for me, you know,
something like hip hop, which I've always loved, that's what I'd listen to with my friends,
that was our shared interest.
But jazz was always my personal music.
I'm a singer, and we were always singing at home.
When Amy was little, I would sing a line and I'd leave a word out.
# Are the stars out tonight?
# I don't know if it's cloudy or bright
# Cos I only have eyes for... # And she'd go, "You."
The first singer I ever knew was Sinatra.
# I've got you under my skin. #
Amy's passion for music, and the way that she would impart a song,
a lot of that was down to him.
Because he was an actor. He wouldn't sing a song unless he felt the emotions,
and the emotions were true for him.
And, of course, the same applies for Amy now.
# I've got you under my skin... #
Amy Winehouse studied dancing and music at stage school,
but was disruptive, and was asked to leave, aged 15.
Her first encounter with the music industry was when she met record executive Nick Godwyn.
We sat down in this little office,
she got her guitar out and she started to play,
broke a string and went,
"Oh, that's it, I can't sing without the guitar."
I said, "I really would like to hear you sing," and she said, "When the guitar's fixed, I'll come and sing."
I'm not a polished thing. I was never going round record companies saying,
"This is my package. As well as being able to do this, I can also do this.
I never did that kind of thing.
# There is no greater love. #
Amy did go back and sing for Nick. He immediately understood what he had.
The way she just sang, the way she slid the vocal, and the words together,
sometimes two words almost into one, and then she'd come out...
# No heart's so true. #
I'm not sure if the word "beautiful" is the right word for it,
but, the voice was like nothing I had ever heard before. That was the truth.
# ..for you
# Why I feel you. #
# Used to be stronger than me... #
Her first album, Frank, was named after her hero, Sinatra,
but also her truthful song writing.
She was only a teenager, but already her obsessions were obvious - men and heartbreak.
I always said I never wanted to write about love, and then I went and did that anyway.
I've got maybe seven or eight songs that are about this guy.
-Is that your ex-boyfriend you're talking about?
I wouldn't wanna be an ex-boyfriend of yours!
I'm sure it's a fun ride while it lasts, but then you get the album coming out...
When you're emotionally tied in to someone, it's never that simple.
2005, and along came Blake Fielder-Civil.
They started an intense relationship.
I think she fell really in love with Blake.
You know, she was obsessed with him
and that meant that her mind was no longer just on music, or with her friends,
there was something else now, in her life, which was very, very consuming.
After six months, they split up. Amy took it hard.
She was drinking more, and it started to show.
One day, Nick found Amy in a mess.
I went to the house and she was, just crying, yeah.
Uncontrollably, inconsolable, just crying.
# I told you I was trouble... #
That's when I suggested, well, maybe talk to somebody about this.
# They tried to make me go to rehab I said no, no, no... #
She said, "I don't need to go to rehab. I've just had a few drinks.
"If you don't want me to drink, I won't drink."
She said to me, "I can cope with this. I can deal with this on my own."
# I ain't got the time And if my daddy thinks I'm fine... #
I said to Nick at the time, "Maybe this is more about her coming out of a relationship?"
I didn't feel that she needed to go to rehab, at that point.
In Rehab, Amy was printing off her calling card -
heartbreak, addiction and resilience.
She wrote her life up as art.
I think you do have to suffer for your art, I know I have.
Cos I had to, you know, have some peaks and troughs, definitely.
Crashing, soaring, and crashing once more,
it was all there in the new album, Back To Black.
It's about when a relationship is over,
and how you go back to what you were before, or what you know best.
When I said I went back to black, I meant I went back to tunnels, and drinking too much,
and, you know, just being a massive depressive,
and all of that painkillers horribleness.
'It's about her true-life experiences,
'and she's drawing on her own raw emotions,'
and I guess that's what other people really love about it.
Me, I feel it's putting me through a mincer a little bit.
You know, that's a father's perspective.
# You go back to her And I go back to... #
Well, there was one song in particular that kept coming up,
and was a sort of cornerstone in making that sound
and it was Can Never Go Home Anymore by the Shangri-Las.
# You can never go home anymore. #
She says, "I literally played it for a year,
"and my friends would come round and know not to come in if I was playing that song."
I said, "What, you mean..?" She says, "Yeah, a year."
And then when you know her, you know that that's completely feasible, and she probably did.
So much music nowadays is so, like, "You don't know me, I don't need you."
And all the music then was kinda like,
"I don't care if you don't love me, I will lie down in the road,
"pull my heart out and show it to you." Do you know what I mean? I love all that kind of drama.
# You made me miss the Slick Rick gig... #
The hit album of the year was about lying in the road and tearing your heart out,
and at the same time, the woman who wrote and sang it appeared to be doing just that in real life.
Because she was in the mainstream, and expected to do mainstream things,
I think that people then were surprised that she still kept that attitude.
-Can I have a drink, please?
-You can't have another drink, cos you're already a bit tipsy, Amy, come on.
-'She is for real.'
There is no way that anything about the world of recording or being famous is gonna modify her.
Appearances like these were entertaining for us,
potentially hurtful for her, but always great for album sales.
Did you just spit?!
'Everything that you wouldn't do, about launching a single and marketing it, she did.'
So, in that way, she's sort of like the anti-Christ of pop.
# For you, I was a flame... #
Within six short months in 2007, Amy's life reached critical mass.
She got back with Blake, married him, and then wept as he was carted off to jail.
She overdosed, she recovered,
she made the 9 O'Clock News
just for still being alive.
I feel like her persona has eclipsed all of the music.
And that's really sad,
because I think that's also a product
of being a woman in music nowadays,
is that people don't want to accept you for your musicianship, they wanna make you into something else.
But no newspaper will leave Amy's story in the middle.
We're all watching, and listening, and hoping.
She's a trusting, open, friendly person. And I really wouldn't want her to change.
I like her that way.
# He walks away The sun goes down
# He takes the day... #
Amy's future is entirely in her hands. When she decides that she wants to make a record
or she wants to sing, then she will. And we'll just have to wait.
The next queen was born 11 miles away from Amy Winehouse, but it might as well have been worlds away.
Leona Lewis could have been just a lucky girl from Hackney with a good voice,
who triumphed in a TV talent show, and who we never heard from again.
Instead, she won a whole new life.
# What if I told you It was all meant to be? #
I really get goose bumps when I think about her,
how exciting that voice is. She's FABULOUS!
In terms of the true vocalists out there, she conveys emotion better that all of them.
She's got a really amazing, powerful, beautiful, very natural voice.
# So tell me that you don't think I'm crazy... #
The X Factor makes careers. We know that now,
but only because of Leona winning the talent show in 2006.
Previous to her, the winners' careers mostly ended up in the bargain bin,
along with their debut CD.
The very first time she walked into the audition room,
started singing, I thought at that moment,
"We may have found a star."
Leona had a classical singing training at stage school from the age of five.
As a teenager, she did the London talent showcase circuit for years.
She was working as a receptionist when we first saw her on TV,
pacing the shabby carpet of nerves on the X Factor.
In your own time.
I just remember being really, really hot,
and just really, really nervous.
And I walked in and thought, "I need to compose myself
"because if I'm too nervous, I'm gonna sound really weird."
So, I kinda composed myself, and just sang it.
# You'll find me
# Over the rainbow. #
And yeah, it went down well.
Everybody wants Simon to love them.
And your main thing is Simon.
Cos he's the guy that will change your life.
The first two weeks, I thought she was OK.
And then it all changed week three, when she sang Summertime.
# Summertime... #
It was a song I could really emote on, it was a song that I did my own arrangement on,
instead of a song that was given to me, that other people have done in the same style.
'That's when she emerged as a potential winner of the X Factor.'
Something clicked that week.
I remember watching her, going, "Oh my gosh. This girl's gonna win."
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
As the weeks went on, and you could see how excited,
genuinely, Simon Cowell was getting.
You are absolutely the best contestant I have ever had across any of these shows
and that was an amazing performance.
It made the rest of us at home think, "I wanna buy into this,
"I want to be part of this, I want to vote, I want it to be that my 20p has made this person a star."
From the start, Leona had potential appeal to an American audience.
She modelled herself on American singers, like Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston.
SHE SINGS: "I Will Always Love You"
Someone sent me a link to YouTube,
saying, "Check this singer out. She's this girl in Britain on this show called X Factor."
And I just thought, "Oh my God, that's unbelievable."
She was doing a Whitney Houston song, but she was nailing it. NO-ONE can do that!
# Love you. #
Leona nailed the X Factor, won the final, and changed her life forever.
Watching Leona go through and win the X Factor in 2006, for me, inspired me a lot.
I mean, she was the first girl to win the X Factor, and the fact that she was from Hackney,
I was like, "You're round the corner from me!"
I think it broke a lot of boundaries down.
Definitely being female, being mixed, you know,
it definitely brought it home that it's not just the atypical kind of people that are gonna win.
On the night of the final,
Simon Cowell made an announcement that showed how serious he was about Leona.
He had teamed up with the man behind Whitney Houston, Clive Davis.
I wanted to save this moment, and basically, he said, win or lose,
Clive Davis is taking you on for America.
I knew immediately who Clive Davis was,
and I was just blown away that he would even consider getting in contact with Simon about me.
# I can't believe it's happening to me... #
It was Christmas and Leona was top of the pops.
All the TV talent show winners have had their own moments like this,
but then most of them have vanished months later.
Cowell decided that the best thing to do with a woman that had been on TV every night for three months
was to make her disappear.
She did very few interviews, very few TVs,
and they made her seem as if she was an international artist
who people couldn't just get out.
They made her seem famous, and desirable, and untouchable, and it paid off.
Ten months later, the shiny new Leona was finally revealed,
climbing the walls of her shiny new video, Bleeding Love.
# Closed off from Love I didn't need the pain
# Once or twice was enough And it was all in vain... #
'You can have a hit record after being on a huge television programme,'
but to get a song that reaches through the whole world and is a success like that?
That song - incredible.
I think it's the lyric, it's the melody,
It's the way it's not, you know, the perfect love song, happy.
It's got a lot of angst and pain in there.
# You cut me open and I
# Keep bleeding I keep, keep bleeding love
# I keep bleeding I keep, keep bleeding love... #
It's quite an unusual pop song, it's pretty graphic, it's pretty gruesome in its imagery,
it's about being cut open and blood going everywhere.
The brutal imagery backed with quite a beautiful production worked really well.
It's a great juxtaposition.
And it wasn't exactly what people were expecting, it wasn't just a massive Whitney-esque ballad,
it was a lot more restrained and dignified.
It came out in the US, and at first, it didn't do that good.
I actually had people call me from radio and say, "Man, I'm sorry, I know that was your song,
"and I know about Leona, she's great, it's just not gonna happen."
And I was like, "Aw, man, that sucks."
And then three weeks later, it turned around and went whoosh!
They're playing it on the radio almost every hour. Ladies and gentlemen, singing Bleeding Love,
it is Leona Lewis!
Two years ago, she was answering phones in an office, as a receptionist.
Two years later, she's number one in America.
And that's why these shows, even though they're criticised, they are important.
# I'll sing it one last time for you
# Then we really have to go... #
So, Leona has the voice and the backing.
But does the down-to-earth Hackney girl have the persona for a life of stardom?
When people say, "She's huge, but is she a star?" I think she's a star, but a different kind of star.
She's a diva in her voice, but not in person.
It's been a real journey, and just an amazing journey,
and I feel so, so, so lucky to be able to be doing this.
# Light up, light up
# As if you have a choice... #
Leona's cracked America by being the most American-style star we've ever produced.
I think Leona is an example of how we have got amazing talent here.
And it can be successful throughout the world.
For the last 30 years, these six queens have ruled over British pop.
They're the ones who outraged, bust boundaries, and provoked hysteria, love or respect.
And in turn, they got there on the backs and bouffants of the women who came before them -
the pioneers, with grace, nerve and imagination,
who told the world that pop was just as much a woman's business as a man's.
# Why don't you stop and look me over?
# Am I the same girl you used to know?
# Why don't you stop and think it over?
# Am I the same girl who you hurt so?
# I'm the one you want and I'm the one you need... #
A celebration of six queens of British pop music, and a look at their impact between 1980 and 2009.
This programme profiles Annie Lennox, Alison Moyet, Kylie Minogue, Geri Halliwell, Amy Winehouse and Leona Lewis. These female stars take us from post-punk to The X Factor, with a slice of girl power along the way.
Narrated by Lisa Tarbuck, with contributors including Annie Lennox, Dawn French, Dave Stewart, Alison Moyet, Pete Waterman, Alexandra Burke, Leona Lewis, Lily Allen, Adele, Marc Almond and more.