Wednesday, January 29, 2020

"Showing Out (Get Fresh at the Weekend)" by Mel & Kim

Song#:  3027
Date:  02/21/1987
Debut:  96
Peak:  78
Weeks:  7
Genre:  Dance-Pop, Hi-NRG

Pop Bits:  This UK duo was made up of sisters Melanie and Kim Appleby. Both of them loved music and had dreams of being pop music stars, but the realities of growing up poor in East London hit home and they dropped out of school to work various jobs. Encouraged by her mother, Mel ended up submitting her pictures for modeling and she began to get work as a glamour model for magazines such as Mayfair, the UK equivalent of Playboy or Penthouse. Her modeling career took off and that gave her the connections and means to then pursue a music career. She went into a studio to make a demo, but then the producer found out Mel had a sister who also sang. Kim then joined Mel and they recorded a demo under the name of Kimmel. Supreme Records decided to give the sisters a shot and signed them on. They then became Mel & Kim and Supreme introduced them to the songwriting/production team of Stock Aitken Waterman, who recently had success with Dead or Alive and Bananarama. SAW began working with the duo and their first effort was a track called "System." It was to be their first single, but prior to release, SAW didn't think it was the right song to introduce Mel & Kim. They chose to write another and got Mel & Kim to record "Showing Out." The song was release in the UK in the fall of '86 and it became a hit reaching #3. The song was then pushed across the Atlantic and early in '87 the tune hit #1 on the US Dance chart. It then crossed over to Pop where it circled the bottom of the chart for nearly two months. The duo's follow-up single, "Respectable," would hit #1 in the UK. It was SAW's second production and first song they wrote to hit the top spot. The song would reach #1 on the US Dance chart, but it failed to make the Pop chart. Mel & Kim would score two more Top 10s in the UK and their debut album, F.L.M., would be a platinum seller there. Unfortunately, their success came to a sudden halt in January of 1990 when Mel died of pneumonia. She had been diagnosed with cancer back in '85, but it seemed treatment took care of it. Then as the duo were at the height of their popularity, the cancer returned. Mel's immune system got compromised due to chemo treatments and a cold she caught turned into the pneumonia, which claimed her life at a young 23.

ReduxReview:  The SAW team was beginning to write more tunes and when combined with their production style, they came up with some solid dance-pop. Later in their career it all started to sound very cookie cutter, but early on they came up with some interesting tracks. This one mixed their production style with a bit of house music and it ended up being a fun little tune. Like Bananarama, Mel & Kim's voices weren't necessarily interesting or unique, but they got the job done and when combined with their fashion style, they were ready-to-go pop stars. This song did well in clubs, but Pop radio wasn't quite buying into it yet. "Respectable" was also a Dance hit and was actually more memorable, yet it ended up completely ignored at Pop. Like many artist that got the SAW treatment, Mel & Kim were far more popular in Europe than in the US. Sadly, it came to an end with Mel's death.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  After Mel's death, Kim signed on with Parlophone and began a solo career. Her self-titled debut arrived late in 1990. It consisted of songs that Kim had been writing with Mel in anticipation of their second album. The SAW team did not participate on Kim's solo effort. Her first single, "Don't Worry," became a #2 hit. It was followed by the #10 "G.L.A.D" and two other lesser charting songs. Her second album, 1993's Breakaway failed to replicate her debut's success. A reunion single with SAW in 1994 titled "Free Spirit" didn't perform well and that closed out Kim's solo charting career.


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