GIRLBANDS FROM 59 TO 74!! Down Under!

59. Katene Sisters (NZ)

Rewind to 1993 to the legendary Katene Sisters who were featured on trashy New Zealand soap Shortland Street. It may be old, but it’s still good and was Shortland Street’s first attempt at following the Neighbours mould of making soap stars into pop stars. I can’t remember the storyline, but it was something to do with a talent quest at Kennedy's bar and restaurant, but the sisters were made up of nurse Jaki Manu (Nancy Brunning) and her cousin played by Cook Island singer Annie Crummer (a legend in NZ music) and Carrie Burton (Lisa Crittenden) who was a last minute addition when the other actual sister was ill (Oh how we love hospital dramas!). Although they lost the talent quest to Chris and Carmen's disco number — as Carmen was the Levin disco champion — the song, Keeping Up The Love Thing, peaked at #3 in New Zealand and that was the end of them. Jaki Manu now wanders around barefoot and drunk in the Wellington suburb of Newtown sometimes she hangs out with the prostitutes outside Real Groovy Records when she's not directing independent Maori theatre! Lisa is now living better thanks to glad wrap... "Better living everyone!" Annie Crummer has recently been seen as Killer Queen in the Australian production of We Will Rock You, and released a greatest hits a few years ago featuring this, and many other gems.
Keeping Up The Love Thing mp3

60. When The Cat’s Away (NZ)

Keeping up with the Annie Crummer theme we have When The Cat’s Away. During the late 80s minor Kiwi stars Dianne Swan, Debbie Harwood, Kim Willoughby, Margaret Urlich and Annie formed a band and toured a lot. Formed in 1986, the group was awarded Listener Film and Television Awards for Entertainers of the Year in 1988 and Group of the Year in 1989. They topped the charts with Melting Pot and had another hit with Free Ride. Then they went their separate ways with varying degrees of success. Margaret scored a couple of platinum albums in Australia and New Zealand and Annie went on to score enough hits to put out a stunning Greatest Hits. Debbie also stopped being a lesbian and married Kiwi singer Rikki Morris who managed two number one hits. In 2001 the girls (minus Swann) reunited for a tour joined by 80s poppette Sharon O’Neill. They also covered Sharon’s song Asian Paradise and took it to the top 20 for the first time ever. The album of the tour was another platinum success and then the girls disappeared again. Here we’ve included their two biggest hits – an amazing 12 years apart – plus the simple but beautiful Asian Paradise video.

Asian Paradise mp3
Melting Pot mp3
Asian Paradise video

61. Deep Obsession (NZ)

Where did it all go wrong for Deep Obsession? Their first three songs hit #1 in New Zealand and then they never troubled the top 10 again. The fact that they fired third member Christopher Banks (the Kiwi one-man SAW) because he was gay and lead singer Zara developed a problem with that probably didn’t help — he did after all write all the music. The marketing as an almost lesbionic sisterly duo was a bit tacky too. Despite five hit singles and a platinum-selling top 10 album, Universal wouldn’t fund a second album without Chris’ input. Zara then got rid of Vanessa and recruited Charley who looked very transgendered and their one single as Deep Obsession, Miracles, spent a solitary week in the top 40 spot and then that was it… Billboard gave them a great review, and they released in Japan, Australia and parts of Europe (the UK release was pulled last minute). The sad thing is Chris has produced 8 top 40 hits (including 3 #1s) but was ignored by NZ’s small industry because they refuse to recognise and support pop.
One & Only, Falling Out Of Love, I Surrender

62. Purrr (NZ)

Purrr were a 3 piece girlband from New Zealand who released two singles at the start of the millennium. Despite playing to crowds of over 200,000 at the Christmas In The Park concerts and supporting the Vengaboys’ two New Zealand concerts and extensive video and club play, radio ignored both singles Workout and Can’t Stop (Thinking About You), and neither hit the top 40 and so Mel, Nikki and Viv went their separate ways. A shame it ended so quickly as these girls had so much potential!

Workout mp3, Can't Stop video

63. Pepsi & Shirlie (UK/NZ)

While this posting is all about girlbands from down under, I figured I’ll chuck Pepsi and Shirlie in because Pepsi now lives in Wellington, New Zealand, and has done for sometime now. I know this because a mate of mine stalked her for ages. I could tell you where she lives, works and even the bus she catches home. But I won’t. Instead let’s have a bit of 80s nostalgia with Wham’s back-up singers. Heartache and Goodbye Stranger were top 10 hits, then it all went a bit wrong. Their biggest claim to fame of late is being in Geri’s Bag It Up video and doign the back up vocals… Pepsi's recent musical output includes a song called Infatuation with some Wellington drum'n'bass band and Shirley married Martin Kemp, from Spandau Ballet (they sand that "Uh uh uh uh uh I know this much is true")

Can't Give me love mp3
Heartache video

64. Sister2Sister (s2s) (Aus)

These two, Sharon and Christine Muscat, were born in New Zealand but brought up in Australia and looked like they were gonna be huge. First single Sister hit the top 20 in the UK as well as the Australian top 3, yet follow-up, the fabulous What’s A Girl To Do? stalled in the UK (despite being on the Bring It On soundtrack) and that was pretty much the end of s2s’s recording career. They now running a singing school, but here for your enjoyment is one of the finest pop singles from Australia.

What's A Girl To Do? mp3, video

65. Bardot (Aus)

Often mis-credited as the original PopStars band, Bardot were the Aussie popstars who had to cancel their New Zealand tour after only 2 tickets sold in one venue (despite a platinum-selling #1 single and album) and hit #45 in the UK, but retained a strong following in their native Australia, resulting in all six of their singles hitting the top 20 and amassing gold sales. The first album is a little shit barring Poison and These Days (which was also recorded by Jennifer “Crush” Paige). However second album Play It Like That, recorded after the loss of Katie Underwood (last seen judging Miss Drag Melbourne) was a bit of a gem, with the fabulous I Need Somebody as well as a cover of Made In London’s Dirty Water. Sophie Monk has recently become a great B grade actress in Hollywood and got engaged to the fat twin in Good Charlotte, whereas Tiffani recently offered people a private audience if they bought 15 copies of her album...

Empty Room mp3
Dirty Water mp3

Poison video
Love Will Find A Way video

66. Cherry (Aus)

All I know about Australian girlband Cherry is that they released at least two singles and had a red-headed member called Gerri. Finding anything about them online is near impossible as is a picture, but this poptastic song SOS must be enjoyed by all!

SOS mp3

67. Girlfriend (Aus)

These girls were huge in the early 90s in Australia and Japan but I’ve never seen why. Their outfits were even too hideous for my tastes although their obsession with hats is semi-amusing and their music is, well aside from Take It From Me, just ok. I’d personally ignore them, however no history of Australian girlbands is complete without these girls. They lost a member and became GF4 but the success stopped and one of them works in a shoe shop now.

Take It From Me mp3, video

68. Jackson Mendoza (Aus)

Yet another sisterly Australian duo, Rebecca and Natalie, who had two minor hit singles before splitting up ad achieving success on the stage and screen. Rebecca starred alongside Katene Sister Annie Crummer in We Will Rock You and is sadly more famous for being stabbed by her estranged husband. Natalie was in Moulin Rouge and is now a regular in the BBC’s Hotel Babylon. While their music didn’t set the charts a lit, Venus or Mars was a camp song that deserves a revival.

Venus or Mars

69. Marcia & Deni Hines (Aus)

Ok, not strictly a girlband, but Aussie Idol judge and 70s superstar Marcia has finally teamed up with her trashy daughter Deni, who enjoyed a run of hits in the early/mid 90s, for a cover of Stomp on her new album Discotheque. Her album is full of disco covers and would’ve been the gayest album of the year if it weren’t for those Young Divas. Check out the video, clearly made on a budget of $1... maybe even less!

Stomp mp3, video

70. Young Divas (Aus/NZ/Fiji)

Ok we said we would avoid them, because they’re easily found everywhere but the beavers are just too poptastically gay to be ignored! And with the news that they’re going to play Sydney’s Mardi Gras next year we had to make mention of these four Aussie Idol wannabes. Ok, so Kate won her season (but no one bought her album), Emily came second and Ricky-Lee and Paulini (whose second album bombed horribly but was fab!) have both achieved some success as solo artists, however together they are a musical force to be reckoned with! Their album is made up primarily of 80s covers (including four Stock Aitken Waterman numbers!) and choosing the best songs is just too difficult—although they’ll never top Sonia’s pop perfection on You’ll Never Stop From Loving You — so here are couple of random songs from the album for your enjoyment!

Let's hear it For the Boy, She Works Hard For the Money

Happening All Over Again video, This Time I Know It's For Real video

71. TrueBliss (NZ)

Ok so they kicked this whole girlband post off but they are so legendary that they deserve another post since we’re down under. Here we have the unreleased and very rare radio edit of cancelled fourth single Don’t Turn Your Back — which was the most poptastic moment on the album — as well as two short videos from the very first series of PopStars with those lovely lasses, as well as a safe sex advertisement that former Blisster Carly Binding donated to the NZ AIDS Foundation to use.

Don't Turn Your Back (radio edit)

PopStars vocal coaching video, Carly's legendary "shoes" incident on PopStars and her song in a safe sex campaign advert.

72. Shakaya (Australia)

Consisting of Simone and Naoimi Shakaya toured with Kylie, Human Nature, Ja Rule and Bardot. They had quite a succesful time in the charts with their singles Sublime and Cinderella however when it was time to do another album Australia didnt seem interested. It could have been the fact that the second album was launched with a cover of a Michael Jackson song in a time when MJ was not a name you mentioned.

The Way You Make Me Feel(mp3)

73. Slinkee Minx (Australia)

So Slinkee Minx are the future of girlbands from Down under! Deciding to drop the credentials of artistic acceptence Slinkee Minx have taken Clea's and Young Divas bubblegum lead and gone beyond in the name of trashtastic pop music. For this we love them. Their music can only be described with one word and that is 'anthemic'. Giving the Swedish trio Caracola a run for their trance-pop crown Slinkee Minx have had hits in Australia with their dancefloor monsters Someday and Summer Rain. If you thought Dannii Minogue was the Australian icon of Wigan Pier and Clubland compilations you'd be wrong for its the girls of Slinkee Minx.

Careless Whisper (mp3)
Summer Rain-Single Mix
Summer Rain-Wigan Pier mix (mp3)

74. The Veronicas (Australia)

This new pop band are pretty unpop if you think about it. Far too much guitars and not enough disco for my liking but alas they are doing quite well so its my duty to talk about them. Following in the footsteps of S2S and Gayle&Gillian The Veronicas are sisters and are of Italian heritage. They've earned their songwriting brownie points and its those that we'll cover today. They were the original singers of Tatu's hit single All About Us and wrote Casey Donovans Whats Going On. They also provided Faded for Katie DeAraugo the winner of Australian Idol and were behind the brilliant song probably dedicated to the long defunct boyband Worlds Apart which was utilised by the Dutch girlband Bad Candy. DSTP will cover Bad Candy later on but if you want to hear them and their version of Worlds Apart go over to Tip Top Pop but you wanna hear the original then its available below.

All About Us-used by Tatu

Whats Going On-used by Casey Donovan
Faded-used by Katie DeAraugo
Worlds Apart-used by Bad Candy


KimBim said...

Wow, Cherry... that's a blast from the past. I used to love their song 'SOS'. They had another good one called, 'The Saddest Song' which was a cover of For Real (a late 90's R&B girl group). FYI, you can find a picture of Cherry here:

Anonymous said...



I demand rebuttal space! REBUTTAL! GRRRRRRRRRRRR!


POPtastic (Jessica) said...

Australia have had released some great pop music. I liked Bardot's second album a lot more than the first, too bad it didn't as well. I especially liked "Don't Call Me, I'll Call You", “Dirty Water”, A.S.A.P, I think I overplayed them back in 2003 when I first got the album.

The Veronicas' album was also really good, are they going to release a second album? Also, Young Divas' album turned out to be much better than I though it would be.

Thanks RobPop for all of the music from these girlbands =)

Anonymous said...

I miss Bardot so much! They are my favourite :)

Poster Girl said...

Oh, wow, Robpop, there's so many of these I love! Deep Obsession--so great! Purrr--also great! Sister2Sister, Bardot (I'd only ever heard their first album), Cherry, Jackson Mendoza, Shakaya, Slinkee Minx...I could list all of them, really. And even if you don't like them that much, I'm so glad you included those songs by the Veronicas--it was really interesting to hear their versions. Yet another amazing post that leaves me wondering how you know this many pop groups.

Robpop said...

PPG, this was written by our newest contributer Mary Cherry so total credit goes to him!

Poster Girl said...

If I'd bothered to read the "by" section, I would have noticed that--so, switch those thanks over to Mary Cherry--sorry!

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