Title - 'Mel & Kim: The Singles Box-Set' [7CD]
Artist - Mel & Kim
Mel & Kim debuted with 'Showing Out' in September 1986, and in March 1987, 'Respectable' became the first Stock Aitken Waterman composition to top the charts.
Combining a streetwise pop sensibility with cutting-edge house grooves, Mel & Kim (Appleby) became a global sensation. But at the height of their fame, Mel was diagnosed with cancer.
Tragically, her health deteriorated and she passed away in January 1990, aged just 23.
In late 1990, Kim made her solo debut with the #2 smash 'Don't Worry', from a self-titled album that she had mainly co-written with her sister, and a further string of hits followed.
Written in honor of Mel, 'Don't Worry' was nominated for Best Contemporary Song at the annual Ivor Novello Awards and as result, Kim chaired the judging panel for this award at the Ivors for 11 years.
2018 found Kim making her long-awaited return to the stage for Let's Rock and Rewind festivals, where she delighted fans by revisiting Mel & Kim hits in her live set for the very first time.
Featuring no less than 76 remastered tracks and many rare and unreleased mixes, this collection Mel & Kim: The Singles Box-Set serves to highlight the pioneering pop/house crossover sound created especially for Mel & Kim by songwriting and production powerhouse Stock Aitken Waterman and the PWL studio team.
Not only was 'Showing Out' arguably the first ever British house record, but also the very first house track to crack the Billboard Hot 100 in the US.
Likewise, 'I'm The One Who Really Loves You' was one of the very first tracks to be remixed by the legendary Clivillés & Cole.
Compiled with the blessing and involvement of Kim Appleby, this Mel & Kim: The Singles Box Set also boasts a 24-page booklet featuring lyrics, discography, new sleeve notes and many classic and rare images.
CD 1 - Showing Out (Get Fresh at the Weekend)
1. 'Showing Out'
2. 'System (House Mix)'
3. 'Showing Out (Extended Version)'
4. 'Showing Out (The Mortgage Mix)'
5. 'Showing Out (The Freehold Mix)'
6. 'Showing Out (Edit)'
7. 'System (Garage Vocal)'
8. 'System (12" House Mix)'
9. 'System (Alternative Mix)'
10. 'System (Original 12" Mix)'
11. 'System (U.S. Album Edit)'
12. 'System (Dub)'
13. 'System (Instrumental)'
As powerful a dance hit as anything that ever dared to come out after it, 'Showing Out (Get Fresh at the Weekend)' was a monster way to introduce yourselves to the chart world of 1986.
Funnily enough, the single's B-side, 'System', was originally intended to be the duo's debut release, but after getting to know the sisters, Pete Waterman felt that the song was too soft for their personalities, and halted the single's pressing!
Mike Stock then wrote 'Showing Out (Get Fresh at the Weekend)' for the duo, influenced by the Chicago garage house sound.
The single peaked at #3 in the UK in November 1986 (but reached #1 in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Belgium), and was certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry for sales exceeding 250,000 copies.
CD 2 - Respectable
2. 'Respectable (Extended Version)'
3. 'Respectable (Extra Beats Vocal)'
4. 'Respectable (The Tabloid Mix)'
5. 'Respectable (Shop Mix)'
6. 'Respectable (Full Album Version)'
7. 'Respectable (Alternative 12" Mix)'
8. 'Respectable (Pete Hammond Mix)'
9. 'Respectable (Mega Remix)'
10. 'Respectable (Extra Beats Version)'
11. 'Respectable (Instrumental)'
12. 'Respectable (12" Instrumental)'
Next came my favorite song from them, and I think 90% of all their fans, the highly infectious hip-hop pop dance groove of 'Respectable.' Sadly though there are no remixes if the B-side, 'From A Whisper To A Scream.'
As always, written and produced by Stock/Aitken/Waterman it quickly became a UK #1 single for one week in March 1987.
Interestingly enough, and which I personally didn't know before I did research into SAW, it was also the second UK #1 single produced by Stock/Aitken/Waterman, following Dead or Alive's 'You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)' in 1985; and the first UK #1 single that Stock/Aitken/Waterman had written themselves.
The single also topped the charts in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Australia and New Zealand in 1987.
CD 3 - F.L.M.
2. 'F.L.M. (Extended Version)'
3. 'F.L.M. (Club Mix)'
4. 'F.L.M. (Sonic Remix)'
5. 'F.L.M. (Auto Mix)'
6. 'F.L.M. (Two Grooves Under One Nation Remix)'
7. 'F.L.M. (Two Grooves Dub)'
8. 'F.L.M. (Two Grooves Under One Nation 7" Mix)'
9. 'F.L.M. (Phil Harding Mix)'
10. 'F.L.M. (Beat Boys Mix)'
11. 'F.L.M. (Beat Boys Dub)'
12. 'Showing Out / Respectable (Mega Mix)'
Another corking dancefloor track came next in the shape of 'F.L.M.' (aka 'Fun, Love & Money)'. The 1987 hit song (written and produced by SAW) sadly, and undeservedly only peaked at #7 on the UK Singles Chart and was also the title track to their debut album.
Accordingly to all press sources at the time, the song title aka 'Fun, Love & Money' was actually a play on the sisters' frequent use of the expression "f**king lovely mate" during the recording sessions for the album!
However, due to Mel being diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer in June 1987, the duo did not appear in the promotional music video for the song. Instead, a clip was compiled using footage of the sisters' live performance of 'F.L.M.', the music videos for 'Showing Out (Get Fresh at the Weekend)' and 'Respectable' (where a male actor played the role of a detective, and string puppets resembling the duo!)
Sadly, 'F.L.M.' would be the second-last single released by the duo.
CD 4 - I'm the One Who Really Loves You
1. 'I'm the One Who Really Loves You (Pop Radio 7" Mix)'
2. 'I'm the One Who Really Loves You (Hip Hop Radio Mix)'
3. 'I'm the One Who Really Loves You (Stardom Groove Club Mix)'
4. 'I'm the One Who Really Loves You (Kick 'N Live Mix'
5. 'I'm the One Who Really Loves You (Groove Dub)'
6. 'I'm the One Who Really Loves You (Done Properly Dub)'
7. 'I'm the One Who Really Loves You (Pop Radio Mix)'
8. 'I'm the One Who Really Loves You (Chicago Club Mix)'
9. 'I'm the One Who Really Loves You (Chicago Dubstrumental)'
10. 'I'm the One Who Really Loves You (Yoyo's 12" Mix)'
11. 'I'm the One Who Really Loves You (Original Mix)'
12. 'I'm the One Who Really Loves You (Instrumental)'
Now, as much as this track is so very, very strong and could have been a single on its own merit, 'I'm the One Who Really Loves You' was only ever a track from the F.L.M. album.
Furthermore, although never released internationally as a single, after being subjected to a handful of remixes by Clivillés & Cole and a limited North American release, it reached #11 on the Hot Dance Club chart.
It was originally recorded and released by British singer Austin Howard in 1986 with both versions having been written and produced by Stock Aitken Waterman.
CD 5 - That's the Way It Is
1. 'That's the Way It Is'
2. 'You Changed My Life'
3. 'That's the Way It Is (Extended Version)'
4. 'That's the Way It Is (House Remix)'
5. 'That's the Way It Is (Acid House Remix)'
6. 'That's the Way It Is (Acid Dub)'
7. 'That's the Way It Is (Acid Pop Mix)'
8. 'That's the Way It Is (Original 12" Mix)'
9. 'That's the Way It Is (Original Dub)'
10. 'That's the Way It Is (Instrumental)'
11. 'That's the Way It Is (Acid Pop Instrumental)'
12. 'You Changed My Life (Instrumental)'
13. 'That's the Way It Is (Radio Jingles)'
'That's the Way It Is" (yet another hit single for the personable duo) was actually featured on the soundtrack album of Coming to America, starring Eddie Murphy.
The song was, of course, written and produced by SAW and peaked at #10 in the UK, becoming their fourth consecutive top 10 hit.
Sadly by the time of the single's release, Melanie Appleby's cancer had gotten the bets of her and she had officially withdrawn from the public eye in mid-1987.
That said, Appleby discharged herself from hospital to record the vocals for the track. The sisters made Mel's illness public at the time of the release of this single, and memorably both appeared on TV-am in April 1988 (interviewed by Anne Diamond) while Mel was still undergoing treatment, as part of European Cancer Week.
Click Here to Watch the TV-am Interview from 1988
The B-side of the single was a new song, 'You Changed My Life', another bouncy dancefloor cut that was also the first song on which the sisters had a co-writer credit.
Weirdly, 'That's the Way It Is' was not included on the group's debut album, F.L.M. but has since been included on later compilation albums of the duo, along with 'You Changed My Life' (with both tracks appearing on the 2010 deluxe edition re-issue of F.L.M.)
Yet again, and all due to Mel's illness, the sisters did not appear in the promotional video for the song. Instead, it featured a team of dancers in a studio, much like the video clip of their previous single.
A second music video for the song was also released. combining footage of the dancers from the first video for the song with footage from the sisters' earlier music videos and a live performance of 'F.L.M.'
As we know now, sadly it would also be the last release as a duo, as they disappeared from the public eye again while Mel Appleby continued her cancer treatment.
She succumbed to pneumonia in January 1990, her immune system weakened by chemotherapy. Some of the songs she co-wrote with Kim Appleby during the last 2 years of her life were later released on Kim's self-titled solo album released in late 1990.
CD 6 - More Than Words Can Say
1. 'More Than Words Can Say'
2. 'You Changed My Life (Alternative Mix)'
3. 'More Than Words Can Say (Extended Version)'
4. 'More Than Words Can Say (Instrumental)'
A great song with beautiful lyrics, 'More Than Words Can Say' was a mid-tempo ballad that was a Scandinavia only single from Something Special, a Scandinavia-only remix album (1989).
CD 7 - Megamix: Ninety!
1. 'The Mel & Kim 1990 Mega-Mix'
2. 'Showing Out (The Italo House Remix)'
3. 'The Mel & Kim 1990 Mega-Mix (Extended Version)'
4. 'The Mel & Kim 1990 Mega-Mix (Alternative Version)'
5. 'The Mel & Kim 1990 Mega-Mix (Techno Version)'
6. 'Showing Out (The Italo House 12" Remix)'
A Continental Europe only release, 'Megamix: Ninety!' was as wondrous a compilation of their hits as you could imagine. Another non-album single (like 'That's the Way It Is').
Released just after Mel had passed away, the video was once again a compilation of live shows and music videos from the songs included and watching it again today (as I have just done) it just breaks my heart that Mel was taken from us so early in her young life.
FYI: A never-heard-before demo called 'Where Is Love' from the sisters' very first demo tape – which helped them secure a record deal with Supreme, and brought them under the wing of '80S super producers Stock Aitken Waterman – was recently unearthed by fans in 2018 (who crowdfunded to give the song a full release) and so became the duo's first new single in 30 years!
In closing, I actually met both sisters at a signing session at Tower Records in London back on April 14th, 1987 around the release of the album F.L.M. (I know this for a fact as I wrote it on the back of the photographs!)
They were so much fun to chat with, never rushed you along the line, signed the vinyl album cover with love and messages (although I recall one of them spelled my name "Rusle"!), and even allowed all the fans, one by one, to have photographs taken with them (much to the dismay of the salaried "security" behind them both!
And as much as this wonderful Box-Set of all their singles is, at 76 tracks definitely mass overkill (trust me, as much as a fan as you might consider yourself to be, hearing the same song over and over, just in slightly different peaks and troughs will quickly have you begging for another song to appear), their legacy is perfectly preserved here.
Official 7CD Box-Set Purchase Link