New pictures from the day in 2005 when Girls Aloud came to Kirkcaldy

Every week I turn to the Retro pages of the Fife Free Press to remember happenings from days gone by.

By John Murray
Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 9:12 am

This week by chance is the anniversary in 2005 when the pop group Girls Aloud came to town to open the new HMV store in the Mercat – where Mothercare once stood.

Girls Aloud were a huge girl group so it was quite a coup to have them in town.

They had immerged from Pop Stars The Rivals which followed up Pop Stars from the year before. Introduced by Davina McCall, the judges were Pete Waterman, Geri Halliwell and the ever-present Louis Walsh.

Girls Aloud arriving at the HMV store (Pic: John Murray)

Unlike soloist talent shows of the past the format here was to pitch two newly formed groups against each other.

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A boy group versus a girl group and so One True Voice were the boys and Cheryl Tweedy, Nicola Roberts, Kimberly Walsh, Nadine Coyle, and Sarah Harding quickly became Girls Aloud. Now traditionally for the girls to win was a big ask as it was boy bands like Take That, Boyzone, Westlife etc. who dominated the charts and the pop magazines mainly bought by schoolgirls.

Spice Girls aside the most successful girl groups had been Bananarama or Atomic Kitten.

Photographers packed the entrance to the shop to catch a glimpse pf Girls Aloud (Pic: John Murray)

But against the odds on December 22, 2002, Dr Fox revealed the numberr one Christmas single was Sound Of The Underground from Girls Aloud. Straight in at No.2 was the boys with the double A-side Sacred Trust and After You’ve Gone.

They had done it and would follow this with twenty consecutive Top 20 hits, four number ones and six Top 10 albums. Their hits album The Sound Of Girls Aloud entered at No. 1 selling a million copies alone.

The optimism surrounding their visit was everywhere, the Mercat again was thriving, and Woolworths even had a revival where Home Bargains now resides. DVDs were a growing market and CDs had taken over completely the vinyl and cassette market.

Girls Aloud at HMV Kirkcaldy in 2005 (Pic: John Murray)

When I reached the Mercat that December day an estimated 400 were already outside the shop.

As a director of Kingdom FM, I was waved through security to meet them.

I got my CDs all signed and took lots of photos including Nipper the dog, the face of HMV.

It was a memorable day and by 2010 they had amassed a reported £30 million, become the most successful TV reality group and the biggest selling girl group of the 21st Century selling 4.3 million singles on the way.

Additionally, as Cheryl became Cheryl Cole would have a further five number ones and two number one albums.

As for Sarah, she had turned down Fame Academy with Kirkcaldy’s Richard Park to be on Popstars and it certainly paid off.

In 2012 the band reunion for Children In need spawned a Hits Tour but a year later they had split for good. She appeared on Coronation Street then won Celebrity Big Brother in 2017 but in August last year she revealed she had breast cancer.

Sarah had a mastectomy and intensive chemotherapy, but she passed away just a few weeks ago.

Looking back, I remember her humour and the look of ‘you still taking photos’ as they walked through the shop to meet their fans not knowing her life was already more than halfway through.

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