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S Club 7's Reach Turns 20: Here Are 20 Things You Didn't Know About The Pop Classic

HuffPost UK logo HuffPost UK 22/05/2020 Daniel Welsh

Whether you had your CD single on repeat or it’s the stuff of your cheesy pop nightmares, there was no escaping S Club 7′s Reach when it dominated the airwaves upon its release in the year 2000.

Reach went on to become one of the band’s best known – and, indeed, divisive – singles, and now, in 2020, it’s celebrating its 20th birthday.

To mark the occasion, we’re strolling down memory lane with 20 facts you might not have known about this school disco staple...

Gallery: The week in entertainment history - May 24-30 (Photos)

1. The song was written by Cathy Dennis

In addition to her own pop career, Cathy’s chart-topping co-writes for other artists include Kylie Minogue’s Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, Britney Spears’ Toxic and I Kissed A Girl by Katy Perry.

She also worked on S Club 7 cuts Two In A Million and Natural.

2. Despite its huge popularity, Reach never actually made it to the top of the UK singles chart

The song was kept off the number one by Sonique’s Feels So Good which, to be fair, is also still a tune 20 years later.

Cathy Dennis would eventually get S Club 7 to the top of the charts with the ballads Have I Ever and Never Had A Dream Come True.

Rachel Stevens, Hannah Spearritt, Paul Cattermole, Jo O'Meara, Bradley McIntosh, Jon Lee, Tina Barrett posing for a photo: S Club 7 pictured in 2000, the year they released their hit Reach © Tim Roney via Getty Images S Club 7 pictured in 2000, the year they released their hit Reach

3. The B-sides (remember those?) to Reach were extremely 2000

As well as a remix of S Club Party by Paul and Bradley (sorry boys, but it’s a no from us) there was also a remix of Reach by Eiffel 65. Yes, of Blue (Da Ba Dee) fame.

4. The song became synonymous with its hyper-colourful music video 

The premise of the video saw the pop band – riding some sort of float that escaped from a local pride parade – crashing a humdrum small town in the UK, and brightening things up with their infectious song... and weird sweets they were dishing out, which we probably shouldn’t dwell too much on, to be honest.

Reach was directed by Carter Smith, who – according to IMVDB – has just one other credit to his name, working with Keith Urban a full 16 years after S Club 7. 

5. But while the video was all about fun, it seemingly wasn’t quite as enjoyable to make as it looked

Who knew hanging around in the heat in the middle of nowhere would be such a chore, eh? 

6. Reach served as the opening theme tune for the second sitcom centred around the band, LA7 

© BBC

A sequel to Miami 7, the show followed a fictional version of the band as they tried to make it big in Los Angeles.

For some reason, it also featured Linda Blair (yes, of The Exorcist fame) playing their ruthless landlord, Joni.

7. That same year, the band also appeared in the spin-off S Club 7: Artistic Differences...


...which featured – as you can see above – a very unlikely cameo from a certain This Morning presenter, playing a girlfriend of Paul’s who was apparently some class of glamour model (???).

8. Years later, the band would record a special united verison of Reach with their mini-me versions, S Club 8

These included future The Saturdays singers, Frankie Bridge (then Sandford) and Rochelle Humes (then Wiseman).

The girl band’s future back-up dancer and choreographer Aaron Renfree was also a member of S Club Juniors, who would go on to become known as S Club 8.

9. It was also covered by Same Difference on The X Factor 

Back in those pre-Alexandra Burke days when Simon Cowell was far more willing to play up to the cheesier side of TV talent shows. 

10. The song was also performed as part of the band’s reunion medley during their *ahem* divisive appearance on Children In Need

Yikes.

Reach would also receive pride of place on the sold-out arena tour that came after this performance.

11. But if you missed that tour, there’s every chance you might be able to hear some incarnation of the group perform it (when such things are safe, of course) 

Reach is a staple of S Club 3′s performances, so keep an ear to the ground.

The mini-band’s line-up has been known to change from time to time, with Tina, Jo, Paul and Bradley all appearing in different versions of the band in the last few years. 

12. Although not a straight up cover, Jon did throw it back to his S Club days with one of his solo recordings

Now known for his musical theatre roles, Jon was the perfect person to record a cover of I Want To Reach The Stars (geddit?) for a tribute album featuring songs by composer Alexander S. Bermange.

13. Can we talk about the time that it was mentioned in UK parliament? 

For reasons we’re still not sure of, Conservative MP Thérèse Coffey littered a speech with S Club 7 references during an appearance in parliament in 2019.

As well as nods to Have You Ever, Never Had A Dream Come True and Bring It All Back, Thérèse was heard describing fireworks over Big Ben as “that special evening when we were going to reach for the stars, but fortunately did not bring the House down”.

14. Reach was immortalised forever on the 100th NOW! CD compilation

The centennial version of the CD series featured a range of hits from over the years, in addition to modern tunes.

Featured alongside Reach were the aforementioned I Kissed A Girl and Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, Take That’s Rule The World, Shakira’s Hips Don’t Lie and the Spice Girls’ debut single, Wannabe.

15. To mark Reach’s 20th anniversary, these fans put together a lockdown version of the song 

Proving that even 20 years later, there’s still no party quite like an S Club Party.

16. And in more recent times, the song lifted spirits around the nation as part of Dance On Your Doorstep

On Sunday 5 April, people around Briton attempted to improve morale around the UK by stepping outside their homes and having a boogie to Reach, to prove you can still have a good time while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Admittedly, it didn’t catch on in quite the same way as Clap For Carers has, but we’re sure it cheered a few people up, at least.

17. Jo has included the song in her own impromptu sets from her own home in lockdown too

In another bid to boost people’s spirits, Jo O’Meara has been performing live from her living room on a karaoke machine. Here’s her take on Reach just shy of 20 years after its original release.

She later made an appearance on This Morning to talk about her lockdown sets, and performed her own take on Over The Rainbow. 

18. No, despite what you might have heard, the lyric is not “reach up for the stars” 

In 2018, Chris Stark made a horrifying discovery when he played Reach during a silent disco...

19. Years after Reach, Cathy Dennis would cross paths with a member of S Club once again

Decidedly different in tone to Reach, Cathy was a co-writer on Rachel Stevens’ solo debut, Sweet Dreams My LA Ex.

It’s been well-documented that Sweet Dreams My LA Ex was originally written for Britney Spears, and was intended as an answer song to Justin Timberlake’s Cry Me A River. Britney would later record her own version of an “answer song” in the form of the ballad Everytime.

20. Graham Norton revealed in 2019 that he was a secret fan of the song, though not as it was originally intended...

Whatever gets you through the night, Graham.

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