IT SEEMS a long time since Steps burst into British superstardom with ‘5,6,7,8’. The group – manufactured by two writers and a manager – came into being just five days after Tony Blair became prime minister.
Since then the band’s sold more than 20 million records, achieved 14 consecutive Top 5 singles and ‘H’ even had time to squeeze in a stint on the pantomime circuit.
But now, three prime ministers, several pantomime appearances later and Steps are back with their classic repertoire, for a show at City Hall next week.
The show is part of a packed UK tour called ‘Light Up The World’, to promote the band’s latest release – a collection of winter warmer tracks.
The album is a shortlist of dozens of tracks sent to the band to cover but as soon as Steps heard the title track, Light Up the World, they knew it was right, according to Faye Tozer, the blonde dreadlocked-one.
“We have a management team that source songs for us to cover and we all sit round and listen to them but we knew right away when we heard that track that it was a big song and was going to be our anthem.”
Faye – like the rest of Steps – was barely an adult when Steps formed.
“I’ve been working since I was 18 with my own dancing career and 20 when Steps formed. I’ve been round the world and back again but we are a lot less impressionable than we were when Steps first formed.”
The band is still something that Tozer is passionate about, but her family come first. And while it may have been more than two decades since Steps reigned the charts, they still have a strong following, and this tour is a thank you to them.
“The Light Up the World tour is really a way of thanking our fans because their support has been really overwhelming. It’s an intimate show with a live band, it will be very different to our other shows.”
There’s also an interactive element to this tour, with some fans requesting songs on Twitter in advance of the show, such is the demand to hear Steps’ hits.
And it all started with an advert in The Stage newspaper – writers Steve Crosby and Barry Upton, who penned the hit track, 5,6.7,8, teamed-up with manager Tim Byrne and sought to create a band with whom they could release 5,6.7.8 as a one-hit wonder.
The success of the single led Steps to being signed by Jive Records and soon, Pete Waterman joined the enterprise, describing Steps as ‘ABBA on speed.’
Steps play at City Hall on Saturday December 1.