The all-girl band, formed in 1998, are celebrating 15 years as one of Europe’s most-loved groups.
From the moment they burst onto the scene with their debut single Right Now, the girls have been wowing audiences around the world, picking up awards and becoming the first all girl group to hit No. 1 in the singles, albums and DVD charts simultaneously.
With a string of No. 1 and Top Ten hits, top band awards, Atomic Kitten have become synonymous with fun, glamour beauty….and some of the best pop tunes of a generation.
The line-up may have changed as band members start families and pursue other projects but Atomic Kitten is an indelible part of UK culture and the three girls, Natasha, Kerry and Liz boast enduring careers in across TV, theatre, fashion and radio.
It all started in 1998 with their debut single which jumped straight into the UK Top 10 eventually spending 7 weeks in the Top 40. Their follow-up - the infectious and melody-laden ‘See Ya’, released in March of 2000 - crash-landed into the charts at number 6 with the 3rd single, “I Want Your Love” also hitting the top ten. The tracks perfectly picked up the lyrical theme coursing through every Atomic Kitten song
The girls added to their success with barnstorming TV and radio performances abroad. ‘See Ya’ was used to front Fiat’s campaigns in France and Italy and was also heard in cinemas worldwide in the smash hit movie ‘Bring It On’ while ‘I Want your Love’ made European territories like Germany and Scandinavia prick up their ears at this new British girl group.
The band enjoyed hugely successful visits to Japan during 2000 and were also chosen as the “face of MTV Asia” at the forefront of the channel’s new campaign which began in Beijing in June and culminated with the Kittens reaching an incredible audience of 675 million people with a roof-raising performance on the MTV Asia awards alongside Aqua and Alanis Morissette.
The Kitten’s sparkling pop sound reached more than a billion viewers across Asia, establishing them as one of the most popular UK groups in the region.
The next year started with upheaval when Atomic Kitten were about to launch ‘Whole Again’. Founder member Kerry Katona announced her decision to leave the band .
The natural choice to succeed her was their good friend Jenny Frost, 23, also from Liverpool. Jenny had been a member of the girl band Precious - playing many of the same shows and tours that AK were performing at.
Jenny officially joined the band in January 2001 and AK Mk2 was born.
The fans stood by the girls throughout this transformation, and catapulted the new look Atomic Kitten and ‘Whole Again’ straight in to Number One where it stayed at for an amazing four weeks, beating off competition from U2 amongst others, and breaking a Guinness Record in the process. It took Liverpool to the top of the global list for the city with the most number 1s ahead of Detroit while Atomic Kitten became the girl group with the longest stay in the UK top 40 beating The Spice Girls record for Wannabe.
‘Whole Again’ remains one of the biggest selling singles of the last decade in the UK as well as being an international smash and ‘Kitten Fever’ soon spread across Europe, including a fantastic six weeks at number 1 in Germany. The song was a #1 in 19 countries.
Following on from the phenomenal worldwide success of ‘Whole Again’, pop’s feistiest trio returned for another heavyweight assault on the UK charts with their Bangles cover, ‘Eternal Flame’. Mixing the classic 80’s song with the Kittens distinctive identity AK banked another number one. August saw the UK re-release of their debut album ‘Right Now’. Featuring brand new songs and classic Kitten hits, ‘Right Now’ rocketed to No.1 - staying at the top of the charts for two weeks, keeping David Gray and Prince from that elusive spot.
The Kittens’ massive success in 2001 took them to a whole new level. From topping the charts all over the world to pinning their AK slogan across Prince Charles’ chest (as guests of HRH at The 2001 Party In The Park), the Kittens also picked up a number of awards along the way. These include the 2001 Disney Awards for Best Pop Act and World’s Sexiest Females, a Best Pop Act nomination at the MTV Europe Awards, a Smash Hits Poll Winners Award for Best Single (‘Whole Again’) and the Music Week award for Best Pop act online with AtomicKitten.com. In 2002 their hard work continued to shine with BRIT Award nominations in two categories: ‘Best Pop Single’ for ‘Whole Again’ and ‘Best British Newcomer’. 2nd Album “Feels So Good” was another number one album and spawned another run of huge hits including “It’s OK”, “Love Doesn’t Have to Hurt” and the monster hit “The Tide is High” as well as the double A side single “Be With You”/“The Last Goodbye”. The year saw the band pick up the Capital Award for best pop group, play at Buckingham Palace with Phil Collins and they also hit the number one spot in the singles, albums and DVD charts simultaneously – another first for a girl group.
Their 3rd album “Ladies Night” was also packed with more top ten hits including the Kool and the Gang collaboration as well as the hits “If You Come to Me” and, what proved to be the band’s final single, the Liz penned and hauntingly beautiful “Someone Like Me”.
Taking an extended break after the album the girls finished on a high with a sold out UK arena tour and a greatest hits album and DVD.
In 5 years Atomic Kitten kicked their way into the national pop psyche and became the biggest girl group in Europe. They generated more press than any other UK act with their every move photographed and celebrated. Their charitable work trumped any other group with them becoming patrons of Worldvision, Unicef, Save the Children, Breast Cancer research and a myriad of smaller more personal charities.
The band still gig regularly around the world, in 2006 The Kittens performed at the Nokia New Years Eve Global party, across 5 continents and alongside The Black Eyed Peas, Scissor Sisters and Nelly Furtado. The girls headlined the show in Hong Kong which was broadcast to an audience of over 150 million. They also delivered a hit charity single for the 2006 world cup in Germany and launched Liverpool’s Echo arena with a sold out show in 2008 alongside 40 years of Liverpool number one acts..
From all their peers Atomic Kitten have seen the most successful solo careers for each of the members.
Liz’ first single – the Robin Gibb collaboration on “Woman in Love” - was top 5 in the UK and she went on to starring roles in the stage production of Legally Blonde alongside numerous presenting roles on BBC including the hit ‘Hotter Than My Daughter’ - not to mention winning TV’s Celebrity Masterchef and becoming a celebrated cook in her own right.
Following Natasha’s debut “Round and Round” which went to #1 in Brazil and top 10 on Billboard’s US dance chart, Natasha impressed West End audiences when she turned her skills to acting. Natasha achieved critical acclaim as Mrs Johnstone in the legendary West End production of Blood Brothers. Subsequently, she landed the coveted lead role of ‘Maureen’ in the Tony Award Winning theatre production ‘Rent In Concert’. Ever popular, Natasha was the winning female in 2015’s Celebrity Big Brother and has continued to present and appear on numerous TV shows for broadcasters such as, BBC, ITV, MTV and Channel 4. A mum to sons Josh, Harry, Alfie and daughter Ella, Natasha is recognized as a parenting expert and writes a weekly celebrity column for Star Magazine.
What of Kerry in the intervening years? She became famous on an almost unprecedented tabloid frenzy level after winning ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ and facing down a string of personal crises in the public gaze before emerging triumphant and still as famous in 2012. A regular TV presenter, author, OK columnist and media personality she thought the chance would probably never arise to take to the stage again with her former band. Then, when Jenny Frost fell pregnant with twins in 2012 Kerry slotted back sweetly into the line up and in 2013 the girls went on to do the massive hit show, the Big Reunion. A gig at the Hammersmith Apollo then sold out in just five minutes, proving the Kittens’ enduring popularity.
In May, 2013, they embarked on a sell-out 15 date arena tour and, along with filming specials for ITV, then ran a sell-out Christmas tour.
Atomic Kitten continued to gig throughout 2014 and there were new additions to the band’s family with Kerry and Natasha each having baby girls. 2014 also saw Liz produce and launch her a hugely successful fashion range.
Once an Atomic Kitten always an Atomic Kitten is the girls’ mantra and proving they are still very much alive and purring and with a UK arena tour to follow in May the band are set for a high profile and high-octane return to the forefront of UK pop music.