This is an American singer who was a regular on the UK chart for about a decade, and once again, she could be considered to be someone who was doing some rather quirky things when Lady Gaga was still in short trousers. Gwen Stefani had already had some success as the frontwoman of No Doubt. In 1996-1997, their Ska-tinged hits included “Just A Girl” and the chart-topping “Don’t Speak”.
They then had a second wave of fame around 2002-2003, with more big hits including “Hey Baby”, “Hella Good”, “Underneath It All”, and a cover of “It’s My Life”. By this point, Gwen was beginning to consider a solo career. In August 2001, her duet with rapper Eve “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” reached no. 4. But it was in November 2004 when she finally went out on her own.
This was when “What You Waiting For” was released, which also reached no. 4. Gwen then worked with Eve again in March 2005 on “Rich Girl”, and this reached no. 4 too! Next in June 2005 was “Hollaback Girl”, which reached no. 8 in the UK, and was a chart-topper for four weeks in America. Then in September 2005, “Cool” reached no. 11, and had a rather memorable video too.
In November 2005 was “Can I Have It Like That”, a duet with Pharrell Williams, which returned her to the Top Ten, and reached no. 3. In December 2005 however, “Luxurious” reached only no. 44. This sampled The Isley Brothers, and although this is one of my favourites, the low placing was mostly down to the successful album having been milked for hits by this point. Gwen also won a Brit Award in 2005.
And Gwen returned in December 2006 with “Wind It Up” which reached no. 3. This was followed in February 2007 by “The Sweet Escape”, a duet with rapper Akon, which reached no. 2, to become her biggest hit single since the days of “Don’t Speak” which were a decade ago by this point. This seemed to be played everywhere you went for a while.
But this turned out to be her final Top Ten hit single in the UK. In June 2007, “4 In The Morning” reached no. 22. And finally, in October 2007 “Now That You Got It” reached only no. 59. Since then, Gwen has only had two minor Christmas-themed hits in the 2010s, but she has released four solo albums, and she was definitely one of the livelier and more creative singers on the scene at this time.