Great Moments In Pop – The 90s Part 47.

A while ago I found a website featuring lots of singles that failed to make the Top 75 in the UK in the 90s and 2000s (go to I wondered if there were any groups who didn’t hit the big time but were “bubbling under” and deserved to be bigger. Even if I don’t remember them from the time, I thought that I would feature groups if they had an interesting look, an interesting story… and made some interesting songs!

And well, there will always been someone somewhere who will know these groups I imagine. Slingbacks were a group whose singer Shireen had bright red hair, and they originally started out as Ms 45, releasing the single “Wasted” in 1995, although this failed to chart. By 1996 they had changed their name to Slingbacks. In August 1996 “No Way Down” was released, but this reached only an unofficial no. 161 or thereabouts.

Their videos are on YouTube, and the descriptions are amusing, as they seem to be by someone who was associated with this group, so we can discover that “Mandy’s trousers disintegrated”. There was also one critic who was rather overcome by all of this and gushed “uptempo, radio-friendly grunge pop from Ireland with amazing female vocals, whose sassiness is slightly reminiscent of Garbage’s frontwoman. The garage punk guitar solo and bubblegum choir at the end are just plain addictive”. Phew, and relax! I’m sure that they would’ve been flattered to have been favourably compared to Garbage though.

Next in October 1996 was “All Pop No Star”, which reached an unofficial no. 85, available on orange vinyl (I think Stephen “Tin Tin” Duffy was involved too?). The video to this was rather amusing, as they appeared on a 70s-style TV talent show called Star Spotters, hosted by someone who looked like Hughie Green (maybe it was, I don’t know). Now I liked this, it gave me that “being played for about five seconds on The Chart Show” vibe, and that’s a compliment by the way.

One critic said “how to become a pop star? Use T-Rex drum claps, a slightly rough but enthusiastic female voice and add some violins in the background. Irish indie rockers Slingbacks do the job very well”. It turns out that they did perform this on TV, but not where you would expect. It was the BBC1 live on Sunday mornings adult education show The 11th Hour, hosted by Cheryl Baker, Gordon Kennedy, and Toby Anstis.

They turned up at the end, and had the credits run over them. Well, you’ve got to have some ambition haven’t you. Some groups might aspire to appear on Top Of The Pops. Some even might aspire to appear on Later… While some will do with The 11th Hour. In November 1996, their only album, also called “All Pop No Star”, was released, but this didn’t chart.

One critic said “two self assured rock chicks and one drumming boy bring you catchy fresh rockin’ pop tunes. Shireen, Mandy and Gavin hail from Ireland and hooked up with the famous producer Mitch Easter (REM). Beside the sparkling title track, which is out on single, the highlights among their pop tunes are the clever constructed song “No Way Down” and the trashy “Sometimes I Hate You””.

And in February 1997, “The Boy You Wanted…” was released, which reached an unofficial no. 81, their highest-peaking single, but still not enough to be a hit. You get the feeling that they were hoping for more by this point. The video still has the timestamp on it, and we are informed “they didn’t even let us keep the shirts afterwards”. They also appeared on BBC2’s fab and groovy The O Zone. But this was the final single for Slingbacks, and little has been heard of them since.


2 thoughts on “Great Moments In Pop – The 90s Part 47.

  1. Stu says:

    Hi Adam. I went to the link and couldn’t find where the singles that failed to make the top 75 are.
    This is something I would be very interested in.
    Could you please point me in tbe right direction?


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