This is yet another British female group who only grabbed the spotlight for a brief time in the mid-2000s. The 411 were an R & B group who came from London, consisting of Carolyn, Suzie, Tanya, and Tisha, and they took their name from the Mary J Blige album “What’s The 411?”. There had recently been the demise of Mis-Teeq – could they take the opportunity to fill the gap in the market?
In May 2004, their debut single “On My Knees” was released, which sampled “Ain’t My Style” by Main Ingredient, and soon earned them some favourable comparisons with similar groups including En Vogue. This also featured a contribution from rapper Ghostface Killah, a member of The Wu-Tang Clan. He hadn’t had a hit for a while at this point, so I suppose you could say that this was the return of the Ghostface Killah! Er, sorry.
“On My Knees” reached no. 4, and it looked like there were more hits to come. Next stop… Top Of The Pops (and CD:UK too if they’re lucky). In September 2004, the second single “Dumb” was released, and this did even better, reaching no. 3, and becoming their biggest hit. It really was looking like they could soon be rivalling the likes of Girls Aloud for the position of top UK female group. But then, in November 2004, “Teardrops” was released.
It seems that this samples “Sour Times” by Portishead, which is a rather unlikely move, because Portishead aren’t exactly the first group who you think would be the influence for a song in this genre. But this reached no. 23, which was seen as a disappointment. And then in December 2004, their rather hyped debut album “Between The Sheets” was released, but this reached only no. 46.
And that was it, barely six months on from their acclaimed debut single, The 411 never made the UK chart again, although this was during a time when the music industry was rather brutal with labels getting rid of acts the moment that they didn’t make the Top Ten. There hasn’t been much heard about any of them since, although it seems that recently there have been a few whispers that they might finally reform.