Having enjoyed watching Ant and Dec on TV over the years, I thought I’d take a look back at their pop music career. Although their songs weren’t exactly aimed at me, and maybe not everything they did was exactly terrific, they always did it with charisma, and they seem to be mildly embarrassed about it all now, when they shouldn’t be really. I’ll pick out some of their highlights.
Ant and Dec went on to have 15 hit singles, and here’s how it all started. In the early-90s, they were best known as PJ and Duncan in CBBC’s drama series Byker Grove. One day, PJ’s eyes memorably exploded which was rather nasty (and for a long time after I had to remind myself that Ant wasn’t blind for real). In one episode in 1993, they performed “Tonight I’m Free”. This was released as a single, and reached only no. 62.
This wasn’t an indication of what was to come though. They tried out lots of ideas, and well, their commitment to having all of their singles peak at no. 12 or thereabouts over the next four years really was very admirable. In 1994 they appeared on the cover of Lookin (a lot of people seem to think that magazine closed in the 80s, but it didn’t), although it is odd to think that those eras overlapped.
In the summer of 1994 they had their first Top Ten hit with “Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble” (there is a reason for why there is a rogue “H” in the title, but it’s a long story), and this is arguably their most famous single. Later in 1994 their first album “Psyche” made the Top Ten. 1995 brought us “Our Radio Rocks”, by which point they were appearing on the cover of Smash Hits.
I remember “U Krazy Katz” caused something of a stir, because it was at this point that Ant stopped wearing a hat all the time. Really, Ant was never seen without a hat before this, so this was a big moment in pop culture. In 1995 second album “Top Katz” was released, but this didn’t make the Top 40. Into 1996, and their cover of “Stepping Stone”, a song made famous by The Monkees, was their final hit to be credited to PJ And Duncan, even though they had left Byker Grove years ago by this point.
Their first single credited as Ant And Dec was “Better Watch Out”, which featured an image change (Ant had slightly shorter hair). They finished off 1997 with more hits including “Shout”, and third and final album “The Cult Of Ant And Dec”. After this, they went off to concentrate on their TV presenting careers, that were quickly on the up, leading to SM:TV and the like. And yet, their biggest hit singles were yet to come. Wait, really?
By the early-2000s, Ant and Dec were hosting shows including Pop Idol, featuring the search for the next generation of singing stars, and began to win several high-profile awards. They were persuaded back on to the pop scene in 2002 for “We’re On The Ball”, the official song of the England team at the World Cup. This reached no. 3, outperforming all of their 90s hits.
And after they were encouraged on Saturday Night Takeaway to roll back the years and perform “Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble” (and Ant even got his hat out again!), this was rereleased in 2013 and became a chart-topper! So almost two decades after their first hit, they finally reached the top, and many people felt that a pop music injustice had finally been righted. Well, probably. And of course, they’re still on TV regularly together.