This is a group that had a great hit single, but all of the follow-ups struggled by comparison, and they vanished off the scene fairly quickly, before they went on to achieve something that is not unique, but definitely very rare in UK chart history. Sub Sub were a trio that formed in Manchester in the late-80s. They released a single as early as 1991, which wasn’t a hit but got them noticed on the dance scene.
But it was in April 1993 when “Ain’t No Love (Ain’t No Use)” was released, and this featured a guest vocal from Melanie Williams, who had previously been in the group Temper Temper, which had a single that made the Top 100 in 1991. This reached no. 3, and this is definitely one of my favourite hits from this year, and maybe even all of the first half of the 90s decade.
There’s no doubt that this one got them going on the dancefloor. But their next singles were nowhere near as successful. In February 1994 “Respect” was released, which sampled The Fatback Band’s “Double Dutch” from 1977. This reached only no. 49 though. In August 1994, “Angel” reached a disappointing no. 88, and a few other later singles didn’t make the Top 100 at all.
A few years on from this, their studio caught fire, and they lost a lot of their equipment. They decided to use this setback as an opportunity to regroup and start again. They decided to change their name, and they also changed their genre, now having more of an indie sound. They would now be known as Doves, and they were soon winning acclaim for their songs all over again.
After making the lower end of the Top 40 a few times, in April 2002 “There Goes The Fear” was released, and this reached no. 3, although this was deleted on the day of its release, which resulted in a high entry on the chart, and then falling down the Top 40 very quickly afterwards. But almost a decade on from their first success, they were back at the higher end of the chart. A remarkable resurrection from the dumper!
This meant though that they had a Top Ten hit single under two different names, and with the same line-up. I can only think of The KLF as another group that has achieved this, are they any others? Would Liberty X count too? They would have one more Top Ten single in 2005, and they have also had three chart-topping albums, the most recent of these being only a couple of years ago.