20 years ago, Girls Aloud were already setting the pop world alight. Having successfully walked away as the clear winners of ‘Popstars: The Rivals’ at the end of 2002, they rocketed straight to the top of the singles chart with their edgy, avant-garde debut single ‘Sound Of The Underground’, where it stayed for four consecutive weeks. Produced by Brian Higgins’s Xenomania production team, the track’s compelling mix of surf guitar, UK-garage beats and girl-group vocals saw the track become an instant classic, straddling the UK year-end bestsellers for both 2002 and 2003 and ultimately becoming one of THE songs to define the entire decade. The track also opened the doors on what would become the most successful pop career of the 2000s, as well as setting Girls Aloud on course to become the most successful girl group of the 21stcentury. In the space of the decade following its release, Cheryl, Kimberley, Nadine, Nicola and Sarah became household names and between them sold 4.3M singles and 4M albums in the UK alone, following ‘Sound Of The Underground’ with a further 21 Top 10 singles, of which 3 also reached Number 1.
When it arrived in the summer of 2003, the band’s debut album of the same name just fueled the phenomenon. With its inclusion of two more Top 3 hits, ‘No Good Advice’ and ‘Life Got Cold’, the 13-track CD was certified platinum by the BPI within five months. Packed with sonically adventurous, perfectly pitched pop songs, ‘Sound Of The Underground’ even saw a reissue with a different sleeve and enhanced tracklisting, whereupon it charted all over again.
But surprisingly, until now, none of Girls Aloud’s 5 smash studio albums, nor either of their hits collections, has seen a release on vinyl. That all changes in June 2023 with three 20th anniversary versions of ‘Sound Of The Underground’. The original incarnation of the album gets its vinyl debut on two special versions, both as a coloured green LP and as a special limited edition picture disc, both with enhanced artwork and full album lyrics. Meanwhile for CD and digital, the album is treated to a full deluxe makeover, bringing in rarities, remixes, B-sides, the band’s cover of ‘Jump’ from ‘Love Actually’ plus ‘Hopelessly Devoted To You’ and ‘Grease’, their two contributions to the poptastic ‘Greasemania’ project. It also includes a special 2022 Xenomania-produced remix of the title track ‘Sound of The Underground’, released as a 7” charity single in memory of the band’s Sarah Harding. The CD format also features extensive sleeve notes by respected pop journalist Nick Levine.
To create these special editions of ‘Sound Of The Underground’ UMR has worked closely with Polydor and the band’s Fascination management team to curate three products that finally do justice to one of the all-time pop classics. As the campaign went at the time… “Buy Girls. Bye Boys!”