Chart toppers Atomic Kitten have a two-part history. AK*2 began in January 2001 when Jenny Frost joined the two original Kittens: Liz McClarnon and Natasha Hamilton after the third part of AK*1, Kerry Katona, left the group to become a mum. The AK*1 story begins over a year earlier.
Atomic Kitten pounced onto the scene in late 1999 with their debut single 'Right Now' which jumped straight into the UK Top 10, it eventually spent 7 weeks in the Top 40 at the end of 1999 and defied the critics who thought releasing a debut at such a busy time of year was a big risk.
Their follow-up - the infectious and melody-laden 'See Ya', released in March of 2000 - crash-landed into the charts at number 6. The track perfectly picked up the lyrical theme that courses through every Atomic Kitten song. Having started the ball rolling so emphatically here in the UK, the girls added to their success with barnstorming TV and radio performances abroad. 'See Ya' was used to front Fiat's campaigns in France and Italy and was also heard in cinemas worldwide last Summer in the movie 'Bring It On'.
Throughout 2000, AK*1 enjoyed hugely successful visits to Japan where the band recorded a TV ad for a leading brand of chocolate. They are also the chosen international band at the forefront of MTV Asia's new campaign which began in Beijing in June and saw the Kittens reaching an incredible audience of 675 million people across Asia with a roof-raising performance on the MTV Asia awards alongside Aqua and Alanis Morissette.
The band's third UK single 'I Want Your Love' saw AK*1 achieve their third consecutive Top Ten hit. An incredible TV campaign and the main support slot on the huge Steps tour helped the single to firmly establish the band as one of the most successful and exciting pop groups of 2000. After the Steps tour at the end of 2000, the girls won the prestigious Best Newcomer Award at both the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party and the Disney Awards.
The beginning of 2001 and Atomic Kitten are about to launch 'Whole Again' when founding member Kerry Katona announced her pregnancy with fiancÚ Bryan McFadden, through much discussion the girls all decide that in order for Kerry to relax and have a stress free pregnancy she would step down from AK*1. During the weeks before Kerry's announcement the girls had been working fast behind the scenes to add another Kitten to the litter. The natural choice was their good friend Jenny Frost, 23, also from Liverpool. Jenny had been a member of the girl band Precious- playing many of the same shows and tours that AK were performing at. Jenny officially joined the band in January 2001 and AK*2 was born.
The faith and dedication of Atomic Kitten's fans stand by the girls throughout this transformation, and catapults the new look Atomic Kitten and 'Whole Again' straight in to number one. The single stayed at the top of the charts for an amazing four weeks, beating off competition from U2 amongst others, and breaking a Guinness Record in the process. 'Whole Again' remains one of the biggest selling singles of 2001 in the UK as well as being an international smash, Kitten fever spread across Europe, including a fantastic six weeks at number 1 in Germany.
Following on from the phenomenal world-wide success of 'Whole Again', pop's feistiest trio returned for another heavyweight assault on the UK charts with their Bangles cover, 'Eternal Flame'. Mixing the classic 80's song with the Kittens distinctive identity- and soft r'n'b beats, the AK bank yet another number one. August sees the UK re-release of their debut album 'Right Now'. Featuring brand new songs and classic Kitten hits, 'Right Now' rockets in to No.1- staying at the top of the charts for two weeks, keeping David Gray and Prince from that elusive spot.
Atomic's success takes them officially to a new high. As the power of Atomic Kitten confirms them as one of UK's most powerful pop players. From chart success to pinning their AK slogan across Prince Charles' chest, as guests of HRH at The 2001 Party in the Park, on to collecting The Disney Award for Best Pop Act, World's Sexiest Females, and pending Best Pop Act nomination at November's MTV Europe Awards, Smash Hits Poll Winners, TV Hits Awards 2001 and the best online music website with AtomicKitten.com.
The Kitten's amazing year looks set to continue. This January the girls travel to Canada, where the girls are a number one priority - the last band given this credit were the Spice Girls in 1997.
In just 2 years Atomic Kitten have booted their way into the national pop psyche at a time when virtually all people who love pop music had given up on having anything new and interesting to get their teeth into. Judging by the reactions of fans and pundits young and old, Atomic Kitten have managed to re-write or break one or two pop rules - a process which the majority of music lovers seem to have thoroughly enjoyed!