Saturday, 26 January 2013

Viva La Megababes

If, at the mention of "shampoo", your first thought is not of washing your hair but of these fabulous ladies, then congratulations - you have passed me "cool test" (I'm joking, washing your hair can be pretty fun too).
 I've loved Shampoo since my childhood self first saw their video for Trouble on The Chart Show. I saw two, older-than-me awesomely bratty girls who, if I'm completely honest, would have terrified me in real life (not so much now though, thankfully!).
I was about 7/8 at the time, too young to buy any music magazines or know how to check for TV appearances, so my Shampoo experiences were very few, and very far-between. Hearing them on the radio caused excitement that was only rivaled by a new episode of Animals of Farthing Wood and the release of The Lion King.

Thanks to the internet - especially this Tumblr - I've been able to catch up on a lot of that stuff.

Shampoo was made up of Jacqui Blake and Carrie Askew, two schoolgirls who were best friends and had their own Manic Street Preachers fanzine - they even appeared in MSP's video for Little Baby Nothing.
They decided to form a band, taking the name "Shampoo" from the playground nickname, "The Shampoo Girls", they'd been given after always turning down boys with the excuse of having to "wash their hair".

Their first single, Blisters and Bruises, was released on pink vinyl in 1993 and generally ignored by the (tasteless) public, despite receiving positive reviews from NME and Melody Maker
In 1994 though, they had huge success with their song Trouble, and album We Are Shampoo. They ticked the two boxes of 90's mainstream success in the UK - an appearance on Top of the Pops and a cover of Smash Hits magazine.
Trouble even went on to be featured on the soundtrack to the Power Rangers movie and, more excitingly, Foxfire.

The band seemed to have their biggest success in Japan, though they never really reached the levels of popularity they obviously deserved. Their follow-up albums Girl Power (1995) and Absolute Shampoo (2000) couldn't match the, albeit short-lived success of their debut release, and they eventually split-up in 2000.
I've read that a lot of teenage girls actually hated Jacqui and Carrie, which is a shame. I can't help but wonder if they'd have been more popular now or if they'd just come across as a weird attempt at selling 90's nostalgia through pop music.

Style-wise, the girls were a picture of pink, plastic kitsch (the artwork for We Are Shampoo also featured a collage of Barbie dolls and sweet wrappers). With their platinum blonde hair, cropped t-shirts and platform shoes, they were like what Baby Spice always wanted to be. But guess what, she wasn't (still my favourite Spice Girl though). An influence of mine? Of course!

I'll leave you with some of my favourite Jacqui and Carrie outfits...

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