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Mel and Kim

Updated on December 18, 2017

Mel and Kim - Bright Shining and Brief Stars

Mel and Kim Appleby, born to British and Jamaican parents, were noticed dancing in a nightclub in their native London and subsequently signed a recording contract with Supreme Records under the guidance of production team Stock Aitken Waterman. Mel and Kim's first release was "Showing Out (Get Fresh at the Weekend)" which reached number three on the British charts in 1986 and number one on the USA Dance charts.

Their next single "Respectable" reached number one in Britain and became one of the year's biggest hits. They became well known celebrities, particularly in Britain, and were known for their visual style which combined urban street wear with high fashion.

Their third single "F.L.M reached number seven in the UK, while their final single "That's the Way It Is" reached number ten in March 1988, giving them 4 hit songs in a row in the top ten.

During a promotional visit to Japan in June 1987, Mel became ill with a suspected spinal disc herniation, after complaining of a back problem for several months. On returning to the UK, Mel was diagnosed with secondary cancer of the spine. She had previously been treated for liver cancer when she was 18, prior to the duo's rise to fame. Also prior to their music career Mel had worked as a glamour model. Kim was 5 years older than Mel and had a daughter Sharma, born in 1979. So in 1990 when Mel died, she was 23 and Kim was 28. Young Sharma would have been 11.

Mel's cancer was called malignant paraganglioma. The sisters withdrew from publicity while Mel underwent treatment, and footage from their Montreux Festival performance was used to compile the "FLM" music video.

Eventually, it was confirmed to the public that Mel had been diagnosed with cancer. In early 1988, Mel discharged herself from hospital to record the vocals for their last single "That's the way it is".

A second album was not able to be completed due to Mel's illness. Both sisters appeared on the Wogan show in April 1988 while Mel was still undergoing treatment, as part of European Cancer Week. Mel died of pneumonia on 18 January 1990, after contracting a cold, her immune system being too weakened by chemotherapy.

Mel Appleby - May She Rest in Peace

She was a wonderful singer, dancer and she was in the world spotlight for just a short time. But while she glowed, she was phenomenal. Her life may have been tragically cut short but her memory still remains.

Stock Aitken and Waterman

Stock Aitken Waterman, sometimes known as SAW, were a UK songwriting and record producing trio consisting of Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman. They were very successful during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The three are considered to be one of the most successful songwriting and producing partnerships of all time, scoring more than 100 UK top 40 hits, selling 40 million records.

Bananarama had a number one hit in 1986 in the US pop charts with "venus", a song written by SAW. They went on to make Stock Aitken and Waterman their main producers, and would collaborate with them on some of their biggest hits, including "Love in the First Degree", "I Can't Help It", and "I Heard a Rumour".

The following SAW hit songs, made it to the very top of the UK pop charts.

1987 "Respectable", Mel and Kim

1987 "Never Gonna Give You Up", Rick Astley

1987 "I Should Be So Lucky", Kylie Minogue

1989 "Especially for You", Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan

1989 "Too Many Broken Hearts", Jason Donovan

1989 "Hand on Your Heart", Kylie Minogue

1989 "Sealed with a Kiss", Jason Donovan, a cover of the Brian Hyland single

1989 "Do They Know It's Christmas", Band Aid II

1990 "Tears on My Pillow", Kylie Minogue

Mel and Kim songs

Showing Out - Get Fresh at the Weekend - Mel & Kim's first top 10 hit in 1986

Respectable - TOTP - Top of the Pops on TV in 1987 - this song went to Number ONE

Respectable - the official video

FLM - concert in Montreux, Switzerland, 1987

FLM - the official video showing parts of the concert - by now Mel was too ill to be in any video

That's the way it is - version 1 - this song got to number 10 and was Mel & Kim's last Top 10 song

That's the way it is - version 2 - this video again incorporated previous videos because Mel was too ill to be in the video

Respectable Lyrics

Tay, tay, tay, tay, t-t-t-tay-tay, tay, tay

Take or leave us, only please believe us,

we aint ever gonna be respectable.

It's our occupation, we're a dancin' nation

We keep the pressure on every night

Explanations are complications

We don't need to know the where or why

Tay, tay, tay, tay, t-t-t-tay-tay, tay, tay

Takin' chances, bold advances,

Don't care if you think we're out of line

Conversation is interrogation,

Get out of here, we just don't have the time

Tay, tay, tay, tay, t-t-t-tay-tay, tay, tay

Take or leave us only please believe us

We aint ever gonna be respectable (respectable)

Like us, hate us, but you'll never change us

We aint ever gonna be respectable

(respectable, respectable, respectable, respectable)

Hesitation is just frustration,

Give us the music and we're alright

On each occasion for your information

We can look after ourselves alright

Tay, tay, tay, tay, t-t-t-tay-tay, tay, tay

Take or leave us, only please believe us

We aint ever gonna be respectable (respectable)

Like us, hate us, but you'll never change us

We aint ever going to be respectable

(respectable, respectable, respectable, respectable)

(music bridge)

Fascination is our sensation,

We like to put ourselves on the line

Recreation is our destination,

so don't wait up for us tonight

Tay, tay, tay, tay, t-t-t-tay-tay, tay, tay

Take or leave us, only please believe us

We aint ever gonna be respectable (respectable)

Like us, hate us, but you'll never change us

We aint ever gonna be respectable (respectable)

Take or leave us, only please believe us

We aint ever gonna be respectable

Like us, hate us, but you'll never change us

We aint ever gonna be respectable (respectable)

Choose your favourite song

Which Mel & Kim song is your favourite?

See results

Mel and Kim interviews

Mel and Kim interview in 1988

Terry Wogan interview

Kim Appleby reminisces after Mel's death

So what do you really think of Mel & Kim?

Now that you have had a chance to listen to their music, seen their style, and heard them speaking - do you think they could have had a long career like Madonna? Or do you think they were just a flash in the pan?

Which is your favourite Mel and Kim song?

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    • TeacherSerenia profile image

      TeacherSerenia 4 years ago

      @JohnTannahill: Thanks John for your comments.

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 4 years ago from Somewhere in England

      I wasn't a big fan of the music. It wasn't my sort of thing. I was more into The Smiths at the time if you get my drift. But, I can still hear all their songs in my head and that's saying something. Also, they were so pretty it was almost cruel. It was very sad that Mel died. Glamour photos? I might have seen some of them ;-)

    • Tonto Murray profile image

      Tonto Murray 4 years ago

      I had never heard of them before reading this lens. Nice work.

    • GrowthSpark profile image

      GrowthSpark 5 years ago

      I'd be hard pressed to choose between Showing Out & Respectable, I remember dancing to them both and loving them both.

    • katemiya profile image

      katemiya 6 years ago

      I had the 45 for "Showing Out". Haven't heard the song in years!

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 6 years ago from Scotland

      Respectable, i still know all the words and their dance move! i just loved it!

    • SeanVernall LM profile image

      SeanVernall LM 6 years ago

      Showing Out was my fav as it was used as the theme for a Saturday morning show called 'Get Fresh' - it had a green alien puppet as a co-host by the name of gilbert.

    • SeanVernall LM profile image

      SeanVernall LM 6 years ago

      Ah Mel & Kim, it takes me back to when I was 15 at the local ice rink during their disco skate sessions.

    • natashaely profile image

      natashaely 7 years ago

      I love respectable though Showing out is probably my favourite! :)

    • Lou165 profile image

      Lou165 7 years ago from Australia

      Respectible - it always reminds me of a close friend as we hit the dancefloor to this track regularly.