The Curious Case of the Sugababes

today26 July 2021

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Remember the Sugababes from the noughties? A trio that had some memorable tracks like Freak Like Me, Round Round and Push The Button? You might remember the name but the group changed personnel numerous times over the years leading to breakups, makeups…and some legal mudslinging.
Originally formed by then All Saints manager Ron Tom back in 1998, they started out with best friends Mutya Buena, Siobhán Donaghy and Keisha Buchanan linking up as the Sugababies before changing the name slightly to the Sugababes before their initial release.
The group had their greatest success from 2001 to 2006 right after Donaghy left the band to pursue a solo career and was replaced by Heidi Range (who was one of the original members of Atomic Kitten). During their peak, the Sugababes amassed thirteen top 10 tracks with 6 of them reaching number one. Not bad going at all…but then things got weird…
Mutya Buena, arguably the group’s lead vocalist, left in 2006 to be replaced by Amelle Berrabah. Keisha Buchanan was then dropped in 2009 following 11 years in the group, with Jade Ewen stepping in to replace her. From then on, Range, Berrabah and Ewen performed as the Sugababes for another few years before the group embarked on a seemingly indefinite hiatus.
Right about this time, the original band members (Mutya, Siobhán and Keisha) had a get-together and over a few glasses of vino had a brainwave – let’s reform! The problem? Technically, the Sugababes were still together so the original Sugababes couldn’t call themselves…well…the Sugababes. Their replacements were still on the go as the group had not officially disbanded and the name was owned by the record label. Awkward…
So the original members reformed and called themselves ‘Mutya Keisha Siobhan’ (original!), and released some material over a number of years. Under their new guise, globally their highest chart position was reached in Ireland peaking at number 14 but in the UK only reached fifty…not even breaking into the top 40.
Finally though, 8 years later and after a lengthy legal case, the band’s three original members managed to regain the rights to the Sugababes band name in 2019, and planned a massive return which has been curtailed by a certain pandemic.
Will the original name give the group a much-needed boost? Time will tell…however it’s not the three band members that had the greatest success as the Sugababes. Heidi Range will be looking for the shadows like a bitter ex…

Written by: Paul McCrory

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