#BlastfromthePast: Lolly

We have someone special to thank for this week’s #BlastfromthePast blog. You see, there is a quite brilliant Twitter account we started following a few months ago. I don’t doubt that some of you readers of this here blog of a certain age may have already heard of it.

In a time when intense online campaigning for any cause imaginable has become the norm, Pop Music Activism (@Pop_Activism) is a one man pop crusade with a cause to really get behind. They are, as their name suggests, a pop music loving fan, working tirelessly with major labels to get digital releases of some pop gems of the past free from the forgotten shackles of copyright library hell, and available for digital streaming and download.

Their efforts have thus far resulted in digital releases for everything, from Louise Redknapp’s entire back catalogue, to the first ever official online appearance for Victoria Beckham’s notorious first solo outing with True Steppers and Dane Bowers on “Out Of Your Mind”.

And this week, their efforts have seen to it that for the first time ever, the two studio albums of actress, presenter and singer Anna Kumble – better known as late 90s/early 00s popstrel Lolly – have become available in digital formats, some 19 years after their original releases. So it only seemed appropriate we took a look back at her brief but bright pop ventures.

Anna was already an accomplished stage actress and model when she was scouted by the same A&R team that was putting S Club 7 together (both Rachel Stevens and Hannah Spearritt were rumoured to have been considered for the project). Technicolour bright and chirpy, Lolly burst onto the UK charts during the pop explosion in the summer of 1999, hitting the top 10 with her first single, “Viva La Radio”.

After supporting Steps on tour, this early success was quickly followed up that September, with a perky cover of Toni Basil’s 1982 smash “Mickey”, hitting the top 5, along with her appropriately titled first album, called er, “My First Album”. That Christmas, she scored another top 10 hit with the double-a-side, her own “Big Boys Don’t Cry” with a cover of Jackson 5’s “Rockin’ Robin”.

As 1999 moved into the new millennium, Lolly’s second album “Pick ‘n Mix” was released in September 2000. And although success proved harder to come by, “Per Sempre Amore” (dubbed a ‘really good pop record’ on a sticker for the single’s artwork sleeve. Hard to argue with that logic) and a cover of Cyndi Lauper’s perennial girl power anthem “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” became top 20 hits.

After just shy of 18 months of hit making, Anna put the Lolly project to rest, becoming a TV presenter for XChange on CBBC and Diggin’ It for CITV, and she continues to star in pantos and theatre shows. Now with the long awaited digital release of her albums, the lady herself has teased that some new material could be in the works to join these. Our take on this news? As the lyrics of her debut single once stated: “I love it, I love it!”

What are your memories of this week’s #BlastfromthePast? Tweet me now @ThePensmith10 using the hashtag #BlastfromthePast and I may feature some of your Tweets in a future blog!

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