The Story of Pop: 2002 (Chapter 26)

With the hits from the year Fearne Cotton began hosting The Saturday Show on Saturday mornings on BBC One, and when Michael Schumacher won the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, this is The Story of Pop: 2002. And here comes another huge hit for you from 2002…

  • Artist: The Calling
  • Song: Wherever You Will Go
  • Released: 24/06/2002
  • Writers / Producers: Alex Band / Aaron Kamin / Marc Tanner
  • Highest UK Chart Position: #3
  • Weeks on Chart: 30

Formed in 1996 as Generation Gap, and then named as Next Door before settling on the name that stuck, LA based soft rockers The Calling, fronted by the baby faced yet gravelly voiced Alex Band (yes, that is his actual name) were looking to corner the same part of the market sewn up by the likes of Third Eye Blind, Matchbox Twenty and Train.

It was Ron Fair, the A&R executive also responsible for bringing the world Christina Aguilera, The Black Eyed Peas and The Pussycat Dolls, who signed them on the strength of their demos to RCA Records in 1999. But it was to be another three years at least before success finally arrived for them on both home turf and in the UK.

They were already somewhat familiar to UK audiences, as they had made a cameo appearance performing in a nightclub scene in the blockbuster movie Coyote Ugly, the soundtrack of which had memorably produced a massive number one hit for LeAnn Rimes with “Can’t Fight The Moonlight” in 2000.

One listen to “Wherever You Will Go” and it’s easy to see why they got signed as quickly as they did. A stirring, emotive power ballad, with an instantly memorable melody line and chorus, written by band member Aaron Kamin about his grandmother’s best friend passing away, it’s the kind of song that’s perhaps only rivalled by Savage Garden’s “Truly Madly Deeply” or Sixpence None The Richer’s “Kiss Me” for instant universal appeal.

It was a huge success upon its initial Stateside release in 2001, spending an incredible 23 consecutive weeks at number one in the Adult Top 40 of the Billboard charts, making it the second longest running such chart topper behind “Smooth” by Santana and Rob Thomas, as well as topping the chart in Italy, Poland and New Zealand.

Meanwhile here in the UK, it entered and peaked at #3 upon its release at the end of June 2002 and was never off the airwaves all summer. It would subsequently find a revival of sorts over a decade later in 2011, when singer-songwriter Charlene Soraia covered the song for use in a Twinings TV advert and promptly took the song back into the top 3. The Calling are still performing and touring to this day, but their debut hit is still the one they are most associated with to this day.

Don’t forget to follow our brand new playlist on Spotify – updated weekly so you never miss a song from the story of pop in 2002. And you can leave your memories of the songs below in the comments, Tweet us or message us on Instagram, using the hashtag #StoryofPop2002.

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