The Story of Pop: 2002 (Chapter 28)

It’s Thursday, it’s 9am, and this is The Story of Pop: 2002. Bringing you all the big UK chart hits from exactly 20 years ago. This week: a second consecutive number one for a Pop Idol runner up…

  • Artist: Gareth Gates
  • Song: Anyone Of Us (Stupid Mistake)
  • Released: 08/07/2002
  • Writers / Producers: Jörgen Elofsson / Per Magnusson / David Kreuger
  • Highest UK Chart Position: #1
  • Weeks on Chart: 16

Come the summer of 2002, and even though it was almost six months removed from the final of the first series of Pop Idol, still the debate was raging on between public, industry and media alike as to who was the “true” winner: Will Young or Gareth Gates.

It seems inconsequential to look back on now, when they both had an equal amount of success to this point, with both their debut singles after the show being long running and massive selling chart toppers that were the two biggest sellers of 2002 to that point (and would remain so until year’s end).

But in strictly commercial and wide appeal terms, for the short term the favour undoubtedly laid with Gareth. His version of “Unchained Melody” had stayed at number one a week longer than Will’s “Evergreen / Anything Is Possible“. And if you were in attendance at an open air gig or roadshow like Party In The Park, watching Saturday morning telly or happening upon the pages of any of the teen magazines around this time, he was there.

And with him came an army of – largely – female followers. Garethmania was in full swing and inescapable. A fan club was quickly opened, he signed endorsement deals with Pepsi and Wella hair care products (hey, those perfectly formed spikes weren’t going to style themselves) and he also landed himself a cameo role in Seeing Double, the big screen debut of his 19 Management stablemates S Club.

Crucially where the music was concerned, he was also the first out of himself and Will to make the leap from the covers that they’d both started their careers on to original material. But what many people may not realise about “Anyone Of Us (Stupid Mistake)”, is that it is actually also a cover. Admittedly, its source is obscure to UK audiences, but it was first recorded in Swedish under the title “Något som kan hända” by Mathias Holmgren, who was the winner of one of the first pop reality shows in Sweden, called Fame Factory.

It was written and produced by Jörgen Elofsson, Per Magnusson and David Kreuger, who were previously part of the Cheiron production team founded by Max Martin. They’d already done a lot of work with Westlife (including one of their number ones, “If I Let You Go”), so it was unsurprising that Simon Cowell had sourced some of their work for Gareth too.

Coming on like a cross between both ABBA and, in the words of Stylus Magazine, “Britney with a Y chromosome”, it’s a sweeping, melodramatic Europop midtempo, in which Gareth pleas for forgiveness after being caught cheating: “The situation got out of hand / I hope you understand / It can happen to anyone of us / Anyone you think of / Anyone can fall / Anyone can hurt someone they love / And hearts will break / Cause I made a stupid mistake”.

In that way of life imitating art, it would prove to be something he’d be saying in public almost a year later, when the media storm surrounding his affair with glamour model Katie Price (aka Jordan) would come to light. But in July 2002, there was very little that he could do wrong (aside from setting the video for this song at a masquerade ball on the canal in Venice. Any sensible ideas as to what relevance this bore to the song, answers on a Tweet sized postcard please).

The single duly charged to the top to give Gareth a second consecutive number one single, with yet another six figure sale of over 200,000 copies in its first week propelling him there. It hung on for three weeks at the summit in all and sold enough to ensure that both his first two singles were amongst the top 10 biggest selling singles of the year.

Next time we meet him in this series of course, he’ll be teaming up with Will for both a tour and another hit single – but that’s a story for September…

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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