Even on a cold, wet winter’s day in the UK, you’ve got to be in a pretty glum place not to feel uplifted by S Club 7’s “Reach” (often called “Reach For Stars”). It makes you feel summer has come back early…although in truth you’re only getting warmer because the heated seats in your car have kicked in…
I’m not going to pretend “Reach” is the most intellectually compelling pop song ever to hit the UK charts, but it’s an insatiably happy song and, let’s face it, we could all do with one of those every now and then. So I love it.
Writing about S Club 7 and “Reach” also allows me to pay tribute to the songwriting skills of Cathy Dennis, who wrote “Reach” along with Republica’s (“Ready To Go”) Andy Todd.
A “behind the scenes” songwriter, Cathy Dennis isn’t a name most people know, but she was responsible for some of the biggest selling songs of the early 21st Century — most recently with Swedish electronic duo Galantis, for whom she co-wrote hits like the very catchy “Runaway (U & I)”…https://youtu.be/5XR7naZ_zZA ).
Cathy Dennis also had a reasonably successful singing career before moving into full-time songwriting — I always enjoyed her lovely cover of The Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset”, for example (here if you’d like a listen… https://youtu.be/SVs5Lx_kFJE)
Despite writing and performing some great songs during the on-stage part of her career, Cathy Dennis didn’t get the traction as a performer she probably deserved. But she really hit pay-dirt with her songwriting career.
Even if you don’t know Cathy Dennis’ name, you’ll know Kylie Minogue’s insanely catchy “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” (which went to Number One around the world won’t get out of your head all day now I’ve mentioned it), “Toxic” by Britney Spears and “I Kissed A Girl” by Katy Perry…all of which she co-wrote.
All told, Cathy Dennis had a hand in eight UK Number One records and has won five Ivor Novello Awards over the years. For someone who isn’t exactly in the public eye, her songs are still regularly played around the world today…in the case of “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” 20 years after its initial release. (Her co-writer, former Mud guitarist Rob Davis, also needs his share of credit for that stand-out composition…on the surface it’s a very simple song, but it’s a hugely…