|Single by Steps|
|from the album Step One|
|B-side||"Words of Wisdom"|
|Studio||PWL Studios (Manchester)|
|Steps singles chronology|
"5,6,7,8" is a song by British group Steps from their debut studio album, Step One (1998). It is a techno-pop song written by Barry Upton and Steve Crosby, and produced by Karl Twigg, Mark Topham and Pete Waterman. It was released as their debut single in November 1997 following their being put together after each group member responded to a magazine advert looking for people to audition to be in a pop band. It garnered a negative review from Peter Robinson of NME and peaked at number 14 on the UK Singles Chart – one of their lowest chart positions – but has had the third-highest sales of any single of their career in the United Kingdom, selling 365,000 copies and receiving 3,440,000 streams as of March 2017. "5,6,7,8" peaked at number one in Australia and reached the top five in Belgium and New Zealand. Its accompanying music video was shot on a beach and features the group driving quad bikes and dancing in a bar. "5,6,7,8" was performed on their sixth concert tour, The Ultimate Tour, in 2012.
Background and release
Steps were put together in 1997 following an advert in a magazine, The Stage, asking for applicants to audition for a place in a pop band. Out of the thousands who applied, Lee Latchford-Evans, Lisa Scott-Lee, Faye Tozer, Claire Richards and Ian "H" Watkins were successful in securing a place in the band. "5,6,7,8" is a techno-pop song with elements of country-pop which was written by Barry Upton and Steve Crosby, and produced by Karl Twigg, Mark Topham and Pete Waterman, and lasts for a duration of three minutes, 22 seconds. Lacthford-Evans performs the majority of the song, while Scott-Lee sing the middle 8, or bridge. It was recorded at PWL Studios in Manchester, England, and mixed by Lee Sharma at the same venue. Upton also arranged the track and played the guitar, while the banjo, violin, drums and keyboards were played by Sean Lyon, Chris Haigh, Chris McDonnell and Twigg, respectively.
Al Unsworth and Bradlee Spreadborough served as the assistant engineers and it was mastered at Transfermation Studios in London, England. "5,6,7,8" features all of the band members on lead vocals except for Ian "H" Watkins, who only performs background vocals. Various versions of the song were included on the CD single in the United Kingdom, Europe and Japan, including an extended version, an instrumental and a remix by W.I.P.; the CD single in the United Kingdom and Europe also included the B-side, "Words of Wisdom", which was also written by Upton and Crosby. It was released in the United Kingdom in November 1997, and it was later included on their first greatest hits album, Gold: Greatest Hits (2001), the W.I.P. remix on their first compilation album The Last Dance (2002) and their third greatest hits album, The Ultimate Collection (2011).
Critically, "5,6,7,8" garnered a negative review from Peter Robinson of NME in 2001. In his review of Gold: Greatest Hits, he wrote "Steps were only signed for one single – with good reason, for '5,6,7,8' was shit of the very highest order." Similarly, Digital Spy writer Robert Copsey wrote that retrospectively, "5,6,7,8" was a "bizarre" choice of lead single in his review of The Ultimate Collection in 2011. In a review of Steps best-selling songs for the Official Charts Company in March 2017, Copsey noted how "5,6,7,8" is distinctly different from the rest of their discography in terms of its techno-pop genre, line dancing lyrics and lack of lead vocals solely from Claire Richards.
Commercially, "5,6,7,8" debuted at number 18 on the UK Singles Chart on 16 November 1997, and peaked at number 14 in its eighth week on 10 January 1998. It spent a further nine weeks on the chart from January through to March, and re-entered the chart for one week at number 100 on 18 April 1997. Altogether, "5,6,7,8" spent 18 non-consecutive weeks on the UK Singles Chart, 10 of which were in the top 20. Their first top 40 hit, "5,6,7,8" was the only song of their following fourteen singles not to chart within the top 10. It is Steps third-highest selling song in their career in the United Kingdom, with sales of 365,000 copies, and is their most streamed track with 3,440,000 plays. It was certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry on 16 January 1998 for shipments of 200,000 copies, and certified gold 19 years later on 17 March 2017 for shipments and streams exceeding 400,000 copies. Copsey added that it is very rare for a pop band to continue being given a second opportunity to release more music following a top 20 debut.
Set primarily on a beach, the accompanying music video for "5,6,7,8" opens with Latchford-Evans and Watkins riding quad bikes along the beach while Scott-Lee, Tozer and Richards driving a car on the road next to them, with close-ups of each of the female singers performing the chorus. It is followed by a repetition of the chorus whereby all of the members perform a line dancing routine, which was very popular at the time of its release, to the music outside a bar on the beach. Latchford, with Watkins walking slightly behind him from the beach to the bar, performs the first verse where the chorus and dance routine is once again repeated. The second verse features clips of Latchford singing while playing a game of snooker while Watkins plays on the table football. For the final chorus, the group perform the dance routine for a final time, however the setting has changed to night time and inside a different bar. The official music video has achieved 14.8 million views on YouTube as of August 2017. "5,6,7,8" was included on Steps sixth concert tour, The Ultimate Tour, in 2012. Latchford-Evans has since stated that the band does not like performing the song, but they find new ways of performing it live as they know that it is a fan-favourite.
Formats and track listings
Album version – Step One
CD single – Japan
Credits and personnel
Credits adapted from the liner notes of Step One.
B-side: "Words of Wisdom"
Credits adapted from the liner notes of "5,6,7,8".
Charts and certifications
- Akenny, Jason. "Steps". Billboard. Archived from the original on 5 August 2017. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
- Copsey, Rob (14 March 2017). "Steps' biggest selling singles revealed". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 5 August 2017. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
- Copsey, Robert (11 October 2011). "Steps: 'The Ultimate Collection' – Album review". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 7 August 2017. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
- "Step One". iTunes Store. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
- Step One (Liner notes). Steps. Jive Records, EBUL. 1998. 0519112.
- Flint, Hannah (22 March 2017). "Steps Lee Latchford-Evans says they really don't want to perform debut single '5, 6, 7, 8' on tour". OK!. Archived from the original on 23 August 2017. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
- Steps "5,6,7,8" (CD) (Liner notes). Steps. Rhythm Republic. 1998. RRCD-85214.
- Steps "5,6,7,8" (Song) (Liner notes). Steps. Jive (Zomba). 1998. 0517502.
- Steps "5,6,7,8" (CD) (Liner notes). Steps. Ebul. 1997. 0517502.
- Gold: Greatest Hits (Liner notes). Steps. Zomba Records. 2001. 9201412.
- The Last Dance (Liner notes). Steps. Jive Records. 2002. 9201502.
- The Ultimate Collection (Liner notes). Steps. Sony. 2011.
- Robinson, Peter. "Steps : Gold-Greatest Hits". NME. Archived from the original on 5 August 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
- "Official Singles Chart Top 100 16 November 1997 – 22 November 1997". Official Charts Company. 16 November 1997. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
- "5,6,7,8 Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
- Myers, Justin (15 March 2014). "Official Charts Pop Gem #49: Steps – One For Sorrow". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 11 May 2017. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- "British single certifications – Steps – 5,6,7,8". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 15 March 2017. Enter 5,6,7,8 in the search field and then press Enter.
- Barr, Gordon (9 April 2012). "Review: Steps at Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle". Chronicle Live. Archived from the original on 5 August 2017. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
- "5,6,7,8" (Liner notes). Steps. Jive Records, EBUL. 1997. 0597502.
- "ARIA Charts – End of Year Charts – Top 100 Singles 1998". Australian Recording Industry Association. 1998. Retrieved 27 April 2017.