Stereo MCs are an English electronic dance group, which formed in Clapham, London, in 1985. They are best known worldwide for their 1992 transatlantic Top 20 hit single, "Connected". The book Guinness Rockopedia described them as "the big boys of British rap".
Vocalist Rob Birch and DJ/producer Nick Hallam founded their Gee Street recording studio and record label with money they were given to leave their London flat and, dispensing with using a backing band, travelled to early gigs on public transport.
When Gee Street attracted the attention of 4th & Broadway, they recorded the debut Stereo MCs' album 33-45-78 (1989) on a shoestring budget with DJ Cesare, drummer Owen If and backing vocalist and Cath Coffey. In 1990, "Elevate My Mind" by the Stereos was the first British hip hop single to reach the US R&B chart. Having supported the Happy Mondays on a US tour, in the emerging UK indie dance scene, it took an alliance with the Jungle Brothers, to ensure chart success for Supernatural (1990).Remix work for U2, PM Dawn, Queen Latifah, Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, Monie Love and Electronic all followed.
They are still sought-after producers, with most of their remixes being done under the name Ultimatum.
One of their most notable remixes was a remix for Madonna's hit single "Frozen". Madonna went on to use it on her 2001 "Drowned World Tour".
Their live band included singers Andrea Bedassie and Verona Davis, and they were one of the few hip hop outfits to play rock music festivals at the time. 1992's mainstream breakthrough Connected, a UK Albums Chart # 2, contained the hit singles "Connected", "Step It Up", "Creation", and "Ground Level" and won them BRIT Awards for Best Group and Best Album. Hallam and Birch then created the music publishing firm, Spirit Songs, which signed Finley Quaye.
However the follow-up to Connected did not appear for almost a decade. Further remix duties for Madonna ("Frozen"), and the Jungle Brothers ("Jungle Brother") in 1998, kept the Stereo MCs name in the limelight.
In 2000, they released a DJ mix for Studio !K7's DJ-Kicks series and remixed another song for Madonna, ("Music"). The following year saw the release of Deep Down & Dirty, followed by a tour, including slots opening for the recently re-united Jane's Addiction.
Their sixth studio album, Double Bubble, was released in July 2008, followed by their seventh, Emperor's Nightingale in August 2011. In December 2008, they supported Madness at the O2 Arena in London.
- 'The Head' - born Nick Hallam, 11 June 1960, Nottingham, England.
- 'Rob B' - born Robert Charles Birch, 11 June 1961, Ruddington, Nottinghamshire, England.
- 'Owen If' - born Ian Frederick Rossiter, 20 March 1959, Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales.
- The Stereo MCs [EP] (1989) †
- 33-45-78 (July 1989)
- Supernatural (September 1990)
- Connected (October 1992) #2 UK
- DJ-Kicks: Stereo MCs (mixed by the Stereo MCs) (2000)
- Deep Down & Dirty (Stereo MC album) (2001) #17 UK
- Retroactive (2002) (best of compilation album)
- Paradise (2005)
- Live at the BBC (2008)
- Double Bubble (2008)
- Emperor´s Nightingale (August, 26th, 2011)
† This EP was written, produced and composed by the Stereo MCs and released on Island Records. The songs would later appear on their first album. The tracklisting is as follows:
- "What Is Soul?" (sampled Ben E. King's "What Is Soul?", David Byrne and Brian Eno's "Regiment" and Talking Heads' "Once In A Lifetime")
- "On 33" (sampled George Clinton's "Atomic Dog" and Deep Purple's "And The Address")
- "Bring It On"
- "Gee Street" (sampled Rose Royce's "6 O'Clock DJ")
- "Move It" (March 1988) – Stereo MCs and DJ Cesare
- "What is Soul?" (October 1988)
- "On 33" (June 1989)
- "Lyrical Machine" (August 1989)
- "Elevate My Mind" (September 1990) #74 UK #39 US
- "Lost in Music" (March 1991) #46 UK
- "Connected" (September 1992) #18 UK, #20 US, #5 US Modern Rock
- "Step It Up" (November 1992) #12 UK, #58 US, #16 US Modern Rock
- "Ground Level" (February 1993) #19 UK
- "Creation" (May 1993) #19 UK
- "Deep Down and Dirty" (2001) #17 UK
- "We Belong in This World Together" (2001) #59 UK
- "Warhead" (2005)
- "Paradise" (2005)
- "Black Gold" (2008)
- "Boy" (feat. Jamie Cullum) (2011)
Song appearances in other media
- "Deep Down & Dirty" in videogame 2001 Project Gotham Racing
- "Elevate My Mind" was used on the soundtrack of Bad Company (1995) starring Laurence Fishburne, Ellen Barkin, and Frank Langella.
- The song "Sofisticated," from Deep Down & Dirty, has been used in a series of commercials for Pizza Hut. In some commercials, the original keyboard piano theme is kept, though the other instrumentation is different, presumably newly written by other musicians for the advertisements.
- "Connected" was used on the soundtrack for the American film, Hackers. It was also used on the Carphone Warehouse adverts in the 1990s. In addition, "Connected" was used as the trailer theme for the film Blow. It was also featured on the TV series Bones in the 2011 episode "The Finder." The song also can be heard in video game The Darkness II during the challenge from Dolfo to shoot as many bottles as quickly as possible on the terrace of your Mansion.
- The song "Step It Up" was used in the comedy films Wayne's World 2, Alien Autopsy and on the Halifax adverts in 2010.
- "We Belong In This World Together" was used in a Target television advertisement in 2008.
- The song "Wake Up" Appeared in the Shopping soundtrack and on the compilation album of film soundtrack songs, Trackspotting.
- "We Belong In This World Together" was used in a Telus television advertisement in 2009, and in a television advertisement for the NBC show Heroes in 2009.
Deep, Down and Dirty was featured on the first season of HBO's Six Feet Under and can be found on the show's first soundtrack release of 2002.
- List of number-one dance hits (United States)
- List of artists who reached number one on the US Dance chart
- - Official site (requires flash)