Music

11 British Bands You Definitely Had On Your CD-Walkman In The ’00s

Fire up your throwback playlist.

British girl group Mis Teeq, circa 2002. (Photo by Tim Roney/Getty Images)
Tim Roney/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

I can picture it now: it's 2000-and-something, I’m dawdling on my way to school in a tatty uniform, ripped tights, and brand new Kicker shoes. I’m carrying a CD-walkman in my Jane Norman bag and my favourite CD is currently skipping on the same track. Ah, simpler times.

For those who grew up in the ’90s and ’00s, lugging around a portable walkman was the height of technology, and there were a lot of seriously good bands to listen to — call me biased, but the UK and Ireland produced the best. Were you a Boyzone fan, or more team Busted? All Saints or Mis-teeq? In a dance off, is it S Club 7’s moves you memorised, or Spice Girls routines that you knew off by heart? Perhaps the answer is all of the above!

As news of some of our favourite ’90s and ’00s throwbacks reuniting emerged this week – that’s Peter Andre, Vengaboys, Atomic Kitten, 5ive and more, getting together for a massively nostalgic pop concert planned for October this year – there really is no better time to indulge in your ultimate ’00s playlist.

From boy bands to girl bands, the ’00s were a significant era for British groups and, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you will remember all of this list. And let’s face it, the cheesier the better — after all, a song called Barbie Girl topped the charts in the late ’90s. Some may be considered guilty pleasures by today’s standards, but for kids who grew up in the ’90s and ’00s, top hits by these bands still sound so sweet.

To reminisce, here are 10 British bands you definitely had on your walkman in the 2000s.

5ive

Between Everybody Get Up, Keep On Movin’, and When The Lights Go Out, 5ive were the soundtrack to my childhood and my top-tier boyband crush — no arguments. From the over-gelled hairstyles to the baggy jeans, and questionable eyebrow ring, I was hooked. And boy, did they make you want to dance.

Steps

There’s an unspoken rule between British kids that whenever, and wherever Steps’ Tragedy starts playing, you stop what you’re doing, and perform the full routine with gusto.

Boyzone

When it comes to ballad-crooning boybands, Ireland has undoubtedly produced some of the best. Boyzone certainly knew how to get crowds’ arms swaying, kings of standing up from their stools on the key change, with classic hits like No Matter What.

B*Witched

B*Witched — the three Irish queens in double-denim — soundtracked the year of 1998 (and beyond) with their hit song C'est La Vie. The earworm dominated radio stations with its folksy tale of young love, and all these years later, I'm still wondering about that boy "sittin' in a tree"...

Westlife

Of course, Westlife is still going strong in 2021, but the late ’90s and ’00s were arguably their most significant era. Sure, with all-time classics like You Raise Me Up, the band were (and still are) largely popular with everyone’s mum. And yet, you can’t help but sing along to hits like Uptown Girl. Try it.

Atomic Kitten

Atomic Kitten’s Whole Again is still a karaoke banger all these years later. Although, back in the 2000s, I don’t think I fully understood just how profound the lyrics, “Baby you're the one, you still turn me on. You can make me whole again,” really were.

S Club 7

S Club 7 was more of a crowd than a band – they certainly wouldn’t meet the rule-of-six requirements in 2021. Still, the beloved group — Bradley McIntosh, Hannah Spearritt, Jo O'Meara, Jon Lee, Paul Cattermole, Rachel Stevens, and Tina Barrett — were the epitome of fun, catchy ’00s pop. Looking back, there really wasn’t a party quite like an S Club party.

All Saints

Comprising Melanie Blatt, Nicole Appleton, Natalie Appleton, and Shaznay Lewis, All Saints were tipped as the edgier version of the Spice Girls — remember the song Booty Call? Enough said. Songs including Pure Shores, Never Ever (with the truly epic spoken word intro), and Under The Bridge (the very cool Red Hot Chilli Peppers cover) ensured they achieved that iconic British girlband status.

Mis-teeq

I never quite understood what “so so scandalous” meant back in the day, but that didn’t stop the track getting endless repeats on my Walkman. The girl band will forever have a place in my heart because, well, I wanted to be Alesha Dixon in the ’00s. Mis-teeq — made up of the now megastar, and Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon, plus Su-Elise Nash, and Sabrina Washington — boasted a solid collection of garage-meets-RnB hits that most definitely still get played in the UK rave scene to this day.

Spice Girls

It’s obvious. Sure. But, were you really a child of the ’90s if you weren’t utterly obsessed with the Spice Girls? By the time I first got my CD Walkman, Ginger Spice had already left the group (still burns to this day), and the Spice Girls were releasing some seriously good tunes as a rebranded foursome. Who could forget the leather-luxe phase when they brought out the single Holler? Truly epic.

Busted

Year 3000, What I Go To School For, Crashed The Wedding... need I go on? Busted were the UK’s pop-punk faves before McFly came onto the scene. The band (Matt Willis, James Bourne and Charlie Simpson) only produced two albums, but they are absolute classics.