Girls Aloud’s chart history in the U.K. is nothing short of stunning. The British quintet — comprising Cheryl Cole, Nadine Coyle, Sarah Harding, Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh — was a nonstop, all-pop hit-making machine for 10 years straight. The group, assembled on the TV talent show “Popstars: The Rivals” in 2002, went on to claim 21 top 10 singles on the Official U.K. Singles Chart and six top 10 albums.
On March 21, the group announced that it was “the end of (their) incredible time together,” effectively indicating they were splitting up. Although the group never released any music in the United States, they were still familiar to Americans thanks to the wonders of social networking, YouTube, Twitter and the like.
Here’s a look back at some of Girls Aloud’s chart successes:
‘WHOLE LOTTA HISTORY’-MAKING: Among female groups, Girls Aloud holds the record for the most top 10 singles ever on the Official U.K. Singles chart. The quintet has registered 21 top 10 efforts, from their No. 1 debut “Sound of the Underground” in 2002 through the No. 2-peaking “Something New” in 2012. 20 of those singles were consecutive top 10s — a feat no female group has come close to matching.
FOUR NO. 1s: Girls Aloud logged four chart-topping singles on the Official U.K. Singles Chart with “Sound of the Underground,” a cover of the Pretenders’ “I’ll Stand By You” (2004), a collaboration cover of Run-DMC’s “Walk This Way” (with Sugababes, 2007) and the BRIT Award-winning “The Promise” (2008). Both covers were charitable efforts: “Stand” raised funds for the Children in Need charity, while “Walk” brought in cash for Comic Relief.
SIZZLING SELLERS: In terms of singles sales, the act is the biggest-selling girl group in the U.K. of the 21st century, according to the Official Charts Company. The five piece has shifted 4.3 million singles. Their best-seller is their debut hit, “Sound of the Underground,” with 653,000 sold.
ALBUM ACHIEVEMENTS: In their career, the act released five studio albums and two greatest hits packages. Of those, all but one reached the top 10 in the U.K., and two of them topped the tally. Combined, those albums have sold 4 million copies in the U.K., according to the Official Charts Company.
Here’s a look at Girls Aloud’s performance on the U.K. Albums Chart, along with their total U.K. sales (according to the Official Charts Company):
Year – Title – Peak Position – Sales to Date
2002 – Sound of the Underground – No. 2 – 368,000
2004 – What Will the Neighbours Say? – No. 6 – 599,000
2005 – Chemistry – No. 11 – 390,000
2006 – The Sound of Girls Aloud: The Greatest Hits – No. 1 – 1.2 million
2007 – Tangled Up – No. 4 – 505,000
2008 – Out of Control – No. 1 – 796,000
2012 – Ten – No. 9 – 156,000
Their biggest seller is the 2006 best-of package “The Sound of Girls Aloud: The Greatest Hits,” with 1.2 million sold. The group’s most recent release, “Ten,” their second greatest hits album, has moved 156,000.
SOLO SUCCESSES: All five members have recorded independently of Girls Aloud, to varying degrees of success on the charts.
Cheryl Cole was the first Aloud member to go solo, landing at No. 1 on the U.K. Albums Chart with “3 Words” in 2009. She claimed another No. 1 a year later with “Messy Little Raindrops.” Her third set, 2012’s “A Million Lights,” peaked at No. 2. She’s also claimed six top 10 singles, with three of those sailing to No. 1.
Nadine Coyle has so far released one album, 2010’s “Insatiable,” which was exclusively available via Tesco retailers in the U.K. The set debuted and peaked at No. 20 on the U.K. Albums Chart. Coyle is so far the only member of the act to have issued any music in the U.S.: she independently released the dance single “Sweetest High” in 2011 on her own Black Pen label.
Nicola Roberts was the third member to drop a solo album, as her “Cinderella’s Eyes” hit No. 17 in 2011. Kimberley Walsh’s debut set “Centre Stage” was released earlier this year and reached No. 18. The set is a covers project of memorable music from stage and screen. Only one member of the group, Sarah Harding, has yet to drop an album. She has, however, contributed songs to the soundtracks to “St. Trinian’s 2” and “Wild Child.”
WHAT ABOUT THE U.S.? – While Girls Aloud never properly released a single or album in the United States, a few of their releases are available to purchase digitally. Their first three studio albums, along with their first greatest hits set, are domestically available. Their combined digital song sales stand at 79,000 in the U.S. (according to Nielsen SoundScan), while those four albums have sold 8,000.