OK, admit it – how many of you deliberately ripped your jeans and threaded a Grolsch bottle top through your DMs when Bros hit the British music charts in the late 1980s? Even if you personally didn’t, thousands of teenage girls did, copying their idols and annoying their parents who all unanimously said the same thing: ‘But I paid good money for those brand new jeans!’
With scenes drawing parallel to the hysteria that met the Beatles every time they stepped outside, Bros enjoyed a crazy and chaotic three years at the top of the music charts with screaming fans – the self-styled Brosettes – sobbing with excitement everywhere they went. Then, as quick as it had started, it stopped.
Bros formed in 1986 and were made up of heartthrob identical twins Matt and Luke Goss, and ‘the other one’, Craig Logan. They were at school together in Camberley, Surrey and met when Matt and Luke approached Logan after leaving Blue, the band they were in at the time. Craig was in a band called Stillbrook and the Goss brothers suggested that the three of them instead form their own group. With Matt as the vocalist, Luke on drums and Craig on bass Bros was born.
With the name decided (which come on, must have left Logan feeling a tiny bit left out, no matter how many times Matt and Luke said ‘No, no Craig – you’re just like our brother man,’) the band was signed by CBS, and released their first single, I Owe You Nothing in 1987. It didn’t get off to a promising start; hitting the dizzy heights of number 88 in the UK charts.
To ensure the next single got to the top, the band’s manager Tom Watkins (who also used to manage the Pet Shop Boys, and later on, East 17. And Martine McCutcheon, but hey, you can’t be successful all the time…) and the publicity machine at CBS went into overdrive. Trading heavily on the image of the band and the hormones of teenage girls, the subsequent huge promotion of Bros meant that When Will I Be Famous, which was released the same year, went to number 2 and spent 16 weeks in the Top 40. The Bros frenzy had begun.
Drop the Boy also took the number 2 slot when it was released in 1988 and a re-release of I Owe You Nothing righted the previous wrong and gave Bros their first number one. Album Push continued to emphasise their popularity, selling 4.5 million copies worldwide and going 4 times platinum. They were, for a while at least, the biggest band in the UK. Two other singles were released in 1988: I Quit and Cat Among the Pigeons (reaching number 4 and 2 respectively). The Global Push Tour of 1989 took in the UK and Europe (La Brosettes perhaps?) and Bros merchandise sold by the skip load.
Despite their massive success, or perhaps because of, it became too much for Logan. He has said in later interviews that he didn’t enjoy the fame, and, suffering from burn out at the tender age of 19 he left the group in early 1989. In a sour twist to the glittering path they had been on he then spent months in the High Court, contesting the Goss twins and his former management for what he felt was due to him. He fought six legal actions and with the guidance of his lawyers, won them all. This experience gave him an interest in the business side of the music industry, and he went on to a highly successful career as a songwriter and manager (at the age of 20 he started managing Kim Appleby and was also nominated for an Ivor Novello award for her single ‘Don’t Worry’). He became EMI’s VP of International at 25, and during this time he worked with Robbie Williams, Tina Turner and Paul McCartney. In 1999 he left EMI, and began working with artist manager Roger Davies. Between them they oversaw music releases and worldwide tours for Tina Turner, Sade and Joe Cocker amongst others. Logan is also credited for Pink’s career after signing her and helping her to achieve over 30 million sales. In 2006 he joined SonyBMG, launching acts such as The Hoosiers and Newton Faulkner. In 2010 he started his own company, Logan Media Entertainment which now has offices in LA and London. Luke and Matt continued as Bros, releasing two further albums: The Time, which went to number 4 in 1989, and Changing Faces, which got to number 18 in 1991, and went on another tour, before calling it a day in 1992.
Since then, Luke has tried out another musical venture as Luke Goss and the Band of Thieves, before writing an autobiography and moving into a semi-successful acting career in both film and the theatre. Matt carried on singing and song writing and has sold over 5 million records worldwide under his own name, as well as writing his autobiography and a children’s book. He now plays live, award-winning and constantly sold-out shows in Las Vegas. There was a buzz in 2008 around Bros reforming, when Radio 1 DJ Carl Sharrock told listeners that the group had spoken about getting back together. Aged Brosettes the country over started furiously drinking beer and ripping their jeans again, but unfortunately in September 2010 Matt broke their hearts by saying that the moment had passed.
The first three hit singles are probably the only ones that anybody other than die-hard fans remembers, but for just a few short years, Bros realised the answer to their question ‘When Will I Be Famous?’