Feb 18

GARETH GATES – “Anyone Of Us (Stupid Mistake)”

Popular18 comments • 5,835 views

#931, 20th July 2002

gates anyoneIf you’re going to apologise for infidelity, “it could happen to anyone” is not the best starting point, but in its very callowness this is a much more suitable song for Gareth Gates than any of the other stuff he was handed. Gates’ selling point – the reason he’d almost won – was his teen idol innocence, a perception of naivety which gave the tabloids a stereotype-fuelled field day when he had a fling with Katie Price.

The temptation succumbed to by the bewitched and befuddled Gates in “Anyone Of Us” sounds less a Romp with Jordan, more an ill-advised snog. Unlike “Unchained Melody”, which was a song designed to give teenage hormone rushes the respectable coating of adult romance, “Anyone Of Us” lets boys be boys: confused, horny, regretful, dumb. It’s catchy, but nobody’s taken much effort to make it sound good – this is production-line stuff, down to the stardust swooshes and icky Spanish guitars. But it’s the one time Gates is allowed to play to his strengths, and I’ve always been fond of it for that.



  1. 1
    JLucas on 1 Feb 2018 #

    I’ve always had a real soft spot for this too. With a few lyric twists it could easily be a pre-Slave 4 U Britney Spears single. Run of the mill, sure, but I’m a sucker for that Swedish pop song construction, with those little flamenco licks just before the chorus, the maddeningly hummable chorus and of course the wonderfully of its time moment where he randomly starts howling before the final chorus.

    “It can happen to… WOOOOOOOOOAH!”

    8, for succeeding absolutely within the framework of its own modest ambitions.

  2. 2
    AMZ1981 on 1 Feb 2018 #

    Anyone Of Us is a rare beast; an original song written for a reality TV contestant that actually sounds like somebody took some care and attention over it. Indeed that effort comes across in all respects as it suits the image Gareth Gates was being moulded into and generally sounds well put together and produced. It is a strong song and deserves to be better remembered that it actually is.

    Which takes me on to its place in the Will vs Gareth story. Will had narrowly edged the first `set`; Evergreen had outsold Unchained Melody despite speculation that Gareth might do better. The second set was a clear win for Gareth despite Light My Fire being no failure and certainly outperforming The Way To Your Love (the only real comparison point at that time). And this is the thing. Will Young was a surprise winner and not the one the puppet masters were expecting or indeed wanted. Even then there was no reason why Gareth couldn’t have the stellar pop career that was designed for him and Anyone Of Us suggested that was about to happen.

    And yet, and yet. If we ignore the ultimately irrelevant bunny that marks our next encounter with Will and Gareth, Will promptly wins round 3 with a number 2 beating Gareth’s number 5. Even by the point in late 03 when Will played his ace Gareth Gates was already fading from view. You have to wonder whether they considered it Anyone Of Us job done or whether they simply never found the right song for Gareth again.

  3. 3
    Lee Saunders on 2 Feb 2018 #

    Just about the most tolerable Gareth single for me. The song itself, and even the music, are pleasant – reminds me of A1 – but the production makes it seem very flat in hindsight. Typically if I say something sounds like 2002 then I mean that as a good thing but this hasn’t travelled well. 6

    Much belated hits appearance watch(?): Featured on Top of the Pops Spring 2003!

  4. 4
    hardtogethits on 2 Feb 2018 #

    Lest we forget, Gates’ unique selling point was – and I tread carefully here – his speech disorder.

    Although the appeal of this particular record is completely lost on me, I am always curious about songs and recordings that, almost in defiance of their own characteristics, can achieve international appeal. This, to my surprise, was a big hit in Europe.

  5. 5
    Edward Still on 2 Feb 2018 #

    There’s something especially Cowell-y in making sure the words of both hooks were included in the title. It works though, as the song earwormed back instantly after reading, even at a decade and a half’s remove. I’ll give it a 3 just for that.

  6. 6
    hardtogethits on 3 Feb 2018 #

    And another thing! I was puzzled but no-one seem to pick up on the stupid mistake in the title. I thought the bit in the brackets referred to the bit outside the brackets – are there any other examples of this, other than “Winker’s Song (misprint)”?

  7. 7
    ThePensmith on 3 Feb 2018 #

    Of all Gareth’s singles, this is the one I have most familiarity with, as my copy of Hits 53 had it as CD1, Track 1 – and with an enhanced CD Rom video to boot to view it on a PC. I agree completely with you JLucas – I love the melodramatic, nay almost ABBA-esque production on this. Gareth’s random HAAAAAARRRRRGGGHHH bit at the key change is indeed something to behold. Slightly baffling Masquerade ball video set in Venice though. A 7, maybe an 8 for me depending on when I hear it.

    As far as I’m aware though Tom, the Katie Price/Jordan fling (or at least, it becoming public knowledge) didn’t happen until some months after this hit number one. I seem to remember her at the TOTP Awards in November that year presenting an award to someone and beforehand saying ‘Never trust a pop idol’ with all the subtlety she usually imparts to such matters. Thankfully we are spared discussing one of her own many attempts to try and launch a ‘singing’ career.

    With hindsight, that whole thing happening to Gareth seems pretty trivial now compared to recent years. But I think as we’ve already seen with some previous bunny holders – Billie Piper dating Ritchie 5ive and receiving a volley of hatemail/stalkers in the wake of doing so, for instance – if your boyfriend/girlfriend’s audience is of a certain demographic, it’s almost impossible to become anything less than a playground hate figure in their eyes when you start dating them – even if you’re not necessarily in the same business as them.

    Only in this case it was the reverse. Gareth, who was every teenage girl’s heartthrob in 2002, wasn’t say, dating a member of Atomic Kitten as say, Lee from Blue or Br(i)yan from Westlife had. Who knows how his career might have held up if that’d been the case. But once you shatter the perfect illusion to your thousands of devotees – and let’s be honest, a one night stand with someone like Katie Price and the reputation she has is a hell of a way to shatter it – then your career is on a downward spiral from there. It was one factor in making his bunny achieving days as short lived as they were, but I believe there were several others as we’ll get onto later.

    It’s well known that Hugh Goldsmith, founder of Innocent Records who launched both Billie and Atomic Kitten used to read the riot act of ‘Don’t date a boyband member’ (which fell on deaf ears of both Billie and Kerry Katona, and to a lesser extent Liz McClarnon). One has to wonder if a similar one was in place for boybands and solo stars when they got signed of ‘Don’t sleep with a glamour model’ after this?

    #2 watch: Scooter again for its first two weeks which we discussed on Elvis vs JXL. The third and final week of ‘Anyone of Us’ at the top saw S Club Juniors play chart bridesmaids again with their second release ‘Automatic High’. I dare say that was the best single their senior counterparts never recorded – very ‘You’re My Number One’-esque in style with the clip clop Motown drum riff at the start especially.

  8. 8
    Lee Saunders on 5 Feb 2018 #

    Okay, some chart entries which I want to note.

    Week 1
    14: Tim Deluxe – It Just Won’t Do – ahhh a summer classic, or at least it has been in the past, as I haven’t heard it in a while. The last time I heard it I remember finding it surprising how deep the bass was in the chorus (?)
    25: Fischerspooner – Emerge – Presumably the first electroclash song to chart and also the best. Some legal controversy over the term ‘electroclash’ meant that they had to be referred to as ‘electropop pioneers’ instead or something like that when they appeared on TOTP

    Week 3
    21: Doves – Pounding – a brief Doves discussion in the Elvis vs JXL thread. Lovely song anyhow. Didn’t realise it charted until the chart listed as 28 July 2002…it had already appeared on Now 52
    25: Primal Scream – Miss Lucifer – PS follow one of my 10 favourite albums ever with one of their finest slabs of glam-disco-rock, yet heralding off an album that doesn’t get enough play by me. Kerrang liked this enough to put it on Kerrang: The Album 4
    27: The Streets – Weak Become Heroes – Their first and best of Skinner’s bittersweet songs. His story is of discovering raves in 1995 in particular, so the same year as Sorted for E’s and Wizz, but where that latter song was a newcomer ultimately failing to fit in, Skinner hit it off so much that, 7 years later, the same piano still loops over and over

  9. 9
    wichitalineman on 5 Feb 2018 #

    Things I don’t like about AOU(SM):
    1. The verse sounding so much like I Want It that Way
    2. The brackets – surely it should be called one thing or the other! Though it is fun to append (Stupid Mistake) to other random song titles.
    Otherwise, prodn. touches like the obligatory Spanish guitar and clunking key change aside, this is a pretty pop ballad that could have come out any time since the early 70s – Dollar or David Cassidy could have made hay with it.

  10. 10
    Patrick on 5 Feb 2018 #

    I’m sure – not 100% sure – that it should have been “Any One” not “Anyone”.

    @8: Weak Become Heroes is just wonderful. The Streets’ finest hour and I like them/him a lot in general.

  11. 11
    hardtogethits on 5 Feb 2018 #

    #10 Patrick, you’re right. That’s what I was saying at #6. The use of “Anyone” is a stupid mistake.

  12. 12
    weej on 7 Feb 2018 #

    Shortly after reading this post, I somehow lost something worth a couple of hundred quid and had to pay for it. The chorus has consequently been living in my subconscious and mocking me for the last few days.

  13. 13
    Ed on 8 Feb 2018 #

    #6 – Closest I can get is Talking Heads’ This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody), but there it’s the tune that is being criticised, not the song title

  14. 14
    Mark G on 9 Feb 2018 #

    #13 I think that’s a working title for the tune in brackets, supplanted by the title of the lyrics.

    Stereolab used to keep all their working tune titles, apart from “Broken Face (The Noise Of Carpet)” which was clearly labelled as a likely US hit so got retitled so as not to confuse the MTV crowd.

  15. 15
    wichitalineman on 9 Feb 2018 #

    Re 11: Ah. Now I get it.

  16. 16
    Shiny Dave on 10 Feb 2018 #

    I remarked that Gareth’s take on Unchained Melody was comfortably less than the sum of its parts, because what Gareth brings to the table is a wide-eyed innocence in both physical and vocal presence. That’s not a bad thing, but you’d never have known it from how out of his depth he was on that initial single.

    Here’s the pop machine actually working: an awkwardly teenage theme, a catchy song that genuinely suits Gareth as a singer, produced in the style of Cheiron’s B-grade work with Westlife and accordingly with a high enough tempo to stand out from what the Irish Model was now very much all about, if indeed it ever wasn’t. It’s no classic, but it was never meant to be, and Gareth was the sort of pop star who you’d think could be counted on to front a bunch of good singles without ever making a great one.

    This should have been a career template, or at least one to be reused on multiple singles. As we’ll see in Popular to come, it wasn’t, so no wonder Will had the more enduring career. In the meantime, this singular example of what Gareth should have stood for as a pop brand is well worth a strong 6 for ticking all the pop boxes without ever threatening to be a classic.

  17. 17
    lonepilgrim on 12 Feb 2018 #

    Maybe it’s the Venice setting of the video but I couldn’t help thinking that this would mashup smoothly with ‘Like A Virgin’ – it would certainly make it a lot more palatable to my ears. This is just too insipid for me.

  18. 18
    Gareth Parker on 5 Jun 2021 #

    Routine stuff from Gates, feels like it goes on a bit too long as well. 3/10 here.

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