Kim Wilde

Kim Wilde

Infobox Musical artist
Name = Kim Wilde

Img_capt = Kim Wilde performing in 2007
Img_size =
Landscape =
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Kim Smith
Alias =
Born = birth date and age|1960|11|18
Died =
Origin = Chiswick, West London, England
Genre = Pop, New wave, Rock, Dance
Occupation = Vocalist, Songwriter
Years_active = 1981–present
Label = RAK Records, MCA Records, EMI
Associated_acts =
URL = []

Kim Wilde (born Kim Smith, November 18, 1960 in Chiswick, West London) is an English pop singer, professional gardener and pop cultural figure.

She burst onto the music scene in 1981 with the new wave classic "Kids in America", which hit number two in the UK Singles Chart. Major U.S. success eluded her until 1987, when she topped the charts with her version of The Supremes' hit "You Keep Me Hangin' On". Since 1998, Wilde had an alternative career as a gardener, whilst still being active in music.

Early life

Kim Smith was born in November 1960, the first child of 1950s rock 'n' roller Marty Wilde (real name Reginald Smith) and Joyce Baker, formerly of the British singing and dancing group The Vernons Girls.

As a child, she attended Oakfield Preparatory School, Dulwich. She moved with her family to Hertfordshire at the age of nine, where she was educated at Tewin School and later Presdales School, Ware, before completing a foundation course at St Albans College of Art & Design in 1980. [ [ The Official Fan Club for Kim Wilde Introductory Booklet, 1981, page 4] ]

In 1980, at age twenty, Wilde was signed to Mickie Most's RAK Records.

The RAK years

Wilde released her debut single "Kids in America" in January 1981. It was an instant success, reaching number two in the UK Singles Chart and scaling the Top 5 in other important markets such as Germany, France and Australia [David Kent (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970 - 1992. Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W.] . Although it achieved only moderate success in the U.S., peaking at number 25 when belatedly released in 1982, it is often regarded today as Wilde's signature song.

Her debut album "Kim Wilde" repeated the success of the single, spawning two further hits in "Chequered Love" (Top 5 in the UK, France, Australia and Germany) and the UK-only single "Water on Glass". It was followed in 1982 by another million selling Fact|date=July 2008 album, "Select", led by the synthesizer-driven mid tempo "Cambodia" and "View From a Bridge". Both were Number 1 hits in France and reached Top 10 positions in Germany and Australia. In France, "Cambodia" sold more than 1 million copies Fact|date=July 2008.

At the time there was some controversy about Wilde's hesitation to do live concerts [ [ Kim Wilde taking different route to top : Word-of-mouth, Personal Promotions, Not Live Shows build sales, Billboard (USA), September 19, 1981] ] . Her first concerts in September 1982 took place in Denmark [ [ 1200 Wild Wilde-friends, Sjællands Tidende (Denmark), September 11, 1982] ] , before embarking on a UK-wide tour in October [ [ Finally: Kim on tour, Veronica (Netherlands), October 2, 1982] ] .

Wilde's third album, "Catch As Catch Can" (1983) was a relative failure. The first single from the album, "Love Blonde", was another success in France and Scandinavia, but failed to have major success in other important markets. The failure of the album led her to her leaving RAK and sign with MCA Records in the summer of 1984.

The MCA years

Her first MCA album "Teases & Dares" was again relatively overlooked in her home country, but fared better in Germany, France and Scandinavia as well as scoring another German Top 10 single with "The Second Time". The video for this song appeared in an episode of the 1980s TV hit "Knight rider" in 1985. [ [ Wilde Life Encyclopedia] ] . The second single, "The Touch" wasn't a big success, but the third single, the rockabilly "Rage to Love" finally hit again the UK Top 20 in 1985.

All of Wilde's songs up to this point, including all her major hits, had been written by her father Marty and brother, Ricki Wilde. On "Teases & Dares", she began contributing herself to the writing, penning two songs on her own. ´

Meanwhile, Wilde had embarked on three European concert tours (1983, 85 & 86). At this time she had much more records success on the European continent than in her native UK.

On her fifth album, 1986's "Another Step", Wilde wrote or co-wrote most of the songs. The album's lead single "Schoolgirl" flopped in Europe and Australia — but Wilde's fortunes improved in spectacular fashion with the album's second single, a remake of The Supremes classic "You Keep Me Hangin' On". After topping the charts in Australia and Canada and peaking at number two in the UK, it became a U.S. number one single in 1987. With that hit, she became the fifth U.K. solo female artist to ever top the U.S. Hot 100, following Petula Clark, Lulu, Sheena Easton, and Bonnie Tyler. [ BBC America, March 29, 2008] ]

Wilde later admitted to "not knowing the song terribly well" beforehand: "Basically we just went into the studio with a lot of energy and not a lot of reverence. We changed quite a lot of the song and I think that's why it was so successful. It was a very spontaneous idea." [ [ Encyclopedia - You keep me hangin' on ] ]

Her popularity, especially in her native UK, was back at the top and she scored further Top 10 hits in 1987 with "Another Step (Closer to You)" (recorded with Junior) and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" (a charity single, recorded with comedian Mel Smith). Unfortunately the success of all the singles didn't help the album "Another Step" to climb up the charts.

In 1988, Wilde released her biggest selling album to date, "Close", which spent almost eight months on the UK album chart and increased her popularity all over Europe. It produced four major European hits: "Hey Mr.Heartache", "You Came", "Never Trust a Stranger" and "Four Letter Word", (the last 3 were Top 10 hits in the UK). The release of the album coincided with a tour of Europe, where she was the opening act for Michael Jackson during his "Bad" tour. Although she only met Jackson once to pose for a promotion photo [ [ Wilde and Wacko!, No. 1 (UK), July 30, 1988] ] , the opportunity to tour with the biggest pop star of the era had a positive impact on her career.

Wilde released the follow-up album "Love Moves" in 1990. The album attempted to capitalize on the success of "Close", but although it was a Top 10 success in Scandinavian countries, it failed to sell as strongly as its predecessor and only spawned two minor hits, "It's Here" a Top 20 success in Middle and Northern Europe as well as "Can't Get Enough (Of Your Love), her last Top 20 hit in France. She toured Europe again, this time opening for fellow Briton David Bowie.

A collaboration with Rick Nowels, songwriter for Belinda Carlisle, resulted in the guitar-driven pop of the single "Love Is Holy" and the album "Love Is" (1992). The albums success was again limited to a small number of countries, though the first single became another Top 20 hit in the UK. In 1993, she released her first official compilation album "The Singles Collection 1981-93", which was a success throughout Europe and Australia and the dancefloor-influenced single "If I Can't Have You" (a cover of the Yvonne Elliman (Bee Gees written) song from the film "Saturday Night Fever"), became her last UK Top 20 Hit as well as a number 3 in Australia.

Wilde embarked on a huge "Greatest Hits" concert tour through Europe in 1994 and also toured Australia and Japan for the first time in six years.

Her next album "Now & Forever" (1995) was a commercial flop worldwide. From February 1996 to February 1997, Wilde appeared in London's West End production of the musical, "Tommy".

After this, Kim started recording a new album. Subsequently there were problems and downsizing at Universal, who had by then swallowed up MCA Records, and legal problems concerning the songs. Originally slated for release in 1998, Kim turned her attention toward her private life, and the album was never released.

Personal Life and other interests

During the 1980s, Wilde was romantically linked with saxophonist Gary Barnacle and keyboardist Calvin Hayes of Johnny Hates Jazz. In 1993 Wilde was also seeing TV presenter Chris Evans [ [ Kiss Evans: Clinch that launched TV's hottest romance, The Sun (UK), November 22, 1993] ] . On September 1, 1996, Wilde married her co-star in "Tommy", Hal Fowler, and expressed a desire to have children as soon as possible. [ [ Here Kims the bride - Daily Mirror (UK), September 2, 1996] ] On January 3, 1998 she gave birth to Harry Tristan [ [ Kim Wilde gets a son, Haagsche Courant (Netherlands), January 5, 1998] ] . Two years later, on January 13, 2000, Rose Elisabeth was born [ [ Kim's latest Wilde child, Daily Mirror (UK), January 15, 2000] ] [ [ Kim Wilde, the former pop star and her actor husband Hal introduce new baby Rose at their home in Hertfordshire, OK! (UK), February 18, 2000] ] .

During her first pregnancy an old interest in gardening resurfaced, and she attended the famous Capel Manor college to learn about horticulture, so as to create a garden for her children. She was spotted by talent scouts of the UK television station, Channel 4, who asked her to act as a designer for their programme "Better Gardens". [ [ Former pop star and 'Better Gardens' presenter Kim Wilde is photographed in the grounds of Capel Manor, OK! (UK), May 26, 2000] ] A year later she started a two year commitment with the BBC, recording two series of "Garden Invaders". [ [ Kim invades your garden starting April 30th!, Wilde Life website, May 5, 2001] ] In 2005 she won a Gold award for her courtyard garden at the Royal Horticultural Society's, Chelsea Flower Show [ Singer Kim Wilde wins garden gold, BBC website, May 24, 2005] ] .

Her first book about gardening was published in 2005, entitled "Gardening With Children". The second book followed in April 2006, entitled "The First-time Gardener". Translations of the first book were released at the same time in Spain, France, Denmark and The Netherlands, and later in Germany.

Kim Wilde broadened her eco-friendly image by taking on advertising jobs for various 'green' companies. For two years, she featured on adverts for the highstreet health food shop Holland & Barrett. She wrote infomercials for Persil and Timotei, and in 2008 she started advertising 'green kitchens' for Magnet.

As of 2008, her brother, Marty Wilde jr., is a landscape gardener [ [ Just Wilde about tee garden, The Comet, May 20 2008] ] and her sister, Roxanne, is a backing singer for Kylie Minogue. [ Her niece, Scarlett Wilde took Roxanne's place this year as Kim's backing vocalist on her summer festival tour around Europe, and is expected to join her again in early 2009 for a German club tour.cite episode
title = Diarmuid Gavin, Kim Wilde
series = Ready, Steady, Cook
serieslink = Ready, Steady, Cook
airdate = 2008-05-19

Return to pop

On January 13, 2001 Wilde performed live for the first time in years, as a guest star in a show by ABBA tribute band, Fabba, for a local charity. This sparked an interest in performing live again. Since November 2001, she has toured the UK three times (and once in Australia during 2003) as part of the "Here & Now Tour", an Eighties revival concert series, together with artists such as Paul Young, The Human League, Belinda Carlisle, Howard Jones and Five Star.

New recordings also followed. In 2001, she recorded a new track, "Loved", for a compilation album which became a surprise hit in Belgium, but flopped elsewhere. It was in summer of 2003, she had a hit with "Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime", a duet with German pop star Nena. The singles was a success in many European countries such as Germany, Belgium, Netherlands or Poland Fact|date=July 2008.

In 2006 Wilde signed a new record deal with EMI Germany and released the first single from her tenth studio album in many countries across Europe, Scandinavia and Asia. "You Came 2006" charted Top 20 in most of these countries and became her biggest solo hit in Germany since 1988. The album "Never Say Never" included eight new tracks plus five re-worked previous hits and has charted in Belgium, France, Switzerland, Austria and Germany. There are no current plans to release the album in the UK. The second single from the album, which was voted for by fans on her official website was "Perfect Girl", released in November 2006. It spent nine weeks on the German Top 100 singles chart. A third single, "Together We Belong", was released in March 2007 and a fourth single, "Baby Obey Me", was released in Germany as a remix featuring German rapper Ill Inspecta.


Kim Wilde holds the record for being the most-charted British solo female act of the 1980s.

In France, she was known as the "Brigitte Bardot of Rock" and her song "Cambodia" sold over a million copies Fact|date=July 2008. In 1985, French singer Laurent Voulzy paid tribute to Wilde in his song "Les Nuits Sans Kim Wilde" ("Nights Without Kim Wilde"). He apparently wrote the song after seeing Wilde on television and finding himself totally fascinated by her image. Wilde heard the recording, and finally agreed to sing a few lines on the song herself. It was released as a single in France. Wilde also made a cameo appearance in the song's music video.

Her second career as a gardener has been equally successful, having received many accolades within only five years as a serious gardener, including a Gold at the 2005 Chelsea Flower Show. She also held an entry in the book of Guinness World Records for successfully moving and replanting the world's largest tree with fellow horticulturist Dave Fountain. [ [ Tree record deal for ex-pop star - Manchester Evening News (UK), January 19, 2001] ] Unfortunately the tree was blown away by a storm in January 2007. [ [ Blown away - This is Cheshire website (UK), January 25, 2007] ]

Kim Wilde is mentioned as a contact on Brian's phone on the UK TV Series "Teachers".

Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel "Persepolis" depicts Satrapi's mother and father sneaking a Kim Wilde poster into Iran for their daughter.


* 1983 BRIT Awards - Best British female solo artist (UK)

* 1988 European Platinum Award as female singer who sold the most records across Europe (she shared this award with equally successful 80's singer Sandra).

* 1990 Diamond Award (Netherlands)

* 1993 Bambi Award for "The Singles Collection" (Germany)

* 1996 RSH-GOLD Female Classic of 1995 (Germany)

* Bravo Otto (Germany)

Golden Otto Best Singer 1981

Silver Otto Second Best Singer 1982

Golden Otto Best Singer 1983

Golden Otto Best Singer 1984


*She duetted with the French living legend Johnny Halliday and with famous composer and singer Michel Berger, both on French TV.
*Wilde provided backing vocals for Johnny Hates Jazz on their 1987 hit "Turn Back the Clock" and on two songs of their second album "Tall Stories" (1991).
*She appeared in various songs that were recorded for charity: "Something Better" for the Anti-Heroin Project (1986), "Let It Be" by Ferry Aid (1987) and "Spirit of the Forest" for the project of the same name (1989).
*In 2002 she contributed vocals to the song "You and Me" by German band Readymade.
*In 2005 a white label remix of the classic song "You Came" was made by Groovenut, to be released as "Love You More" by Groovenut vs. Kim Wilde. However, the track was never commercially released. In 2006, Groovenut were approached to remix the new release of "You Came", the resulting track was included on the single as "You Came (Groovenut Remix)".
*Wilde sang the track "I Got You Babe" together with Ali Campbell from UB40 live on stage in Brussels during the Stars Of Europe concert on March 24, 2007. She did the same a year later, on April 3, 2008, during Campbell's one night only concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Kim Wilde as an inspiration for other artists

*In 1991,English punk rock band Toy Dolls recorded a parody of "The Kids in America" called "The Kids in Tyne and Wear" on their seventh studio album, "Fat Bob's Feet".
*Ash ex-guitarist, Charlotte Hatherley, wrote a song about her, entitled "Kim Wilde", in 2004 and included it on her debut album "Grey Will Fade".
*Sandra Caldarone, a Belgian singer named herself Sandra Kim, after Kim Wilde Fact|date=July 2008. Sandra Kim won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1986 with "J'aime la Vie".
*East German punk rock band Feeling B made a song called "Kim Wilde", which can be found on their debut album.
* In her graphic novel Persepolis, Iranian cartoonist Marjane Satrapi has a comic strip titled "Kim Wilde". In it the main character Marji, a young Iranian girl, sings "Kids in America" in the streets of the Iranian capital. Also, when her parents go on holiday in Turkey, they buy a poster of Kim Wilde and smuggle it into Tehran for Marji. Marji pins the poster on her bedroom's wall and practices emulating Kim Wilde.

Kim Wilde covering other artists

Wilde has recorded ten cover versions, four of them being released as singles (see discography)
* "Putty in Your Hands" (1984) - previously sung by The Shirelles and later The Yardbirds.
* "You Keep Me Hangin' On" (1986) - previously performed by The Supremes.
* "Rockin Around The Christmas Tree" (1987) - previously performed by Brenda Lee.
* "Lucky Guy" (1988) - previously performed by Todd Rundgren.
* "If I Can't Have You" (1993) - previously performed by Yvonne Elliman.
* "Shame" (1996) - previously performed by Evelyn 'Champagne' King.
* "Because the Night" (1998) - Written by Bruce Springsteen, performed by Patti Smith Group and later covered by 10,000 Maniacs.
* "Born to be Wild" (2002) - previously performed by Steppenwolf.
* "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word" (Marty Wilde and Kim Wilde), (2007) - previously performed by Elton John
* "Enjoy the Silence" (2007) (Live recording issued on CD single only.) - previously performed by Depeche Mode.

Kim Wilde covered by other artists

Many artists around the world have performed cover versions of Kim Wilde songs, ranging from pop and rock to dance and death metal versions. In 1995, Indie rock band The Muffs recorded "Kids In America" which was featured in the hit film Clueless. In 2000, Canadian band Len also covered "Kids In America" for the Digimon soundtrack, as did Lawnmower Deth. American pop star Tiffany recorded a version of "Kids In America" in 2007 for her album "". German Eurodance Act Cascada, recorded a version of "Kids In America", on their Everytime We Touch album in 2007. Other famous artists to cover Kim Wilde songs are Apoptygma Berzerk, Atomic Kitten, Bloodhound Gang, James Last and Lasgo - to name but a few.


*"Kim Wilde" (1981)
*"Select" (1982)
*"Catch As Catch Can" (1983)
*"Teases & Dares" (1984)
*"Another Step" (1986)
*"Close" (1988)
*"Love Moves" (1990)
*"Love Is" (1992)
*"The Singles Collection 1981-1993" (1993)
*"Now & Forever" (1995)
*"The Very Best of Kim Wilde" (2001)
*"Never Say Never" (2006)


"Gardening with children"

Kim Wilde's first book was written in 2004 and released on April 4, 2005 by Collins publishers. The book contains many projects for getting children interested in the outdoors. Along with guidelines for safety in the garden there are ideas for maintaining a child's attention span throughout the gardening process. Illustrated step-by-step projects range from creative ways to plant, such as rainbow and sensory gardens, to making scarecrows, wormeries and tile mosaics.

"The First-time Gardener"

Written in 2005 and released on April 3, 2006 by Collins publishers,"The First-Time Gardener" is Kim Wilde's beginner's guide to gardening. The book tells all about the basics of gardening. The book assumes no prior knowledge and takes the reader through the basics of planning a garden, choosing plants and turning your ideas into reality - including how to make the most of climbers, containers, and hanging baskets. Not all gardens should be created from scratch, as per the TV makeovers. In fact, if you can wait a while to see what happens in your new garden, then you may find you've inherited some weird and wonderful plants. Kim explains how to make the most of your garden - any garden, even if your basic knowledge is limited or non-existent.


Kim Wilde has designed and created numerous gardens during her involvement in the "Better Gardens" and "Garden Invaders" TV programmes and commissioned by individuals and organizations. She has also created gardens for Flower Shows across the UK, a few of them are described here.

All about Alice (2001)

Kim Wilde and David Fountain designed and created 'All About Alice' for the 2001 Tatton Flower Show, 18 to 22 July 2001. The garden represented the story of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The garden was built on two levels, with a large gnarled oak tree as its centrepiece displaying a carving of Cheshire Cat. The lower level of the garden contained a grotto, with tapered walls to give the impression of the room becoming smaller, like the rabbit hole down which Alice tumbled to her adventures. A maze of tall, clipped hornbeam enclosed contorted mirrors to add to the sense of distortion. Throughout the garden, scale was increased or decreased and the planting was wild and unkempt, in keeping with Alice's confusion during her strange experiences. The upper level of the garden represented four stories taken from Alice's adventures. The Mad Hatter's tea party amongst wild woodland planting was littered with crockery and a top hat carved from tree trunks. The Queen's croquet lawn was set in a wild flower meadow. The figures of the Queen, King and a pawn stood on a chessboard of grass and water, which was surrounded by playing cards from the four suits, created from clipped box trees. This garden was awarded the 'Best Show Garden' award. [ [ All about Alice, website] ]

The Cumbrian Fellside Garden (2005)

Kim Wilde and Richard Lucas designed and created 'The Cumbrian Fellside Garden' for the 2005 RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London. This romantic Cumbrian Garden was inspired by the gently sloping landscapes of the Lake District. A constant trickle of water is guided gently through the garden by a rill, providing a simple and relaxing feature. The rear of the garden is still mostly wild, with nature being held back in its attempt to reclaim its former territory. Wild flowers grow in the long grass and in crevices within the dry stone walls. The front of the garden is romantically planted with Aquilegia, Geranium, Linaria and Astrantia. Natural Cumbrian slates are put to use, both as flagstones and to retain the wildflower bank while a narrow pathway leads out of the garden over a stile and on to the fell side. [ [ The Cumbrian Fellside Garden, website] ] The garden won a Gold medal and 'Best in show' in the Courtyard Gardens category, as well as the BBC RHS People's Award for small gardens.
* [ The Cumbrian Fellside Garden - Interactive digital version of the garden]

ee also

*Best selling music artists - World's top-selling music artists chart.
*List of artists who reached number one in Ireland
*List of artists who reached number one on the Hot 100 (United States)
*List of British Females who reached number one on the Hot 100 (United States)


External links

* [] - Official website
* [ Wilde Life] - Official fansite
* [ Kim Wilde Gardening] - Kim Wilde's horticultural career
* [ Kim Wilde 80s Videos @]

NAME = Smith, Kim
SHORT DESCRIPTION = English pop singer, professional gardener and pop cultural figure
DATE OF BIRTH = 1960-11-18
PLACE OF BIRTH = Chiswick, West London, England

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