Olive (band)

Olive (band)

The cover artwork of Olive's debut album 'Extra Virgin'.
Background information
Origin England
Genres Electronica, Trip-hop, Alternative
Years active 1994–present
Labels RCA, Maverick
Ruth-Ann Boyle
Tim Kellett
Past members
Robin Taylor-Firth

Olive was a breakbeat/trip hop group from the North of England. The founding membership consisted of producer, instrumentalist and songwriter Tim Kellett, producer and keyboard programmer Robin Taylor-Firth, and singer Ruth-Ann Boyle. The band released two albums, the second without Taylor-Firth.

They are best known for the UK number-one single "You're Not Alone".



Following Simply Red's 1991 album Stars, which garnered the band's greatest commercial success in the UK and worldwide at the time, Tim Kellett, last among its original lineup (as trumpet player),[1] left the band.[2] Meanwhile, Robin Taylor-Firth had decided to branch out although continuing with George Evelyn's project Nightmares on Wax.[3] The two met through a mutual friend who had recently joined Simply Red as bassist, and formed a musical collaboration (Robin Taylor-Firth cites the disparity between his relatively "underground" work among Sheffield's electronic music and DJ community, and Kellett's mainstream history).[4]

By 1994, three demos (which would become "Miracle", "Falling" and "You're Not Alone")[4] were recorded in Kellett's cellar studio,[3] upon which the two began their search for a singer. At this time, Kellett went on tour as keyboardist with Vini Reilly's The Durutti Column (which he played for a decade ago prior to joining Simply Red). While playing back pre-recorded keyboard samples on stage, Kellett heard a favourable vocal sample; the voice was that of Ruth-Ann Boyle, who had provided the samples for The Durutti Column's 1994 album Sex and Death.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

Kellett contacted Boyle about singing for the collaboration;[7] at the time working in a bar, and though disillusioned from past experiences singing in bands,[7][8] Boyle accepted. After a "kind of an audition" with "Miracle",[1][6] Boyle's membership in the band was set. The completion of the three initial demos attracted the interest of various UK record labels, and Olive signed with the top bidder, RCA,[3] in September 1995.[4]

The songwriting and recording process concluded with the completion of their first album in January 1996.[4] The first single, "You're Not Alone," was released in 1996. Although the song took a year for audiences in England to catch onto, it eventually made number one in 1997, after the release of a new, remixed version, selling over 500000 copies.[2][3][6] Popularity in America and Australia was muted, with the track falling short of an American Top 40 position and being restricted to a small musical niche with Australians. "Outlaw" followed not long after, with similar responses, as well as their first album, Extra Virgin in 1996.

Riding the success of the remixed single, Extra Virgin was re-released with a bonus disc of remixes (by producers including Monkey Mafia, Roni Size, and the famed duo of Paul Oakenfold and Steve Osborne) in 1997.[4]

The band went on tour to promote the album with a seven-piece band,[3] playing three episodes of Top of the Pops ("You're Not Alone" twice in May 1997, "Outlaw" in August),[9] a ten-date UK tour,[4] as well as legs in Germany (alongside Faithless) and the U.S.[3]

In the time leading up to the release of the follow-up album, Robin Taylor-Firth had left the group to concentrate on Nightmares on Wax, and begin other projects (Sub Machena,[10] BudNubac,[11] Piano Segundo[12]) bringing it down to a duo. He also founded BlancoMusic, a release platform for the aforementioned acts, plus others such as Mil i Maria. Meanwhile, Olive lost the support of RCA's UK branch, which dropped the band; however, they were then picked up by Madonna's Maverick Records (supposedly, with Madonna's personal approval after she attended one of their concerts in Germany).[1]

In 2000, their presciently-named second album Trickle was released. While Trickle still displayed the distinctive Olive sound, the tunes were more dance-oriented. The best known song on this album was a cover of the 10cc song "I'm Not in Love"; it reached number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, and was featured on the soundtrack to The Next Best Thing.

Since then, like many trip-hop bands, little was heard of them. The band entered an extended hiatus. Kellett is focussing on songwriting for other artists so that he can spend more time with his family. Ruth-Ann joined Enigma as a vocalist, and released her first solo album 'What About Us' on June 4, 2007. It was released exclusively through iTunes.

In Autumn of 2009, Tinchy Stryder released a version of 'You're Not Alone', sparking new interest in Olive. Around the same time Digital Spy announced that Olive are working on their third album, due for release in early 2011. The album will feature Ruth Ann again on vocals as well as featuring other special guest vocalists.[13]


At the 1997 Ivor Novello Awards (May 28, 1998), Kellett and Taylor-Firth received the Best Dance Music award for "You're Not Alone".[14] The song was also covered as a 2002 single by German dance producer ATB.

During the American leg of the Trickle promotional tour, the band suggested that 60-70% of their audience demographic at the time was gay. This was recognized to the extent that the final show of the tour was played at the San Francisco Pride festival.[15]

Today, Olive is generally placed alongside mid-1990s trip-hop/electronica artists such as Moloko, Beth Orton, and the Sneaker Pimps.[16]


Studio albums

Year Album details UK chart
1996 Extra Virgin
  • Released: 1996
  • Label: RCA
  • Format: CD
2000 Trickle
  • Released: 30 May 2000
  • Label: Maverick
  • Format: CD
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or was not released in that country or territory.


Year Title Peak chart positions Album
US Dance IRE
1996 "You're Not Alone" 42 Extra Virgin
"Miracle" 41
1997 "You're Not Alone" (remix) 1 56 5 3
"Outlaw" 14 4
"Miracle" (remix) 41 10
1998 "You Are Nothing" [promo] 1
2000 "I'm Not In Love" 1 1 Trickle
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or was not released in that country or territory.

1 - Released in the United States only.

Music videos

Year Title Director(s)
1996 "You're Not Alone" (Version one)
"Miracle" Karen Lamond
"You're Not Alone" (Version two) Pascal d'Hoeraene
1997 "You're Not Alone" (Version three)
2000 "I'm Not In Love" Natalie MacGowan Spence

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Jung, Fred. "A Fireside Chat with Olive". Jazz Weekly. http://www.jazzweekly.com/interviews/olive.htm. Retrieved 2006-08-17. 
  2. ^ a b c "Olive: Like an Extra Virgin". MTV. September 25, 1997. http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1432925/09251997/olive.jhtml. Retrieved 2006-08-17. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Hip Online: Artists: Olive". Hip Online. http://www.hiponline.com/artist/music/o/olive/. Retrieved 2006-08-17. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Robinson, Dave. "People: Olive". The Mix. http://sys.bumpclub.ee/olive/. Retrieved 2006-08-17. 
  5. ^ Krbechek, Randy (November 3, 2000). "Where's the Olive?". CD Shakedown. http://www.psnw.com/~randyk/110300.htm. Retrieved 2006-08-17. 
  6. ^ a b c "Olive branches out with 'Extra Virgin'". Pause and Play. November 13, 1997. http://www.pauseandplay.com/048arch.htm. Retrieved 2006-08-17. 
  7. ^ a b "Drew Live: 5 Minutes with... Olive". Dr. Drew. http://www.drdrew.com/article.asp?id=678. Retrieved 2006-08-17. 
  8. ^ Weisblott, Marc (October 9, 1997). "Pimentos and Olive". Eye Weekly. http://www.eye.net/eye/issue/issue_10.09.97/music/olive9.php. Retrieved 2006-08-17. 
  9. ^ "BBC - Top of the Pops - Performance Database". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/cgi-bin/totpperf/search.pl?type=totp1. Retrieved 2006-08-17. 
  10. ^ http://www.myspace.com/submachena
  11. ^ http://www.budnubac.com
  12. ^ http://www.blancomusic.com
  13. ^ uao (August 31, 2009). "Whatever happened to... Olive?". Digital Spy. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/music/a173698/whatever-happened-to-olive.html. Retrieved 2009-11-01. 
  14. ^ Tseng, David (May 28, 1998). "Morrissey presented with the "PRS Outstanding Contribution To British Music" award". News Archive. Morrissey-solo.com. http://www.morrissey-solo.com/news/news0598b.htm. Retrieved 2006-08-17. 
  15. ^ Kahn, Brenda (2000). "Olive: Trickle Back in America". Womanrock.com. http://www.womanrock.com/features/olive.html. Retrieved 2006-08-30. 
  16. ^ uao (July 18, 2005). "Sunday Morning Playlist: Trip-Hop". Blogcritics. http://blogcritics.org/archives/2005/07/18/052205.php. Retrieved 2006-08-30. 

External links

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