Five Star

Five Star (aka 5 Star) is a British pop / R&B group, from Romford in East London, which was formed in 1983.

Known for their glamorous, wholesome image, distinctive matching costumes and heavily choreographed dance routines, Five Star were one of the UK’s biggest musical acts during 1986-87. In the summer of 1986 they became the youngest act to top the album chart with their million seller, Silk and Steel, which later went on to yield a record total of seven single releases, which they held until Michael Jackson‘s eighth single release from Bad in 1989.

The group was put together by their father, Buster Pearson (born in Jamaica and former session musician with Wilson Pickett), who also acted as their manager. Pearson also set up Tent Records Inc. to release the group’s material. Considered by many to be a British version of The Jackson’s, they went on to have many UK hits between 1985 and 1990, scoring their biggest success in 1986 with top ten singles “System addict”, “Can’t Wait Another Minute”, “Find the Time”, “Rain Or Shine” and their multi-platinum selling album Silk And Steel. Further top ten hits “Stay Out of My Life” (penned by Denise) and “The slightest touch” followed in 1987 as well as a Brit Award for Best British Group. 1987 also saw the release of their successful third album, Between the Lines, which featured the Diane Warren penned hit, “Strong As Steel”.

Their squeaky clean image made the group as popular with the press as the record buying public, and many tabloids ran stories of the Pearsons’ everyday and private affairs, most notably Lorraine’s engagement to Eddie Murphy in 1988 and the group’s move to a huge mansion in Berkshire complete with CCTV and alarmed security gates. This overt attempt by their father at keeping Five Star’s business away from public gaze only fuelled further interest and over-embellished stories of ‘private nightclubs’ and ‘ Neverland-style fairgrounds’ for the siblings’ private use. In some respects the fantasy element to these tales and many others inevitably began to overshadow the music being produced, (which had always been the group’s main interest over publicity).

In 1988, the group felt they had taken the unique musical sound which made their name as far as it could go and changed their direction to a more adult-orientated, leather-clad disco/rock/dance act, (led by a 1988 Leon Sylvers III produced single “Another Weekend”). The harder edge and distinct Jackson feel to the sound shocked many fans who thought they had begun to lose direction by pandering to pop trends rather than continuing to carve out their own identity. Despite the moderate success of the album Rock the World (a rather misguided title for a project featuring a wide range of musical styles) which included a rousing rock anthem There’s a Brand New World written by Denise, record sales faired poorly in comparison to earlier releases.

Whilst the consistently high quality of material being released continued into the following year, the group’s popularity had dramatically declined, and by late 1989 their Greatest Hits collection peaked at a lowly No. 53 on the album chart. Apparently at loggerheads with RCA, Buster signed the group to Epic the following year, and an entirely self penned, self produced album Five Star was produced within the walls of their family home/recording studio. Despite heavy promotion, the two singles from it failed and the UK release of the album was shelved. The Pearson family realised they had, over the course of five short years, been adored ‘British pop heroes’, then later brutally portrayed as a ‘freak family’ by the fickle British media which had, in turn, damaged their commercial success and credibility. Seeking fresh opportunities and a new audience they relocated to the US in late 1990 amid sensationalised (and proved later as false) reports of bankruptcy.

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