In the issue of 23 April – 6 May 1986, Smash Hits asked the members of Five Star, “what would your dream house be like?” They responded: “It would have two staircases, be really big and lovely and all white… it would be a six-bedroom house, a nice big kitchen, nice big double-sized bedrooms, two bathrooms, a couple of reception rooms and two or three acres of land. It’d be decorated like our home at the moment. In the garden I’d like a lake with some nice big fishes in…very, very big, white, a bathroom in each bedroom – it’s more convenient and hygienic – a great big garden, a swimming pool, lots of flowers…a nice big house with four pillars at the front. It would be white and cream on the outside and inside there’d be a bathroom for each room and also a main bathroom…it would be in the countryside near a lake. Inside there’s be carpets and a really relaxing sofa, not like the ones we have at home…”. They were still living in their home in Romford at the time. Very soon, they would be moving to a new one in Sunningdale, Berkshire.
“When we became well-known, we bought Stone Court, a mansion with dogs and security gates,” Deniece said1. “Fans camped outside. We weren’t allowed out, so we’d throw open the gates and romp in the street at 2am when no one was around.” How close was it to the members’ dream homes? It exceeded most of their wishes. The late Victorian property had a master bedroom for their parents and seven others bedrooms; three bathrooms and a steam room with his and her shower rooms; a huge kitchen and a dining hall; drawing, breakfast, summer and garden rooms; and in the grounds landscaped gardens, a large car park, and a detached cottage with a built-in recording studio, dance studio, and office space for Tent Records and the Five Star fan club.
Of course, the property was chosen by their father Buster, who still dominated their lives, as indicated by Deniece’s comment about not being able to come and go as they pleased. There was more evidence of his influence when Smash Hits asked another of its typically impertinent questions, “How much money do you get?” The members answered in similar ways. Lorraine: “Well, it’s gone up a bit since we started the group. We get the money for TV appearances and we split it and put half of it in our book. We spend about £400 on clothes every three or four weeks.” Delroy: “When I need money for clothes or little things, Dad will lend me. I always have money of my own though and I’m good at saving it. When I was younger we used to get a pound a week.” Doris: “I don’t really ask for money or get money – if I need something my dad will get it for me.” Stedman: “It’s not a set amount. Whenever I need anything I usually got to my parents and say I need such-and-such. We have our own savings accounts for future reference.” Only Deniece gave a more flippant response: “Ooooh…about a thousand pounds a day, which isn’t much is it?” But when asked if her friends would be jealous, she gave this startling answer: “No. I don’t really have any friends.”
They could afford to move as things were going very well for them. Luxury Of Life was a hit, remaining on the charts for well over a year, and seven of its ten tracks were released as singles. The last of these, System Addict, appeared at the end of 1985 and went Top 10, their first record to do, which got 1986 off to a good start. Thereafter, the hits didn’t stop coming. Their next two singles Can’t Wait Another Minute and Find The Time also made the Top 10, and their second album Silk And Steel, from which they were taken, was released in August and topped the chart the following month. A week after that, their next single Rain Or Shine, became the biggest hit of their career when it reached #2, holding the slot for two weeks. At the same time, they were enjoying their biggest hit in America: Can’t Wait Another Minute was on its way to #41 in the Billboard Hot 100. It would probably have done even better if the group had been able to travel to the US to promote it, but they had just embarked on their first UK tour, which kicked off on 14 September. All 33 dates were sold out.
1 Simpson, Dave. ”Let’s go round again”, The Guardian, Guardian Media Group, 26 June 2008.
NEW SINGLES on sale from Sep. 1
Bob MARLEY and The WAILERS Three Little Birds (Island WIP6641)
BANGLES Walk Like An Egyptian (CBS 6500717)
FIVE STAR Rain Or Shine (Tent PB40901)
MEL AND KIM Showing Out (Supreme SUPE107)
Owen PAUL Pleased To Meet You [Re-issue] (Epic 6500977)
Pete WYLIE Diamond Girl (Siren MDM12)
BREATHE All That Jazz (Siren SIREN60)
DOCTOR AND THE MEDICS (Clive Jackson) More (IRS IRM139)