One of Stock, Aitken And Watermans acts, Mel (Melanie Susan Appleby, 11 July 1966, London, England, d. 19 January 1990) and sister Kim (b. Kim Appleby, 28 August 1961, London, England) were two East End, London girls with a neat line in pop dance routines. They both started their careers as models - a fact which would come back to haunt them when topless pictures of Mel turned up in Playboy and Penthouse magazines. Picked up by the Stock, Aitken And Waterman team, they saw Showing Out (Get Fresh At The Weekend) reach number 3 in the UK during 1986, and the following year they gave their mentors their first chart-topper as producers with Respectable. The girls even stayed on top of the charts when the charity single Let It Be, by Ferry Aid, to which they contributed, supplanted Respectable. The group was now such hot property that their name was hijacked at Christmas 1987 by Mel Smith and Kim Wilde for their version of Rockin Around The Christmas Tree. The title track of their debut album (the initials F.L.M. stood for Fun, Love And Money) and Thats The Way It Is continued their string of UK Top 10 singles, but the hit records stopped when Mel was taken away from the 1988 Montreux Festival in a wheelchair. The official report was that she had a slipped disc, while press speculation intimated that it was something more serious. In late 1988, Kim smiled bravely in interviews and said that her sister was well on the way to recovery. However, the news soon broke that Mel was undergoing treatment for spinal cancer and she, too, showed her courage by allowing the press to publish pictures of her even though she was suffering the side effects of chemotherapy. Mel died in January 1990 from pneumonia. Kim carried on with the solo single, Dont Worry, and her self-titled debut album.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.