All Saints Were Pressured to Go Topless on Top of the Pops, Because the Music Industry Sucks

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Photo: Sinead Lynch

It’s a sad truth that most female pop stars have their share of industry horror stories. Now one of our favorite ‘90s Britpop groups, All Saints, is adding its voice to the chorus.

Speaking to the BBC News about their 2016 reunion and new album, Red Flag, the band revealed that they were once pressured to remove their shirts during an appearance on BBC’s “Top of the Pops.” The producers wanted to shoot the women from their bare shoulders up to give the illusion of nudity, a vision that the band was understandably uncomfortable with.

“Because it was such a huge show, we were told ‘if you don’t do it, you don’t get to go on the show,’” explains band member Melanie Blatt.

“The girl that worked with us was in tears because she was trying to fight our corner,” adds bandmate Natalie Appleton. “We ended up having to compromise with the producers. We dropped our tops to here [indicating her armpits] so it would look like we were topless.”

The band opened up about other instances of sexist treatment, including the fact that they were often labeled “difficult” or “sulky,” terms never used to describe their male colleagues.

“A lot of Britpop groups at the time would act very arrogantly and very stroppy, but that was never seen as a negative thing,” adds Melanie. “We weren’t half as bad — but if we didn’t want to smile one day, or we weren’t really interested in doing an interview, we’d be labelled as stroppy cows.”

The bad news: The music industry has always been terrible for women and still is. Silver lining: All Saints are back (and their new album is streaming on Spotify)! Never, ever have we felt so low, and yet simultaneously so high.