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2 Unlimited

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First produced by Phil Wilde and Jean-Paul De Coster as an instrumental in Spring 1991, Get Ready For This reached n°2 in the UK charts. Ray Slijngaard was contacted to write lyrics and add the rap to the track. He also suggests bringing in a female vocalise who turns to be Anita Doth (Dels), a singer he knows from the club scene in Amsterdam. The new version is released in September the same year, and is an immediate hit in Europe, Australia and Japan. In autumn 1995 it will unexpectedly hit the US Billboard Charts for the second time, peaking at n°38.

Twilight Zone was released in march 1992. It was the first track to be written as a team by Jean-Paul, Phil, Anita and Ray. Like the previous release, it goes silver in the UK. It brings in the first gold record in Holland, and it is also their first n°1 in most countries. They record 2 videos in 2 days : Get Ready For This and Twilight Zone. back on the road, they visit Scotland, Belium, Spain, Germany, Greece, Argentina and Brazil, from where they fly directly to the World Music Awards in Monaco for a special guest appearence. The single peaks in the Billboard Hot 100 at n°48.

To prove they are more than a single act the album Get Ready is released in February 24th 1992, featuring 9 tracks and 5 additionnal remixes. The album is developped in three parts, including a 'romantic' section featuring the first ballads. The succes of the album (golden status in the USA, over 500 000 copies sold, and more than 2 million copies sold across the world) largely confirms their ambition.

Workaholic was first released April 21st 1992. Finland is visited for the first time, followed by a memorable trip to Japan. In the bus from the airport to the hotel they listen to the first demo of No Limits. They are not convinced, although the Japanese love it immediately. When Twilight Zone starts climbing the US charts, our 2 workaholics make their first appearance there.

August 3rd 1992 sees the launch of one of Anita's and Ray's favourite early singles : The Magic Friend. When shooting the video in Australia's Pinnacle Desert and Wave Rock, they discover that no less than 3 singles are in the charts there, with Get Ready topping the album charts as well. Tour brings them to Germany, Belgium, the UK, Ireland (4 consecutive n°1 hits) and Canada immediately followed by the second US tour. In December they are voter Best Newcomers at the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party.

After some debate, No Limit is chosen to announce the second album and is released on January 18th 1993. It goes to be the biggest hit to date, n°1 in 35 countries (inculding a six-week run in the UK) and is still the most played 2 Unlimited track. It picks up an incredible string of Gold and Platinum awards, eventually selling over 2,5 million copies worldwide.

Tribal Dance was originally released April 26th 1994. Worries that the band can not survive the mega-hit syndrome are dispelled when it nearly eulas the success of No Limits. It also heightens the expectation about the upcoming album. During their second visit to the World Music Awards, they pick up an award as the World's Bestselling Dutch Recording Artist.

May 10th 1993, after being recorded, re-recorded, mixed, and re-mixed, No Limits is finally released. Part of the delay were the endless interrutpions for gigs, promo visits and video shoots which cause recordings to be endlessly rescheduled. After the release, the whole world gets on the phone, requesting Anita and Ray for shows, TV appearances, interviews, special events etc. While the entire planet seems to have gone 2 Unlimited crazy, Anita and Ray keep their head cool. As well as returning to virtually every European country, they also undertake an extensive Asian tour, which brings them to India, Hong Kong, China, Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, giving new meaning to the expression "around the world in a day". No Limits was the second most sold single in France for the year 1993.

Thinking of the level of poverty that they see beyond the walls of luxury hotels during their various tours, Anita and Ray write Faces, an unusual choice for a dance act but an indication of their awareness of what is happening elsewhere. It is released on August 20th 1993.

The the fourth hit of the album, entitled Maximum Overdrive, is released in November 8th 1993. When a concert is cancelled due to illness in Denmark, a riot breaks out. A short trip brings therm to Russia for the first time, with 2 shows in Moscow. An East European tour is rounded off at the Mega Dance festival in Budapest, where they play in front of 80 000 people. A last highlight of the year is where they are voted Best Dance Act at the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party.

A complete newly recorded version of the album track Let The Beat Control Your Body is released on January 21st 1994, the first single of the year and the last from No Limits. After being renames Let The Bass Control Your Body to avoid possible misundestanding in French (never heard of that NdLR), it goes to n°1 in France. Anita and Ray kick off the year with a tour in Japan and a visit to the Winter Music Conference in Miami.

May 9th 1994 : The Real Thing is the first release from the upcoming album and another n°1 in many countries. Its success is a good indication of what is to come from Real Things. At an early stage of the demo, the 'Bach idea' was chosen as a likely single. It turns out to be The Real Thing. The title is a sideswipe at the numerous 2 Unlimited soundalike in the stores at the same time.

June 6th 1994 : The day it is released, the third album Real Things goes Gold int he UK straight to n°1 in Germany, Holland and France. The release party is held at Disneyland Paris, with press coverage from all over Europe and a spectacular MTV special. Stylistically, the album ranges from upfront dance tracks to trancy mid-tempos and electro-ballads. In some counrty the album will stay in the charts for over a year.

Realeased on September 19th 1994, No One was one of the singles to get the most airplay on key radiostations all over Europe. At their biggest show so far, 450 000 peaople catch them at Holland's Parkpop Festival. The next day hey leave for Australia to shoot the video for No One on Low Island, part of the exotic Great Barrier Reef. 2 Unlimited goes interactive with the release of Beyond Limits, a CD-i which features videos, music, pictures and background information. At the first-ever European MTV-awards in Berlin, the band is nominated in the category 'Best dance act'. On January 7, 1995, in The Netherlands, they got the B.V. Popprijs 1994 award, with 10.000 guilders, which was donated to the United Nation's fund for UNICEF. They have also appeared on the popular British sitcom 'Absolutely Fabulous'

March 6th 1995 saw the release of the 3rd single from Real Things : Here I Go. With this release they equal a record of twelve consecutive top ten singles. Other members of this select club included Abba, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Madonna and The Bee Gees. At Monaco's annual World Music Awards they pick up their 3rd trophy.

The last release from Real Things was Nothing Like The Rain on June 6th 1995. It is also their first ballad as a single. Everyone is impressed by the result. During this period, Phil, Jean-Paul, Ray and Anita were working on demos for some new tracks which open the door for the future changes in style.

In 1995, they released a promo single called Kids Like You And Me. It was only released in the Netherlands and basically just a remake of Do What's Good For Me only with different lyrics.

October 30th 1995 saw the release of 2 Unlimited's 'best of' album. Entitled Hits Unlimited, it gathered the 13 previous hits and 3 new tracks that would be released as singles between the end of 1995 and 1996 : Do What's Good For Me, Jump For Joy, and Spread Your Love. The album includes a booklet, which tells the group's history. Nobody knows it at this time, but these are Anita's and Ray's last appearances with 2 Unlimited. Indeed, Anita and Ray thought they had too little input in 2 Unlimited so they finally left the group to begin a solo carreer.

An interview with Anita Doth in the magazine Nieuwe Revu published many years after (in 2001) gives more details. In the beginning Anita and Ray where friends. But Ray couldn't handle his succes. He had sex with a lot of female fans and sometimes he got agressive against Anita and others. But Anita does not blame it to him, she explains it was psychically too hard for him. Anita is more angry about Jean-Paul deCoster, she describes him as a really egoistic money-grubber. When their contract ended in 1996 Ray and Anita had some bad argues with Jean-Paul and Phil Wilde. In the group, Ray and Anita where responsible for the style, the show, the lyrics and the clothes. They asked for more Money and Influence. Jean-Paul (who did the finances) refused tot give that. After that Ray and Anita quited with 2 Unlimited. After the break a courtcase followed, once again about Money : J.P. deCoster sued Anita for destroying his band. But he lost the case and he had to pay Anita the same amount of the money that he demanded because the statetement considered he paid her too little when she was a part of 2 Unlimited.

At first it looked like Sylvia Samson (who had already done backing vocals for several 2 Unlimited songs) was going to be 2 Unlimited all by herself, but when the time came for her to sign the contract she refused on her lawyer's advice. She didn't want to be tied up for 5 years. So the producers had to continue their search. At this time Romy van Ooijen found out that Sylvia refused the contract... So she went to Jean-Paul and said that she was interested. After many talks, auditions and try-outs they came to an agreement and she joined 2 Unlimited. Marion van Iwaarden is completing the duo (Marion was initially written with a 'J', but that was changed into an 'I' because it's easier to pronounce in foreign countries). So, following in the footsteps of Magic Affair , the new 2 Unlimited is becoming a female duo.

At the time that Romy and Marion joined 2 Unlimited, most tracks for the new album were already finished. Romy and Marion just had to sing in the vocal parts and it was ready for release. At first all the new tracks were sung in by Sylvia Samson. But because she refused to sign the contract, her voice was erased out of all the new songs and Romy and Marion re-recorded them with their own vocals.

1998 was the year that the new formation was presented to the world. They released their first single Wanna Get Up on the 16th of March 1998 in Holland and Belgium. The rest of Europe followed in May and the UK followed in June. The US still have to wait for the first release... After several try-out concerts in Russia and England they're finally ready to conquer the world as their predecessors, Anita and Ray, did in the 5 years that they were fronting 2 Unlimited.

A few weeks after the release of Wanna Get Up, which got heavy airplay in Holland on TV and radio, the new album II was released world-wide.... The 20th of April 1998 is the day that the new album got it's press release with more than 60 press bureaux from over the world attending it's presentation. One week later it hit the stores. The album was not released in all countries though... the US still have to wait and some countries are simply waiting to see how people will react to the new singles, before deciding whether or not to release the new album.

Marion stated in an interview that 2 Unlimited would be heading in a pop direction. In fact one of the trademarks of the new 2 Unlimited will be that (unfortunately) their will be no more technobeats, no more raps (cause Marion and Romy both can't rap), but fresh pop/dance songs with future trance influences. 2 Unlimited has moved on to newer sounds, just like they did in the past. In the album you can find some eurodisco tracks (booming euro bassdrums combined with disco sounds and the typical 2 Unlimited melodies). Jean-Paul de Coster stated that it shows the current sound of the European clubs. It also contains several powerful eurodance tracks too, so the fans will finally not be disappointed. Songs like Never Surrender, I Am Ready and Be Free Tonight are stomping dance tracks... I Am Ready sounds a lot like Sash! 's Ecuador. Closer 2 U is rather a jungle/Drum & Bass track. The producers say it's the best 2 Unlimited album until now...

Wanna Get Up is still storming the international charts while the second single is already out in the Netherlands and Belgium. About The Edge Of Heaven expectations are even higher than they were with Wanna Get Up. The reason is simple... The Edge Of Heaven sees the return of the 2 Unlimited techno sound trademark. It is a Future Trance song with an amazing main hook played by a trumpetist. Some describe it as a mixture between Infinity from Guru Josh and the Mas Mix of RAF's Ocean Whispers. The video that comes with the new single was shot in Sri Lanka.

2 Unlimited have announced the release of a Christmas single on Dutch television. But in the first week of 1999 the record company Byte Records Belgium announced that Romy had left 2 Unlimited. It seems like history is repeating itself, because we had the same vague stories when Anita & Ray left 2 Unlimited... Marion stays with 2 Unlimited. With a powerfull voice like that a it would be a waste to let her go as well. Just check out songs like Never Surrender, Closer 2 U and Someone To Get There... there are not many female vocalists who have to vibrant and warm voice that she has. In a radio interview Marion said that she had already known for a month that Romy was going to leave the band. They still keep in touch with each other often. They've had a great time together and worked together pretty good.

What will happen in the near future with 2 Unlimited ? Will they seek another female vocalist? Or will they surprise us with a male rapper ? Or will 2 Unlimited be a one woman act like the producers planned it with Dutch vocalist Sylvia Samson ? 2 Unlimited is now looking for a replacement for Romy... male or female... This is unknown yet... but anything is possible... They are currently busy on a new strategy. Marion does want to stay with 2 Unlimited, although Romy has stated that she wouldn't be surprised if Marion left 2 Unlimited within a month. But Marion is currently busy writing new songs... As it was supposed to be, another version of the album II album was released : on the version destinated to the French market, they just erased Romy's photo. The next single to be released is Closer 2U, because Marion does the lead vocals in this track...

And finally the big question remains.... Can the new 2 Unlimited top the success of the old 2 Unlimited ? It remains a fact that the 'old' 2 Unlimited still is the most popular and successful dance-act in the world ever...

2 Unlimited has many labels all over the globe. In the States, it's Radikal and Critique that bring the country CD and cassettes. Hot Productions handles 12' releases. In Canada, it's Quality Records. In Holland, of course, it's Byte. Germany gets 2 Unlimited stuff from ZYX Records, France from Scorpio. And the U.K. buys from PWL Continental. Greece is handled by FM Records. In Sweden, the old 2 Unlimited were distributed by CNR records and the new by MNW.

2000 : 2 Unlimited is back with a new remake of their hugest hit : No Limits 2000 with remixes of the New Yorkers Razor & Guido and Yves De Ruyter-co-producer Dirk 'Mike' Diericks. Unfortunately it is not the comeback of Ray and Anita, and the video is just an animated clip. The single will be released in all countries where 2 Unlimited were successful. This release will be shortly followed by a new album The Millenium Mixes : Byte Records asked several remixers and guest producers (among them Jaydee) to remix 2 Unlimited's best tracks. After the summer the next single will be released, a remix of Twilight Zone by DJ Jean.

2001 : all Ray's projects after 2 Unlimited failed. He is in bankrupcy now and no one knows what he is currently doing. Meanwhile Anita has some success with her solo career, she has already released her third single and she is happy to work with producers like Adamski and Todd Terry.

2002 : 2 Unlimited released an album entitled Trance Remixes in December. It was a big success.

2003 : some crazy rumors about Ray having died from overdose proved to be totally wrong. Ray is currently working on a brand new project called Legends. He teamed up with Herman Rarebell of The Scorpions to release a single called Eye of the Tiger.

A compilation by Ben Liebrand conatining only 4 DMC remixes only was at first planned, but it was finally cancelled. An album called No Limit Complete Best Of was released in Japan but it was a commercial flop. There is still no certitude if Jean-Paul De Coster (currently very busy working on projects such as Sylver and Kate Ryan) will one day start the project with new performers.

2003 : 2 Unlimited released a new remake of No Limits, it should feature Ray and Anita's original voices. It was released under ZYX Music and included remixes by Master Blaster, DJ Sputnik, and DJ Digress. In June in reached #16 in the German charts, so ZYX decided to publish a maxi CD. In the video-clip, one could discover the 2 new faces of the group : Débora Remagen and James Giscombe, but also see parts of the original clip of No Limits with Anita and Ray performing.

2004 : the follow-up single was entitled Tribal Dance 2.4. James left the group after the release. He explained he was fed up rapping playback on Ray's voice. He recently recorded a duo with Damae from Fragma, but the single hasn't yet been released.

Tribal Dance 2.4 entered Austrian charts in February and reached #41 in German DJ Playlist. A DVD & best of album called The Complete History were also released under the German label ZYX. Deborah and Suheil (the new male dancer) were working hard to promote the single. Unfortuntaly, after these last productions, the 2 Unlimited projects seemed once again to have been put aside... Tribal dance 2.4 won't ever be released in Spain because of a fight around the rights between the labels Blanco y Negro Music and the new label Filmax Music.

2005 : DJ Scarecrow used a sample from Twilight Zone in his single Zwielicht.

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