It's only manufactured (but thousands of pop fans like it)

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The Independent Culture

In the final triumph of manufactured pop music, the first single by the group created by and for television has become the fastest selling debut of all-time.

In the final triumph of manufactured pop music, the first single by the group created by and for television has become the fastest selling debut of all-time.

Hear'Say's first single, Pure & Simple, sold 160,000 copies on its first day in the shops on Monday, the highest for any group's debut single and the biggest one-day sale since Elton John's remake of Candle in the Wind, in the hysteria that followed the death of Princess Diana in 1997.

The five members of the group were unremarkable and unnoticed before they entered and won ITV's Popstars programme. Yet in a tribute to the power of instant celebrity, Kym Marsh, Myleene Klass, Suzanne Shaw, Noel Sullivan and Danny Foster were mobbed by 3,500 fans when they arrived at their first public signing session at the HMV store in Oxford Circus, London, this week.

Such was the reception that HMV's resident expert, Gennaro Castaldo, predicted: "It's going to easily sell half a million copies this week and should go on to be a million-seller. I think we are already looking at the song which will be this year's biggest selling single."

The success is clearly jarring with those who prefer their bands to have known each other since school and travelled to gigs in a filthy Transit van.

Blur's Damon Albarn has reportedly denounced them as "crap", while Kelly Jones, the singer with the Stereophonics, has accused Hear'Say of copying an Oasis song.

Others are more charitable. David Roberts, of The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles, forecast that Hear'Say would beat the first week record for a debut - 464,000 copies set by Britney Spears with "Hit Me Baby One More Time". He said the sales of bands such as Westlife - whose last single sold 292,000 copies in its first week - and now Hear'Say, represented a new "Golden Age of the Single" regardless of critical opinion.

In the meantime, Hear'Say fans keep buying regardless. Pure & Simple sold 65,000 copies at the Woolworth's chain alone, prompting the firm's director of entertainment, Deborah Poll, to say with admirable understatement: "It looks like all the hype and publicity surrounding Hear'Say has worked."

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