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The Pipettes are a Britishmarker indie pop girl group formed in 2003 in Brightonmarker by "svengali" Robert "Monster Bobby" Barry. The group has released one album, We Are the Pipettes, and released numerous singles to support it; the most successful being "Pull Shapes" which peaked at #26 in the UK Singles Chart.

Originally comprising Julia Clarke-Lowes, Rose Elinor Dougall and Rebecca Stephens, at the time of their debut album Clarke-Lowes had been replaced by Gwenno Saunders. In 2008, Dougall and Stephens also left the group. As of 2009, the line-up is Saunders, her sister Ani, and Beth Mburu-Bowie.

The female members are backed by all-male band, The Cassette, which at present includes Monster Bobby, the Falcone brothers; Jon and Seb, and Alex White.



The Pipettes were formed in mid-2003 by singer-songwriter and promoter Monster Bobby with the intention of reviving the Phil Spector pop sound and giving it a modern twist, after noticing the reaction girl group songs got during his DJ sets. In collaboration with singer, poet, and photographer Julia Clark-Lowes, who was inspired by Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty's The Manual, he recruited friends from and around the local music scene. The Pipettes, as they were to become, were all first introduced to each other by Bobby at The Basketmakers pub in Brighton.

Regarding the formation of the band, Rose said in an interview: "Well, basically our guitarist, Bobby had a contact with someone, and he kind of recruited us all individually. We all kind of knew each other, but not as a group. He asked us if we wanted to be involved and we said yes went for a drink and that was it. I think we had a few songs, he had a few songs, and we had ideas and gradually it evolved to what it is now because we all write songs, but it was Bobby who kind of started it off."

The group have been called an "experiment in manufactured pop", although the members' take is that they "manufactured" themselves. Their name, which is a reference to a laboratory instrument, is a nod to the experimental origins of the group. The group's name is pronounced as the instrument is in British English, , not as in American English. The male backing musicians, "The Cassette" never appear in interviews or photoshoots, emphasising the role of the singers. The three frontwomen wear polka dot dresses with synchronised choreography being a major part of their live shows, whereas The Cassettes can be seeing wearing knitted tanktops with their initials sewn onto them. Additionally, despite their "manufactured" origins, all songs are credited to The Pipettes as a whole. Generally one member has a concept and basic outline for a song, on which the other members subsequently have an input as to arrangement or lyric changes. As a result all members share credit on their original songs.

The line-up consisting of Rose ("Rosay"), Julia ("The Duchess (of Darkness)" or "Julia Caesar"), RiotBecki, Jon, Seb, Joe ("Robin Of Loxley") and Bobby settled in mid-2004, after earlier line-ups included members of The Electric Soft Parade and Marc Beatty of Brakes. In April 2005 founder member Julia left to concentrate on her own project, The Indelicates, and was replaced by former Welsh-language solo artist Gwenno Saunders. Three limited edition singles were released in 2005, leading to the group being signed to Memphis Industries shortly after touring with the label's The Go! Team. Debut album "We Are the Pipettes" was released in the United Kingdommarker on 17 July 2006 and reached #41 in the UK Album Chart.

In 2007, the band signed with Cherrytree Records, part of Interscope, to release their material in Americamarker, Asia and Australasia. After a series of well-received performances at the SXSW festival, an EP led by the track Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me was released on 5 June, peaking at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Sales chart. The album was released in North America on 2 October, where it reached #18 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart, and in Asia on October 17, with both releases containing new bonus tracks. Both of these versions of the album were remixed and produced by Greg Wells, thus resulting in a differing sound from the original European release.

In June 2007, original drummer Joe left to concentrate on his own band Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong and was replaced by Jason Adelinia, formerly of Teasing Lulu and This City.

Lineup changes 2008–present

The most recent lineup performing at Turning Point Roundhouse in 2009.
On 18 April 2008, it was announced on the band's official website and in a blog post on their MySpace that RiotBecki and Rosay had left "to pursue other musical projects", and had been replaced by Ani, who is Gwenno's younger sister, and Anna McDonald. This means that none of the original female members (Julia, Rose, Becki) remain. Jason Adelinia also left the band and was replaced by Alex White from The Electric Soft Parade and Brakes. Adelinia is now playing drums for The Ghost Frequency.

The new line-up made its live début on 3 May when they joined Mark Ronson on stage at the Corsa Presents Bandstand event in Old Billingsgate, Londonmarker. They played their first full show in support of REO Speedwagon on 10 June at the indigO2. On 16 July they appeared at the premiere of Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, following the inclusion of Pull Shapes on the movie's soundtrack. On consecutive nights from 1st until 3 September they played a series of promotional gigs at The Fly Bar in Londonmarker.

On 12 November, it was announced that Anna McDonald had left The Pipettes to pursue songwriting opportunities away from the band. On 11 February 2009, new member Beth Mburu-Bowie was announced as McDonald's replacement. This line-up made its live début on 5 March 2009 at the launch party of the British Music Experiencemarker.

mid-2004-April 2005 April 2005-18 April 2008 18 April 2008-12 November 2008 11 February 2009-present
Julia Clarke-Lowes Gwenno Saunders
Rose Elinor Dougall Ani Saunders
Rebecca Stephens Anna McDonald Beth Mburu-Bowie



Year Album Chart positions
2006 We Are the Pipettes 41


Year Song Chart positions Album
2004 "Pipettes Christmas Single" * non-album single
2005 "I Like a Boy in Uniform "
2005 "Dirty Mind" 63 We Are the Pipettes
2006 "Your Kisses Are Wasted on Me" 35
"Pull Shapes" 26
"Judy" (re-recording) 46
2010 "Stop The Music" TBC


  • * "Pipettes Christmas Single" was a promotional single. 200 individually numbered copies of the single were given out free at concert gigs in December 2004 containing the song "In the Bleak Midwinter", recorded with Thomas White of The Electric Soft Parade.
  • * A new track "Stop The Music" was played in BBC Wales in November 2009, with the DJ saying that it will be released in February 2010.


Other activity

  • Becki, Rose and Julia sing on "Sometimes Always," a track on Brakes' 2005 album Give Blood. Brakes members Thomas White, Alex White and Marc Beatty acted as Cassettes at some of the band's early concerts.
  • Monster Bobby released a solo album, Gaps, in August 2007.
  • Julia and Becki sang the chorus on "When U See the Future," on Y.Misdaq aka Yoshi's 2005 album Flowers & Trees.
  • Rose sang on The Young Playthings' song "Life Is Great," featured on their "Yr So Fit (For Me)" single. She also features on two demo tracks by Dr. Colossus titled "Sleep" and "Fallen in Love."


  1. Joining the dots with Brighton's hottest new prospect
  2. Pipettes Interview
  3. The Unofficial Pipettes Forum FAQ
  4. Leaders of the pack
  5. CMU's Chris Cooke Interviews the Pipettes
  7. Pipettes Popworld Interview
  8. The Observer: The Pipettes interview
  9. Becki stated on John Kennedy’s XFM X-Posure show 2005-07-05, they are called "The Cassette", not "The Cassettes"
  10. Indigo Flow: The Pipettes
  11. Teasing Lulu interview

External links

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