The name was a reference to another Mel & Kim, an English musical act that achieved success in the late 1980s. Sisters Melanie (11 July 1966 – 18 January 1990) and Kim Appleby (born 28 August 1961) half white English & half Jamaican, were noticed dancing in a nightclub in their native London and signed to a recording contract with Supreme Records under the guidance of production team Stock Aitken Waterman in 1985.
Their debut single ‘Showing Out (Get Fresh at the Weekend)’ reached number 3 on the British charts and got the number 1 status in the Dance charts of USA. Their next single ‘Respectable’ reached number one in Britain and became one of the year’s biggest hits. Subsequent hits followed, but the sisters were eclipsed by two new Stock Aitken Waterman acts, Kylie Minogue and Rick Astley, who became the production team’s major focus in 1988. Mel, a former glamour model, began to withdraw from publicity in mid-1987 (the videos for ‘F.L.M.’ and ‘That’s the Way It Is’ composed of collages of older footage), claiming to have suffered a debilitating back injury. While the media speculated that she was terminally ill, both sisters categorically denied this. Mel was suffering from cancer of the spine, after having previously undergone surgery for a tumour on her liver in December 1985, prior to the duo’s rise to fame. She died of pneumonia, her immune system weakened by chemotherapy.
Kim Appleby continued with a solo career afterwards.