M People's 10 greatest songs ever, ranked

27 December 2022, 13:00

M People in 1994
M People in 1994. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

M People were one of the biggest pop groups of the 1990s.

Known for their ridiculously catchy pop songs with elements of dance, jazz and soul, M People scored several massive hits in the UK and Europe.

Led by the singer Heather Small alongside bandmembers and songwriters Mike Pickering (where the band got their name from), Paul Heard and Shovell, here are their very best:

  1. Don't Look Any Further

    Dennis Edwards and Siedah Garrett first recorded this track in 1984, before M People released a cover version nine years later, reaching number nine in the UK.

    In the song, Heather Small sings the lead part originally sung by Dennis Edwards, while bandmate Mark Bell performs the part originally sung by Siedah Garrett.

  2. Renaissance

    This was the fourth and final single from M People's highly successful second album Elegant Slumming.

    The song peaked at number five in the UK, soon after the band's first win for Best British Dance Act at the 1994 BRIT Awards.

  3. How Can I Love You More

    This was the debut single from M People, taken from their debut album, Northern Soul.

    First released in 1991 and peaking at number 29, it was then re-released in 1993 with several new remixes. This version was a bigger hit, peaked at number eight.

  4. Open Your Heart

    Taken from their Bizarre Fruit album, M People reached the UK top 10 hit with this dance-pop track in early 1995.

    Heather's voice is particularly impressive on this song, with cemented M People as a hit-making machine in the mid-90s.

  5. Itchycoo Park

    Originally a '60s psychedelic rock classic by the Small Faces, M People recorded a dance cover version in 1995.

    The fresh '90s update gave them a number 11 hit in the UK.

  6. Sight for Sore Eyes

    If you needed one song that summed up M People's vibe of jazzy dance-pop with a huge dose of added soul - it's this.

    It was a perfect example of the mid-90s optimism that was starting to swell in the country at the time, and M People achieved another top 10 hit.

  7. Proud

    OK, this is actually a Heather Small solo track rather than M People, but we couldn't resist.

    Released in 2000, this power ballad surprisingly only reached number 16 in the UK. It has since been used in various TV shows and sporting events, ranging from London's 2012 Olympics to the sitcom Miranda.

  8. One Night in Heaven

    This dance track instantly take you back to summer 1993, with Heather's vocals a pure joy as ever.

    The song reached number 6 in the UK, their second top 10 hit in a row.

  9. Moving on Up

    Noted by critics as a spiritual successor of Gloria Gaynor's 'I Will Survive', this was one of the ultimate '90s dancefloor bangers.

    Released in late 1993, M People achieved one of their biggest hits, reaching number two in the UK.

  10. Search for the Hero

    Only a number 9 hit for the band in 1995, we'd argue this has become M People and Heather Small's signature song, and it oozes '90s pop joy.

    It helped propel the album Bizarre Fruit back up the charts, selling over a million copies.