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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 #2 in the UK charts. Ray Slijngaard was contacted to write lyrics and add the rap to the track. He also suggested bringing in a female vocalist who turned to be Anita Doth (Dels), a singer he knew from the club scene in Amsterdam. The new version was released in September the same year, and was an immediate hit in Europe, Australia and Japan. In autumn 1995 it unexpectedly hit the US Billboard Charts for the second time, peaking at #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 went silver in the UK, and brought in the first gold record in Holland, as well as their first #1 in most countries. Anita and Ray recorded 2 videos in 2 days : Get Ready For This and Twilight Zone. Back on the road, they visited Scotland, Belium, Spain, Germany, Greece, Argentina and Brazil, from where they flew directly to the World Music Awards in Monaco for a special guest appearence. Twilight Zone eventually peaked in the Billboard Hot 100 at #48, while they made their first appearance there.
To prove they were more than a single-act, the album Get Ready was released on February 24th 1992. Featuring 9 tracks and 5 additionnal remixes, the album was developed in three parts, including a 'romantic' section featuring some 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 confirmed their ambition.
Workaholic was first released April 21st 1992. They visited Finland for the first time, then went for a memorable trip to Japan. In the bus from the airport to the hotel they listened to the first demo of No Limits. They were not convinced, although the Japanese loved it immediately.
August 3rd 1992 saw 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 discovered that no less than 3 singles were in the charts there, with the album Get Ready topping the album charts as well. Tour brought them to Germany, Belgium, the UK, Ireland (where they had scored 4 consecutive #1 hits) and Canada, immediately followed by the second US tour. In December they were elected Best Newcomers at the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party.
After some debate, No Limit was chosen to announce the sophomore album, and released on January 18th 1993. It was their biggest hit to date, scoring #1 in 35 different countries (including a six-week run in the UK). It is still the most well-known and played 2 Unlimited track. It picked 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 could not survive the mega-hit syndrome were dispelled when it nearly eulas the success of No Limits. It also heightened the expectations about the upcoming album. During their second visit to the World Music Awards, they picked up an award as the World's Bestselling Dutch Recording Artist. It was covered by Italian project Tribal Unlimited.
May 10th 1993, after being recorded, re-recorded, mixed, and re-mixed, No Limits album was finally released. Part of the delay were the endless interruptions for gigs, promo visits and video shoots which cause recordings to be endlessly rescheduled. After the release, the whole world got on the phone, requesting Anita and Ray for shows, TV appearances, interviews, special events etc. As well as returning to virtually every European country, they undertook an extensive Asian tour, which brought 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 saw beyond the walls of luxury hotels during their various tours, Anita and Ray wrote Faces, an unusual choice for a dance act but an indication of their awareness of what is happening elsewhere. It was released on August 20th 1993.
Then the fourth hit of the album, entitled Maximum Overdrive, was released in November 8th 1993. When a concert was cancelled due to illness in Denmark, a riot broke 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 was released on January 21st 1994, the first single of the year and the last from No Limits. After being renamed Let The Bass Control Your Body to avoid possible misundestanding in French (never heard of that NdLR), it went to #1 in France. Anita and Ray kicked off the year with a tour in Japan and a visit to the Winter Music Conference in Miami.
May 9th 1994 : The Real Thing was the first release from the upcoming album and another #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' (based on Toccata and Fugue in D minor) was chosen as a likely single. It turned out to be The Real Thing. The title was a sideswipe at the numerous 2 Unlimited soundalike in the stores at the same time.
June 6th 1994 : The day it was released, the third album Real Things went Gold int he UK and straight to #1 in Germany, Holland and France. The release party was held at Disneyland Paris, with press coverage from all over Europe and a spectacular MTV special. Stylistically, the album ranged from upfront eurodance tracks to trancy mid-tempos and electro-ballads. In some countries the album stayed 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 people caught them at Holland's Parkpop Festival. The next day they left for Australia to shoot the video for No One on Low Island, part of the exotic Great Barrier Reef.
2 Unlimited went interactive with the release of Beyond Limits, a CD-i which featured videos, music, pictures and background information
At the first-ever European MTV-awards in Berlin, the band was 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 even 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 equalled a record of 12 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 picked up their 3rd trophy.
The last release from Real Things was Nothing Like The Rain on June 6th 1995. It was also their first ballad as a single, remixed for the dancefloors. During this period, Phil, Jean-Paul, Ray and Anita said they were working on demos for some new tracks which would open the door for the future changes in style.
In 1995, they released a promo single called Kids Like You And Me, basically just a remake of Do What's Good For Me with different lyrics, only released in the Netherlands.
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.
October 30th 1995 saw the release of 2 Unlimited's first 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 knew it at this time, but these were 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 quitted 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.
There were rumors about vocalist Sylvia Samson, who said she already done backing vocals for several 2 Unlimited songs. It was announced that she was going to be the new official 2 Unlimited frontlady, 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. It was later revealed that the whole Sylvia Samson story was pure invention.
The producers searched for new performers. Romy van Ooijen 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 was 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 would become a female duo.
At the time that Romy and Marion joined 2 Unlimited, most tracks for the new album were already finished, sung in by Sylvia Samson. Sylvia's 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. After several try-out concerts in Russia and England they were finally ready to conquer the world...
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 was the day that the new album got its press release with more than 60 press bureaux from over the world attending it's presentation. One week later it hit the stores, not in all countries though...
Marion stated in an interview that 2 Unlimited would be heading in a pop direction : no more technobeats, no more raps, but fresh pop/dance songs with future trance influences. In the album you could find some eurodisco tracks (booming euro bassdrums combined with disco sounds and the typical 2 Unlimited melodies). The current sound of the European clubs according to Jean-Paul de Coster. Fortunately for the fans, it also contained several powerful and stomping dance tracks too, such as Never Surrender, I Am Ready and Be Free Tonight... I Am Ready sounded a lot like Sash! 's Ecuador. Closer 2 U was rather a jungle/Drum & Bass track. The producers described it as the best 2 Unlimited album until now...
Wanna Get Up was still storming the international charts while the second single was already out in the Netherlands and Belgium. About The Edge Of Heaven, expectations were even higher than they were with Wanna Get Up, because it saw the return of the 2 Unlimited techno sound trademark : a future trance song with an amazing main hook played by a trumpetist. Some described it as a mixture between Infinity from Guru Josh and the Mas Mix of RAF's Ocean Whispers. The video that came 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. In a radio interview Marion said that she had already known for a month that Romy was going to leave the band. She said that they still kept in touch with each other often, that they've had a great time together and worked together pretty good. Meanwhile, Romy stated that she wouldn't be surprised if Marion left 2 Unlimited within a month.
With the departure of Romy, 2 Unlimited's future was surrounded with mistery. While looking for a replacement for Romy, the producers were said to be busy on a new strategy, while Marion was writing new songs... Another version of the album II album was released. Destinated to the French market, its cover was the same as the previous version, without Romy's photo. The next single to be released was planned to be Closer 2U, because Marion did the lead vocals on it...
2000 : 2 Unlimited were 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 did not mean the comeback of Ray and Anita, and the video was just an animated clip. The single was released in all countries where 2 Unlimited were successful. It was 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 was released, a remix of Twilight Zone by DJ Jean.
2001 : according to rumors, all Ray's projects after 2 Unlimited failed. He was said to have went bankrupcy now, and no one knew for sure what he was currently doing. Meanwhile Anita had some success with her solo career, she had already released her third single and said she was 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 was 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 was still no certitude if Jean-Paul De Coster (currently very busy working on projects such as Sylver and Kate Ryan) would one day start the project with new performers.
2 Unlimited released a new remake of No Limits under ZYX Music it featured Ray and Anita's original voices. It included remixes by Master Blaster, DJ Sputnik, and DJ Digress. In June it 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 Allan, but mostly see parts of the original clip of No Limits with Anita and Ray performing.
Ray appeared 2 times on German TV (ZDF) during Summer 2003, the first time to explain that he was currently negociating a comeback with the 2 Unlimited producers. But finally he asked too much money and was not chosen to be a member of the group again. During the second TV appearance he explained he was not interested in 2 Unlimited anymore, and that now he was a producer. Later, he explained the same to a Spanish magazine which interviewed him in Ibiza.
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 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. Ray gave an interview in a magazine at the end of the year.
2006 : ZYX in less than 2 years, have acquired most of the rights on the 2 Unlimited productions, they settled in almost all the European countries in order to avoid legal fights with the labels. A new Best Of (digi pack) entitled Hits was released in February, the tracklisting was the same as the bonus CD The Complete History.
In March, Anita appeared on RTL Germany, singing No Limit. The represented 2 Unlimited, but without the authorization of JP de Coster, owner of the project's name.
In Australia, the DVD The Complete History as well as the 2001 Japanese album Greatest Hits remixes was released on the 17th April 2006... The release of Get Ready For This 2006 was cancelled in Australia. A hardcore version of No Limit 2006 was released in the UK.
Deborah and James (and sometimes Sunheil) keep on promoting the 2.4 remixes. 2 Unlimited were planned to appear live in the disco Dream in the UK during the month of August.
Sylver's new single Why featured the melody of 2 Unlimited's No Limit.
2007 : in December Ray did a tour as 2 Unlimited across South America. Apart from the 2U hits, he also sung some unreleased tracks, such as Arabesque, Round And Round, Dance With Me...
2008 : Anita and Ray, former 2 Unlimited members, were said to be negociating for a possible 2 Unlimited reunion, for live gigs. Among other demands, they would like to be authorized to use legally under the band name. Both also also announced that they would release their solo album at the same time, in September. But nothing finally came out.
2009 : in January, BeFour released a cover of 2 Unlimited's No Limit.
14 years after they quitted the project, Ray and Anita announced that are working on some new songs, along with one of their former producers Phil Wilde. They won't be allowed to release the new material under the project name 2 Unlimited. In October, after their surprise appearance during Milk Inc Blackout concerts in Antwerpen, they told that they were planning a world tour. Romy & Marion are back too, recording some new songs. Since they don't have the rights on the 2 Unlimited name either, they will use another project name : Two.
2010 : Ray and Anita released their first single since they reunited, entitled In Da Name Of Love. Luca Antolini released Let The beat Control Your Body in his hard trance single Control Your Body. The follow-up single was at first planned to be Still Unlimited, several times postponed, but they revealed in an interview that it would be entitled Nothing To Lose. In November, Bob Sinclar covered 2 Unlimited's No Limit melody in his new single Tik Tok.
2012 : In July, it was announced that, after many years of trials and negociations, Ray & Anita could now officially use the project name 2 Unlimited again. This wwas the beginning of a new cooperation with producer Jean-Paul de Coster and record label Byte Records. In August, Modana & Carlprit inspired from No Limit melody for thier single Club Go Mad.
Booklet of the album Hits Unlimited
The biography was last updated Mon, May 13th 2013
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Latest 2 Unlimited news
21/11/2013 : Discover the videoclip for 2 Unlimited's new version of Get Ready by Steve Aoki
05/10/2013 : The Steve Aoki remixes of 2 Unlimited's hit Get Ready were pre-released a few days ago on Beatport. .
14/09/2013 : Ray from 2 Unlimited just posted on his Twitter the picture of a 2013 version of Get Ready, from their forthcoming greatest hits album, to be released on October 28th. It will include remixes by American DJ Steve Aoki.
06/09/2013 : For those who missed the event, 2 Unlimited published on a special Youtube channel the major part of their concert at Antwerp Sportpaleis of last March.
03/06/2013 : Ray & Anita from 2 Unlimited gave an interesting interview to Bulgarian fans around their concert which will take place in Sofia next month. The most important thing they said is that they are finishing the new 2 Unlimited album. Read the interview (Thanks to Krasi)
12/07/2012 : After many years of trials and negociations, Ray & Anita can now officially use the project name 2 Unlimited again. This is the beginning of a new cooperation with producer Jean-Paul de Coster and record label Byte Records (thanks to Andreas).
09/11/2011 : Michael Crook's book about his experience of former 2 Unlimited US fan club president will be available on iTunes shortly. More infos here.
Links to 2 Unlimited
2 Unlimited - The Dutch phenomenon
DISCLAIMER : unless you see the artist's name among the credits of this biography, it was only created by gathering infos from the web and from fan sources. Sorry if, even if I did all verifications I could, some parts of the biography are false or lack accuracy. If you are the artist himself or contributed to the project, please wait till I come back from holidays.
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