In the summer of 2002, a Russian pop duo emerged on the scene with a song that seemed capture the world’s attention all at once.
Fronted by Julia Volkova and Lena Katina, t.A.T.u.’s impact on the charts was almost instantaneous with debut single “All The Things She Said” reaching the top of the charts in 19 countries, including the UK.
Arguably the most memorable aspect of their introduction though was the provocative video that accompanied the track and had the pair dressed in school uniforms as part of a clip that focused on some rather suggestive themes around lesbianism.
In the UK, some even tried to get the BBC to ban the video on the grounds that the content was unsuitable for broadcast on pre-watershed chart show Top of the Pops.
It only made the furore around the track intensify further though, helping t.A.T.u. cement their status as one of the most talked about pop acts on the planet that year.
Having successfully launched themselves as a global pop phenomenon, t.A.T.u. went on to enjoy similar chart success with follow-up tracks Not Gonna Get Us and All About Us.
And while their star faded slightly in the UK over the years that followed, the group continued to release albums (six to be exact) and even represented Russia in the Eurovision song contest, finishing third in 2003.
The pair even starred in their very own movie You And I, which was released in 2011 and based on the novel t.A.T.u. Come Back, which was written by Russian politician Aleksey Valentinovich Mitrofanov and tells the story of, you’ve guessed it, two lesbians.
It would prove to be the final nail in the group’s coffin though, with t.A.T.u. splitting later that year, citing creative differences and a desire, on both sides, to pursue solo careers.
While Volkova failed to make much of an impact with her solo material, bandmate Katina did at least score a US Club chart number one with debut track Never Forget, though the accompanying album failed to light up the charts.
It didn’t take long before the group reunited though, reforming to perform on reality singing series The Voice of Romania in December 2012.
Sporadic performances followed in the years since with arguably the most notable seeing the pair sing together at the opening ceremony for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi – something that confused many western news outlets given Russia’s seeming anti-LGBT stance
But it wasn’t long before the pair fell out again with Katina taking to YouTube a few weeks later to say that the group was no more again.
Some of this may have had to do with Volkova’s controversial appearance on Ukrainian game show Lie Detector, where she was heard to make several highly homophobic comments, which prompted an angry response from Katina via social media.
In the two years since, the pair have met on several occasions, mainly to promote anniversary releases, without collaborating on new material and despite the presence of a social media campaign calling for them to reunite, underthe hashtag #tATuComeback.
Meanwhile, earlier this year Volkova hit the headlines after revealing she had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2012, something that required three bouts of surgery and left her at risk of losing her voice.
Still just 31, the divorced mother of one converted to Islam in 2010 and spends the majority of her days away from the limelight
Katina, by contrast, has been making in-roads in the world of film, having started alongside The O.C’s Mischa Barton in the 2011 film You and I and has not given up on music just yet having released a solo album, This Is Who I Am, with a new tour to follow.
In their all-too-brief career, t.A.T.u. sold some 25 million records worldwide and, while a good proportion of them were down to one particular track, they are definitely not one hit wonders.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.