Take That

Take That are a BRIT Award-winning English pop band consisting of members Gary Barlow, Howard Donald, Jason Orange, Mark Owen, and formerly Robbie Williams. Barlow is the group's main songwriter. All of them perform primarily on vocals though each have some instrumental talent/song-writing capability. After seeing major success in the early to mid 1990s as a five person boyband act, a reformed four man version of the band achieved new success in the mid 2000s without Robbie Williams.


Formed in Manchester in 1990, Take That sold more than 25 million records between 1991???96. Take That's dance-oriented pop tunes and soulful ballads dominated the UK charts in the first half of the 1990s, spawning two of the best selling albums of the decade with Everything Changes (which was nominated for the 1994 Mercury Prize) and Greatest Hits 1996, and according to Allmusic, "at this time were giant superstars in Europe with the main question about them not being about whether they could get a hit single, but how many and which would make it to number one". The band split up in 1996, but after a 2005 documentary and the release of a new greatest hits album, they officially announced a 2006 reunion tour around the United Kingdom, entitled The Ultimate Tour. On 9 May 2006, it was announced that Take That were set to record their first studio album Beautiful World in over 10 years. The band have released a second post-reunion studio album entitled The Circus and have completed their 'Circus' Tour 2009.


First years


Early years (1989???1993)

In 1989, Nigel Martin-Smith sought to create a British male vocal singing group. Having seen the success and fame of what was the nascent concept of boybands following the meteoric rise of the New Kids On The Block in the United States and United Kingdom, he realized there was no such contemporary group in the United Kingdom. Martin-Smith's vision, however, was more teen-oriented than the clean-cut image that the New Kids sported in the media.


Take That's first TV appearance was on The Hitman & Her in 1990, where they performed the unreleased song "Love". They also appeared on The Hitman & Her at this time performing "Waiting Around", which would be come the B Side for the first single, Do What You Like. Promises and Once You've Tasted Love were also released as singles but were minor hits in the UK.


The band's breakthrough single was a cover of the 1970s Tavares hit It Only Takes A Minute, which peaked at number 7 on the UK Singles Chart. This success was followed by the track I Found Heaven, then by the first Barlow ballad A Million Love Songs - both top 20 hits. Their cover of the Barry Manilow disco hit Could It Be Magic gave them their biggest hit to date, peaking at number 3 in the UK. Their first album, Take That & Party, was released in 1992, and included all the hit singles to date.


Superstardom (1993???1995)

1993 saw the release of Everything Changes, based on Barlow's original material. It spawned four UK number one singles ??? their first number one Pray, Relight My Fire, Babe (beaten to the Christmas number one by Mr Blobby), and the title track Everything Changes. The fifth single Love Ain't Here Anymore reached number three on the UK charts. Everything Changes saw the band gain international success, but it failed to crack the US market where an exclusive remix Love Ain't Here Anymore (U.S. Version) gained little success. However, by 1994, the band had become radio and television stars across Europe and Asia. However, it was not until 1995 that the band would do their first World Tour.


It was during the years 1993???95 that the band fronted scores of magazine covers ranging from Smash Hits to GQ, becoming mass merchandised on all sorts of paraphernalia ranging from picture books, to posters, stickers, their own dolls, jewellery, caps, T-shirts, toothbrushes and even had their own annuals released. The band had also developed a large female teenage fanbase at the time. During this time, they performed at numerous music awards shows like the Brit Awards or Top of the Pops, also winning the 'Best Live Act' award in 1995 at the MTV Europe Music Awards.


By the time the band's 1995 album Nobody Else was launched, the release of Sure, their first single from the album, achieved yet another number one on the UK Charts. But it was not until their second release from that album that they would experience what would become their biggest hit single, Back for Good, which reached number one in 31 countries around the globe and to date has been covered 89 times the world over. It was also their first and only US hit, where it reached the Top 10. The song was initially unveiled for the first time via live performance whilst at the 1995 Brit Awards, and based on rave reviews and the reception of that performance alone, the record pre-sold more records than expected and forced an earlier release date. The album was also noted for its cover which was a parody of the cover of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band cover sleeve.


Departure of Robbie Williams and breakup (1995???1996)

In July 1995, Williams' drug abuse had escalated to a near drug overdose the night before the group was scheduled to perform at the MTV Europe Awards. According to the documentary For the Record, Williams was unhappy with his musical ideas not being taken seriously by Barlow and Martin-Smith, because his desires to explore more hip hop and rap genre conflicted with Barlow's ballads. He explained in interviews that he had given up trying to offer creative input and merely did as he was told. As well as the friction with Barlow, Orange had problems with Williams' increasingly belligerent behaviour and his habit of missing rehearsals. He and Barlow confronted Martin-Smith about the internal conflict, because they did not want him dropping out while touring and before they planned to explore America, which never came to pass. During the last rehearsal where all five were together, they confronted Williams about his attitude and stated they wanted to do the tour without him. Williams agreed to quit the band and left; it would be the last time for twelve years that they were all together.


Shortly afterwards, he was photographed by the press partying with British band Oasis at Glastonbury. Following his departure, he became the subject of talk shows and newspapers as he acknowledged his plans to become a solo singer, and he was spotted partying with George Michael in France. However, a clause in his contract with Take That prohibited him from releasing any material until after the group was officially dissolved, and he was later sued by Martin-Smith and forced to pay $200,000 in commission. Undaunted by the loss, Take That continued to promote Nobody Else as a four piece, scoring a further hit single with Never Forget (subsequently released as a single in a Jim Steinman remix version) and completing the Nobody Else Tour in July 1995.


On , which coincidentally was Williams's 22nd birthday, Take That formally announced that they were disbanding. This was followed by the Greatest Hits compilation in 1996, which contained a new recording, a cover of The Bee Gees How Deep Is Your Love. The single went on to become what was to be the band's final U.K. number one until their 2006 comeback a decade later. Take That gave their final performance in April 1996 at Amsterdam.


Reunion


The Ultimate Tour and Beautiful World (2005???2008)

On 14 November 2005, Never Forget - The Ultimate Collection, a new compilation of their hit singles including a new previously unreleased song, also made the top end of the UK charts. The new song Today I've Lost You (recorded in September 2005) was originally written as the follow up to Back for Good but was never recorded. On 16 November 2005, the group got back together for the ITV documentary TAKE THAT: For The Record, in which they aired their views over the split and what they had been up to during the last 10 years. On 25 November 2005, there was an official press conference by the band announcing that the post Robbie Williams line-up were going to tour in 2006. The tour, entitled Ultimate Tour, ran from April to June 2006. The tour featured a guest appearance by British soul singer Beverley Knight, who replaced Lulu's vocals on the song Relight My Fire; although Lulu did appear during the stadium shows on Relight My Fire and Never Forget. The American female ensemble Pussycat Dolls supported the group at their Dublin concert, and the Sugababes supported the group on the final five dates of the stadium leg.


On 9 May 2006, Take That came back to the recorded music scene after more than ten years, signing with Polydor Records in a deal reportedly worth 3 million pounds. The band's comeback album Beautiful World entered the UK album chart at no.1 and, as of June 2009, has sold over 2.6 million copies in the U.K. It is currently the 35th best selling album in UK music history. Unlike the band's earlier works, where the majority of their material was written by Gary Barlow, all songs are co-written by the band members. The come-back single Patience was released on 20 November 2006, with a special event launching it on (Bonfire Night). On 26 November Patience hit number 1 in the UK in its second week of chart entry making it the group's 9th No.1. The video for Shine, the follow-up to Patience was premiered on 25 January 2007 on Channel 4, ahead of its release on 26 February 2007.


The band's success continued on 14 February 2007 when Take That performed live at the BRIT Awards ceremony at Earl's Court. Their single Patience won the Best British Single category. The third single taken from Beautiful World was I'd Wait For Life, released on 18 June 2007 in the UK. However the single only reached 17 in the UK Singles Chart, falling out of the top 40 the following week. This is thought to be due to lack of promotion, as the band decided to take a pre-tour break rather than do any promotion for the single.


During 2007, Take That also wrote a song for the motion picure Stardust titled Rule the World which reached number 2 in the UK charts and went on to be the 5th biggest selling single of 2007. Meanwhile Beautiful World the album was the fourth biggest selling album of 2007. It was announced at the start of 2007 that Take That signed a record deal with American label Interscope, and would also release their album in Canada. Starting on 11 October 2007, Take That began their Beautiful World Tour 2007 in Belfast. The tour included 49 shows throughout Europe and the UK and ended in Manchester on 23 December 2007. The band received four nominations for the 2008 BRIT Awards. Nominated for Best British Group, Best British Single (Shine), Best British Album (Beautiful World) and Best Live Act, taking home the Best Live Act and the Best British Single awards.


The Circus (2008???2009)

The first single "Greatest Day" from the album The Circus made its radio premiere on 13 October, 2008 and it was released 24 November. It debuted at Number 1 in the UK Singles Chart on 30 November 2008. An album launch Party for The Circus was held in Paris on the 2nd December. The Circus was released in the UK on 1 December 2008, also debuting at Number 1 and remaining there for 2 weeks (to date). On 28 October 2008, on the Radio 1 Chris Moyles show, it was announced that Take That would be touring again in June/July 2009, covering England, Scotland and Wales. Tickets for the Take That Present: The Circus Live tour went on sale at 09:00 BST on 31 October. The promoters, SJM, have said that the band's tour is "the fastest selling in UK history". They have broken the record for most sold tickets for this tour. They broke Michael Jackson's record after 22 years and have sold over 1 million tickets for their 'Circus' tour.


On 22 May 2008, Barlow and Donald attended the 2008 Ivor Novello Awards where Take That won the award for 'Most Performed Work' with their single Shine. Take That won the Sony Ericsson 'Tour Of The Year' award at the Vodafone music awards on 18 September 2008.They were unable to attend as they were in LA finishing off their new album, 'The Circus'. They did send a video link message, which was shown at the awards. On November 22 2008, Take That appeared on TV show The X Factor where the finalists performed some of their greatest hits. The band also performed on Children in Need 2008, singing their new single "Greatest Day", before donating ??250,000 to the charity from their Marks and Spencers fee.


The band were nominated for one Brit Award in the category "Best Group" and performed Greatest Day at the 2009 Brit Award ceremony.


The second single, "Up All Night" from the album The Circus was released on 2 March 2009, and peaked at #14 on the UK Singles Chart, despite heavy airplay. In Germany and Australia, "The Garden" was released as the second single instead. Their latest video for the 3rd single from the album, "Said It All" premiered on GMTV on 8 May 2009 and was released on 15 June 2009. It features all four band members dressed up as vintage circus clowns, which ties in with their forthcoming "Take That Present: The Circus Live" tour. On 7 May 2009, Take That's official website confirmed that the next single from The Circus would be 'Said It All' which was released on 15 June 2009, peaking at #9 on the UK Singles chart.


The Circus Live Tour (2009)

Take That started their The Circus Live tour at the Stadium of Light on June the 5th 2009 in Sunderland and ended their tour at the Wembley Stadium in London on the 5th of July 2009, which over 80,000 people attended.


This tour quickly became the fastest-selling of all time, breaking all records by selling all of their 650,000 tickets in less than four and a half hours. (This even beat the UK leg of Michael Jackson's Bad Tour.)


In late June 2009, Gary Barlow said that a sixth studio album is to be made in the late autumn 2009.


Solo careers - 1995-2007


Gary Barlow

Barlow recorded a solo album, Open Road (1997). Five singles were released from the album, with the first two ??? Forever Love and Love Won't Wait (written by Madonna) ??? both reaching number 1 on the UK singles chart. His second album, Twelve Months, Eleven Days, was less successful. Two singles were released: "Stronger", which reached #16, and "For All That You Want", which reached #24. Barlow was then dropped from his label just before he was due to release a third single "Lie To Me". He later set up a studio in his Cheshire home and began writing and producing records for the likes of Atomic Kitten, Donny Osmond, Blue including the UK No.2 hit 'Guilty', Lara Fabian and Delta Goodrem.


Howard Donald

After Take That split, Donald did not have a career planned for himself and even considered committing suicide by jumping into the River Thames. Developing his songwriting skills, Donald tried to land himself a solo record deal after the breakup. Despite completing an album and filming a video for a planned single called "Speak Without Words", he gave up his efforts at launching a solo career. He returned to his DJ-roots and went on to become a successful DJ playing mostly in the UK and Germany. He is also one of the owners of the production company Sonic Fly.


Jason Orange

Orange briefly ventured into acting with two roles; a DJ drug dealer Brent Moyer in Lynda La Plante's Killer Net (shown on UK Channel 4 and now on DVD) and a theatre role in the play Gob which was performed at the King's Head Theatre, London. He also travelled the world and went back to college to study sociology and psychology.


Mark Owen

Owen has released three solo albums to date - Green Man, In Your Own Time and How the Mighty Fall. He had three top 5 singles from these albums; Child, Clementine and Four Minute Warning. He has toured extensively in Europe and the UK, and visited Japan in early 2006, where he has secured a publishing deal. Owen also won Celebrity Big Brother in 2002. His third album How The Mighty Fall was released under his own label Sedna Records.


Despite a previous failed attempt at a solo career, Mark Owen is planning on resuming his own career following the release of The Circus. He is planning on releasing solo material and being back on stage with his own band regardless of all the money and huge crowds he has been used to in Take That.


Robbie Williams

Following his departure from the band, Williams became an international superstar, having several smash hit albums and singles including Angels, Millennium, Rock DJ, She's The One, Supreme and duets with Kylie Minogue Kids, and cover version of Something Stupid (by Frank Sinatra) with Nicole Kidman. He has since collected numerous awards including the Best British Male Solo Artist in Britain in 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2003 , and saw his song Angels win the best song of the last 25 years in 2005 . He has won the most BRIT Awards and ECHO Awards in music history seeing 10 Brit Awards as a solo artist. He won MTV European Music Awards for "Best Solo Artist" in 1998, 2001 and 2005 and "Best Song" in 2000 ("Rock DJ"), and on 11 November 2004 he was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame for his outstanding contribution to British music and integral part of British music culture, and was there announced as The Artist of the 1990s.


Gary vs Robbie


Following the break up, Barlow and Williams both launched solo careers. Media hype at the time saw a battle emerge as to who would be more successful in the end. Barlow was the first to gain critical and commercial success as he gained two Number 1 spots in the UK single charts with Forever Love and Love Won't Wait. Whilst Williams released singles Freedom (cover version of George Michael's original) South of The Border and Lazy Days, none of them prevailed as high as Barlow in the charts. Williams was becoming publicly despised following his excessive drinking and drug taking, but his single "Angels" became a worldwide smash hit, whilst Barlow's second album failed to break into the Top 20 UK album charts. Following the success of Angels, Williams was becoming a powerful influence in the music industry's press, and he proceeded to profusely publicly humiliate Barlow both as a person and a musician , playing a major part in Barlow shutting himself off from the public eye for nearly 8 years after being dropped by his records label in 1999. After being dropped from his contract Barlow married and started a family . Williams went onto become a worldwide international superstar, having several more hit singles and Number 1 albums.


In 2005, ITV produced the documentary Take That - For The Record, seeing all five original members of the band reflecting on the their history, rise to fame, success and lows. Both Williams and Barlow reflected on their media hyped battle. Williams apologized to Barlow (via his interview) for his comments about him as a musician and praised him as, "An amazing songwriter and singer". Gary described the media hype as a "Good old fashioned fight that everyone loves to see" and one that "Only has one winner in the end," but admitted he wished he had Robbie's career status after departing the industry. The documentary ended with Williams confessing he would swap all of his career success for Barlow's happy family life.


In 2007, the pair met for the first time since 1996 to resolve their differences, and have been since sighted together happily socialising at a football game, but it remains unclear as to whether they will ever perform together again.


In other media


Take That wrote and recorded the theme song Rule the World for the film Stardust directed by Matthew Vaughn, which was released in cinemas across the globe in August 2007.


In April 2006, Gary Barlow and EMI licensed the band's songs to be used in the musical Never Forget, a musical based on songs of the band from the 1990s. Take That posted a statement on their website distancing themselves from it.


Take That presented their own TV show Take That Come To Town, a variety show in which they performed some of their biggest hits. The show also featured comedy sketches with one of Peter Kay's alter egos Geraldine McQueen. It aired on 7 December 2008 on ITV1.


Live Band


Mike Stevens - Musical Director, Keys, Guitar, Saxophone.
Michael "Milton" McDonald - Guitar and Vocals.
Lee Pomeroy - Bass Guitar, Guitar and Vocals.
Karlos Edwards - Percussion.
Donavan Hepburn - Drums.
Jamie Norton - Keyboard.
David Tench - Keyboard.

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