Gary Barlow OBE

Gary Barlow OBE is the frontman of British pop-group Take That. Having sold 50 million records worldwide, Barlow is one of Britain’s most accomplished singer-songwriters. Gary has written fourteen number 1 singles and twenty-four top 10 singles.
Gary Barlow was born in Frodsham, Cheshire on the 20th January 1971 and was the second son of Colin & Marjorie Barlow. At an early age Gary was said to have loved dancing in front of the television looking as his own reflection, which he cites as the beginning of his love of music. Gary has also credited a performance by Depeche Mode on Top of the Pops as being another key influence in his love of music. Barlow has been quoted as saying their performance of “Just Can’t Get Enough” was mesmerising, this subsequently led to him asking for a keyboard for Christmas and eventually teaching himself to play his favourite songs.
As a fifteen year old, Barlow entered a BBC “Pebble Mill at One” Christmas song competition and after reaching the semi-finals, he was invited to London to record his song called “Let’s Pray for Christmas”.  Gary then began to perform on the northern club circuit, singing both his own songs and cover versions. His first paid performance was at Connah’s Quay Labour Club in Cheshire, he performed on Saturday evenings for £18 per night.
In 1989, Barlow recorded a single called “Love Is In The Air” and appointed show business agent Barry Woolley as his manager. Eventually Gary was introduced to casting agent Nigel Martin-Smith, who was interested in starting a boyband. Barlow was chosen as the lead-singer, after impressing Martin-Smith with his self-written material and an early demo of “A Million Love Songs. The Group would be built around Gary’s vocals and song writing ability.  
After Barlow was selected as the group’s lead vocalist, Nigel Martin-Smith introduced Mark Owen, Robbie Williams, Jason Orange and Howard Donald. They were signed to RCA records and became known as Take That. Following a string of top 40 hits, they secured their first number one single with “Pray” and the group’s debut album “Take That & Party” released in 1992, reached number two in the charts. One year later Take That’s second album “Everything Changes” gave them four number one singles, while the album itself topped the charts. 
As Barlow’s success with Take That continued, his song writing ability received more acknowledgement and he received the Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song in 1994.  Following Robbie William’s exit from Take That, the group released a cover of the Bee Gee's hit “How Deep Is Your Love” which became their eighth number one single, this was to be their last single before eventually splitting up. The response to this news resulted in the UK Government setting up a hotline to counsel those who were distraught following the group’s split.  
In 2005, following a successful TV Documentary, Barlow and Take That reformed without Robbie Williams. As a four piece the group sold out a stadium tour, while their comeback single “Patience” went straight to number one in the charts. Since their return Take That have released four number one albums and a further four number one singles. Following a string of successful hits and sold out tours, Robbie Williams eventually returned for the “Progress” album and the subsequent tour.  In 2014, Jason Orange left take that but the group continued as a three piece with Barlow alongside Mark Owen & Howard Donald
Following Take That’s split in 1996, Gary became a solo artist and was predicted to be very successful. Gary’s first two singles “Forever Love” and “Love Won’t Wait” a song written by Madonna and Shep Pettibone, reached number one in the UK Charts, while his debut album “Open Road” also reached number one. However, following an unexpected backlash Barlow’s second album Twelve month's, eleven days, received minimal support and airplay, peaking at number 24 in the charts. Barlow and his record label BMG later parted company.     
In 2010, Gary Barlow released his first solo single in 11 years, a single called “Shame” with former bandmate Robbie Williams, with the song peaking at Number Two in the charts. Fourteen years on from his last album, Barlow announced in 2013 he would release a new studio album called “Since I last saw you last” and announced a UK arena tour. His single “Let Me Go” reached number 3 in the charts, while the album went platinum and became Gary’s most successful solo album to date.
Alongside Take That and his solo work, Gary Barlow has written for many of the world’s biggest musicians, such as Robbie Williams, Elton John, Olly Murs and Westlife. Gary was also commissioned by the Queen to write the official song of her Diamond Jubilee, while also being asked to arrange her 86th birthday party, which would include some of the world’s biggest superstars. In 2011, Barlow replaced Simon Cowell as a judge on the X Factor, while the viewing figures had dropped, his debut was deemed successful as he was offered a substantial salary increase to remain on the panel for the next series. Eventually Gary left the show due to his musical commitments.   
Barlow has done much for charity over the years, including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, this was done with many other UK celebrities and in the process raised millions for Comic Relief. In 2009 Gary arranged a concert at the Royal Albert hall, including Robbie Williams, Dizzy Rascal, Shirley Bassey and Lilly Allen, this event raised over £2 million. Barlow also held a 40th birthday concert for himself in 2011 at Shepherd’s Bush Empire and in the process donated all the profits from the night to charity.