Take That are one of the most influential British boybands of all time, with twelve number one singles the group are well renowned throughout the world. Following their success in the 1990s, the group returned to the music scene in 2006 as a four-piece without Robbie Williams. Following another period of hit singles and sell out-tours, the original line up briefly reformed before Williams and Jason Orange left. As a three piece Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and Howard Donald have continued the group, with their most recent album coming in 2014.
In 1989, music manager Nigel Martin-Smith attempted to recruit a group of young male singers to form a British boyband; this was following the success of New Kids on the Block in the USA. Gary Barlow had been introduced to Martin-Smith, who was impressed with his song writing; Barlow had performing on the northern club circuit since he was 15. The group was to be built around Gary Barlow and a campaign began in an attempt to recruit the rest of the group.
A 22 year old vehicle painter called Howard Donald was the oldest member to audition and was picked after getting time off work. Jason Orange joined the group, having appeared as a break-dancer on ITV show The Hit Man and Her. 18-year old Mark Owen left his job in a bank to join, while 16-year-old Robbie Williams became the fifth member of the boyband named ‘Kick It’ later to become ‘Take That’
Following a series of TV appearances and minor hits, Take That aimed to hit the big time and in the process they toured the country building a steady fan base, playing schools, clubs & small events. Their breakthrough came in the form of a cover of Tavares 1975 hit “It Only Takes A Minute” which charted at number 7 in the UK singles chart. This was followed up by “I Found Heaven”, “A Million Love Songs” & “Could It Be Magic” all of which were relatively successful and featured on their 1992 debut album “Take That and Party”.
“Everything Changes” was released in 1993, an album based on Barlow’s own material. The album peaked at number one in the UK charts, with four consecutive number one singles. “Pray”, “Relight My Fire”, “Babe” and “Everything Changes” were critically claimed singles on an album nominated for the 1994 Mercury Prize. However they struggled to crack the US market, with a remix of “Love Ain’t Here Anymore” gaining little success.
In 1994, Take That had become huge stars across Europe and Asia, they had featured on many magazine covers including Smash Hits & GQ and a huge range of merchandise was released including dolls, t-shirts and even toothbrushes. The group had appeared on many TV Shows including Top of the Pops and the BRIT awards. In 1995 at the MTV Europe Music awards, Take That received the Best Live Act award for their high energy and creative tours.
The follow up to Everything Changes came in the form of “Nobody Else”, again peaking at number one in the UK and European charts. “Sure” became their fifth UK number one, but it was their second release of the album which was to cement their place in music history. “Back For Good” reached number one in 31 countries and became their only US hit. It reached number 7 in America and at the time was a record selling single for a British band in the USA.
The first hint of trouble for Take That was in 1994, when Robbie Williams nearly overdosed on drugs the night before the group was due to perform at the MTV Europe Music Awards. A year later and Williams had been spotted partying with Oasis at Glastonbury Festival and the band offered him an ultimatum, either adhere to the rules of the group or leave. Robbie Williams chose to leave the group ahead of Take That’s world tour, supposedly pressured by Jason Orange into quitting, Williams was quoted as being bored of Barlow’s leadership.
Take That continued with their Nobody Else tour as a four-piece and went on to release another hit single with “Never Forget”, their world tour concluded in 1995 in America. The 13th February 1996, is synonymous with Take That fans, the group announced they were to disband. Their Greatest Hits was released following this announcement and a cover of the Bee Gees “How Deep Is Your Love” became the groups eighth number one single. Following the decision, millions of fans world-wide were devastated, to the point the UK Government set up a suicide hotline to deal with the backlash of Take That’s split.
In 2005, “Never Forget – The Ultimate Collection” was released and peaked at number 2 in the UK Charts. This was followed up 2 days later with the documentary “Take That: For the record” in which the group looked back on their fame, success and the downfall of the group. Within 2 weeks of the documentary airing on ITV, the group announced they would tour as a four-piece without Robbie Williams. During April to June 2006, the group toured the UK and Ireland playing the greatest hits of the 1990’s success.
Before their tour began Take That signed a £3 million record deal with Polydor Records, signalling their return to the music scene following a 10 year absence. Their comeback album, “Beautiful World”, released later in the year peaked at Number one in the UK album charts, with the first single “Patience” becoming their 9th number one single. The song stayed top of the UK singles charts for four weeks. This was followed up with the singles “Shine” and “I’d Wait For Life”, the group also went on a 49 date tour around the UK & Europe.
In 2008, the group released “Greatest Day” which again reached number one in the UK Singles chart, a song from their album “The Circus”. The album became the most pre-ordered album of all-time, it went platinum within four days of its release, making it the fastest selling album of 2008. Take That continued to break all the records, as the “Take That Present: The Circus Live” tour became the fastest selling in UK History, selling 650,000 tickets in four and a half hours.
2010 saw Robbie Williams re-join Take That, as him and Gary Barlow released a duet called “Shame”, the group put their differences behind them. The group put out a statement confirming they had recorded an album as a five-piece which would be released in November 2010. The first single from the Progress album was called the “The Flood” which peaked at Number Two in the UK Charts. A follow up tour was also announced and ticket sales beat their previous record with 1.1 million tickets being sold in one day. The sales caused ticket websites to crash and problems for telephone networks; such was the demand to see the original line up. The progress album reached number one in the UK album charts and stayed there for six weeks.
In 2014, Robbie Williams and Jason Orange confirmed they were to leave Take That. Williams had a child on the way thus wished to spend time with his family and Orange had been considering leaving the group for some time. As a three piece now made up of Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and Howard Donald, Take That released the single “These Days”, which went on to reach number one in the UK Singles charts and becoming their 12th number one single, with the album “III” becoming their seventh number one album.