Featured birthday: Gary Barlow
Barlow performing on his solo tour Gary Barlow: In Concert
|Birth name||Gary Barlow|
|Born||20 January 1971 (age 42)
Frodsham, Cheshire, England
|Genres||Pop, pop rock, soft rock|
|Occupations||Musician, singer-songwriter, record producer and programmer, pianist, composer|
|Instruments||Vocals, piano, keyboards|
|Labels||Sony, Polydor, Universal Music,Decca Records, Future, San Remo|
|Associated acts||Take That, Robbie Williams|
Gary Barlow OBE (born 20 January 1971) is an English singer-songwriter, pianist and record producer. He is frontman and lead vocalist of British pop-group Take That and served as head judge on series 8, 9 and 10 of The X Factor UK.Barlow is one of Britain’s most successful songwriters, having written thirteen Number 1 singles and twenty three top 10 hits. He has had three Number 1 singles, six top 10 singles and two Number 1 albums as a solo artist, and has had sixteen top 5 hits, eleven Number 1 singles and seven Number 1 albums with Take That. He is also a six-time recipient of the Ivor Novello Award and has sold over 50 million records worldwide. He was appointed an OBE in 2012 for services to music and charity.
Early life and beginnings
“I was one of those kids that’s forever dancing in front of the TV looking at my reflection.”
He cites watching a performance of “Just Can’t Get Enough” by Depeche Mode on Top of the Pops when he was ten years old as a main influence of his love of music, describing it as ‘mesmerising’. Barlow subsequently asked for a keyboard for Christmas t few years, he spent most of his spare time teaching himself to play his favourite songs.
In 1986, when Barlow was fifteen years old, he entered a BBC Pebble Mill at One Christmas song competition with “Let’s Pray For Christmas”. After reaching the semi-finals, he was invited to London’s West Heath Studios to record his song. This inspired Barlow to perform on the northern club circuit, singing cover versions and his own songs. Barlow’s first performance was at the Connah’s Quay Labour Club in the late eighties and he was paid £18 per performance on Saturday evenings.
In 1989 he appointed Wigan show business agent Barry Woolley to be his manager and recorded a single (“Love Is in the Air”) which was never released commercially. Barlow was eventually put in touch with casting agent Nigel Martin-Smith, by renowned celebrity photographer Michael Braham, who took Gary’s first professional head-shots. Nigel is a friend of Michael’s, and introduced Gary to Nigel who was interested in starting a boyband. Martin-Smith decided to use Barlow as the lead-singer after being impressed by his self written material including an early demo tape of Barlow’s “A Million Love Songs” concluding that the band will be built around Barlow’s vocals and songwriting skills.
1989–1996: Early Success
Barlow, who wrote the majority of the group’s songs, is widely recognised as the musical talent behind Take That. After selecting Barlow as the group’s lead-singer, Nigel Martin-Smith introduced Howard Donald, Jason Orange, Mark Owen and finally Robbie Williams to the fold. The group were signed to RCA Records, and after a number of top 40 hits, eventually secured their first number one with Barlow’s “Pray“. Previous hits included “A Million Love Songs“, “It Only Takes a Minute” and “Could It Be Magic“. The debut album Take That & Party was released on 17 August 1992 and reached number two on the UK Album Chart. The following year saw the release of their second album, Everything Changes based on Barlow’s own material. It went straight in at number one on the UK Albums Chart and spawned four number 1 singles, as well as “Why Can’t I Wake Up with You” and “Love Ain’t Here Anymore” hitting number two and three respectively.
Barlow received an Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song in 1994 for the number 1 hit song “Pray” included on the album. In 1994 Barlow alongside Rick Astley did backing vocals for Elton John‘s version of Can You Feel the Love Tonight from The Lion King. Their third albumNobody Else, again based on Barlow’s own material, went straight to number 1 and was to be their last studio album of the 90s. The album had three number 1 singles, including Barlow’s “Back for Good” which peaked at number 7 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was brought forward an unprecedented 6 weeks before its official release such was the demand for the single. A Greatest Hits collection followed again reaching number 1. The album featured the band’s eighth number 1 single “How Deep Is Your Love“. This was to be the first single released by Take That as a four piece (without Robbie Williams) and it was their last single until they reformed in 2005.
Barlow returned to the limelight in a successful TV documentary, Take That: For the Record in 2005. Following this success and renewed interest, Take That experienced a career renaissance in 2005 when the post-Williams line-up reformed for a sell-out stadium tour. The band released their comeback single “Patience” which went to number 1 for four weeks while also topping the charts across Europe. Patience was also voted The Record of the Year in 2006 and won a Brit for single of the year. This was followed with “Shine” which became the band’s tenth number 1 single. Take That’s first album of new material in over ten years, Beautiful World was released on 24 November 2006. The album peaked at number 1 in the UK Album Chart selling over 2.8 million copies in the UK alone to date. It was re-released as a tour edition with hit single “Rule the World” in 2007 and peaked again at number one.
In 2008, the band were nominated for four Brit Awards (Best British Group, Best British Album, Best British Single and Best British Live Act). They won Best British Single and Best British Live Act. After great success in 2006, Take That released the single “Greatest Day” which went straight to number 1 and became their eleventh number 1 single in the UK. The week after they released their second album since their reunion in 2006, The Circus which was the most preordered album of all time. The Circus album was also a great success for Take That going straight to the top of the UK album chart and selling over 2.2 million copies across the country, going multi platinum within 4 days of its release. In June and July Take That performed a record breaking tour named Take That Present: The Circus Live throughout the United Kingdom which sold over 1 million tickets in just 5 hours.
It was announced that Barlow was in the process of writing Take That’s much anticipated sixth studio album, set for release in late 2010. The album, Progress, was the first to feature the original line-up since their 1995 album, Nobody Else. The band also announced a stadium tour entitledProgress Live which took place in 2011. The tickets for the tour went on sale on 29 October 2010. Due to unprecedented high public demand for tickets, ticketmaster websites across the UK and Ireland crashed and all initial tour dates sold out in under 15 minutes. It was reported that a record breaking one million tickets were snapped up on the first day of sale, resulting in Take That smashing the previous box office record of tickets sold which was set in 2008 by Take That Present: The Circus Live. Due to unprecedented demand Take That added more dates to their tour, finishing in the UK with a record breaking 8 consecutive nights at Wembley Stadium after which the tour will then commence throughout Europe with an estimated 1.75 million people expected to attend the shows.
The lead single from Progress was announced as “The Flood“. The single debuted at number 2, selling over 500,000 copies since release. On the first day of the release of Progress, the album sold over 235,000 copies across the UK, making it the fastest selling record of the century. On 21 November 2010, Progress debuted at number one in the United Kingdom, becoming the band’s seventh number-one album. By the end of its first week on sale the album sold over 520,000, making it the second fastest-selling album of all-time in UK chart history. To date Progresshas sold 2.8 million copies in the UK and has achieved similar chart success across Europe. In June 2011, Take That released their first extended play collection entitled Progressed which returned the band to number 1 in the UK on its first week of release as well as charting across Europe.
The media have widely acknowledged Barlow’s talent and labelled him as the mastermind behind the unprecedented success of Take That’s comeback and the new musical direction they have taken.
Linkin Park live in Berlin, 2010.
|Also known as||Xero, Hybrid Theory|
|Origin||Agoura Hills, California, USA|
|Genres||Alternative rock, nu metal, rap rock|
|Labels||Warner Bros., Machine Shop|
|Associated acts||Jay-Z, Relative Degree|
Linkin Park is an American rock band from Agoura Hills, California. Formed in 1996, the band rose to international fame with their debut album Hybrid Theory, which was certified Diamond by the RIAA in 2005 and multi-platinum in several other countries. Their following studio album Meteora, continued the band’s success, topping the Billboard 200 album chart in 2003, and was followed by extensive touring and charity work around the world. In 2003, MTV2 named Linkin Park the sixth-greatest band of the music video era and the third-best of the new millennium. Billboard ranked Linkin Park No. 19 on the Best Artists of the Decade chart. The band was recently voted as the greatest artist of ’00s in a Bracket Madness poll on VH1.
Having adapted nu metal and rap metal to a radio-friendly yet densely layered style in Hybrid Theory and Meteora, the band explored other genres in their next studio album, Minutes to Midnight (2007). The album topped theBillboard charts and had the third-best debut week of any album that year. The band continued to explore a wider variation of musical types in their fourth album, A Thousand Suns (2010), layering their music with more electronic sounds and beats. Their most recent work, Living Things (2012), combines musical elements from all of their previous records. The band has collaborated with several other artists, most notably with rapper Jay-Z in their mashup EP Collision Course, and many others on Reanimation and Recharged. Linkin Park has sold over 60 million albums worldwide and has won two Grammy Awards.