Gary Barlow (born 20.1.1971)
Gary Barlow is best known as a member of the hugely popular British pop band Take That. He is now also a judge of the UK talent show The X Factor. He has also experienced success as a solo artist and has won five Ivor Novello awards for his songwriting.
Gary Barlow: Childhood
After being inspired by a performance of Depeche Mode's 'Just Can't Get Enough' on Top of the Pops when he was 10 years old, Gary Barlow was given a keyboard for Christmas. He spent the next few years learning to play some of his favourite songs.
After winning a songwriting contest on the TV show Pebble Mill at One, Gary Barlow began to perform on the club circuit in the north, singing his own compositions as well as cover versions.
The casting agent Nigel Martin-Smith selected Gary Barlow to be the lead singer in a boy band he was putting together, after hearing Barlow's material, including an early demo version of 'A Million Love Songs', which later became a hit for Take That.
Gary Barlow: Music Career
Gary Barlow joined Howard Donald, Robbie Williams, Jason Orange and Mark Owen to form the boy band Take That. After signing to RCA Records, the band had a number of Top 40 hits (such as 'Only Takes a Minute' and 'Could It Be Magic') and finally struck gold and earned their first number one with the Barlow-penned 'Pray'.
Take That's debut album was released in 1992, entitled Take That & Party. The album reached number two in the UK charts. In 1993, the band released the follow-up, Everything Changes. The second album was largely based on Barlow's own material. Everything Changes went straight to number one in the UK and launched a number of hit singles.
In 1994, Gary Barlow received his first Ivor Novello award, winning the Best Contemporary Song for 'Pray'. That same year, Gary Barlow sang backing vocals on Elton John's cover of 'Can You Feel The Love Tonight' for the film Lion King.
The third album from the band was Nobody Else, which became their final studio album of the 1990s. Nobody Else featured the single 'Back For Good', which was penned by Gary Barlow and has become one of the band's best-known songs. The band then released a Greatest Hits collection, which also reached number one. 'How Deep Is Your Love' was contained on the album and was the first single that the band released without Robbie Williams in the band. It was also to become the band's final single, before they reformed in in 2005.
Gary Barlow's solo career was launched in 1996, with 'Forever Love' and 'Love Won't Wait', both of which were number one singles in the UK. His debut solo album, Open Road was also a chart-topper.
The follow-up album, Twelve Months, Eleven Days was then released in 1999 but its sales performance was disappointing in comparison to its predecessor.
In 2010, Gary Barlow and Robbie Williams released a duet, entitled 'Shame'. The track received a huge amount of radio airplay and debuted at number two in the UK chart.
To celebrate his 40th birthday, Gary Barlow held a concert at Shepherd's Bush Empire, where he was joined by artists such as Ellie Goulding, Chris Martin and Midge Ure. A number of celebrities sent birthday messages, including Peter Kay, Elton John and Chris Moyles.
After the release of the documentary Take That: For the Record in 2005, the band decided to reform, minus Robbie Williams. Their comeback single, 'Patience' was a number one hit for four weeks and was voted The Record of the Year in 2006. The band's tenth number one hit came with the follow-up single, 'Shine' The band's first album since reforming, Beautiful World was released in November 2006 and also went to number one in the UK.
The next album from the band was The Circus, which became the most pre-ordered album of all time and sold over 2.2 million copies in the UK. Barlow then set about writing the follow up, Progress - the first Take That album to feature Robbie Williams since 1995. An estimated 1.75 million people attended their supporting arena shows.
Gary Barlow has also written songs for a number of high profile artists such as Shirley Bassey, Will Young, Westlife and Charlotte Church. Barlow also has his own record label, Future Records, home to Aggros Santos, Camilla Kerslake and Emma's Imagination.
In 2011, Gary Barlow replaced Simon Cowell as head judge on The X Factor TV series. The other judges on the show were Louis Walsh, Tulisa Contostavlos (of N-Dubz) and Kelly Rowland (of Destiny's Child).
Gary Barlow: Personal Life
Gary Barlow and his wife Dawn have three children, Daniel (b.2000), Emily (b.2002) and Daisy (b.2009).