Gary Barlow nearly swerved joining Take That as he didn’t fancy being in a group.

The ‘Shine’ songwriter, 53, said he quickly racked up 2,000 gigs after he started playing his first solo shows aged 11 in working men’s clubs, and said by the time the opportunity came up eight years later to become a member of the boyband he wasn’t ready to give up his career.

He told Sorted magazine: “I didn’t want to be in a band, I was doing all my shows by myself at that point.

“And when I first met our manager and he told me about this group he was putting together, I was like, ‘I don’t want to be in a group, because I don't want to be lugging drums and amps up stairways, and things like that.”

Gary said his mind was changed after the band’s management reassured him it would not be a “conventional group”, but instead would be a “vocal harmony” band.

He said he was played The Jackson 5, New Kids on the Block and The Drifters as he was wooed into the group, saying: “That was a bit more interesting to me. So that’s why I went along and thought, ‘Let’s see what happens here.’”

Gary also didn’t like the “boyband” label for Take That, which is now a trio with Howard Donald, 56, and Mark Owen, 52, after past members Robbie Williams, 50, and 53-year-old Jason Orange quit.

He added: “Well, do you know what? That word wasn’t around when we started. It came later.

“It came towards the end of us being together, because then these other bands (appeared), there were a lot of other versions of what we were doing and that's when the word ‘boyband’ (came about.)”

Gary also insisted he felt no rivalry with the likes of Boyzone, stressing Take That were winding down their first run when a lot of the other boybands were on the way up.

He said: “They started as we were closing. I remember when we did our press conference to say, ‘Thanks very much everyone, but we’re splitting up... .’

“I remember all of a sudden, all the boybands – NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Boyzone – they were like, ‘We’re going to take that spot now.’

“So I was never in competition with them because they sort of started (after Take That)… so (we) never had any chart battles or any of that stuff, thankfully.”