Take That are an English pop group from Manchester, formed in 1990. The group currently consists of Gary Barlow, Howard Donald, and Mark Owen. The original line-up also featured Jason Orange and Robbie Williams. Barlow acts as the group's lead singer and primary songwriter, with Owen and Williams initially providing backing vocals and Donald and Orange serving primarily as dancers.
The group have had 28 top 40 singles and 17 top 5 singles in the United Kingdom, 12 of which have reached number 1, as well as having seven number 1 albums. Internationally the band have had 56 number 1 singles and 37 number 1 albums. They have received eight Brit Awards--winning awards for Best British Group and Best British Live Act.
Robbie Williams left the band in 1995 while the four remaining members completed their world tour and released a final single before splitting up in 1996. After filming a 2005 documentary about the group and releasing a new greatest hits album, a four-piece Take That without Williams officially announced a 2006 reunion tour around the UK, entitled The Ultimate Tour. On 9 May 2006, it was announced that the group were set to record new material together once again; their fourth studio album, Beautiful World, was released in 2006 and was followed up with The Circus, in 2008. The group achieved new success as a four-piece, scoring a string of chart hits across the UK and Europe while taking the number of records sold to 45 million worldwide.
Williams rejoined Take That in 2010 for the band's sixth studio album, Progress. Released on 15 November of that year, it was the first album of new material to feature Take That's original line-up since their 1995 album, Nobody Else. It became the fastest selling album of the 21st century and the second fastest selling album in British history.
In 2014 the band recorded a seventh studio album, this time as a trio without Williams and Orange. The album, titled III, was released in November 2014 and became the band's seventh number 1. It was preceded by the single "These Days", which became the band's 12th number 1 single in the UK.
Since 2011, Take That have set the new record for the fastest selling tour of all time in the UK with Progress Live, beating the previous record set by their Circus Live Tour in 2009, won the 2011 Brit Award for Best British Group, and were named as Amazon's top-selling music artist of all time. In 2012, the band were announced by Forbes as the fifth highest-earning music stars in the world. In the same year, the Official Charts Company revealed the biggest selling singles artists in British music chart history with Take That currently placed at 15th overall, making them the most successful boy band in UK chart history with four of their albums listed in the best selling albums of the millennium.
In 1989, Manchester-based Nigel Martin-Smith sought to create a British male vocal singing group modelled after New Kids on the Block. Martin-Smith's vision, however, was a teen-orientated group that would appeal to more than one demographic segment of the music industry. Martin-Smith was introduced to young singer-songwriter Gary Barlow, who had been performing in clubs since the age of 15. Impressed with Barlow's catalogue of self-written material, Martin-Smith decided to build his new-look boy band around Barlow's musical abilities. A campaign to audition young men with abilities in dancing and singing followed and took place in Manchester and other surrounding cities in 1990. At 22, Howard Donald was one of the oldest to audition, but he was chosen after he got time off work as a vehicle painter to continue the process. Prior to auditioning, Jason Orange had appeared as a breakdancer on the popular television programme The Hit Man and Her. Martin-Smith also selected 18-year-old bank employee Mark Owen and finally 16-year-old Robbie Williams to round out the group, which initially went by the name Kick It.
1990-92: Take That & Party:
Take That's first TV appearance was on The Hit Man and Her in 1990, where they performed Barlow's self-written, unreleased song, "My Kind of Girl". They later appeared a second time to perform "Waiting Around", which would become the B-side for the first single, "Do What U Like". "Promises" and "Once You've Tasted Love" were also released as singles but were minor hits in the UK. Take That initially worked the same territory as their American counterparts, singing watered-down new jack R&B, urban soul, and mainstream pop. However they worked their way toward Hi-NRG dance music, while also pursuing an adult contemporary ballad direction. As they aimed to break into the mainstream music industry, they worked a manner of small clubs, schools and events across the country building up a fanbase as they travelled to gigs constantly for months.
Take That's breakthrough single was a cover of the 1975 Tavares hit "It Only Takes a Minute", which peaked at number seven on the UK Singles Chart. This success was followed by "I Found Heaven", then by the first Barlow ballad "A Million Love Songs", which also reached number seven. Their cover of the Barry Manilow hit "Could It Be Magic" gave them their first big success, peaking at number three in the UK. Their first album, Take That & Party, was released in 1992, and included all the hit singles to date.
1993-95: Everything Changes, Nobody Else and superstardom:
1993 saw the release of Everything Changes, based on Barlow's original material. It peaked at number one in the UK and spawned six singles, with four being consecutive UK number one singles - their first number one "Pray", "Relight My Fire", "Babe" and the title track "Everything Changes". The lead single "Why Can't I Wake Up with You" had narrowly missed the top spot in the UK peaking at number two and the sixth and final single "Love Ain't Here Anymore" taken from the album reached number three on the UK charts. Everything Changes saw the band gain international success with the album being nominated for the 1994 Mercury Prize, but it failed to crack the U.S. market, where an exclusive remix of "Love Ain't Here Anymore" (U.S. version) gained little success.
By 1994, Take That had become radio and television stars across Europe and Asia, but it was not until 1995 that they did their first World Tour. It was during the years 1993-95 that the band fronted scores of magazine covers ranging from Smash Hits to GQ, becoming mass merchandised on all sorts of paraphernalia ranging from picture books, to posters, stickers, their own dolls, jewellery, caps, T-shirts, toothbrushes and even had their own annuals released. The band had also developed a large female teenage fanbase at the time. During this time, they performed at numerous music awards shows and chart shows such as the BRIT Awards and Top of the Pops, also winning the Best Live Act award in 1995 at the MTV Europe Music Awards, having been renowned for their breakdance routines, high energy and creative tour productions.
In 1995, Take That released their third studio album Nobody Else, again based on Barlow's own material which reached number 1 in the UK and across Europe, capturing new audiences along the way, with Take That also able to make inroads in the adult audience in Britain through Barlow's melodic, sensitive ballads. For nearly five years, Take That's popularity was unsurpassed in Britain. The release of the first single from the album, "Sure", achieved yet another number one in the UK charts. It was not until their second release from that album, however, that they would experience what would become their biggest hit single, "Back for Good", which reached number one in 31 countries around the globe and to date has been covered 89 times the world over. It was also their first and only US hit, where it reached number seven, and at the time was the highest ever charting single by a British boy band in the US.
The song was initially unveiled for the first time via live performance while at the 1995 BRIT Awards, and based on the reception of that performance, the record pre-sold more records than expected and forced the record label to bring the release date forward by an unprecedented six weeks. The album was also noted for its cover which was a parody of the famed cover of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band cover sleeve.
1995-96: Robbie Williams' first departure, break-up and Greatest Hits:
Robbie Williams' drug abuse had escalated to a near drug overdose the night before the group was scheduled to perform at the MTV Europe Music Awards in 1994.
In July 1995, Williams was photographed by the press partying with Oasis at the Glastonbury Festival. During this month the band offered him an ultimatum; he was to adhere to the band's responsibilities or leave before their scheduled world tour. Williams chose the latter. Orange pressured Williams to quit because of Williams's behavior. Williams claimed he was bored with Barlow's leadership. Unaffected by the loss of Williams, Take That continued to promote Nobody Else as a four-piece, scoring a further hit single with Barlow's "Never Forget". They subsequently went to America and completed the Nobody Else Tour in late 1995. Following the tour, the band began to plan for their next album; however, when they spent Christmas together, they mutually agreed it was time to part ways.
On 13 February 1996, Take That formally announced that they were disbanding. This was followed by the Greatest Hits compilation in 1996, which contained a new recording, a cover of the Bee Gees' "How Deep Is Your Love". The single went on to become what was to be the band's final UK number one until their 2006 comeback a decade later. Take That gave what was thought to be their final performance in April 1996 at Amsterdam. Following the band's announcement, millions of their fans were distraught around the world and in the UK alone, teenage girls threatened suicide and were seen lining streets in tears, to the point that telephone hotlines were set up by the government to deal with counselling them. After the band broke up, highly respected music figures such as Elton John noted that Take That were different from other boy bands before and after them, in that they wrote their own material through Gary Barlow, the only boy band member who won an Ivor Novello award during his time in a boy band (although George Michael won it while in Wham!). Take That had also left a legacy of being immaculate performers with a very high work ethic, causing them to be voted in as the greatest boy band of all time.
2005-06: Reunion as a quartet and Never Forget - The Ultimate Collection:
On 14 November 2005, Never Forget - The Ultimate Collection, a new compilation of their hit singles including a new previously unreleased song, also achieved great success and peaked at number 2 on UK charts selling over 2.1 million copies in the UK alone. The new song "Today I've Lost You" (recorded in September 2005) was originally written by Gary Barlow as the follow up to "Back for Good" but was never recorded. On 16 November 2005, the group got back together for the ITV documentary Take That: For the Record, in which they aired their views over their fame, success, the split and what the post Williams line up had done since. On 25 November 2005, there was an official press conference by the band announcing that the post Robbie Williams line-up were going to tour in 2006. The tour, entitled The Ultimate Tour, ran from April to June 2006. The tour featured a guest appearance by British soul singer Beverley Knight, who replaced Lulu's vocals on the song "Relight My Fire"; although Lulu did appear during the stadium shows on "Relight My Fire" and "Never Forget". The American female ensemble Pussycat Dolls supported the group at their Dublin concert, and the Sugababes supported the group on the final five dates of the stadium leg.
2006-07: Beautiful World:
On 9 May 2006, Take That returned to the recorded music scene after more than ten years of absence, signing with Polydor Records in a deal reportedly worth £3 million. The band's comeback album, Beautiful World, entered the UK album chart at no. 1 and, as of June 2009, had sold over 2.8 million copies in the UK. It is the 35th best selling album in UK music history.
In the album Beautiful World all four members of the band had the opportunity to sing lead vocals. Unlike the band's earlier works, where the majority of their material was written by Gary Barlow who received a sole credit, all four band members are credited as co-writers, regardless of whether they contributed to the writing process or not. The comeback single, "Patience", was released on 20 November 2006, with a special event launching it on 5 November. On 26 November "Patience" hit number 1 in the UK in its second week of chart entry making it the group's ninth No. 1 and stayed there for 4 weeks. Take That also accompanied eventual winner Leona Lewis in a live version of "A Million Love Songs" in the final of The X Factor on 16 December 2006.
The week after Take That's comeback album Beautiful World was released it was announced that Take That had become the first artists ever to top the UK official single and album charts along with the download single, download album and DVD charts in the same week, as well as topping the radio charts.
The video for the number 1 hit single "Shine", the follow-up to "Patience", premiered on 25 January 2007 on Channel 4, ahead of its release on 26 February 2007. The band's success continued on 14 February 2007 when Take That performed live at the BRIT Awards ceremony at Earl's Court. Their single "Patience" won the Best British Single category. The third single taken from Beautiful World was "I'd Wait For Life", released on 18 June 2007 in the UK. The single reached 17 in the UK Singles Chart. This was due to lack of promotion, as the band decided to take a pre-tour break rather than do any promotion for the single. Beautiful World was the fourth biggest-selling album of 2007. It was announced at the start of 2007 that Take That signed a record deal with American label Interscope, and would also release their album in Canada. Starting on 11 October 2007, Take That began their Beautiful World Tour 2007 in Belfast. The tour included 49 shows throughout Europe and the UK and ended in Manchester on 23 December 2007. The band received four nominations at the 2008 BRIT Awards. Nominated for Best British Group, Best British Single ("Shine"), Best British Album (Beautiful World) and Best Live Act, they took home the Best Live Act and the Best British Single awards.
2008-09: The Circus:
"Greatest Day", the first single from the album The Circus, made its radio premiere on 13 October 2008 and it was released on 24 November. It debuted at Number 1 in the UK Singles Chart on 30 November 2008. An album launch party for The Circus was held in Paris on 2 December. Prior to the official release of Take That's upcoming album The Circus it was revealed that the album had broken all pre-order records and had become the most pre-ordered album of all time. On its first day of release The Circus sold 133,000 copies, and after four days on sale it sold 306,000 copies (going platinum) making The Circus the fastest selling album of the year. The album reached number 1 on the UK album charts on 7 December 2008 with total first-week sales of 432,490, the third highest opening sales week in UK history.
On 28 October 2008, on the Radio 1 Chris Moyles show, it was announced that Take That would be touring again in June/July 2009, covering the UK and Ireland. Tickets for the Take That Present: The Circus Live tour went on sale on 31 October. The promoters, SJM, have said that the band's tour is "the fastest selling in UK history".
On 22 May 2008, Barlow and Donald attended the 2008 Ivor Novello Awards where Take That won the award for Most Performed Work with their single "Shine". Take That won the Sony Ericsson Tour of the Year award at the Vodafone music awards on 18 September 2008. They were unable to attend as they were in LA finishing off The Circus. They did send a video link message, which was shown at the awards. On 22 November 2008, Take That appeared on TV show The X Factor where the finalists performed some of their greatest hits. The band also performed on Children in Need 2008, singing their new single, "Greatest Day", before donating £250,000 to the charity from their Marks and Spencer fee. The band were also voted the Greatest Boy Band of All Time, reflecting their ongoing marketability and success in the pop arena, even after two decades.
The band were nominated for one Brit Award in the category Best Group and performed "Greatest Day" at the 2009 BRIT Awards ceremony.
"Up All Night", the second single from The Circus, was released on 2 March 2009, and peaked at number 14 on the UK Singles Chart, despite heavy airplay. In Germany and Australia, "The Garden" was released as the second single instead. On 7 May 2009, Take That's official website confirmed that the third single from The Circus would be "Said It All" which was released on 15 June 2009, peaking at number 9 on the UK Singles chart. The video premiered on GMTV on 8 May 2009. It features all four band members dressed up as vintage circus clowns, which tied in with their forthcoming Take That Present: The Circus Live tour.
Take That started their Circus Live tour at the Stadium of Light on 5 June 2009 in Sunderland and ended at the Wembley Stadium in London on 5 July 2009, which over 80,000 people attended. This tour quickly became the fastest-selling of all time, breaking all records by selling all of their 650,000 tickets in less than four and a half hours.
In November 2009 Take That released the official DVD of their Circus tour, which became the fastest-selling music DVD of all time in the UK on its first day of release and has not left the top 10 since its release. This overtook the previous record sales holder, which was Take That's Beautiful World Live tour and stayed at the number 1 spot for 8 weeks.
The following week Take That released their first live album, The Greatest Day - Take That Present: The Circus Live, which sold 98,000 copies on its first day of release and was certified Platinum in December 2009. "Hold up a Light" was released as the fifth and final single from The Circus to radio stations and as a digital download to promote the release of the live album.
The live album also featured a stripped down session recorded live at the famous Abbey Road Studios in London. With tracks sung by all four members of the band it's a chance to hear the true voices and the songs in a completely different environment from the tour that had preceded it.
2010-11: Progress and Robbie Williams' return:
On 7 June 2010, the news broke of a single called "Shame" which had been written by Barlow and Williams and would feature the vocals of both artists. This was the first time the pair had worked together since 1995 and would appear on the second greatest hits collection of Williams. "Heart and I", another track from the same album, was also co-written by Williams and Barlow. The single "Shame" peaked at number 2 on the UK singles chart while also achieving success throughout Europe, charting in over 19 countries.
After working with the band on new material in Los Angeles, on 15 July 2010 Robbie Williams announced he was returning to Take That. After months of working together, assembling new songs for a new album and even debating a band-name change to "The English", a joint statement between Williams and the group read, "The rumours are true ... Take That: the original lineup, have written and recorded a new album for release later this year." The statement went on to say, "Following months of speculation Gary Barlow, Howard Donald, Jason Orange, Mark Owen and Robbie Williams confirmed they have been recording a new studio album as a five-piece, which they will release in November." The lead single from Take That's album Progress was announced as "The Flood" and was released 7 November as a digital download, and on 8 November as a physical copy, with the album released a week later on 15 November. The single peaked at number 2 in the UK Singles Charts and to date has sold over 500,000 copies in the UK alone. The single also achieved success across Europe, charting inside the top 10 in ten countries while also charting in another nine countries whilst also being nominated for an Ivor Novello Award for best work.
On 26 October the band announced that they would be embarking on a huge UK stadium tour entitled Progress Live, starting in Sunderland on 27 May, and finishing with a record breaking 8 nights at London's Wembley Stadium in July 2011. It was also announced that Williams would perform hit singles from his solo career during the tour. The band then played at some of the biggest venues across Europe for the second leg of the tour. The phenomenal demand for tickets across the country led to the web sites of all the major UK ticket suppliers either crashing or considerably slowing for hours on end. The demand and sheer volume of fans also created problems for the UK telephone network. Take That's Progress Live also broke all records for ticket sales selling over 1.1 million tickets in one day, smashing the previous box office record set by Take That's Circus tour in 2008.
On the first day of release Progress became the fastest selling album of the century, with 235,000 copies sold in just one day. The album reached number 1 in the UK, selling around 520,000 copies in its first week, becoming the second fastest-selling album in history. After the release of Progress it was announced that Take That have become Amazon UK's top-selling music artist of all time.
The album retained the number one spot for six consecutive weeks in the UK since its release, selling 2.8 million copies in the UK alone and becoming the best selling album of 2010Progress also achieved success across Europe where it debuted at number one in Ireland, Greece, Germany and Denmark. and the European Top 100 Albums chart. It also debuted inside the top 10 of the charts in Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland.
"Kidz" was announced as the second single from Progress, it was released 21 February 2011 and charted well across Europe. The band performed the song live at the 2011 Brit Awards hosted at The O2, where they won a Brit for Best British Group and were nominated for Best British Album. Their performance of "Kidz", praised by critics, involved a highly choreographed routine featuring dancers dressed in police-styled riot gear bearing the Take That symbol on the uniform and shields.
On 19 May 2011, Take That announced a new EP entitled Progressed, which contained eight tracks written by the band since they had reunited as a five piece. It was packaged alongside the album Progress and returned the band to number 1 in the UK Album Chart the week after it was released on 13 June 2011.
Take That announced that the Progress Live tour would be released worldwide as their second live album to date and would also be released on home media formats across the UK and Europe on 21 November 2011. On the first two days on sale the tour DVD was reported to be selling "twice as much as the entire music DVD chart combined" The DVD debuted at number 1 on the UK Music Video top 40 in its first week on release and sold over 200,000 copies in two weeks of release in the UK alone. Take That's efforts were recognised further when they were awarded Virgin Media's Best Live Act of 2012.
On 4 October 2011, it was announced that Take That were to take a hiatus after the completion of the European leg of the Progress tour, with Barlow continuing his role as a judge on The X Factor and Williams recording new solo material. Whilst on this hiatus, Take That were presented with an Ivor Novello Award for their Outstanding Contribution to British Music in May 2012.
In August 2012, Take That performed at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics, despite Barlow having announced having had a stillborn daughter in the previous week. The performance earned him international praise for appearing live so soon after the tragedy. Williams was due to perform with the band but dropped out due to his wife giving birth at around the same time and thus the group performed as a four-piece. In November 2012, Take That reunited as a five piece for the last time to perform "Never Forget" at the Music Industry Trust Awards.
In 2013, Donald became a judge on the German version of the television dancing show Got to Dance.
2014-15: Robbie Williams's second departure, Jason Orange's departure and III:
In May 2013, Owen announced that Take That were to begin recording their seventh studio album in 2014 and On 14 January 2014, Donald and Barlow both tweeted that Take That had entered the studio to begin recording the album, although it was not initially clear if Williams was present at these recording sessions. On 28 April 2014, Williams announced on Twitter he was to become a dad for a second time, and consequently suggested he would be unable to join Take That on their album and tour. Barlow later confirmed that Williams had left the band for a second time, although the departure was amicable and that Williams was welcome to rejoin the band in the future. Williams has since stated he will probably rejoin, but a date for this event is unknown.
On 24 September 2014, it was announced that Jason Orange had left the band. He said: 'At a band meeting last week I confirmed to Mark, Gary and Howard that I do not wish to commit to recording and promoting a new album. 'At the end of The Progress Tour I began to question whether it might be the right time for me to not continue on with Take That,' he continued. 'There have been no fallings out, only a decision on my part that I no longer wish to do this,' he added. Barlow, Donald and Owen issued a joint statement about Orange's decision which said: "This is a sad day for us. Jason leaving is a huge loss both professionally and even more so personally ... Jason's energy and belief in what this band could achieve has made it what it is today, and we'll forever be grateful for his enthusiasm, dedication and inspiration over the years."
On 10 October 2014, Take That unveiled the lead single from the album. Titled "These Days", it was released on 23 November 2014 and went to No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart, knocking Band Aid 30 off the top spot and becoming their 12th number one single. The album itself, called III, was released on 28 November 2014 and became the band's seventh No. 1 album. It was then followed by a sell-out arena tour entitled Take That Live 2015.
On 14 October 2015, the band announced their new single "Hey Boy", released on 16 October, which is the first single from the 2015 re-release of III. The 2015 edition of the album is due for release on 20 November.
2016-: Eighth studio album, greatest hits album and world tour:
On 2 February 2016, in an interview with The Sun, Barlow revealed that Take That would release their eighth album later in the year, followed by a fifth greatest hits album in 2017 to commemorate the band's 25th anniversary. When asked about the possibility of Williams or Orange returning, Barlow said, "A Greatest Hits with everyone would be amazing but I personally can't imagine Jason coming back on stage for quite a few years. But if Rob could do something that would be brilliant. Regarding a tour, he went on to say, "It would be an enormous tour, across Europe, probably the world tour if I'm honest."
In other media:
In April 2006, EMI licensed the band's songs to be used in the musical Never Forget, a musical based on songs of the band from the 1990s. Take That posted and then later removed a statement on their website distancing themselves from it.
Take That wrote and recorded the theme song "Rule the World" for the film Stardust directed by Matthew Vaughn, which was released in cinemas across the globe in October 2007.
In 2007, their song "Back for Good" was used as part of the soundtrack for popular Korean drama The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince.
Take That presented their own TV show Take That Come to Town, a variety show in which they performed some of their biggest hits. The show also featured comedy sketches with one of Peter Kay's alter egos Geraldine McQueen. It aired on 7 December 2008 on ITV1.
Sony launched their first Take That video game with SingStar Take That in 2009 for the PlayStation 3 system.
In November 2010 ITV aired Take That: Look Back, Don't Stare, a black and white documentary which focused on the band working together for the first time in 15 years. Through a series of interviews the band look back at their achievements while also looking forward to what the future holds for them. On 18 November 2010, Williams and Barlow appeared together live on television for the first time on the Popstars program in Germany singing their hit "Shame".
In 2011, Take That's song "Love Love" was used in the credits of the 2011 film X-Men: First Class and later, "When We Were Young" was chosen as the main theme for The Three Musketeers movie.
In 2015, Take That's song "Get Ready for It", from their new album III, was chosen as the theme song for the film Kingsman: The Secret Service.
Gary Barlow (1990-96, 2005-present),
Howard Donald (1990-96, 2005-present),
Mark Owen (1990-96, 2005-present),
Jason Orange (1990-96, 2005-14),
Robbie Williams (1990-95, 2010-12)