5 Feb 2010
In the first of this two-parter, Chris Heath, the author of Robbie's official biography, Feel, takes us on a journey through two decadesof the illustrious career of the best-selling British solo artist in history.
This year Robbie celebrates 20 years in music and, ahead of picking up the prestigious Outstanding Contribution to Musicaward at the BRITs next week, the show's 30th anniversary, we look back at the spectacular highlights of his career.
Let's step back to 1990 when Robbie was a 16-year-old lad from Burslem inStoke-on-Trent auditioning for a certain boy band in Manchester…
Robbie Williams: The First Twenty Years - Part 1
At the age of 16, after a short and disastrous experience selling double-glazing,he auditioned to become the fifth and final member of the teen band Take That. He passed. As their success grew, he settled into downplaying his role: “When all the guys go through all the ideas forthe tours I’m probably watching basketball in the next room. I should contribute more, on the side of the artist’s – what’s it called? – vision. But I don’t. So my part is probably – what a cliché –being The Funny One.” Even so, some of his distinctive talent began shining through. In 1992 the first Take That single with a solo Robbie Williams lead vocal, their cover of Barry Manilow’s Could It BeMagic?, became their biggest British hit to date, and the following year the title track of their second album, Everything Changes, would be the first song sung by Robbie Williams to reach No.1. Buthe didn’t always find this boyband life an easy one. As time passed, his frustration at his role grew, and so did his bandmates’ frustration at his frustration and the ways he chose to deal with it.Eventually his behaviour and desires would diverge from the others’ in ways that became impossible to ignore. In the summer of 1995, three months after the release of Take That’s sixth and best...