Writer of (almost) a million love songs with Take That, solo star and X Factor judge - Gary Barlow’s success has spanned three decades.
Long before he joined up with Robbie, Mark, Jason and Howard, Gary was an enthusiastic teen scholar of all that is pop, and after making the semi-finals of a BBC Christmas song competition in 1986, Gary took to the northern pub and club circuit.
After casting agent Nigel Martin-Smith heard the young Gary’s tracks, he was sufficiently impressed to put him into a new boy band that he was forming. That band was Take That, and the result was pop history. After a slow start, the group secured their first number one with Pray, and went on to have a string of smashes. After the departure of Robbie Williams in 1995, the band began to brave it as a four-piece, but eventually disbanded in 1996.
Gary initially achieved solo success as his first two singles outside of Take That went to the top of the charts in 1996. But as Robbie Williams’ popularity and chart prowess grew, Gary suffered poor sales, retreating to family life with wife Dawn and children Daniel and Emily (second daughter Daisy was born in 2009).
Come 2005, Take That made the decision to reunite - and after a string of sell-out arena shows, the release of mega-hit Patience and album Beautiful World, regained their place at the top of the pop tree. Now also replacing Simon Cowell as the head judge on The X Factor, Gary Barlow’s career has had quite a comeback.