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Gary Barlow (born 20 January 1971 in Frodshammarker, Cheshiremarker) is an English singer-songwriter, pianist and producer. He is a member of the pop group Take That and was one of the most successful songwriters of the 1990s, penning no fewer than 16 hit singles during the decade. Barlow had two No. 1 hits and five other top 40 UK singles as a solo singer in the last half of the 1990s. He is also a five-time recipient of the prestigious Ivor Novello Award. Recently, he was voted by as the greatest British songwriter of all time, ahead of Paul McCartney and John Lennon of The Beatles .

Early career

Gary Barlow was born on 20 January 1971 in Norley in Cheshire, the second son of Colin and Marjorie Barlow. In his autobiography, Barlow relates that his love of music began at an early age. "I was one of those kids that's forever dancing in front of the TV looking at my reflection."

He said he enjoyed watching Top Of The Pops on television, and when he was ten years old, he watched an episode of the programme in which Depeche Mode were performing their new single "Just Can't Get Enough". Barlow was mesmerised by the sound and decided he wanted a keyboard for Christmas. For the next few years, he spent most of his spare time teaching himself to play his favourite songs.

Aged 15, Barlow entered a BBC Pebble Mill at One competition called A Song For Christmas with a song called Let's Pray For Christmas. After getting through to the semi-finals, he was invited to London's West Heath Studios to record his song. This inspired Barlow to perform on the northern club circuit, singing cover versions and his own songs.{[fact}}

Aged 18 in 1989, he appointed Wigan show business agent Barry Woolley to be his manager and recorded a single (Love Is In The Air) under the stage name Kurtis Rush. After the single's commercial failure, Barlow came under the influence of pop manager Nigel Martin-Smith and formed Take That, becoming the lead singer. He was introduced to Martin-Smith by Manchester photographer Michael Braham whom Barlow paid to take publicity shots. Braham, an aspiring actor at the time, was also represented by Martin-Smith and knew he was looking for members to form a pop group as Britain's answer to New Kids on the Block, who had become a worldwide phenomenon.

Take That

Barlow, who wrote most of the group's songs, is generally recognised as the musical talent behind Take That. However, Gary himself has on occasion attributed his success to the hard work of vocal coach Paul Warwick. The five-piece vocal group consisted of Barlow, Robbie Williams, Jason Orange, Mark Owen and Howard Donald. This UK group were signed to RCA records, and after a number of top 40 hits, eventually secured their first Number 1 with Barlow's Pray. Previous hits included A Million Love Songs, It Only Takes A Minute and Could It Be Magic.

The group issued four albums between 1992 and 1996. The debut set was entitled Take That & Party. The following year saw the release of Everything Changes. Barlow received an Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song in 1994 for the song Pray included on the album. Their third outing Nobody Else, which was to be their last studio album of the 90s, came in 1995. A Greatest Hits collection followed.

Going Solo

In 1996, Take That split up and Barlow went solo. His first release, the single Forever Love, was an immediate number one hit in the UK. His album, Open Road, also went to the top of the chart, as did his second solo single Love Won't Wait written by Madonna and Shep Pettibone. The remix was produced by Junior Vasquez. The original demo remains one of many unreleased Madonna songs. He also reached #3 in the United States adult contemporary music charts with So Help Me Girl, also a top 20 UK hit. Another single (the album's title cut), Open Road, reached #7 in the UK. He followed that up with his second album Twelve Months, Eleven Days.

Barlow performed at the first two annual Capital FM-hosted Party in the Park events in London's Hyde Parkmarker in 1998 and 1999.

Barlow quit his career as a singer when he was dropped by his record label, with his final single remaining unreleased. In the autobiography 'My Take' Barlow partly blames his fall as a solo artist on his commitments to being a star in the United States.

He returned to songwriting and producing, writing hits including the single Not Me, Not I for Delta Goodrem and Guilty for Blue. Barlow is company president of True North Music Company. He has also worked with Elton John, Atomic Kitten, Donny Osmond, Lara Fabian and Christina Aguilera among others.

On Sunday 17 August 2008 he took part in a birthday tribute concert for songwriter Don Black, Lyrics by Don Black, at the London Palladiummarker. He performed the song Born Free, originally a hit for Matt Monro, with guest conductor David Arnold.On 20 October 2008, Winners Song, a song co-written by Barlow and Peter Kay, beat X Factor winner Leon Jackson to number 2 in the singles chart

Barlow is credited as Director of Music for the ITV series, Britannia High.

He has also recently been given his own record label from Universal. This was an award for the success of Take That's comeback.

Reformation of Take That

Following a successful TV documentary, Take That experienced a career renaissance in 2006 when the post-Williams line-up reformed for a sell-out stadium tour. They released a single (Patience - reached UK Number 1 position on 26 November and stayed there for 4 weeks). Patience was also voted The Record of the Year in 2006. They have released their first album of new material in over ten years. The album went in at Number 1 in the UK album charts. Most of the songs on their new album are joint band compositions co-written with other songwriters, unlike earlier albums, which were mainly penned by Gary Barlow. In 2007 the band won their tenth Brit Award.2008 saw the band get nominated for four Brit Awards (Best British Group, Best British Album, Best British Single and Best British Live Act). They won Best British Single and Best British Live Act. After being a great success in 2006, Take That then brought out their second album since their reunion in 2006,called The Circus. The Circus album was also a great success for Take That selling 1.7 million copies all over the country. Take That also did a tour of The Circus all over the United Kingdom and it sold over 1 million tickets in just 5 hours.

Launching his own label

In 2009 Barlow began work on his own record label Future records and signed his first artist, Camilla Kerslake .

Personal life

Born to parents Marjorie and Colin Barlow, Gary has an older brother Ian. The song 'Nobody Else' on Take That's third album (Nobody Else) is dedicated to his parents.

In his autobiography My Take, Barlow mentions he was on the Edgware Roadmarker tube train that was one of the targets of the 7 July 2005 London bombings. He also stated that Robbie Williams took full advantage of his misfortunes during the media competition that was staged between the two.

In a 2005 television documentary on Take That, TAKE THAT: For The Record, Williams retracted his previous taunting of Barlow, claiming that he would swap all of his current success for Barlow's happy family life.

He married his long-time girlfriend Dawn Andrews on 12 January 2000. They met on 'Nobody Else' Tour in 1995 where she worked as a back-up dancer and is still a dancer for the band. They have three children

Gary and the other eight celebrities: Cheryl Cole, Ben Shephard, Alesha Dixon, Kimberley Walsh, Fearne Cotton, Chris Moyles, Denise Van Outen and Ronan Keating, made it to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro safely on Sunday 7th March 2009, to raise funds for Comic Relief.

Gary's charity efforts in 2009, including his organizing of the BT Comic Relief Kilimanjaro Climb and his organizing of 'Children In Need Rocks', raised in excess £6 million. In addition to the charity events organized by Gary, the pop star has also shown support for fellow artists' charity efforts including that of Ronan Keating. The pair belted out Take That's Back For Good at Ronan's Emerald and Ivy Ball in Battersea, South London, on Saturday. The starry bash raised £650,000 for Cancer Research UK.

Barlow's father Colin died aged 71 on 15 October 2009. The singer rushed back to his parents home in Frodsham, Cheshire, and cancelled an engagement to launch his celebrity-packed Children in Needshow. whilst also postponing the launch of the Take That edition of Singstar.


Solo albums

  • Open Road (May 26, 1997 / US: January 13, 1998) - UK # 1, Germany # 10, Switzerland # 6, Austria # 13, Netherlands # 13, Belgium (Vlaanderen) # 7, Belgium (Wallonie) # 20, Sweden # 25, Finland # 29, Norway # 34, Australia # 30, New Zealand # 43
  • Twelve Months, Eleven Days (October 9, 1999) - UK # 35, Germany # 67

Solo singles

  • "Forever Love" (July 1996) – UK # 1, Germany # 5, Switzerland # 5, Austria # 11, France # 27, Netherlands # 6, Belgium (Vlaanderen) # 5, Belgium (Wallonie) # 4, Sweden # 12, Finland # 6, Norway # 9, Australia # 7
  • "Love Won't Wait" (April 1997) – UK # 1, Germany # 35, Switzerland # 23, Austria # 20, Netherlands # 32, Belgium (Vlaanderen) # 43, Sweden # 53, Finland # 16, Australia # 16, New Zealand # 42
  • "So Help Me Girl" (July 1997 / US: September 1997) – UK # 11, Germany # 78, Netherlands # 58, Australia # 36, US (Billboard Hot 100) # 44, US (Billboard Adult Contemporary Tracks) # 3
  • "Open Road" (November 1997) – UK # 7, Germany # 63
  • "Are You Ready Now" – Released only in the Netherlands in November 1997.
  • "Superhero" (February 1998) (US only) – US (Billboard Hot 100) # 106, US (Billboard Adult Contemporary Tracks) # 23
  • "Hang On In There Baby" April 1998 (Europe only) – Germany # 69
  • "Stronger" July 1999 – UK # 16, Germany # 73, Finland # 11
  • "For All That You Want" September 1999 – UK # 24, Germany # 94, Finland # 6

  • "So Help Me Girl" was Barlow's first single to be released in the US as a solo artist.
  • "Superhero" was released in the USA only in 1998. When re-recorded and released as a single in UK it was re-titled "For All That You Want".

Other songs written by Gary Barlow

See also: Songs written by Gary Barlow


  • 1996 July "Forever Love", Director: Sophie Muller
  • 1997 May "Love Won't Wait", Director: Rocky Schenck
  • 1997 July "So Help Me Girl" (Europe), Director: Rocky Schenck
  • 1997 November "So Help Me Girl" (USA), Director: Alan Smithee
  • 1998 "Open Road"
  • 1999 "Stronger"
  • 1999 "For All That You Want"


  • Gary Barlow: My Take. Bloomsbury Publishing 2006, ISBN 978-0747587644
  • Gary Barlow: My Take. Bloomsbury Publishing 2007, ISBN 978-0747588061 (paperback edition, updated to include Take That's comeback)


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