Where To Start With... Take That
There are few who would have believed it would happen at the time, but next year will mark 30 years since Gary Barlow, Mark Owen, Howard Donald, Jason Orange and Robbie Williams first formed under the name Take That and set about conquering the pop charts and the hearts of teenagers everywhere.
Originally the brainchild of Nigel Martin-Smith, whose only real success in the music industry up until that point was as manager of one-hit wonder Damian with a cover of Rocky Horror Show tune 'The Time Warp', Take That were conceived as a British answer to American boyband sensation New Kids On The Block, with Martin-Smith looking to emulate their chart-topping success.
The impresario was handed a break when he was introduced to a talented young singer-songwriter by the name of Gary Barlow, who had been plying his trade in the pubs and clubs around Manchester since the tender age of 15. Impressed by the fact that Barlow already had a catalogue of self-penned songs at such a young age, Martin-Smith decided to build the band around him and held auditions to recruit Howard Donald, Mark Owen, Jason Orange and a 16-year old Robbie Williams.
Their debut album Take That & Party arrived in 1992 and while the first few singles didn't quite achieve the chart success Martin-Smith had been hoping for, a cover version of Tavares' disco classic 'It Only Takes a Minute' scored the band their first UK Top 10 hit. The album yielded two more top 10's with the Barlow-written ballad 'A Million Love Songs' and Barry Manilow cover 'Could It Be Magic', but it was their second album Everything Changes which really launched the band into the big time. Of the six singles released form the album, all six landed in the Top 3 and only two of them missed out on the Number One spot. Take That had arrived.
By the time of their third album the band had amassed a fanatical following and continued to score chart hit after chart hit, with Robbie Williams and Mark Owen also beginning to contribute to songwriting duties in the band. However, behind the scenes the pressure on some of the lads was beginning to take its toll, with Robbie Williams in particular struggling with a substance abuse habit that was making his behaviour increasingly erratic. It was soon announced that Williams was leaving the band, with the remaining four members touring their third album Nobody else as a four-piece.
Then, in February 1996, the band left their fans devastated when they suddenly announced that they were calling it a day, releasing a Greatest Hits album and a cover of the Bees Gees 'How Deep Is Your Love' as a swansong to their short but hugely successful careers. And that, so it seemed, was that.
Except it wasn't. Ten years later and somewhat out for the blue, Take That announced that they were reforming and releasing a brand new album Beautiful World. With all four remaining members contributing songs to the album, Take That had transitioned from boyband to man-band and set about conquering the charts once again.
Although Robbie Williams has joined them on tours since, the first to leave the band has largely focussed on his solo career and in 2014, after a short hiatus and shortly before the release of their seventh album, Jason Orange also announced his departure from the band. The remaining members, however, vowed to continue and have since released an eight studio LP, 2017's Wonderland.
A year on and the band are gearing up to celebrate three decades since their formation with a brand new Greatest Hits album, only this one has a twist: Rather than just releasing a compilation of their biggest chart-topping tunes, the boys have decided to give each track on the new collection, Odyssey, has either been remixed or reworked completely, putting a fresh spin on a series of old Take That favourites.
Odyssey arrives in stores today and you can find a reworked version of their 1993 hit 'Pray' below – beneath that we've picked out five key Take That tunes from their careers so far..
Take That's second ever single and their first to break into the Top 40, 'Promises' probably isn't a song that the band would consider one of their finest, but it's worth including here on the basis that it shows just how far Take That have progressed since those fresh-faced early days.
'A Million Love Songs'
Although it wasn't their first Top 10 hit, it was the first of the band's original, self-penned songs to break into the Top 10 and showed that, in Gary Barlow, they had something that many of their peers didn't: a songwriter capable of writing proper hits.
'Back For Good'
By the time of their third album the songwriting from Barlow and others in the band had reached the point that it really demanded respect from those considered more 'serious' artists, with Barlow scooping up a pair Ivor Novello awards as a result.
Their first single after the band's reformation picked up exactly where they'd left off a decade earlier, landing them a Number One single straight off the bat. As comebacks go, this one could hardly have gone any better.
Our final pick is this cut from their seventh album III, the first single released form the album and their most recent to top the UK Singles Chart. We doubt it will be their last.