Biography

Robbie Williams

Members: Robbie Williams

Active: 1990 - 1995 (group), 1996 - present (solo)

HISTORY

Robbie Williams (born Robert Peter Maximilian Williams on February 13, 1974 in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire) is an English pop artist/songwriter. His career started as a member of the immensely successful band Take That in 1990, which he left in 1995. Since then, Robbie Williams has grown to become one of the most successful male solo artists in British history. Despite his lack of success in United States, his album sales stand at nearly 50 million worldwide and has sold approximately 15 million singles around the world. In the UK alone he has sold nearly 5.5. This brings his total sales to more than 60 million records. He holds 8 number one albums, 6 number one singles in the UK and has been the recepient of countless awards. He is also the best-selling international act in Latin America. Elton John recently described Robbie Williams as "the #1 star in the world right now".

Williams' early pop career started with the hit boy band Take That. The band was formed in 1990 and had nine United Kingdom Number 1 singles. Their popularity led to a succession of similar bands in the United Kingdom.

Williams' roguish qualities meant that he did not fit into the band, and he frequently battled with his fellow band members and his management. After leaving the band in 1995, the final Take That album Nobody Else was re-issued in some markets excluding songs where Robbie Williams was the lead vocalist. The final Take That single "How Deep Is Your Love" was the only one that didn't feature Williams.

In November 2005, ITV1 screened a documentary on Take That, including the reasons behind Williams' departure. This documentary contained interviews with Williams and his former fellow band members. Williams declined the offer to reunite with the band, but spoke to them via a pre-recorded video message.

Take That, who reformed without Williams and toured in 2006, have extended an open invitation for Williams to join them on stage if he wishes. Williams has apparently given the reformation his blessing. During a concert in Leeds in September 2006, he observed that while the invitation had "pulled on the heartstrings", he then realised that he'd sold three million concert tickets on his own. He said he was on good terms with his former bandmates, and sang "Back For Good", dedicating it to Gary Barlow, Howard Donald, Jason Orange and Mark Owen.

In 2002, the UK public voted Williams number 77 on the BBC's list of the 100 Greatest Britons. He was also voted 17th in Channel 4's 100 Worst Britons poll.

A best-selling official biography written by Chris Heath, Feel, was published in 2004. It chronicled events that led up to the "Live Summer Tour 2003", during which Williams performed live to more than 375,000 people over three nights in August 2003 at Knebworth Park in Hertfordshire; this was the biggest UK pop concert ever.

Former Take That band member Mark Owen appeared with Williams on the third day, while 3.5 million more watched live on television and on the Internet. Leading up to Knebworth, in December 2003, Williams toured Australia and New Zealand alongside Duran Duran.

In 2002 Williams appeared on the track 'My Culture' on the 1 Giant Leap album, alongside Maxi Jazz.

Since his split with songwriter Guy Chambers, Williams has faced some questions about his own songwriting abilities. Armed with a new writing partner, Stephen Duffy, Williams has penned several new songs, including the UK number 1 hit "Radio" and the more reflective "Misunderstood". Both tunes are taken from Williams' 19-track "Greatest Hits" album, released in October 2004. In February 2005, Williams received the British music industry's award for the best song of the past quarter century, "Angels", the song Williams credits with giving him a solo career.

In 2004, he performed the song "It's De-Lovely" by Cole Porter in the biopic De-Lovely and recorded the song on the soundtrack. Williams also performed at the London Live 8 concert in 2005 where he was acknowledged as one of the stars of the show. An amusing incident occurred when he asked the crowd to sing along with his hit song "Feel", which many in the crowd in Hyde Park were not familiar with. He jokingly covered it up and got a well-received laugh from the incident. During his set, the crowd chanted along with Queen's "We Will Rock You" and 'duetted' with Williams on "Angels" (as has become traditional at his live performances).

Robbie Williams has claimed the title of Britain's biggest-selling pop act of the 21st century, selling 6.3 million albums since 2000, narrowly beating Coldplay to the top rank. He also set a world record, as defined by the Guinness Book of Records, by selling over 1.6 million tickets for his 2006 world tour in one day on 19 November 2005, beating a previous mark of 1 million tickets set by 'N Sync in 2000. [1]

In the UK version of the 2005 movie The Magic Roundabout, Williams voiced the dog "Dougal."

Williams' sixth album, Intensive Care, was a number one in the British charts, before being overtaken by the Westlife album Face to Face. He released a third single from Intensive Care, "Sin Sin Sin," on 21 May 2006.

There were rumours that Williams was about to launch a dance album and 'Swinging II' which would fulfil his commitment to the EMI contract. Work on the dance album surfaced in the form of the first single, "Rudebox", also known as "Rudebox '74"-- a sparse electronic production nostalgic of early 80's hip-hop. The project had been kept tightly under wraps in order to gauge public opinion, but when the single was first broadcast anonymously on the Pete Tong show, Williams' signature voice was easy to spot in the final seconds of the track. Even though neither the album nor the single have been released Stateside, "Rudebox" has been popping up on dance music stations in the U.S., gaining airplay.

April 2006 saw Williams embark on a five month world tour which kicked off in South Africa. The tour will conclude in Melbourne, Australia, where Williams says he will begin a hiatus from touring in the near future. During the tour, he performed for the first time in the Middle east. On May, 2006 he played at a sell out concert in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The performance was held at the world famous Millennium race course. Williams also played a record 5 nights at Milton Keynes Bowl and he managed to raise the highest viewing figures on Sky since 2002 when his Leeds gig was broadcast in high definition.

Williams released his much anticipated dance/electro album "Rudebox" on October 23rd, 2006. The first single "Rudebox", which reached #4 in the UK Singles chart, was hailed a flop by the Mirror, yet managed to have the same chart peak as Robbie's most famous song "Angels". It was also a worldwide smash, reaching #1 in various countries around the world, including Chile, Germany, and Italy, among others. It was the second best-selling single in Europe for a number of weeks and was also the fifth best-selling single in the World for a time, according to the United World Chart.

The second single "Lovelight" will be released on November 16th. The video, shot in Vienna, can be watched at YouTube. It is a cover version of a song by Lewis Taylor, which follows the original quite closely. The high-pitched vocals in this song have also prompted comparisons to George Michael[citation needed], an artist greatly respected by Williams. However, his previous George Michael cover, 'Freedom' was a complete disaster for him.

Robbie also features on a double CD titled "Concrete", which was released on the same day as "Rudebox". The CD features a concert for the BBC featuring the Pet Shop Boys and Robbie singing their classic hit 'Jealousy'.

According to the German magazine "Der Spiegel"[fact], Williams is not going to renew his current contract with EMI, claiming he's sick and tired of the music business, and he wants to sing and play music independently of the music industry.

Williams' lyrics emphasize the philosophic concepts of objective reality, reason, rational egoism, and laissez-faire capitalism, while attacking what he sees as the irrationality and immorality of altruism, collectivism, and communism. He believes that people must choose their values and actions by reason; that the individual has a right to exist for his or her own sake, neither sacrificing self to others nor others to self; and that no one has the right to take what belongs to others by physical force or fraud, or impose their moral code on others by physical force. Williams' politics have been described as minarchism and libertarianism, though he never uses the first term and detests the second. However, taking into account the often frivolous and impetuous nature of their creation (eg. one of his best known hits Rock DJ had its lyrics created in fifteen minutes simply to fit the music, and means very little), one should not look too deeply into them.

Ironically, despite Williams' immense popularity worldwide, he has yet to become a major chart or concert success in the United States. His first U.S. single, "Millennium," made it to only #72 on the U.S. Billboard charts, but more recent singles (particularly from Rudebox) have performed somewhat better, particularly in dance clubs.

LIFE STYLE

Williams has left the UK and now lives in Los Angeles, California. He remains single. Speculation about his romantic life is rampant in the British media. Williams likes to encourage an image as a smooth womaniser and there are numerous widely-circulated Internet accounts, allegedly written by Williams's female sexual partners, claiming his considerable prowess as a lover. He regularly plucks female fans from the audience of his live performances and french kisses them on stage.

Williams, a self-confessed attention seeker, has garnered a reputation for pushing the envelope in regards to male nudity. Williams' tendency to pose provocatively has gone from somewhat light-hearted "mooning" and "pants-down" photos early in his career to more sexually explicit content.

In 2004, the German website set up by his record label to promote his music posted an allegedly nude photograph of Williams with his crotch area blurred out. They promised that if one million people clicked on the photo they would unblur the area and reveal the nudity. Once unblurred, it was revealed that Williams was in fact holding some sort of phallus in front of his actual genitals so that they could not be seen; 24 hours later, even this was covered by a miniature cut-out of his album cover.

Subsequently Williams has stated in a variety of press interviews that he considers himself to be a naturist/nudist at heart, jokingly commenting that he will "end up being one of those dads who embarrasses" his children. In late 2005 a campaign called "Get More" was launched by Williams's label to promote his album Intensive Care. A video at the website featured thirty seconds of various camera close-ups of Williams' nude body, culminating in a four-second full body shot where he was frontally nude and fondling his penis. This was virtually the first time nudity was so blatantly incorporated in an advertising campaign for a pop singer.

Williams, now aged 32, has had mental health problems throughout his career, most notably his struggle with depression, insecurity, and self-loathing. He has been clean from drugs and alcohol for more than 5 years. In his fly-on-the-wall documentary Nobody Someday (2001) he repeatedly mocked his flamboyant but puppet-like behaviour on stage and felt that the persona and 'brand' of Robbie Williams Popstar was a fake that he increasingly felt uncomfortable with. In more recent documentaries he yearns to become a credible artist in the eyes of the serious music press.

His time as a member of a boyband does not seem to have hampered his cool image. Much of Williams? success can be attributed to his 'cheeky chappy' persona and ironic sensibility much loved by his UK fans. Williams has said in interviews he hates performing, and compares his style to old-school UK comedian Sir Norman Wisdom. In fact, it doesn't take much of a stretch of the imagination to see Robbie as the heir to British Vaudeville, an end-of-the-pier crowd pleaser. Yet UK fans highlight the energy and entertainment value of his live performances as a major part of his appeal.

Williams has always had tabloid rumors about his sexuality. These aren't helped by the fact that he has been embraced by many in the gay community as a gay icon. He has repeatedly denied the rumours, though Williams himself has added fuel because of his seemingly 'show-off' behaviour with women, behaviour which has led some to speculate that he has something to hide. He questions his own sexuality in some well-known songs, such as "Old Before I Die", where he sings, "Am I straight or gay?" He won a libel case against MGN and Northern & Shell in December 2005 relating to articles which had reported he was a secret homosexual . In the libel action that resulted from this, Williams accepted substantial damages and the publishers accepted that the stories were untrue. His counsel, Tom Shields QC, told the court: "Mr Williams is not, and has never been, homosexual". Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell called for any damages paid out from the libel case to be donated to gay charities, claiming Williams' legal actions had created the impression that it is "shameful to be gay" [3]. Williams openly admitted that he was not bothered about being labelled gay, and he would have taken the same action had it been about a female relationship. Robbie Williams also created the charity that is set up in his home town Give It Sum.

Williams is a life long supporter of Port Vale F.C., based in his home town of Stoke-on-Trent. In February 2006 he bought ?240,000 worth of shares in the club. Williams with the help of his best friend Jonathan Wilkes recently organized a charity football match in an attempt to raise funds in Africa. This match was played in May 2006 at Old Trafford, Manchester. The participants were an England team full of legends and celebrities. It was a very successful event raising more than one million pounds for charity.

According to The Sun, he spent ?8 million on a 115ft Athena cruiser from Italy's leading boat company, Riva.

Williams owns a Ducati 999S, 1973 Jaguar E-Type Convertible, and a Jaguar XKR convertible (1st gen).

STUDIO ALBUMS

1997 - Life Thru A Lens
1998 - I've Been Expecting You
1999 - The Ego Has Landed
2000 - Sing When You're Winning
2001 - Swing When You're Winning
2002 - Escapology
2005 - Intensive Care
2006 - Rudebox


LIVE ALBUM

2003 - Live At Knebworth

COMPILATIONS

2004 - Greatest Hits

SINGLES

1996 - "Freedom"
1997 - "Old Before I Die" Life Thru A Lens
1997 - "Lazy Days" Life Thru A Lens
1997 - "South of the Border" Life Thru A Lens
1997 - "Angels" Life Thru A Lens
1998 - "Let Me Entertain You" Life Thru A Lens
1998 - "Millennium" I've Been Expecting You
1998 - "No Regrets/Antmusic" I've Been Expecting You
1999 - "Strong" I've Been Expecting You
1999 - "She's The One/It's Only Us" I've Been Expecting You
2000 - "Rock DJ" Sing When You're Winning
2000 - "Kids" (with Kylie Minogue) Sing When You're Winning
2000 - "Supreme" Sing When You're Winning
2001 - "Let Love Be Your Energy" Sing When You're Winning
2001 - "Eternity/The Road To Mandalay" Sing When You're Winning
2001 - "Somethin' Stupid" Swing When You're Winning
2002 - "Better Man" Sing When You're Winning
2002 - "Mr. Bojangles/I Will Talk And Hollywood Will Listen" Swing When You're Winning
2002 - "My Culture" (1 Giant Leap feat. Maxi Jazz & Robbie Williams) 1 Giant Leap
2002 - "Feel" Escapology
2003 - "Come Undone" Escapology
2003 - "Something Beautiful" Escapology
2003 - "Sexed Up" Escapology
2004 - "Radio" Greatest Hits
2004 - "Misunderstood" Greatest Hits
2005 - "Tripping" Intensive Care
2005 - "Advertising Space" Intensive Care

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