ROBERT PETER WILLIAMS (born 13 February 1974) is an English singer, songwriter and actor. He was a member of the pop group Take That from 1990 to 1995 and again from 2009 to 2012. He has also had commercial success as a solo artist.
Williams rose to fame in Take That's first run in the early-to-mid-1990s. After many disagreements with the management and group members, Williams left the group in 1995 to launch a solo career, in which all but one of his 11 studio albums have reached number one in the UK. Williams also released seven number-one singles. On 15 July 2010, he rejoined Take That. The group's subsequent album _Progress _ became the second fastest-selling album in UK chart history and the fastest-selling record of the century at the time. Gary Barlow has since confirmed that Williams had left for a second time, although the departure was amicable and that Williams was welcome to rejoin the Take That in the future.
He is the best-selling British solo artist in the United Kingdom and the best selling non-Latino artist in Latin America. Six of his albums are among the top 100 biggest-selling albums in the United Kingdom, and in 2006 he entered the _ Guinness Book of World Records _ for selling 1.6 million tickets of his Close Encounters Tour in a single day.
Williams has received a record eighteen Brit Awards —winning Best British Male four times, and two awards for Outstanding Contribution to Music and the 2016 Brits Icon for his "lasting impact on British culture ", eight German ECHO Awards , and three MTV European Music Awards . In 2004, he was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame after being voted the "Greatest Artist of the 1990s". According to the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), Williams has been certified for 19.5 million albums and 6.2 million singles in the UK as a solo artist. Williams also topped the 2000–2010 UK airplay chart, racking up almost 50% more plays than the Sugababes at number 2. In 2014, he was awarded the freedom of his home town of Stoke-on-Trent , as well as having a tourist trail created and streets named in his honour.
* 1 Early life
* 2 Take That
* 2.1 1990–95: First stint * 2.2 2009–12: Second stint
* 3 Solo career
* 3.1 1996–98: _Life thru a Lens_ and _I\'ve Been Expecting You_ * 3.2 1999–2001: _Sing When You\'re Winning_ and _Swing When You\'re Winning_ * 3.3 2002–05: _Escapology_ and _Intensive Care_ * 3.4 2006–09: _Rudebox_ and _Reality Killed the Video Star_ * 3.5 2010–12: _In and Out of Consciousness_ and _Take the Crown_ * 3.6 2013–14: _Swings Both Ways_ and _Under the Radar Volume 1_ * 3.7 2016–present: _The Heavy Entertainment Show_
* 4 Other projects
* 4.1 Collaborations * 4.2 Other work * 4.3 Video game
* 5 Achievements
* 6 Personal life
* 6.1 Health issues * 6.2 Interests * 6.3 Relationships and fatherhood * 6.4 Wealth * 6.5 Charity
* 7 Awards and nominations * 8 Discography * 9 Tours
* 10 Robbie Williams Band
* 10.1 Timeline
* 11 References * 12 Further reading * 13 External links
Williams was born in Stoke-on-Trent , Staffordshire. His parents, Janet (_née _ Farrell) and Peter Williams (also known as Pete Conway), ran a pub called the Red Lion in Burslem , before his father became the licensee at the Port Vale FC Social Club; this led to Williams' lifelong affinity for the team. His maternal grandfather was Irish and hailed from Kilkenny . Williams attended St Margaret Ward Catholic School in Tunstall , before attending dance school UKDDF in Tunstall. He participated in several school plays, and his biggest role was that of the Artful Dodger in a production of _Oliver! _.
Main article: Take That
1990–95: FIRST STINT
In 1990, the sixteen-year-old Williams was the youngest member to join Take That. According to the documentary _Take That: For the Record _, his mother read an advertisement seeking members for a new boy band and suggested that he try out for the group. He met fellow member Mark Owen on the day of his audition/interview with Nigel Martin-Smith . During the heights of the band's popularity, Williams was known as the extrovert and cheeky practical joker of the band. Although the majority of the band's material was written and performed by Gary Barlow , Williams did perform lead vocals on their first Top Ten hit " Could It Be Magic ", " I Found Heaven ", and "Everything Changes ". However, he had conflicts with Martin-Smith over the restrictive rules for Take That members, and he began drinking more alcohol and dabbling in cocaine .
In November 1994, Williams's drug abuse had escalated to the point of his having a near drug overdose the night before the group was scheduled to perform at the MTV Europe Music Awards . According to the documentary _For the Record_, he stated that he was unhappy with his musical ideas not being taken seriously by lead singer Barlow and Nigel Martin-Smith, because his desire to explore hip hop and rap conflicted with the band's usual ballads. Barlow explained in interviews that Williams had given up trying to offer creative input and merely did as he was told. As well as Williams's friction with the management of the band, Jason Orange had problems with his increasingly belligerent behaviour, his lack of interest in performing, and his frequent habit of missing the band's rehearsals.
Both Orange and Barlow confronted Martin-Smith about the internal conflict, because they did not want him dropping out while touring and before any possible future touring of America, which never took place. During one of the last rehearsals before the tour commenced, the group confronted Williams about his attitude and stated they wanted to do the tour without him. He agreed to quit and left the group in July 1995; it would be the last time for twelve years that they were all together. Despite the departure of Williams, Take That completed their Nobody Else Tour as a four-piece band. They later disbanded on 13 February 1996, Williams's 22nd birthday.
Shortly afterwards, Williams was photographed by the press partying with the members of Oasis at Glastonbury Festival . Following his departure, he became the subject of talk shows and newspapers as he acknowledged his plans to become a solo singer, and he was spotted partying with George Michael in France. However, a clause in his Take That contract prohibited him from releasing any material until after the group was officially dissolved, and he was later sued by Martin-Smith and forced to pay $200,000 in commission. After various legal battles over his right to a solo career, Williams was victorious in getting released from his contract with BMG . On 27 June 1996, Williams signed with Chrysalis Records .
2009–12: SECOND STINT
On 27 March 2009, Williams stated he felt ready to re-join Take That. He said: "I'm in regular contact with them, even Gaz, and it's looking more likely by the week. The lads all seem up for it and some people think it's a done deal. I think it would be fun." Williams was eager to re-join the band on their The Circus Live tour, but these plans never materialised. In September 2009, Williams was reported to be working in New York with Take That, however these rumours were never confirmed.
While it was rumoured that Williams would reunite with Take That on 12 November 2009 for a Children in Need charity concert at The Royal Albert Hall , they merely greeted each other warmly on stage between performances. However, both did join with the other acts in the final song of the evening, with Williams putting his arm around Gary Barlow and singing " Hey Jude ".
On 15 July that Williams rejoined Take That. In November 2010 the Take That album _Progress _ was released, becoming the fastest selling album since 2000 and the second fastest selling album in UK history. Williams explained that the long-standing feud between himself and Gary has been resolved, and how close they now were.
The band also announced the Progress Live tour which would travel across the UK, including a record breaking 8 nights at Wembley Stadium in London, then continue across Europe. The tour was the fastest selling in UK history with ticket hotlines and websites crashing under the demand.
In August 2012, Take That performed at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics . Williams was due to perform with the band but dropped out due to his wife giving birth at around the same time and thus the group performed as a four-piece.
1996–98: _LIFE THRU A LENS_ AND _I\'VE BEEN EXPECTING YOU_
Main articles: Life thru a Lens and I\'ve Been Expecting You
Recordings for Williams's first album began at London's Maison Rouge studios in March 1997. Shortly after his introduction to Guy Chambers , Williams released " Old Before I Die " which would be the first single taken from his debut album. The single reached number two on the UK Charts; however, it was largely ignored on international charts.
His debut album, _ Life thru a Lens _, was released in September 1997. The album launched with his first live solo gig at the Élysée Montmartre theatre in Paris, France. The album debuted at number eleven on the UK Albums Chart .
Williams released what would be the fourth single taken from his album. "Angels" became Williams' best-seller in the United Kingdom. The song, apart from becoming a hit around Europe and Latin America, caused sales of his album to skyrocket. The album remained inside the British top ten for forty weeks and spent 218 weeks there altogether, making it the 58th best selling album in UK history with sales of over 2.4 million. The album eventually managed to sell over three million copies in Europe.
Williams and Chambers started writing the second album in Jamaica in early 1998. The first single, "Millennium ", became Williams' first solo number one single in the United Kingdom. It also became a top twenty hit in many European countries, Latin America and Australia.
When the album _I\'ve Been Expecting You _ was released in late October 1998, it debuted at number one in the UK Albums Chart. The album received more attention outside the United Kingdom, leaving its mark in the European and Latin American markets with hits such as "No Regrets ", a collaboration with The Pet Shop Boys ' singer Neil Tennant and The Divine Comedy 's Neil Hannon .
A cover of a track from World Party 's album, _Egyptology_, became Williams' second number one hit in the UK. Williams finished the year with a European Tour late in 1999.
The album _I\'ve Been Expecting You _ sold almost 3 million copies in the UK and was certified 10x Platinum by the BPI. In Europe, the album sold over 4 million copies.
1999–2001: _SING WHEN YOU\'RE WINNING_ AND _SWING WHEN YOU\'RE WINNING_
Main articles: The Ego Has Landed , Sing When You\'re Winning , and Swing When You\'re Winning
In 1999, Williams was signed to Capitol Records in the United States, a part of EMI . He embarked on a US promotional tour and released his first US and Canadian single, "Millennium ". The album _The Ego Has Landed _ was released in July 1999 in the United States and Canada. Williams in London in 2000, gesturing to a paparazzi photographer
In the middle of promotion and the tours in 1999, Williams began work on his third studio album. This time he had finally found his inner confidence.
Rumours of a new studio album co-written with Guy Chambers surfaced in early 2007, along with known commitments required by Williams to his EMI contract. British singer-songwriter Laura Critchley commented that she had sung vocals for three songs, and said that it would not be released until 2009.
In February 2009, it was confirmed that Williams had written material with Guy Chambers and Mark Ronson. A spokesman said that Williams was planning to begin the recording sessions in March and that the new album would be released in late 2009. This will probably be the last Williams album released by EMI. On his official website, Williams confirmed that he was working with producer Trevor Horn on his new album, which would eventually be titled _Reality Killed the Video Star _, a reference to the song " Video Killed the Radio Star " by Horn's former band The Buggles . The album was released on 9 November 2009 in the United Kingdom.
On 11 October 2009 Williams published a 12-track compilation album, titled _Songbook _, as a free CD for the newspaper _The Mail on Sunday _. The CD is a one-off album of some of his biggest hits – including several rare live performances. That same evening, Williams made his "comeback" on _The X Factor _ results show, performing his new single "Bodies " for the first time live.
On 20 October 2009 Williams opened the BBC Electric Proms at the London RoundHouse . It was his first live concert for 3 years and was broadcast across 200 cinemas worldwide. Accompanied by a string section, horn section, full band and producer Trevor Horn, Williams performed several new tracks from _Reality Killed the Video Star_ and older tracks.
_Reality Killed the Video Star_ was previewed in the UK on the Spotify music streaming service on 6 November 2009, and official released on 9 November. In a high-profile chart battle, Williams' album was pitted against _X Factor _ 2008 runners-up JLS who released their debut album the same day. JLS beat Williams to the number one spot by 1500 sales. The album was also released in the United States (Williams' first album to be released there since 2002's _Escapology_).
In late November 2009, Williams travelled to Australia to perform at the ARIA Music Awards of 2009 .
2010–12: _IN AND OUT OF CONSCIOUSNESS_ AND _TAKE THE CROWN_
Main articles: In and Out of Consciousness: Greatest Hits 1990–2010 and Take the Crown (album) Williams performing in 2009
In October 2010, Williams released his second greatest hits album, _In and Out of Consciousness: The Greatest Hits 1990–2010 _, to celebrate 20 years as a performing artist. A single, "Shame ", was also released, which was written and sung by Williams and Barlow.
On 21 October 2011 Williams signed with Island Records (Universal Music ), following his departure from his previous record label EMI in 2010. He said in a statement, "I'm really thrilled to be joining the Universal family at what I think is the most exciting time in my career."
Williams was the opening act at the Diamond Jubilee Concert , which was co-organised by Gary Barlow , held outside Buckingham Palace on 4 June 2012. During the end of August his official website began a countdown to the release of information regarding his latest solo material, with an image of his face and his mind unveiled daily as the countdown expired. The album was then leaked on the Tesco website in late August revealing the track listing and the name, _Take the Crown _. _Take the Crown_ debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart making it Williams' tenth number one album. It also marked the second time that Williams had a number one single ("Candy") and album at the same time on the chart. The first time was in 2001 when "Somethin\' Stupid " and _Swing When You\'re Winning _ were number one on the singles and albums chart respectively.
The album's lead single, "Candy ", premiered on 10 September 2012 and was released on 11 September in most countries and 29 October in the UK. In the UK, "Candy" became Williams' first number one single since "Radio " (2004) and his seventh solo number one single. In its first week the song has sold 137,000 copies becoming the fastest-selling male artist single of the year.
On 26 November 2012 Williams announced a 17 date stadium tour of Europe . Williams also confirmed that the support act for the tour would be Olly Murs who also duets with him on "Kids". Universal and EMI merged in 2012, bringing Williams' Chrysalis/Virgin recordings full circle to Universal.
2013–14: _SWINGS BOTH WAYS_ AND _UNDER THE RADAR VOLUME 1_
In September 2013, Williams announced a follow up to his 2001 swing album, titled _ Swings Both Ways _ for release in November. The album features covers and original songs, whilst also including duet recordings with Michael Bublé , Olly Murs , Rufus Wainright , Lily Allen and Kelly Clarkson . In November 2013 Williams made a cameo appearance in the video to Murs's song " Hand on Heart ". Williams on stage in Poland in 2015 performing " Bohemian Rhapsody " with the Queen image in the background
Williams released a compilation album entitled _Under the Radar Volume 1 _ on 1 December 2014 through his website, featuring B-sides , demos and other previously unreleased songs. An example of the latter is "Run It Wild" a song that he "once got very, very excited for" and prepared for last year's _Take the Crown_ stadium tour. " loads and loads of songs that I've written that I'm incredibly passionate about, I want you to hear them, otherwise they're just going to remain in my computer!" Williams claims that Guy Chambers “isn’t happy” about these songs being released online: "He thinks I’m a lunatic for not putting them on an album that we’ve promoted with TV performances and at radio stations and a big tour," Williams said. "But I’m an impetuous bugger, and I want them out now, now, now!"
2016–PRESENT: _THE HEAVY ENTERTAINMENT SHOW_
Main article: The Heavy Entertainment Show
In May 2016, it was announced that Williams had signed a recording contract with Sony Music . In a statement, Williams said: "They’re inspired, I’m inspired. I’m more ready than I ever have been and I’m totally convinced I’m in the right place. I look forward to working on this album, which is an album I’m immensely proud of, in this exciting new partnership with Sony Music." _The Heavy Entertainment Show _ became his 12th UK number-one album , putting him level with Madonna .
One of his most famous collaborations was on the song "Kids ", a duet with Australian pop star Kylie Minogue . The single peaked at number 2 on the UK Singles Chart in 2000. Williams also collaborated with Australian film star Nicole Kidman on a cover of Frank and Nancy Sinatra 's "Somethin\' Stupid ". The single reached number 1 on the UK Singles Chart in 2001. His single "No Regrets " featured Neil Tennant, and Neil Hannon on backing vocals. In 2001, Williams recorded "We Are the Champions " with Queen for the 2001 medieval adventure film _A Knight\'s Tale _.
In 2002, Williams appeared on the track " My Culture " on the _1 Giant Leap _ album, alongside rapper Maxi Jazz (which features lyrics from the hidden track "Hello Sir" from _ Life thru a Lens _). Williams also features on a double CD titled _Concrete_ which was released on the same day as _Rudebox_. The CD features a concert recorded for the BBC featuring the Pet Shop Boys and Williams singing their classic hit "Jealousy". Their joint effort, "She\'s Madonna ", was released as a single in March 2007. On 13 August 2007, a Dean Martin duets album was released, on which Williams sings "Please Don\'t Talk About Me When I\'m Gone ".
In 2010, he announced that he was to release "Shame ", a duet with Take That lead singer songwriter Gary Barlow as the first single from his greatest hits collection _In and Out of Consciousness: The Greatest Hits 1990–2010 _ which was certified silver in the UK and charted in 19 countries worldwide. In 2012, Williams recorded a duet with Mexican recording artist Thalía for the Spanish song "Te quiero dijiste (Muñequita linda)", included on her album _Habítame siempre _.
In 2005 Williams provided the voice of Dougal in the film adaption of _ The Magic Roundabout _.
On 26 August 2010, it was announced Williams would become a guest vocal coach on the ninth series of German reality television show _Popstars: Girls forever _ to teach candidates for a girl group.
On 20 September 2010, Williams released his second book called _You Know Me_ in collaboration with Chris Heath. The book features a collection of photographs of Williams from the past 20 years of his career and discussion of them by Williams as transcribed by Heath.
Williams launched a radio show titled _Radio Rudebox_ on 6 October 2011 where he played music and interviewed Gary Barlow.
Williams features in his own karaoke video game, _We Sing Robbie Williams _ which was released on 12 November 2010 by Nordic Games Publishing AB.
It has been claimed that Williams has sold more albums in the UK than any other British solo artist in history and has won more BRIT Awards than any other artist to date. His records sales stands at over 77 million worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time . Williams was entered in _The Guinness Book of World Records _ when, after he announced his World Tour for 2006, 1.6 million tickets were sold in one day.
He has been presented many awards, including seventeen BRIT and eight ECHO awards. In 2004, he was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame , after being voted as the Greatest artist of the 1990s.
Williams appears in the list of the all-time Top 100 biggest selling albums in the United Kingdom six times.
In October 2009, it was announced that he would receive the Outstanding Contribution To British Music award at the 2010 BRIT Awards.
In September 2010, Williams switched on the Blackpool illuminations , stating that it was one of the greatest honours he had achieved.
In October, Media Control named Williams the most successful album-artist of the millennium due to the fact that he had spent No. 1 on the German Albums Chart for 38 weeks since 2000. He also reached that chart's Top Ten 135 times.
Since 2006, Williams has spent most of his time in Los Angeles . Williams moved back to the UK in 2009 when he bought an £ 8.5 million mansion in Compton Bassett , Wiltshire , nearby to close friend Jonathan Wilkes who lives in Swindon . Williams sold the mansion a year later to move back to Los Angeles.
Williams has reportedly battled mental illness , obesity , self-esteem issues, alcoholism , and substance abuse throughout his life. He has discussed how his friend Elton John booked him into a clinic to cope with his drug use that emerged from the depression he was experiencing while still in Take That.
He revealed in 2011 he had been battling lethargy caused by a type of hormone imbalance called andropause for a number of years and thought at first it was a return of his depression.
Williams has a strong interest in UFOs and related paranormal phenomena, and has pursued this interest during his 2007–08 sabbatical. His interest in the subject led to him taking part in a documentary for BBC Radio 4 with Jon Ronson . The documentary followed them to a UFO convention in Nevada during which Williams connected his interest in the paranormal with the desire to understand his childhood fears of his mothers interest in "the world's mysteries, elves, demons, witchcraft". Williams became an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church Monastery to officiate the wedding of friends.
RELATIONSHIPS AND FATHERHOOD
Since May 2006, Williams has been in a relationship with the American actress Ayda Field . She was featured in the UFO documentary that Williams did for BBC Radio 4 in April, and took part in a field investigation he did in Trout Lake, Washington in August 2008. There have been questions about Williams's sexuality, with some speculating that he may be bisexual . In an interview with the _Daily Star_, he stated: "I love musical theatre and a lot of the other things that are often associated with gays. I am 49% homosexual and sometimes as far as 50%. However, that would imply that I enjoy having a particular sort of fun, which I don't."
On 26 November 2009, Williams proposed to Field live on the Australian radio channel 2DayFM in an interview on _The Kyle and Jackie O Show _. A few days later Williams denied the engagement, using his official blog to say "Hey all. We are not engaged. Rob." Later it was confirmed that they became engaged over Christmas. She and Williams wed at his home in Mulholland Estates in Beverly Hills on 7 August 2010.
Williams' daughter Theodora "Teddy" Rose was born on 18 September 2012. His second child Charlton "Charlie" Valentine was born on 27 October 2014.
In 2011 his wealth was estimated at £90 million.
Williams is a lifelong supporter of Port Vale , based in his home town of Stoke-on-Trent . In February 2006, he bought £240,000 worth of shares in the club, making him the majority shareholder . However the club entered administration on 9 March 2012, and as a result Williams lost all of his shares in the club and received only a fraction of his original investment back.
Williams warming up for the 2006 edition of Soccer Aid
Williams has set up a charity in his home town of Stoke-on-Trent entitled _Give It Sum_, its goal being to "improve local conditions and strengthen community life by giving money to those who are disadvantaged."
Williams, with the help of friend Jonathan Wilkes, has organised charity football matches called Soccer Aid to raise money for UNICEF UK . A mixture of celebrities and professional football players have played Soccer Aid matches in 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012 at Old Trafford in Manchester and Wembley Stadium in London .
Williams has been the Patron of the children's charity the Donna Louise Trust, based in Stoke-on-Trent, since 2002. The charity offers respite and palliative care to terminally ill and life-limited children who are not expected to live past the age of 16.
AWARDS AND NOMINATIONS
Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Robbie Williams
Williams has won various awards with some of his more recognised accolades being the Brit Awards . He has won a record eighteen Brit Awards which also include the Brits he won with Take That making him the most successful artist in the history of the awards. He has also won 8 Echo Awards from the German music industry.
* _ Life thru a Lens _ (1997) * _I\'ve Been Expecting You _ (1998) * _Sing When You\'re Winning _ (2000) * _Swing When You\'re Winning _ (2001) * _Escapology _ (2002) * _Intensive Care _ (2005) * _ Rudebox _ (2006) * _ Reality Killed the Video Star _ (2009) * _Take the Crown _ (2012) * _ Swings Both Ways _ (2013) * _ The Heavy Entertainment Show _ (2016)
* 1997: Show Off Must Go On Tour * 1998: Ego Has Landed Tour * 1998–99: One More for the Rogue Tour * 1999: 1999 Tour (Man, The Myth, The Tax Bill , A Few Dollars More..., Get Your Coat Baby, You've Pulled!) * 2000–01: The Sermon on the Mount Tour * 2001: Weddings, Barmitzvahs text-align:left; vertical-align:top;">
* Robbie Williams – lead vocals, guitar, tambourine (1996–present) * Guy Chambers – keyboard, backing vocals, guitar, piano (1997–2002; 2012–present) * Gary Nuttall – guitar, backing vocals (1997–present) * Fil Eisler – bass, guitar, backing vocals (1997–2001) * Andy Wallace – keyboard, tambourine (1997-1998; 2002) * Smiley Barnard – drums (1997) * Alex Dickson – guitar (1998–2000) * Chris Sharrock – drums (1998–2007) * Claire Worral – keyboard, guitar, backing vocals (1998–2007) * Chris White – saxophone, flute (1999–2003) * Paul Spong – saxophone, flute (1999–2003) * Dave Bishop – trombone , flute (1999–2003) * Neil Sidwell – trombone , flute (1999–2003) * Simon Gardner – trumpet (1999–2003) * Yolande Charles – bass, backing vocals (2000–2003)
* Tessa Niles – backing vocals (2000–2003) * Katie Kissoon – backing vocals (2000–2003) * Neil Taylor – guitar, backing vocals (2002–2009) * Max Beesley – piano, percussion instrument (2002–2006) * Stephen Duffy – guitar, lead vocals (2004–2006) * Jeremy Meehan – bass, backing vocals (2004–present) * Paul Beard – keyboard (2009–2012) * Karl Brazil – drums (2009–present) * Tom Longworth – guitar, backing vocals (2012–present) * Denosh Bennett – backing vocals (2012–present) * Sarah-Jane Skeete – backing vocals (2012–present) * Nayanna Holley – backing vocals (2012–present) * Benjamin Edwards – brass (2012–present) * Michael Kearsey – brass (2012–present) * Mark Brown – brass (2012–present)
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* Chris Heath, _Feel: Robbie Williams_, 2004, Ebury. ISBN 978-0-09-189753-6 .
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