Well it’s finally happened. The comeback kid is back where he started and Robbie Williams is once again one fifth of Take That.
He and Gary Barlow seem to have buried the hatchet and are now the best of chums, fronting the band as if they’d never been apart. A tour of the UK – Progress Live – starts in May, to be followed by concerts in Europe, including Germany, Denmark and The Netherlands.
Tickets for the UK gigs sold out almost immediately, leaving thousands of ticket-holding fans crossing their fingers that Robbie doesn’t fall out with his band-mates again. But after a couple of years of UFO watching and star-gazing in the States, and plenty of rumours of a reunion, it’s good to that the Stoke-on-Trent lad is well and truly back.
His return to the band was preceded by some considerable success on his own. His solo album, “Reality Killed The Video Star”, produced by music legend Trevor Horn, came within a few hundred sales of topping the album charts and made the top of the iTunes charts in 17 countries. The single from it – “Bodies” – was his biggest selling single since “Rock DJ”.
It’s not just his fans who will be thrilled to see his return. So will many of the charities and good causes he supports.
His charity Give it Sum continues quietly to support a host of community and self help projects in his native North Staffordshire, the best known probably being the Donna Louise Trust Treetops Hospice in Trentham.
Aged 36, he was born and raised in Burslem. His father was a comedian and his mother a florist.
He was a member of boy band Take That from 1990 to 1995, and after leaving became one of the most successful male solo artists in British history with album sales approaching 55 million worldwide.
In 2002 he signed the biggest recording contract in British music history with an £80 million deal with EMI. The proceeds of that deal are still rolling in.
He is a lifelong supporter of Port Vale FC and continues to be a significant shareholder after making a substantial investment in the club in 2006.