Boyzone

Boyzone is an Irish boy band that formed in 1993. The group have 6 UK number one Singles and 9 number one singles in Ireland with 12 of their 20 singles in the UK being in the UK Top 2. Boyzone remain one of the most successful bands in the UK and Ireland. In total, the group have had 19 top 10 singles on the Ire, 18 top 10 and six #1 UK hit singles and five #1 albums, with approximately 16 million records sold by 2010 in the British Isles and Worldwide.[1][2][3]

They famously made a comeback in 2007, originally with the intention of just touring but Ronan Keating confirmed in an interview that they wanted to “outdo Take That’s success”[4] in terms of a successful reunion. Boyzone was put together in 1993 by Louis Walsh who is also known for managing Johnny Logan and Westlife. Before even recording any material they made a now infamous appearance on RTÉ’s The Late Late Show. Their first album Said and Done was released in 1994 and the following three studio albums in 1996, 1998 and 2010. Seven compilation albums have been released so far. Co-lead singer Stephen Gately died on 10 October 2009 of natural causes while on his holiday in Majorca, Spain.

Beginnings (1993–1995)

In 1993 an advertisement appeared in many Irish newspapers calling for auditions to form a new Irish “boy band” group. The advertisements were sent out by theatrical manager Walsh who was looking to make an “Irish Take That” following on from their success. The auditions were held in The Ormond Center, in Dublin, in November 1993. More than 300 people replied to the advertisement. At the auditions the applicants were asked to sing the song “Careless Whisper” by George Michael. Each audition would be taped and watched again to judge the applicant’s performance. Out of the 300, 50 were selected for a second audition. Richard Rock (son of Dickie Rock) was invited for a second audition. For the second audition the applicants where asked to sing two songs, including one of their own choice with a backing tape. Mikey Graham sang “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” by Meat Loaf. Keith Duffy sang “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred. Ronan Keating sang “Father and Son” by Cat Stevens (a cover version of which the band would later release). Stephen Gately sang Hello by Lionel Richie. Out of this 50, 10 were selected for a third audition. In the end, Ronan Keating, Stephen Gately, Keith Duffy, Rock, Shane Lynch and Mark Walton were chosen.

Graham originally was rejected but would later join after the departure of Richard Rock. Ronan Keating initially faced a lot of opposition from his parents and teachers. He was planning to move to New York to study in college on a sports scholarship and pursue his dream to win an Olympic medal for athletics. In the end Ronan decided to give up his education and go along with Boyzone. Duffy’s parents were against their son throwing away a solid and promising career and joining the band. Louis Walsh set about trying to get a deal with a good record company but it would take many rejection letters before the boys would be signed. In 1994 Lynch and Duffy were involved in a nearly fatal car crash; both survived without serious injuries. Walsh was reportedly furious, and drew up contracts for all the boys to sign, leading to their activities being restricted.[5] With some of the original lineup fading away and others being brought into the group, it took some time before Boyzone settled down into its most recognisable five-member line-up of Shane Lynch, Ronan Keating, Stephen Gately, Mikey Graham, Keith Duffy. Richard Rock, one of the original members, left citing musical differences with Ronan Keating.

Breakthrough (1995–1999)

Boyzone played through 1993 and in the early parts of 1994 all over Northern Ireland, mainly in pubs and clubs, before Polygram signed them up in 1994 and released the cover version of the Four Seasons’ hit “Working My Way Back to You”, featuring Graham and Gately on lead vocals. It reached No. 3 in the Irish Charts. The release of their cover version of the classic Osmonds’ hit, “Love Me for a Reason”, broke the British charts. The song hit No. 2 in the UK and was included in their 1995 hit debut album Said and Done. The album reached the No. 1 spot in Ireland and the UK. Their second album, A Different Beat – was released in 1996 and contained its first UK number one single, a cover of the Bee Gees’ hit “Words”. The album also contained the hit singles “A Different Beat” and “Isn’t It a Wonder”. Keating – who by now had emerged as the lead singer and frontman – won the Ivor Novello Award for songwriting in 1997 for “Picture of You”. Their third studio album, Where We Belong, was released in 1998 and featured Boyzone’s writing abilities. It contained the hit singles “All That I Need” (which stayed for six weeks in the MTV Asia charts), “Baby Can I Hold You” (Tracy Chapman cover) and “No Matter What”. Originally written for the Andrew Lloyd Webber stage musical Whistle Down the Wind, “No Matter What” was the group’s best ever selling single and was voted Song of the Year, 1998. Since the song was also recorded by Meat Loaf, Boyzone shared stage with him to perform the song during his 1998 live concert in Dublin.

Greatest hits, final performance, and hiatus (1999–2007)

In 1999, their greatest hits compilation, By Request, was released and was followed by another tour. In June 1999, Gately revealed that he was gay and was in love with the ex-Caught in the Act member Eloy de Jong. Also during this year Keating released his first solo single, “When You Say Nothing at All”, an Alison Krauss song which he had recorded for the movie Notting Hill. By this time, after six years together and amid growing tensions behind the scenes, the group members decided to take some time off from Boyzone to pursue solo projects. Boyzone performed together for the last time in Ireland at the point depot during nine dates running from 3rd January – 8th January & 10th January – 12th January 2000, they had sold more than 13 million records in total and all sixteen of their singles reached the UK top five and they became the first Irish act to have four number one hits in the United Kingdom charts. Their 1998 tour of Ireland broke all sales records when 35,000 tickets were sold out in four hours.[citation needed] At their height, Boyzone were one of the biggest-selling artists in music.

For seven years after their split in 2000, the members of Boyzone had mixed success in their individual careers. Keating in particular remained a force in the music industry as he continued writing and managing other bands. Gately also continued his career as a solo artist, appearing in a number of West End stage musicals, and Duffy had some success as an actor (including a role in the TV soap Coronation Street). Following the success of fellow Universal artists Take That’s reunion and subsequent sell-out tour in 2006, these rumours came to a head and in early 2007 there were news reports that all five members and their manager, The X Factor judge Walsh, had met in Dublin to discuss and organise a comeback tour. On 11 October 2007, Walsh was interviewed on The Graham Norton Show; when asked by Graham Norton whether there was going to be a re-launch of Boyzone he replied “I think so”.

Back Again… No Matter What (2007–2009)

On 5 November 2007, Keating confirmed that Boyzone would reunite for a special appearance on the BBC’s annual fundraiser, Children in Need, performing a medley of hits, although had not yet commented on the possibility of a new tour or album. On 14 November 2007, it was reported that all five members of Boyzone were to begin a UK tour in May, which would be their first in seven years. Keating, who left the Irish boy band to pursue a solo career, joined the group for the series of concerts. On 16 November, Boyzone made a comeback appearance as part of Children In Need on BBC1 in the UK, with an Irish and UK tour announced for June 2008.[6] The group sold 200,000 tickets for the tour within three hours and sold 20,000 tickets on the first day of them going on sale for their concert in the RDS Dublin. Keating told the Daily Star: “We’ve been taking it easy on the Guinness and been out for dinners and just a couple of drinks. We’re taking the tour plans very seriously. We’re all on diets and we’ve been training in the gym every day. I’m probably the fittest now that I’ve ever been. I think we all look better now than before. I can’t wait to be back on the road and all the guys feel the same.” The 29-date tour, taking in cities such as Cardiff, Newcastle, Liverpool, London at the O2 Arena and Wembley, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Sheffield, Newcastle, Nottingham, Edinburgh Castle and the RDS in Dublin. The tour began on 25 May 2008 at Belfast’s Odyssey arena and finished at Carlisle Bitts Park on 23 August 2008. On 29 August 2008 Boyzone played alongside other acts such as Sandi Thom and Scouting For Girls at an event in Blackpool to switch on the Blackpool Illuminations, an annual event in the town. The event received coverage on BBC Radio 2.

On 3 September, the video for “Love You Anyway” debuted on the digital music channel The Box. It features all 5 of the original members of Boyzone with Keating taking most of the lead vocals. The single received its first play on 20 August 2008, live on Terry Wogan’s Radio 2 Breakfast show. On 6th October 2008, “Love You Anyway” entered the UK charts at number 5, making it their seventeenth consecutive top five single. On 8th December their second single of 2008 “Better” was released and charted at number 22 in the UK charts, number 26 in the irish charts and number 63 in the european hot singles charts. On 28 August 2009 the group joined Yvette Fielding in Edinburgh for a Ghosthunting with… show for ITV2.

In 2009 Boyzone played their Better Tour, which was the last tour to feature Gately.

Gately’s death and Brother (2009–2011)

On 10 October 2009, Gately died while on his holiday in Mallorca with his civil partner Andrew Cowles. On 13 October 2009, AP reports that a post-mortem showed Gately died as a result of a pulmonary edema, or fluid in the lungs. The Balearic Islands Superior Justice Tribunal said in a statement. “The singer of the Irish group Boyzone died from natural causes, owing to an ‘acute pulmonary edema'”. Though still finding it difficult to come to terms with his sudden death Lynch has recently claimed that Gately died for a reason. He is reported as saying “I’ve got to understand that it’s all for a reason. If I don’t understand why then one day I’ll be told.

Boyzone were originally going to release the new album in mid 2010 with a summer tour following the album but the album was released in March 2010 which was earlier then planned. The album was released as a tribute to Gately which included two new songs that were sung by Gately before his death. One song was written by singer-songwriter Mika[7][8] who has also claimed that the new song he wrote for Boyzone is the last one which will feature Stephen Gately’s vocals, released as their fourth studio album on 8 March 2010.[9] The track written by Mika became the lead single from the new album, titled “Gave It All Away”. Boyzone loved this track and wished to release this song as their comeback single. The song received its first airplay on 17 January 2010.[10] Mikey Graham stated that Gave It All Away will be released on 1 March 2010 and the album will be released a week afterwards.[11] From 10 January 2010 to 7 March 2010 Mikey was a contestant on the fifth series of Dancing on Ice. He was Eliminated in the 9th week of the competition after being in the “Skate-Off” with EastEnders actress Danniella Westbrook, he lost with 2 votes to Westbrook’s 3. Their fourth studio album Brother was released on 8 March 2010 and become their fourth studio number one album so far.[12] “Gave It All Away” peaked at #9 on the UK Singles Chart and at #1 on the Irish Singles Chart. “Love Is a Hurricane” was the second and final single from Brother. It was released on 17 May, peaking #44 on the UK Singles Chart and at #39 on the Irish Singles Chart. [13] The album peaked at #1 in both Ireland and the UK.

Background information
Origin Dublin, Ireland
Genres Pop
Years active 1994–1999
2007–present
Labels MCA Music, Inc., Ravenous, Mercury
Members
Keith Duffy
Mikey Graham
Ronan Keating
Shane Lynch
Past members
Stephen Gately (deceased)

Boyzone lyrics
Comments
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