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Robbie Williams

Out of all the members of Take That, Robbie Williams never really seemed to fit in. Roguishly handsome where his bandmates were merely cute, Williams was tougher and sexier than the rest, which made him more distinctive. He also fought regularly with the other members and their management, primarily because he was occasionally adverse to being so heavily packaged. So it didn't come as a surprise that he was the first to leave the band, departing early in the summer of 1995 to pursue a solo career (by some accounts, he was fired from the group).

Although he was the first out of the gate, it took Williams a while to get started. For most of 1995, he attempted to boost his credibility by tagging along with Oasis, hoping that Noel Gallagher would give him a couple of songs. He never did, but all of his time with Oasis launched Williams into a world of heavy partying, drinking, and drugging. Over the course of 1996, he was only heard from in gossip columns, and every published picture indicated he had put on considerable weight. Occasionally, he was quoted as saying his new music would abandon lightweight dance-pop for traditional Brit-pop, but his first single was a cover of George Michael's "Freedom '90." Released late in 1996, the single was a disaster, but his second single, 1997's "Old Before I Die," was more in the vein of his early pronouncements, featuring a distinct Oasis influence.

Williams finally released his first solo album, Life Thru a Lens, in 1997. The album became a big hit in Britain, prompting his second, I've Been Expecting You, to go multi-platinum upon its release in 1998. (The Ego Has Landed, a U.S.-only compilation designed for breaking Williams to American audiences, was released stateside in the spring of 1999.) Sing When You're Winning followed in late 2000, gaining success with the video hit "Rock DJ," while a big-band album of standards (Swing When You're Winning) appeared a year later. By this point, Robbie Williams had become one of Europe's premier pop stars, known for his headline-grabbing behavior as much as his hit-studded albums. Moreover, his solo work had sold far more copies than his work with Take That.

During 2002, Williams celebrated an enormous new contract with EMI (rumored to be upwards of 80 million dollars), but suffered the loss of his longtime production partner Guy Chambers. Escapology, the fifth Robbie Williams album (and the last to include Chambers' input), sold millions of copies in Europe, though it failed to persuade American audiences. As a result, the 2003 concert record, Live at Knebworth, wasn't released in the States. He introduced a new musical partner, Stephen Duffy, with a pair of songs from his compilation Greatest Hits, then reappeared in 2005 with Intensive Care. Although the album topped charts in Europe and helped Williams set an impressive concert record -- his 2006 world tour sold over one-and-a-half-million tickets in one day -- a certain creative atrophy was setting in, despite the new input from Duffy.

Within a year, he had recorded and released Rudebox, a dance album recorded with half-a-dozen outside producers, some featured guests, and several covers instead of self-penned material. Rudebox hit number one across Europe but only went double platinum in the U.K., becoming his lowest-selling studio album to date. Accordingly, Williams' next album -- the 2009 release Reality Killed the Video Star -- found him returning to the sound of his older albums, with the Buggles' Trevor Horn handling all production duties.

The following year, most news of Robbie Williams surrounded his reunion with Take That, which took the form of a new album, Progress, plus a few new songs recorded with bandmate Gary Barlow that were released on a new Williams hits collection, In and Out of Consciousness: Greatest Hits 1990-2010. Barlow also figured in the writing and production of the ninth Robbie Williams studio album, Take the Crown, released in late 2012. Produced by Williams alongside Jacknife Lee (Snow Patrol, R.E.M., Bloc Party), the album saw Williams return to the eclectic pop sound of his earlier work, with a trailer single ("Candy") written by Williams and Barlow. The single reached number one across Europe, including the U.K., as did the album, which was certified platinum.

For his next release, Williams worked with Guy Chambers again on his second swing album, Swings Both Ways, which comprised a mix of standards and originals. Released in late 2013, it featured a variety of guests including Lily Allen, Olly Murs, Rufus Wainwright, Kelly Clarkson, and Michael Bublé. Williams spent the next few years relatively quietly, settling into family life with his wife Ayda Field and their two children, and releasing only an odds'n'sods collection (Under the Radar, Vol. 1) in late 2014. Williams returned to the pop realm in late 2016 with the release of his eleventh LP, The Heavy Entertainment Show, which featured production by Guy Chambers and Richard Flack, as well as songwriting contributions from the likes of the Killers, Stuart Price, and Rufus Wainwright. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Swings Both Ways

1. Shine My Shoes

2. Go Gentle

3. I Wan'na Be Like You

4. Swing Supreme

5. Swings Both Ways

6. Dream A Little Dream

7. Soda Pop

8. Snowblind

9. Puttin' On The Ritz

10. Little Green Apples

11. Minnie The Moocher

12. If I Only Had A Brain

13. No One Likes A Fat Pop Star

x

Track List: In & Out Of Consciousness: Greatest Hits

Disc 1

2. Heart And I

3. You Know Me

4. Bodies

5. Morning Sun

6. She's Madonna

7. Lovelight

8. Rudebox

9. Sin Sin Sin

10. Advertising Space

11. Make Me Pure

12. Tripping

13. Misunderstood

14. Radio

15. Sexed Up

16. Something Beautiful

17. Come Undone

18. Feel

19. Mr Bojangles

Disc 2

1. I Will Talk And Hollywood Will Listen

3. The Road To Mandalay

4. Eternity

5. Let Love Be Your Energy

6. Supreme

8. Rock Dj

9. It's Only Us

10. She's The One

11. Strong

12. No Regrets

13. Millennium

14. Let Me Entertain You

15. Angels

16. South Of The Border

17. Lazy Days

18. Old Before I Die

Disc 3

1. Often

2. Karaoke Star

3. Toxic

5. Nobody Someday

6. Get A Little High

7. One Fine Day

8. Coffee, Tea And Sympathy

9. Do Me Now

10. The Postcard

11. Meet The Stars

12. Don't Stop Talking

13. Don't Say No

14. Lonestar Rising

15. Lola

17. Elastik

18. Long Walk Home

x

Track List: Reality Killed The Video Star

1. Morning Sun

2. Bodies

3. You Know Me

4. Blasphemy

5. Do You Mind

6. Last Days Of Disco

7. Somewhere

8. Deceptacon

9. Starstruck

10. Difficult For Weirdos

11. Superblind

12. Won't Do That

13. Morning Sun Reprise

x

Track List: Rudebox

1. Rudebox

2. Viva Life On Mars

3. Lovelight

4. Bongo Bong / Je Ne T'Aime Plus

5. She's Madonna

6. Keep On

7. Good Doctor

8. The Actor

9. Never Touch That Switch

10. Louise

11. We're The Pet Shop Boys

12. Burslem Normals

13. Kiss Me

14. The 80's

15. The 90's

16. Summertime

x

Track List: Rudebox [Single]

1. Rudebox

3. Rudebox [Chicken Lips Malfunction]

4. Rudebox [Chicken Lips Malfunction Dub]

x

Track List: Intensive Care (Explicit)

1. Ghosts

2. Tripping

3. Make Me Pure

4. Spread Your Wings

5. Advertising Space

6. Please Don't Die

7. Your Gay Friend

8. Sin Sin Sin

9. Random Acts Of Kindness

10. The Trouble With Me

11. A Place To Crash

12. King Of Bloke And Bird

x

Track List: Escapology (Explicit)

1. Feel

2. Monsoon

3. Sexed Up

4. Get A Little High

5. Come Undone

6. Something Beautiful

7. Love Somebody

8. Revolution

10. One Fine Day

11. Me And My Monkey

12. Handsome Man

x

Track List: Swing When You're Winning

1. I Will Talk And Hollywood Will Listen

2. Mack The Knife

3. Somethin' Stupid

4. Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me

5. It Was A Very Good Year

6. Straighten Up And Fly Right

7. Well, Did You Evah

8. Mr. Bojangles

9. One For My Baby

10. Things

11. Ain't That A Kick In The Head

12. They Can't Take That Away From Me

13. Have You Met Miss Jones?

14. Me And My Shadow

15. Beyond The Sea

x

Track List: The Ego Has Landed

1. Lazy Days

2. Millennium

3. No Regrets

4. Strong

5. Angels

6. Win Some Lose Some

7. Let Me Entertain You

8. Jesus In A Camper Van

9. Old Before I Die

10. Killing Me

11. Man Machine

12. She's The One

13. Karma Killer

14. One Of God's Better People

x

Track List: I've Been Expecting You

1. Strong

2. No Regrets

3. Millennium

4. Phoenix From The Flames

5. Win Some Lose Some

6. Grace

7. It's Only Us

8. Heaven From Here

9. Karma Killer

10. She's The One

11. Man Machine

12. These Dreams

x

Track List: Life Thru A Lens

1. Lazy Days

2. Life Thru A Lens

3. Ego A Go Go

4. Angels

5. South Of The Border

6. Old Before I Die

7. One Of God's Better People

8. Let Me Entertain You

9. Killing Me

10. Clean

11. Baby Girl Window

x

Track List: Bodies (Radio Single)

1. Bodies

x

Track List: Heart And I (Radio Single)

1. Heart And I

x

Track List: Love My Life (Single)

1. Love My Life

x

Track List: The Heavy Entertainment Show (Deluxe)

1. The Heavy Entertainment Show

2. Party Like A Russian

3. Mixed Signals

4. Love My Life

5. Motherf**ker

6. Bruce Lee

7. Sensitive

8. David's Song

9. Pretty Woman

10. Hotel Crazy

11. Sensational

12. When You Know

13. Time On Earth

14. I Don't Want To Hurt You

15. Best Intentions

16. Marry Me

x

Track List: You Know Me (Radio Single)

1. You Know Me

Similar Artists

Comments

Report as inappropriate
chipw9
Many good albums, but Intensive Care is my favorite. Tripping and Advertising Space put it over the top. Well done, Mr. Williams.
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phoenixmommy 5 4 8
Love this song by Robbie :)
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Legend. One of the best live performers I've ever seen. Don't stop now Robbie, The World is Expecting You!!
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jackberesfor d 0 6
You are the best!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! !
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emma.perry1
My favorite song by you is candy
Report as inappropriate
aljokdark22
Love you
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isley10906
Have always loved his talent. He's a true crooner from the soul. Robbie's the best man!
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����������
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siegudo
You can not take it away from Robbie, Brilliant Artist. Full Stop.
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����
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hEY DIDNT aSHLEY hAMILTON WRITE SOME OF THOSE HUGE HITS
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Artist description made me thumbs down.
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patricia_c5
I love this song
Report as inappropriate
Robie Williams , molto simpatico e piacevole !
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Robbie all the way
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candy is the best i think
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Banal, common, there's nothing here that hundreds before him have used in there endeavor to call themselves musicians. His was a very weak attempt..
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j144174
Tell me. Frand. Ridco. John. Trovla.
Report as inappropriate
I am one of the few American's that adore this man and his music more than any other artist. I would do anything to see him perform! I can't pick which song is best I have not heard one song of his that I do not love.
Report as inappropriate
maileele000
Candy is da bestest
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maileele000
Most bestest song(candy)
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Love this song
Report as inappropriate
Yup
Report as inappropriate
Depressing
Report as inappropriate
This is Human League song... He makes it sound like a generic boy pop song...
Report as inappropriate
donna4david
Robbie will be the Sinatra of the 21st century if he chooses to..
Report as inappropriate
I heart Swing While You're Winning so hard.
Report as inappropriate
I love him. The Ego Has Landed is one of my favorite cds, but I guess it was only released in the US.
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Gandinewt, no kidding! I used to watch him on SkyOne when I lived in Heidelberg!
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I started listening to Robbie when I lived in Germany. He is awesome. I can't believe the US hasn't heard of him.
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richard.muir h e a d
per "Ready2Smile " , Robbie is one of the most unknown "stars" of music in the US. Incredible in concert - from coming onstage nude (just covering his bits), to his b@lls-out performances . Amazing. I started following "the band" in the 90's when I lived in the UK.... bringing (amongst other things), their music with me! Love it.
Report as inappropriate
He's rumoured to have been in the Spice Girls - all of them
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Did he write his own bio??
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Started digging Robbie when I borrowed the import only "I've Been Expecting You." Started collecting all future releases. Really liked Escapology. It's completely linked into a vacationi in Miami memory. I bought the original U.K. import and prefer it to the U.S. version. (I break-down the track listing of the new Greatest Hits collection on that CD's page.) Wonder why "Sing While You're Winning" isn't listed.
Report as inappropriate
Robbie Williams' Angels is one of the greatest songs ever and his other stuff is well catchy and just stays in your noggin' for days. Music to make me smile.
Report as inappropriate
reddy2smile
Robbie is the best kept secret in the states... I began listening when I caught an interview with him on MTV in 1999 and I haven't stopped listening since... he is so talented... Robbie, don't quit your day job! Would love for Robbie to come to the south, maybe Atlanta to perform someday...
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WHATS UP ESA
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hehe his picture kinda LOOKS like Puck from Glee
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susan.e
Robbie Williams is the ONLY one I've seen that can come close to Freddie Mercury with Queen. He was Fantastic!
Report as inappropriate
@gospodarek: The US did take to him, but he liked the anonymity he had here, he liked living here without being hounded by Paparazzi. He stopped releasing singles here. It was a decision, not that he COULDN'T make he here, he just decided he preferred living here in peace. Rock DJ didn't get much play because the video was banned in the states, and that was during the "MTV age" of music here. He's a brilliant artist, but also human. He needs his peace too.
Report as inappropriate
gospodarek
He tried to huit it big here in America with his "Ego has landed" cd in 1999. "Millenium" and "Angels" were hits out of the gate, but he fell off after that. "Rock DJ" was his last charting hit in the US and it did not even do very well. I really like Williams and think he has a few great pop tunes. Unfortunatel y the US has not taken to him and therefore he refuses to try to gain the attention of this country as he continues to sell out shows all over the rest of the world.
Report as inappropriate
I listened to Robbie on A flight from HK to Phuket Thailand with my wife in 2003 and have not stopped listening to him, he is electrifying . I also would like to know why his management team doesnt book him some gigs here in America!
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He's got axe-murderer ' s eyes.
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warthogger9
how 90s.
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Veeeeery cool! I love his music, and I wish he was more popular! I'm totally trying to turn my friends on to him now. His music makes me happyyyyy! La-La-La-LUH V E HIM! :)
Report as inappropriate
He is no the best singer in the world, but he is one of the best and is so cute!! and unique no one else is like him.
my favorite song is "no regrets"..I really like that song.
Report as inappropriate
WOULD BE HIS PERSONAL STALKER..MUS I C IS WITTY, FUN, AND HIS VOICE IS AMAZING...LO V E TO WATCH HIM IN CONCERT...HE IS A TRUE SHOWMAN!
Report as inappropriate
He is amazing and I will never understand why he doesn't catch on stateside! Terrible shame because I think him and his camp(produce r s , studio execs, managers,) feel like he can't really be counted as a success until he truly break the US market! But hey, I live in the states now and well, they have the indie and hard rock down, and of course hip-hop but for pop and dance floor faves Europeans rule!
Report as inappropriate
I saw Robbie in concert in a small venue in Georgia after the release of the Ego Has Landed. The show was late in getting started, and he eventually came out on stage in a tux, said a few words and went back behind stage. Shortly thereafter he came back out and walked across the stage wearing nothing but his bow tie and black socks, and only his hands covering up his manliness! The show started after he clothed himself again. That was a concert to remember, and the music was great as well :)

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