|Robert Peter Williams was born on February
13th 1974 and spent his childhood years living in Stoke-on-Trent
with his mum and older sister Sally. He was always the class
joker at St Margaret Ward High School in Stoke and had a particular
gift for singing and acting. His great love then (and still
is now) is Port Vale FC. His mum used to own a pub just down
the road from their training ground and Rob loves to tell the
story of the time he threw two thousand pounds out of the window
on a match day!!! I'm sure his mum loved him for that, especially
when her bras and knickers followed! Along with his mum Jan,
he joined a local theatre group, and was often seen starring
in various musicals and plays, his biggest part was playing
'Dodger' in Oliver.
Rob joined Take That when he was only
16 (that's him on the left hand side of the picture!). He
had only one job previous to that, as a double glazing salesman,
but apparently he wasn't very good - he would tell customers
not to buy them because they were so bad!
Rob's mum was the person responsible
for him joining the band, she saw the advert for auditions
and suggested that he apply. He did so, and as soon as the
other members saw him, they knew he was the right man for
the job. For five years, Robbie became the joker of the band,
always smiling and playing gags on people as they rose to
By the demise of Take That they had
notched up eight number ones and three hit albums, not to
mention millions of adoring fans around the world. But on
July 17th 1995 all that was to stop, when he left the band.
'I quit' read all the headlines in the newspapers the next
day. But, over the following weeks, Robbie gave interviews
to the effect that he was infact given the push. Since then
there have been many rumours and misquotes about what Rob
has said and what the other members of Take That have said
about Rob's time in the band. What Rob confirms is that being
a member of the band was constricting. Never being allowed
to be his own person, Rob was the one that no-one took seriously.
He gave up putting input into the band from early on and just
did what he was told.
They had strict rules about how they
should behave and Rob being the extrovert that he is found
these 'rules' unbelievably hard on him. They were cushioned
and protected from the outside world and Rob once said it
was similar to being in prison - 'Take That Towers'. He seeked
refuge in Cocaine and Alcohol, both of which were ready available
to him with no arguments.
It's believed by some that his record
label had a clause in his contract to prevent him from releasing
any solo singles when he left Take That.
Various legal battles ensued until
finally, on June 27th 1996 Robbie held a press conference
at a London hotel where he announced that his contract with
BMG was ending and he had signed to 'Chrysalis Records'.
His first ever solo single on this
label would be George Michael's 'Freedom' . It was released
on July 29th 1996 exactly one year after his departure from
Take That. It reached No 2 in the UK charts, narrowly beaten
by the Spice Girls.
Life began to get a bit rough for Robbie
during the following months, he met Jacquie Hamilton-Smith
at a New Years Eve Party of 1996, moved in with her the next
day and partied (in more ways that one) for exactly one year
before coming to his senses.
In the middle of all this he released
his second single 'Old Before I Die' on April 14th 1997 which
also reached No 2 in the charts.
At the beginning of June 1997 after
many bad reports in the media, following the advice of Elton
John and George Michael, Rob checked himself into Clouds House
Drink and Drugs Rehabilitation Clinic in Salisbury, Wilstshire
to undego treatment for his addiction to alcohol and drugs.
Rob was photographed (right) as he left for the rehab centre
joking about the lack of attention he was receiving compared
to other celebrities that have gone down the same road as
After spending just 4 weeks at the
centre Rob emerged as a slim 11 stone figure, having lost
2 stones (28lbs), sporting a new extremely short haircut,
and hopefully feeling much better.
The release of 'Lazy Days' followed
soon after on July 14th, and made it's first appearance in
the UK charts at No 8, to be followed shortly after by South
Of The Border.
December 1997 was the real beginning
for Rob, he released 'Angels' as his Christmas single, never
knowing quite what an impact it would have on the market.
Into the new year of 1998 it was still in the charts and 'Life
Thru A Lens' shot back into the album charts and has been
there ever since. Robbie truly had arrived, signing up thousands
of new fans daily.
He began to gain respect from every
quarter of the music business and showed that he definitely
was NOT the next Andrew Ridgely! With songs from the last
album 'I've Been Expecting You' gaining him even more credebility
in the pop world (Millennium being his first solo number one
back in September 98).
He's even managed to notch up several
Ivor Novello Awards too, something no-one could ever have
predicted say four years ago.
We are all now excitedly waiting the
new album 'Singing When Your Winning' to be released on 28th
August 2000, the title says it all really doesn't it?
Rob definately is getting the last