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Robert Peter "Robbie" Williams was born on February 13, 1974 in Stoke-on-Trent, a city in England to parents Peter and Janet Williams. At sixteen, Williams joined the boy group “Take That.” Even though Gary Barlow wrote and sang most of the band’s songs Williams can be heard as lead vocalist on the songs: “Could It Be Magic”, “I Found Heaven”, and “Everything Changes”. Williams departed the band, which eventually disbanded, and signed with Chrysalis Records on 27 June 1996.
Williams’ solo career started by covering George Michael's “Freedom”, the single peaked at number two in the UK Singles Chart passing the original by twenty-six places. His debut album, “Life Thru a Lens”, was released in September 1997. The singles spawned from the album were “Old Before I Die” which hit number two on the UK Charts, “Lazy Days” that charted at number eight in the UK, “South of the Border” and “Angels” which became Williams' best-seller in the UK causing sales of his album to skyrocket. The album remained at the British top ten for forty weeks and sold over three million copies in Europe. Williams’ second studio album “I've Been Expecting You” was released in late October 1998 and hit number one in the UK Albums Chart. The album’s first single, “Millennium”, was Williams' first solo number one single in the United Kingdom and charted top twenty in many European countries it was also a hit in Latin America and Australia. “I've Been Expecting You” was more of a sensation in European while “No Regrets” found favour in the Latin American market. The third single, “Strong”, found itself at number four in the United Kingdom upon its release. The fourth single, “She's the One” became his second number one hit in the United Kingdom while “It's Only Us” was used as the official theme for FIFA 2000. To promote this album Williams went on a European Tour towards the end of 1999.
Williams’ leap across the Atlantic was marked with his signing to Capitol Records in the United States where he embarked on a US promotional tour. His first US and Canadian single, “Millennium” hit number 72 on the Billboard Hot 100. A compilation album, “The Ego Has Landed” was released in July 1999 in the US and Canada, but only reaching number 63 in the US Billboard Albums Chart but went on to ship 500,000 copies in the United States and was certified Gold by the RIAA in November of that year. The artist’s third studio album, “Sing When You're Winning” was released in August 2000 and topped the charts in many different countries around the world. In the UK the album debuted at number one. The single from the album, “Rock DJ” hit number one in the United Kingdom and won several awards among them, "Best Song of 2000" at the MTV Europe Music Awards, Best Single of the Year at the BRIT Awards and an MTV Video Music Award for Best Special Effects. “Kids” a collaboration with Australian singer Kylie Minogue became one of the biggest hits of that year selling over 200,000 copies in the UK was certified Silver, “Supreme” and “Better Man” became big hits reaching the top 10 in numerous countries around the world. In mid 2001 a single “Eternity”, backed with “The Road to Mandalay” which was not featured on the album was released and became his fourth number one single in the United Kingdom.
A change of direction came with his fourth studio album, “Swing When You're Winning” which was released in late 2001, became an instant hit in the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Austria, Germany and Switzerland where it was in the number spot for six weeks straight and it reached the top ten in the rest of the world. The single, “Somethin' Stupid”, a duet with Nicole Kidman became Williams' fifth number one hit in the United Kingdom. The album spent 85 weeks on the UK Charts and sold more than 2.1 million copies. It became the 49th Best Selling Album in UK Music History. The track “Beyond the Sea” was put in the credits of the animated full-length film “Finding Nemo” in 2003 and was also released on the film's soundtrack CD.
“Robbie Williams Live at the Albert Hall” a DVD released at the end of 2001 become one of the best selling music DVDs in Europe. Williams’ fifth studio album, “Escapology”, was released in late 2002 hitting number one in more than 10 countries. The album produced the singles “Feel” which became his biggest international hit, “Come Undone” which was in the top ten around the world and “Something Beautiful”. In mid-2003, he embarked on a world tour including three concerts in Knebworth that attracted 375,000 fans and were released as his first live album, “Live at Knebworth”. “Escapology” went on to sell over 5 million copies in Europe alone and became the 60th best-selling album in UK music history. A compilation album “Greatest Hits” was released in 2004 and sold 320,000 copies in its first week. “Radio”, which debuted at number one of the UK Singles Chart and “Misunderstood”, which was also the soundtrack of the film “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason”, were released as singles. In February 2005, “Angels” was voted the "Best Single of the Past Twenty-Five Years" at the 2005 BRIT Awards. In promotion of his “Greatest Hits album” Williams toured Latin America in 2004.
His next studio album was also very successful. “Intensive Care” hit number one in the United Kingdom and many other countries. In November 2005 Robbie Williams won an MTV Europe Music Award for Best Male, and earned a spot in The Guinness Book of World Records when his world tour for 2006, sold 1.6 million tickets in one single day. Overall, 3 million fans attended the “Close Encounters World Tour”. “Rudebox” his seventh studio album is a dance/electro album. It received mixed reviews and sold less than 500,000 copies in the United Kingdom, his lowest-selling album in the country. However, in other music markets it was well received and landed at number eighteen in the list of 2006's best selling albums worldwide. From the album came the singles: “Rudebox”, “Lovelight” and “She's Madonna”. “Bongo Bong” and “Je Ne T'Aime Plus” was released as a single in Latin America and other European countries.
To promote his album, Williams commissioned a series of short films including “Goodbye to the Normals” directed by Jim Field Smith and featuring “Burslem Normals” by Robbie Williams. On October 4, 2007 Williams appeared at Mark Ronson's concert in Los Angeles performing The Charlatans' song “The Only One I Know”. Released on November 9,2009 in the United Kingdom “Reality Killed the Video Star” Williams’ eighth studio album was the first not to reach no.1 in the UK, it did however, reach number one globally. The new song “Bodies” was considered an acquired taste. On 11 October 2009 Williams published a 12-track compilation album, “Songbook”, as a free CD for the newspaper “The Mail on Sunday”. During 2009, Williams made several appearances, and on October 20, Williams opened the BBC Electric Proms at the London RoundHouse. He also appeared on the “The X Factor” results show and reunited with Take That for a Children In Need charity concert at The Royal Albert Hall on November 12. Later that month he would travel to Australia to perform at the ARIA Music Awards of 2009, followed by a duet on “The X Factor” with finalist Olly Murs on December 12. A second compilation album “In and Out of Consciousness: The Greatest Hits 1990–2010” was released in October 2010 in both CD and DVD formats to celebrate his 20 years as a performing artist.
In July 2010 it was announced that Robbie Williams had rejoined “Take That”. The group’s album “Progress” was released in November that year and became the fastest selling album since 2000 and second fastest selling album in UK history. Fans can look forward to “The Progress Live 2011” tour that will travel across the UK in the summer and finish with a record breaking 8 nights at Wembley Stadium in London.