In this week’s Born This Day series, City Connect celebrates the birthday of Gary Barlow who was born on 20 January 1971.
Gary Barlow OBE is a British singer-songwriter, pianist and record producer. He is frontman and lead vocalist of British pop-group Take That and he serves as head judge on the The X Factor. Barlow is one of Britain’s most successful songwriters, having written twelve Number 1 singles. He has had three Number 1 singles and two Number 1 albums as a solo artist, and has had sixteen top 5 hits, eleven Number 1 singles and seven Number 1 albums with Take That. He is also a six-time recipient of the Ivor Novello Award and has sold over 50 million records worldwide. He was appointed OBE in 2012 for services to the music industry and charity.
Barlow, who wrote the majority of the group’s songs, is widely recognised as the musical talent behind Take That. The media have widely acknowledged Barlow’s talent and labelled him as the mastermind behind the unprecedented success of Take That’s comeback and the new musical direction they have taken. Barlow’s solo career was predicted to be very successful, being described as ‘the next George Michael’.
At the beginning of May 2010, it was announced that Queen Elizabeth II had asked Barlow to organise her 86th birthday and her Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012. Gary Barlow was named as the lead organiser and producer of a concert that took place outside of Buckingham Palace and featuring globally recognised superstar artists. On 4 June 2012 the Diamond Jubilee concert was held outside Buckingham Palace with it acting as a backdrop to a stage built upon the Victoria Memorial featuring artists from all across the world. The concert included music stemming from the 50’s to the 00’s with each decade of her reign reflected in the music performed. Barlow himself appeared alongside Andrew Lloyd Webber and his own Commonwealth Band to perform the self written official jubilee single “Sing” while also dueting with Cheryl Cole on the night which won praise from critics who called “the performance as [two of] the best of Britain [who] proved their pop credentials with a dazzling duet.” The reception from the concert was universal in praise for the efforts of Barlow with Prince Charles himself personally thanking him for putting together the concert.
On 7 May 2011, it was announced that Barlow was in advanced talks to replace Simon Cowell as a judge on The X Factor. He was officially confirmed as a judge on 30 May alongside the returning Louis Walsh and new judge Tulisa Contostavlos and fellow new judge Kelly Rowland, who replaced Dannii Minogue. Barlow was given the “Boys” category for the live shows and mentored Marcus Collins to the final of the X Factor where he became runner up.
After a successful debut as a judge on the The X Factor in 2011, it was announced that Barlow would return to The X Factor for a second year. He was later joined by returning Louis Walsh on the judging panel, alongside Tulisa Contostavlos. With Kelly Rowland being replaced by Nicole Scherzinger who later became the winning mentor with James Arthur. For his second year as a mentor, he was given the “Overs” category which featured both male and female artists over the age of 28. He became the only judge to have four acts in the finals after singer Christopher Maloney was voted into the show by the public and became the 13th finalist. Barlow guided Christopher Maloney to the final of the show, becoming Barlow’s second X Factor finalist in consecutive years.
Barlow revealed on 9 December 2012 that he may not return as a judge for a third series on The X Factor, stating that he doesn’t know “if there is room” in his diary for the programme.
After 20 years within the music industry in which Barlow has achieved phenomenal success across the world; coupled with his efforts to raise money and awareness for various charities he was honoured in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours. He was appointed an OBE by Queen Elizabeth II on 16 June 2012, which he was awarded on the 21st of November for “services to the Entertainment Industry and to Charity”.
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