|Origin||Sligo & Dublin, Ireland|
|Label(s)||Sony BMG, RCA|
Westlife, a vocal group who were formed in 1998, was signed by Simon Cowell and are managed by Louis Walsh. The group is popular in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It is also somewhat popular in Australia, Asia, Latin America, and Africa.[Citation not needed at all; thank you very much] Westlife has had 14 UK #1 singles between the years 1999 and 2007, the third-highest such total in UK history, behind Elvis Presley and The Beatles, and tied with Cliff Richard. They are also the only artist/group to win 'Record Of The Year' in the UK four times (often attributed to their loyal fanbaseTemplate:Fct). The group has so far sold more than 25 million records Template:Fct over 20 countries worldwide. Westlife sold over 15 million records in the UK alone.Template:Fct They are worth an estimated £35 million (about $70 million).Template:Fct
Westlife have been awarded the Best Irish Pop Act, a public voting category, at the annual Ireland Meteor Awards for the seventh consecutive year on February 2, 2007. It shows the group's massive fanbase in the country.
Westlife received 28 platinum awards for their 8 albums. Their album sales in the UK alone touched the 10 million markTemplate:Fct and it's expected to easily overtake the 10 millions before the end of the year, 2007.Template:Fct
Westlife were also awarded as the only band to perform in the famous Wembley Arena for 23 times in 2006.
The group's roots can be found in Sligo in the north west of Ireland, where Egan, Feehily, and Filan were in a six-member vocal group named IOYOU (sometimes IOU), with fellow Sligonians Derrick Lacey, Graham Keighron and Michael "Miggles" Garrett. IOYOU were groomed and managed by choreographer Mary McDonagh and two other informal managers. (Karaoke No More: The Real Story of the Beginnings of Westlife/Padraig Meehan/Brandon Books). IOYOU released a single called "Together Girl Forever". The band was then 'discovered' by Louis Walsh, the manager of 1990s boy band Boyzone - he was actually contacted by Filan's mother. However IOYOU did not meet Simon Cowell's approval for a record deal with BMG, so changes were needed. Two members of IOYOU were given the sack, and auditions were held in Dublin. The band recruited Byrne and McFadden. A third original member, Michael Garrett, was dropped. The group was re-named Westside soon afterwards. As the name was already taken by another band, it was changed to Westlife. Boyzone singer Ronan Keating was brought in to co-manage the band with Walsh.
Shane Filan, Mark Feehily and Bryan McFadden shared most of the lead vocals. Some of the boys can play instruments (Kian and Bryan play the guitar and the piano) and all five of them are songwriters, although most of their hits have been composed by outside songwriters. The group's musical influences include boy bands such as Boyzone, Take That, and Backstreet Boys and Boyz II Men.
Westlife's first big break came in 1998 when they opened for the Backstreet Boys in Dublin. Later that year, they won Best New Tour Act at the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party. In March 1999, their first single, Swear It Again, was released, and went straight to the top of the charts in Ireland and the UK. The band's success was to be confirmed when their second single, If I Let You Go, entered the charts at number 1 in August 1999, followed by Flying Without Wings in October, which repeated the feat. They became the first number one of the new millennium when their Double A-side single, I Have a Dream / Seasons in the Sun knocked Cliff Richard's "The Millennium Prayer" off the top spot. Westlife had the honour of the Christmas number one. Their first album, simply titled Westlife, was released in November 1999 and was also a big hit, peaking at #2. The album included those four #1 singles, and the follow-up Fool Again which also reached the top spot in April 2000.
Their next album was quickly recorded, and released in November 2000. Coast to Coast was an enormous hit in the UK, becoming the 4th biggest selling album of the year, in that country. The album was preceded by a duet with Mariah Carey on the Phil Collins classic Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now) and the ballad My Love. Both singles reached #1 in the UK charts. With this, Westlife broke an unexpected record, having their seven debut singles in the top of the UK charts. In December 2000, however, that run was broken when they failed to secure their eighth chart-topper in a row when kid's favourite Bob The Builder's Can We Fix It was crowned Christmas number one.
In 2001, the boys launched their first world tour, unofficially nicknamed "The No Stools Tour", because of the band's reputation of performing perched on stools. They also released their third album in November, World of Our Own, which featured several songs that eventually became #1 hits: Queen of My Heart and World of Our Own.
November 2002 saw Westlife release their Greatest Hits album, called Unbreakable - The Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 amidst rumours of a split. However, they released their fourth album in the autumn of 2003, Turnaround, their fourth consecutive #1 album in only four years. It included the hit singles Hey Whatever, Obvious and their twelfth #1 single, a cover of Barry Manilow's Mandy. In 2003, Westlife also won Record of the Year for the third time in five years.
2004 - Present: And Then There Were Four
Bryan McFadden left the band on 9 March 2004 to devote more of his time to solo projects as well as his family life with British TV personality and former Atomic Kitten member Kerry Katona and their two children, Molly (born in 2001) and Lilly Sue (born in 2003). They subsequently broke up and Bryan started a solo career, changing the spelling of his first name back to its original 'Brian'. Brian entered the chart at number one with his first solo single, "Real To Me".
If the loss of a member usually means the beginning of the end for pop bands, this was not the case with Westlife. Less than a month after McFadden's departure, the boys kicked off their fourth arena tour. They released "Allow Us To Be Frank" later in the year, a Rat Pack-inspired album. In 2005, after a four-month break, they came back with "You Raise Me Up", a cover of a Secret Garden song, which was the first single off their seventh album "Face to Face". On 6 November 2005, both the album and the single ("You Raise Me Up") were at number one in the UK charts; it was the first time ever the band had held both top album and single position in the same week. Coincidently, both Enya and Westlife released their albums on the same number of album, same month and the same year. (both are their seventh albums, although, Enya's "Amarantine" was released on November 22, 2005) . Having outlasted just about every other boy band, the members of Westlife continue to laugh off any speculation of a split-up, claiming their goal is to score at least 20 UK number one singles.[Citation not needed at all; thank you very much]
As of late 2005, they have published five original pop albums, one Greatest Hits album and one Rat Pack-inspired swing album. Westlife's fan base is international: they have had success all over the world, especially in Scandinavia and in South East Asia, but also in Europe, Canada, Latin America, South Africa, Australia and even in the newly emerging pop market in Iraq. Westlife have had sold out indoor and outdoor arena tours and they are one of the biggest pop acts to come out of Ireland ever.[Citation not needed at all; thank you very much]
Westlife have duetted with some of the biggest names of the music industry, including Mariah Carey, Donny Osmond, Lulu, Donna Summer, Diana Ross, Lionel Ritchie, Christian Castro, Ronan Keating and more recently Delta Goodrem. Claudia Schiffer and Vinnie Jones have also starred in their music videos. Westlife also collaborated with Asian-music sensation BoA on a Korean language version of the song which would appear on her mini-album, Shine We Are!.
Westlife have not yet managed to truly break the United States market. Their debut single and music video "Swear It Again" was released in the US in 2000 and was a moderate hit on mainstream radio and MTV, reaching #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and being shown briefly on MTV's Total Request Live. Their debut American album was also released in 2000, but they have not yet released another album in the USA. In 2002, an attempt to promote and release an American version of Westlife's "World Of Our Own" album was cut short due to the sharp decline in the popularity of boy-bands and pop music that year in the US. The only Westlife hit best known to American audiences is "Flying Without Wings", since it was their only song to peak #10 in the US and it was later a success for American Idol winner Ruben Studdard. In 2003 they went to Nashville to film a TV documentary and recorded a song originally performed by country music legend Kenny Rogers, "Daytime Friends", which won them much praise.
The band have won ITV's Record of the Year competition four times, with "Flying Without Wings" in 1999, "My Love" in 2000, "Mandy" in 2003 and "You Raise Me Up" in 2005. They have also won 2 Brit Awards.
All the members of Westlife have successfully managed to juggle their careers and their private lives. Nicky Byrne married his childhood sweetheart in July 2003: Georgina Ahern, daughter of the Irish Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern. Georgina gave birth to non-identical twin sons Rocco Bartholomew and Jay Nicholas on April 20, 2007. Shane Filan married Gillian Walsh, Kian Egan's cousin, on 28th December 2003, and he became a dad in 2005, when Gillian gave birth to Nicole on 23 July. Kian Egan is currently dating ex-member of Girl Thing Jodi Albert.
On 19 August, 2005, Mark Feehily publicly came out of the closet in the UK tabloid The Sun, and announced his long-term relationship with Kevin McDaid of now defunct boy band V. Feehily later told Gay.com UK, "I am gay, and I'm very proud of who I am."
Feehily later told the Sydney Morning Herald that despite the fact that the majority of Westlife's fans are female, that there had really been no negative reaction to his revelation. "I am so much happier now and I think our fans can see that," he said. "Through the years of getting to the point where I wanted to come out, I had to go through every kind of emotion, but I can honestly say that the day before I came out, I didn't care what the reaction was going to be. That was the hardest point to get to." Feehily also said that while he did not intend on getting married right away, he is happy to know he could in Britain with the recent passing of the Civil Partnership Act.
Member Kian Egan also appeared on ITV1's talent show "The X Factor" alongside manager Louis to help him select his groups to be in the final 12 for the live shows. Kian said on the "Sharon Osbourne Show" he enjoyed being a judge and liked the contestants Ben and Eton Rd. Westlife also performed with Ray Quinn in the X Factor Final, Take That performed with Leona Lewis
Westlife began their first Asian tour on 4 September 2006 throughout the Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Indonesia. (Their Australian tour had to be postponed due to delays in the recording of their upcoming album.) Westlife have just signed a brand new five album deal with Sony/BMG. Their eighth studio album released on the 20 November 2006, featuring Bonnie Tyler's song Total Eclipse of the Heart, produced by Jim Steinman, and a duet with Delta Goodrem, on "All Out of Love", originally performed and recorded by Air Supply in 1980. The first single from The Love Album is a cover version of Bette Midler's classic The Rose, which became their 14th UK number one single (and their 15th number one song, considering that I Have a Dream / Seasons in the Sun was a Double A-sided single). This make Westlife the third act (along with Cliff Richard) in the UK chart history to have most number one singles, only behind Elvis Presley (21, 18 of them different songs) and The Beatles (17).
Westlife kicked off their latest The Love Tour on 21 February, 2007 in Perth, Australia. The tour will move on to the other cities in Australia, then moving on to South Africa, the UK and Ireland, ending in Dublin on 3 May.
Westlife have cancelled the release of 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart' single as scheduled for 12 March, 2007, due to the fact they didn't have enough time to promote it because of their 2007 Love Tour.
Westlife On Tour
- Where Dreams Come True Tour 2001
- World Of Our Own Tour 2002 (In The Round)
- The Greatest Hits Tour 2003
- Turnaroud Tour 2004
- No1's Tour 2005
- Face To Face Tour 2006
- The Love World Tour 2007
For a further discography of Westlife, see Westlife discography.
- 1 November 1999: Westlife #2
- 6 November 2000: Coast to Coast #1 UK
- 12 November 2001: World of our Own #1 UK
- 11 November 2002: Unbreakable - The Greatest Hits Vol I #1 UK
- 24 November 2003: Turnaround #1 UK
- 8 November 2004: Allow Us To Be Frank #3 UK
- 31 October 2005: Face to Face #1 UK
- 20 November 2006: The Love Album #1 UK
UK Number-one singles
|Number of #1||Release date||Title||From the album||Weeks at #1|
|1||April 12 1999||"Swear It Again"||Westlife||2|
|2||August 9 1999||"If I Let You Go"||Westlife||1|
|3||October 18 1999||"Flying Without Wings"||Westlife||1|
|4||December 6 1999||"I Have a Dream / Seasons in the Sun"||Westlife||4|
|5||March 17 2000||"Fool Again"||Westlife||1|
|6||September 18 2000||"Against All Odds" (with Mariah Carey)||Coast to Coast||2|
|7||October 31 2000||"My Love"||Coast to Coast||1|
|8||February 26 2001||"Uptown Girl"||Coast to Coast||1|
|9||November 5 2001||"Queen of My Heart"||World of Our Own||1|
|10||February 18 2002||"World of Our Own"||World of Our Own||1|
|11||October 28 2002||"Unbreakable"||Unbreakable: The Greatest Hits Vol I||1|
|12||November 10 2003||"Mandy"||Turnaround||1|
|13||October 24 2005||"You Raise Me Up"||Face to Face||2|
|14||November 6 2006||"The Rose"||The Love Album||1|
- UK Singles Chart records
- List of best-selling music artists
- List of artists who reached number one in Ireland
- The Official Westlife Website
- The Official Westlife Message Boards
- First persian Westlife Website
- Official Westlife Myspace
- Westlife Fans For Life