"I stopped praying so I hope this song will do/I wrote it all for you/I'm not perfect but you don't mind that do you/I know you're there to pull me through/Aren't you?"—from "Make Me Pure"

Before Michael Jackson's off-stage shenanigans got the best of him, he was known as America's "King of Pop" with the kind of iconic status typically reserved for the likes of Elvis or The Beatles. Across the pond in Britain, that particular title still belongs to Robbie Williams, whose popularity probably even rivals that of the Queen herself.

But before becoming a household name in England (he's yet to connect the same way in the States), Williams was introduced to the masses via superstar boy band Take That. While Williams had an amazing singing voice and plenty of sex appeal, critics decided that his bandmate Gary Barlow was destined for a solo career. That didn't sit well with Williams, so he left the group in 1996.

While always known for his wild ways (drugs, alcohol, sexual promiscuity) in Take That, Williams' overindulgences began to spiral out of control after leaving the group. In time, he realized his need to clean up—especially if he wanted a solo career. The lackluster performance of his first three solo albums didn't help to keep Williams on the straight and narrow, but he persevered until his career finally had a breakthrough of epic proportions.

But as many rock stars have discovered, success doesn't necessarily bring peace or happiness, and Williams, a bundle of contradictions, documents his inner turmoil very well in his music—and in the surprisingly candid 2004 biography, Feel: Robbie Williams.

Williams once told Q Magazine that he longs for a simple home life with a wife and children, but won't make a ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Tags:
Posted: