Today, February 13th, we celebrate Robbie Williams' birthday.Many of us remember him from his boy band years, when he was Take That’s lead singer back in the Nineties, but his music evolved a lot since then.
Winner of a record number of 18 Brit Awards, four times Best British Male Artist and winner of an Icon Award for his impact on British culture, Robbie Williams is now known as one of the best-selling recording artists and songwriters of all time.
In September 2022, Robbie published XXV, a compilation album containing new versions of the best songs from his past albums and new material. The album celebrates the 25th anniversary of his music career, a very long career indeed, since he started very young. In fact, he was only sixteen when he joined the boy band that made him famous.
In his newest work, he decided to bring together some of the greatest hits from his solo career. Let’s look at a couple of those.
Let me entertain you (XXV)
The first big hit of Robbie’s solo music was Let Me Entertain You, first published in his debut album Life thru a Lens (1998).
Fun, up-tempo and danceable, the new version is pretty much loyal to the original, which many of us remember for the famous music video, a homage to the band Kiss, that showed the singer and his musicians with the band’s signature clothes and make-up. The video was described as a parody of Seventies’ glam rock and the song’s lyrics have been long debated: was Robbie singing about a woman or a man?
Without a doubt his first super successful hit, Angels is a melodic pop ballad that charmed not only the UK, but the whole world. In the 2022 XXV album version, Robbie’s singing voice is accompanied by a big orchestra, which you can see playing in the brand new black and white music video.
From 1998 to 2023, this song, originally from Life thru a Lens, remains a classic romantic piece that will never grow old.
After that first solo album, Williams’ career skyrocketed.
The very first single of his second studio album I’ve been expecting you (2001), Millennium, is a catchy pop song with a characteristic hip-hop beat and an unforgettable intro sampled from Nancy Sinatra’s You only live twice. The James Bond old theme sounds even better in the new 2022 reorchestrated orchestra.
Did you know that the original video, with the performer parodying James Bond with his elegant lifestyle and his Bond girls, won the 1999 award for British Video of the Year?
Last, but not least, how could we leave out one of Robbie Williams’ biggest ballads?
Feel, the first single from the album Escapology (2002), instantly became an international hit in several countries, from Europe to South America. Feel got a lot of traction also because of the black and white music video, featuring the famous American actress Daryl Hannah alongside Robbie posing as a cowboy.
But it was definitely the song’s chorus lyrics to make the piece a great hit.
I just wanna feel real love
Feel the home that I live in
'Cause I got too much life
Running through my veins
Going to waste
The impact that this artist has had on pop music in the early 2000s is undoubtable. Happy birthday, Robbie Williams!