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Music: Take That
L-R: Howard Donald, Gary Barlow, Jason Orange, Robbie Williams and Mark Owen

A British pop band, consisting of members Gary Barlow, Mark Owen, Howard Donald, Jason Orange and Robbie Williams. They had a wildly successful initial run as a cheesy boy band from 1990 to 1996, when Williams' departure from the band led to its breakup.

However, after a reunion in 2005 (sans Williams), Take That came back and outdid themselves, with their album Progress (their first album after Williams rejoined in 2010) becoming the fastest-selling album of the century so far and the second fastest-selling album of all time (in England).

In their native country, Take That are considered the most successful U.K. boy band of all time.

Not to be confused with the trope of the same name.


The band provides examples of:

  • Boy Band: Take That's 90s tag. With all of them now aged 36-40, "man-band" has become more appropriate. Nearly 20 years into their career, they are still the most successful British boy band of all time, but only in the UK itself. In the United States and pretty much every other country in the world, that honor belongs to current sensations One Direction.
  • Breakup Breakout: after the end of their first incarnation in 1996; Robbie was the breakout star after the split, but with their reunion in 2005, the band have now overtaken him again.
  • Fanservice
  • Greatest Hits Album: Two: the first was released just before their break-up in 1996, whilst the second, The Ultimate Collection, was released to coincide with the ten year anniversary of the break-up: the massive sales of which (along with the high ratings for the tie-in documentary, For The Record) helped in leading to the band getting back together again.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Just everything Robbie Williams says nowadays about Gary Barlow.
    • This troper definitely thinks Robbie Williams and Mark Owen qualify here. They were best friends the first time around, Mark was the only one who kept in regular contact with Robbie after the band split and was the only one who Robbie said nice things about plus Robbie asked Mark to perform with him and the friendship between them is obvious. Since Robbie rejoined, their friendship is still strong and are both very openly affectionate with each other. When Robbie backed out of the reunion, it was Mark who talked him round. Not to mention that the song 'Shine' and supposedly 'Hold Up A Light' are written about Robbie and both sung by Mark. There's even speculation that the Mark Owen solo song, 'Believe in the Boogie' is about him too.
    • Robbie Williams has also listed Jason Orange as one of his mancrushes.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Elton John and Gary Barlow. Elton has said that he sees Gary as his successor as a singer/songwriter and Gary has repeatedly stated how grateful he is for Elton's friendship during his 'wilderness years'. Gary wrote Face to Face as a way of saying thanks to Elton for being one of the few people in the music industry who didn't turn their backs on him or join in on the vicious ridiculing after his solo career fell apart.
  • New Sound Album: After 'The Circus', the band decided to move towards music with a stronger electronic influence-a change so dramatic that they even considered renaming themselves to The English. They kept their original name when Robbie rejoined the band, but 'Progress' was a very different album compared to their previous output. Instrumentals were primarily electronic, there were plenty of vocal effects (thankfully no autotune, though), and each track smoothly flowed into the next.
  • Old Shame: They admit that much of their earlier work has not stood up to the test of time. In fact, the only way they could perform some of their first hits, post-reunion, was to acknowledge the original concepts' absurdity and arrange them into a comedic clown routine during the Circus Tour.
    • The only early songs that they regularly perform 'straight' are 'Pray' and 'Back For Good'. Howard has expressed confusion at fan reaction to their continued use of 'Pray''s original dance routine, and that he's not sure if fans genuinely like the dancing or if they're cheering ironically.
    • The band express some discomfort at how they used to wear skimpy outfits for live performances of 'Relight My Fire'. They don't dress in assless bottoms anymore, but that doesn't stop them from dressing their dancers in outlandish outfits and trying to up the ante with each tour.
  • One-Hit Wonder: In the USA, they're only known there for their sole Top 40 hit, "Back for Good". That song was a massive success there (reaching the top ten and going platinum), and they would've probably had a few more hits, but they broke up shortly after the single's release.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Take That's earlier albums were dominated by Gary both as singer and songwriter, but Howard, Jason, and Marc all got their chance to shine in their first two post-reunion albums. Jason even got his own solo showcase (and the rest of the band got a five minute breather) during their Patience tour. Their Circus album even featured "The Garden", a song where all four current members shared vocal duties and the accompanying tour gave each member multiple opportunities to be the lead.
    • Seemingly undone after Robbie came back. Howard and Jason were pushed to one side, with Jason only singing lead on a hidden bonus track on the Progress album. The accompanying tour was arranged so that Take That's post-reunion incarnation and Robbie's solo material would get equal stage time before the reformed five-piece took to the stage. This meant that songs that probably might have been included if Take That were still a four-piece were cut. Howard only got to sing lead on 'Never Forget' while Jason didn't get a chance to sing lead at all.
  • Tabloid Melodrama: Whilst the band tend to keep themselves to themselves these days, in the 90s hardly a week went by without one (or all) of them being in the newspapers for one reason or another, right down to whatever clothes they were wearing in a video.
  • Target Audience: 90s manager Nigel Martin-Smith first created the band to appeal to teenage girls and the gay audience. Nowadays the band has a much more widespread, generic appeal.
  • The Merch: 90s Take That had everything from hats to drinks bottles to their own action figures. 00s Take That have calmed things down a bit, but you can still buy charm bracelets, bags, and even tour-themed baby clothes.
  • The Woobie: After Take That broke up in 90s, Gary Barlow had some initial success as a solo act before being overtaken by Robbie Williams who then used his popularity to very publicly savage Gary. Gary became the music media's favorite whipping boy and the music industry then turned their backs on him. He completely withdrew from public life due to the humiliation and subsequently gained a large amount of weight from stress eating. It got to the point that Gary couldn't even submit songs for other artists in his own name, only for record companies to enthusiastically accept them when he used a pseudonym. Since the reunion and a public reexamining of how Gary had been treated, he turned into the Iron Woobie due to how he managed to move on from what he called the 'wilderness years' with seemingly no ill will to those who made fun of him and ignored him and even went on to reconcile with Robbie Williams leading to the original Take That line up going on a record breaking tour.

Their videos and tours provide examples of:

Their songs provide examples of:

  • Age Progression Song: "Wooden Boat"; childhood, teenage years, adulthood with marriage and a child on the way, and finally old age and death. Each era has its own verse, with all four verses being referred to in the chorus; "We go from green to blue to gold to black''
  • Arc Words: The word "progress" shows up a lot in their album of the same name.
  • Audience Participation Song: "Never Forget" and "Back For Good" are the most obvious, but on their Circus tour, the band had the audience sing the first verse of Rule The World.
    • "Hold Up A Light" most definitely.
  • Author Catchphrase: "Hold on" is definitely this for Gary Barlow since the band reformed. He can't go an album without including it in one of his songs.
  • Breakup Song: "Back For Good"
  • Cover Version: The band's breakout hit was a cover version of "It Only Takes A Minute", and they have also covered the Bee Gees' "How Deep Is Your Love". Subsequently, many of the band's biggest original hits have been covered by other artists, with "Back For Good" the most covered of the lot.
  • Shout-Out: Robbie Williams' lines in "SOS" may be one to Mark Owens' solo hit "Four-Minute Warning".
    • "You'll get a five-minute warning/For divine intervention"
  • Talent Show Version: It's actually more notable if an episode of The X-Factor or Britain's Got Talent doesn't have a Take That excerpt in it somewhere, usually "Shine", "Greatest Day", "Patience", or "Rule The World". The 2008 series of The X-Factor even had a Take That Night, with every contestant performing one of the band's songs.
    • Repeated in the 2009 X-Factor (Thankfully after John and Edward got booted). They're becoming a staple.
    • It's funny they didn't repeat Take That week during the 2011 series, considering it was Gary Barlow's first year as a judge on the show.


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