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Westlife Biography

Home > Music > W > Westlife > Biography

Birth Place: Sligo and Dublin, Ireland
Years Active: 1998–present
Genres: Pop, Teen Pop, Ballad, Dance, Jazz, Big Band, Adult Contemporary, Pop Rock

Westlife was a pop boy-band formed in Dublin, Ireland in 1998 that disband in 2012. The band consisted of Shane Filan, Mark Feehily, Kian Egan, Nicky Byrne and Brian McFadden who left in 2004.

The band was discovered by Simon Cowell and was managed by Louis Walsh. Westlife's first big break came in 1998 when they opened for boy-bands Boyzone and Backstreet Boys in Dublin and were signed by Cowell. 1999 saw the group release their debut single, “Swear It Again,” which immediately topped the charts in Ireland and in the U.K. Their second single, “If I Let You Go,” released later in 1999 along with the highly acclaimed “Flying Without Wings” continued their streak of #1 U.K. hits. Their first album, “Westlife,” was released in November 1999 and peaked at #2 in the U.K. In December 1999, their double A-side fourth single was released, “I Have A Dream”/”Seasons In The Sun,” knocked Cliff Richard's “The Millennium Prayer” off the top spot and earned them the 1999 U.K. Christmas #1 single. The fifth and last single from the album, “Fool Again,” also peaked at #1.

Coast to Coast was released in 2000 and was another #1 U.K. album. 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 original song, “My Love.” Both singles reached #1 on the U.K. Singles chart. With this, Westlife broke a record of having their first seven singles debut at #1 on the U.K. Singles chart, tying with The Beatles. However, in December 2000, they failed to secure their eighth chart-topper in a row with their U.K. and Ireland only single “What Makes A Man” failed to become the Christmas #1 single of that year.

Westlife released “World Of Our Own,” their third album, in November 2001 and again went to #1 in the U.K. “Uptown Girl,” “Queen of My Heart” and “World of Our Own” were released as singles, as of which all peaked at #1 in the UK. “Bop Bop Baby” was also released as a single and it peaked at #5 in the U.K. Singles chart.

The group released their 11th U.K. #1 single, “Unbreakable,” in 2002 Amidst rumors of a split, Westlife released their first greatest hits album in November that same year entitled, “Unbreakable - The Greatest Hits Vol. 1” it went to # 1 in the U.K. The release was followed by the double A-side single, “Tonight”/“Miss You Nights,” which debuted at #3 in the U.K.

In 2003, Westlife released “Hey Whatever,” which peaked at # 4 on the U.K. Singles chart. Their fourth studio album, “Turnaround,” was then released, earning the group another U.K. #1 album.

In March 2004, just three weeks prior to embarking on their fourth world tour, Brian McFadden left the group to spend more time with his family and work on solo projects.

Less than a month after McFadden's departure, the group kicked off their Turnaround Tour. A live version from the said tour of “Flying Without Wings” was released as an official U.K. download, earning them the title of the very first U.K. Downloads #1.

They then put out a Rat Pack-inspired album, “...Allow Us to Be Frank,” peaking at #3 in U.K. No singles were released in the U.K. from this album.

In October 2005, Westlife returned with their comeback single, “You Raise Me Up,” which was taken from their “Face to Face” album. In November 2005, both the album and the single were at #1 in the U.K. It was the first time that Westlife had held both the top album and the single position in the same week. In December that year, the group released “When You Tell Me That You Love Me,” a duet with Diana Ross, as the second single and it debuted at its peak position of #2. Westlife then released a third single, “Amazing,” which debuted at #4.

In late 2006, Westlife signed a new five-album deal with Sony BMG. Their eighth album, “The Love Album,” was a “love” concept album which consisted of popular love song covers. The album went straight to #1. The first single from “The Love Album” was a cover version of Bette Midler's classic, “The Rose,” which became their 14th U.K. #1 single.

In November 2007, Westlife released their ninth album, “Back Home,” which contained nine new original songs along with three cover songs. The album debuted at #1 on the U.K. Albums chart. The first single released from the album was a cover of Michael Bublé's “Home,” which peaked at #3 in the U.K.

Their tenth album, “Where We Are,” was released in 2009 in the U.K. and peaked at #2 on the U.K. Albums chart. The single “What About Now,” peaked at# 2 on the U.K. Singles chart.

The eleventh album, “Gravity,” was recorded and processed with songwriter/producer John Shanks in London and Los Angeles. It was entirely produced by Shanks and upon its release in 2010 peaked at #3 in the U.K. The single, “Safe,” debuted on the U.K. Singles chart at #10, giving the group their 25th Top 10 single in the United Kingdom. In October 2011, Westlife officially announced they were splitting after a “Greatest Hits” album and a farewell tour.