The Take That map
Three of Take That were born in Greater Manchester and the region has been important to them throughout their careers. Here's just some of the significant places that forever link Gary, Mark, Howard and Jason to the area:
1 - The Willows – Gary gets third
Shortly before Gary Barlow auditioned for Take That, he took part in The Willows’ annual Search For A Star competition. Despite including the future hit A Million Love Songs in his show, he finished third, being marked down on stage presentation and star potential.
Take That in the early days
2 - Strawberry Studios – Two out of five
Gary won recording time at 10CC’s Strawberry Studios in Stockport, where he met up with the studio tea-boy, a certain Mark Owen. Together they formed a band called The Cutest Rush, singing cover versions and Gary's own songs.
3 - Royal Exchange – Coming together
The five members of Take That auditioned for the band at try-outs held by Nigel Martin-Smith across Manchester. Once Nigel had decided on the line-up, they came together at his offices in the Royal Exchange to sign their contracts.
4 – South Manchester Studios – Film what you like
As Gary Barlow once put it, never forget where you come from, but you can be sure that the lads do their best to avoid thinking about their first video, made in Heaton Mersey for Do What You Like, which featured the five lads cavorting in leather, covering themselves with jelly and flashing their bums – all a long way from the LA rooftop that provided the backdrop for the Greatest Day promo.
5 - Manchester Apollo – first major homecoming
On Monday 9 November 1992, the Take That & Party Tour came to town, bringing the increasingly successful band back to the city for the first time since they’d cracked the top ten with both Only Takes A Minute and A Million Love Songs.
6 – Manchester Airport – the break-up
On Tuesday 13 February 1996, with the papers full of rumours about Take That’s future after Robbie’s departure the previous July, the band held a press conference at the Hilton Manchester Airport Hotel to say How Deep Is Your Love would be their last single, after which the band would split up.
Take That at the Arena (c) Shirlaine Forrest
7 - MEN Arena – the Ultimate experience
Following a TV documentary, Gary, Mark, Howard and Jason decide to reform Take That and go back on tour. The response to the news is phenomenal, with the venues selling out in minutes. On Thursday 4 May 2006, after eight Ultimate Tour shows elsewhere, Take That made an emotional homecoming at the Arena, the first of six dates – two months later, they followed it with shows at the City Of Manchester Stadium.
8 - Mancunian Way – an ode to the city
Just to prove their love of Manchester, the lads included an ode to the city and how they felt about it, Mancunian Way, on their comeback album, Beautiful World. As if to prove their local knowledge, it includes the lines “we used to think we were the bomb/Then someone left a real one”.
9 - Old Trafford cricket ground – The Circus comes to town
If any proof were needed that the band are back for good, it’s the 300,000 tickets they sold in less than an hour for their 2009 summer stadium tour of the UK, which comes to Old Trafford for five dates at the end of June.
It’s not the band’s only link to the area though. Way back before Take That were even an idea, Mark Owen had trials with Manchester United and while the band were on hiatus, Jason Orange studied psychology and sociology at the nearby South Trafford College.
last updated: 03/12/2008 at 09:36