Gary Barlow received the Music Industry Trusts Award at a glittering ceremony in London on Monday night. In a few short years the (still young) Cheshire man has gone from bubble-gum pop pin-up to national treasure.... how did this happen?
When Barlow formed Take That 22 years ago, he was the one who attracted the least attention. Flanked by fresh-faced boy wonders, you might have thought Barlow would be the one 'least likely to succeed' as a solo artist. But Barlow's presence in the band was the cornerstone on which Take That went from being curious novelty pop sensation to world-conquering male music phenomenon.
But his record speaks for itself, he is one of Britain's most successful musical talents. He has written 12 number 1 singles; three number one singes and two number 1 albums as a solo artist as well as sixteen top 5 singles, while his success with Take That extends to eleven number 1 singles and seven number 1 albums. He is also a six-time recipient of the Ivor Novello award and has sold 45 million albums worldwide with Take That. And as if all that wasn't enough, he was appointed OBE in 2012 for services to the music industry and for charity. He is head judge on Britain's X-Factor and probably the only immovable object on the show.
Throw in for good measure, that he's top bloke, unassuming and personable, works tirelessly for charity, is a model of virtue and testament to the fact that you can have a hugely successful stage career and still be a good husband to his wife Dawn and father to his three children and it's impossible to hate the guy.
Gary Barlow wears Dolce&Gabbana to Music Industry Trusts Award 2012
In fact he's one of the few who is untouchable in the Media eye, there's no chink in his armour, unusually the British Media, whose bread and butter it is to build up icons and then tear them down with relish, leaves him well alone. There are some stars that nobody wants to see fall.
The Prince of Wales himself spoke via video message the ceremony honouring the singer with high praise: 'Over the past 25 years, you have become one of the great stars of the British music industry and you are the very embodiment of that rare species, 'a national treasure'.
The Prince added: 'It seems to me you inspire goodwill wherever you go and your appeal transcends the ages, a very rare feat if I may say so.'
The award was presented by Elton John "thoroughly fine human being" who had come through bad times without any bitterness and added: "If you were gay I'd marry you."
A gushing evening in praise of the mild-mannered Barlow, and even this most jaded of cynical critics can only take his hat off to a top man, performer and likeable guy, and he's only 32. Grrrrrrrrr.