Monday 24 November 2014

Stephen never gave up dream of one last tour with Boyzone

Richie Taylor

Published 12/10/2009 | 05:00

'ANY Dream Will Do' was one of the stand-out tunes sung by Stephen Gately when he wowed audiences in London's West End, playing the lead role in 'Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat'.

But the singer himself had one particular dream in mind at the time -- getting Boyzone touring and recording together again. He was arguably the most upset when the boyband broke up in 2000, after seven increasingly successful years. And although he was successful in other fields, he made no secret of his desire to return to the role that had first made him a star.

Stephen repeatedly admitted that he wanted one last farewell tour. "We never got to say goodbye to the fans," he said.

"We did that series of shows in the Point Theatre and then that was the end. It just fizzled out. It always really niggled at me."

So when the band announced in late 2007 that they were re-forming, Stephen felt their unfinished business was about to be taken care of.

They toured extensively last year and were planning to release a brand new album and go back on the road in September of 2010. But now all that is understandably up in the air, with one of the driving forces of the band no longer with us.

Stephen, who had always loved singing and performing, first read in a newspaper that Louis Walsh was holding auditions for a new boy band in Dublin. But he had to audition four times for Louis before he was accepted into the band.

They began in 1993 with an under-rehearsed slot on the 'Late Late Show', prompting a underwhelming appraisal from host Gay Byrne. But they were fighters, and it wasn't too long before Boyzone took off.

"They certainly had the last laugh on us," Gaybo would subsequently admit.

Hit followed hit as they took on the mantle of the departed Take That and broke record sales around the world. But although he was linked with Baby Spice Emma Bunton at one stage, Stephen was in fact living with the secret that he was gay, with his bandmates and management helping him to keep it quiet from the fans. It was a different time.

But when a tabloid newspaper threatened to expose him, Stephen came out, confirming he was in a relationship with Dutch pop star Eloy de Jong. Any fears that the announcement would be a death knell for Boyzone or for Stephen's own career proved unfounded. Indeed, if anything, the singer became even more popular.

By the time Boyzone split in 2000, Stephen had moved to London full-time. He embarked on a solo career, releasing a solo album called 'A New Beginning'. His returns to Ireland became increasingly infrequent.

He split with Eloy in 2002 and in March 2006 married businessman boyfriend Andrew Cowles in a civil ceremony in Las Vegas. The wedding came as news to most people, including many of his family and friends.

He enjoyed considerable success in the West End, playing Joseph, as well as the child catcher in 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang', before he finally returned to the Boyzone fold in 2007, much to his delight. He occupied the rest of his time working on a children's book.

Irish Independent

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