The story begins a long time ago in a town named Sligo, in the West of Ireland. Three guys named Kian Egan, Mark Feehily and Shane Filan had performed in the school musical Grease together, and after their success on stage, had decided to form a band, called 6 as 1, and later changing their name to I.O.U.
The group released a single "Together Girl Forever" in Ireland, and after limited success, Shane's mother, contacted the manager of Boyzone, Louis Walsh, to try and persuade him to take a look at the guys and to possibly sign them up. Although Louis was impressed he felt he didn't have the time to manage yet another band. But he contacted Ronan Keating of Boyzone, who agreed to co-manage the new band with Louis.
The line-up of I.O.U was changed - 3 members (Derek, Graham and Michael) being asked to leave, and auditions were then held in Dublin to find two new members for the group. Nicky Byrne and Bryan McFadden were eventually chosen... Westlife were born!
The group first supported the Backstreet Boys in Dublin, and then toured the UK and Ireland with Boyzone in November 1998.
However, the group were obliged to change their name from Westside to Westlife early in 1999 when it was discovered that a number of existing bands shared the same name.
Undeterred, Westlife went on to release their first single “Swear it Again”, in April 1999, which went straight to the top of the British and Irish charts, becoming the biggest-selling debut single ever in Ireland. The following singles went all straight to No.1 as well. The lads have a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the only band who have had 7 No.1’s in a row. Also their debut album went straight to No.1. And 3 more album will follow.
In 2001 they had their first ever world tour, “Where Dreams Come True Tour”. It was a huge success and now they’ve done 7 tours already.
In March 2004 Bryan decided to leave the band to be more at home with his wife and kids, later it was because he wanted to have his own solo career. Everyone thought this was the end of Westlife… But… they proved everyone wrong. They continued as a four-piece. And their tour that year, TurnAround Tour, was one of their best ever received tours.
They’re still going on as a four-piece and they’ve recorded 3 more album after Brian left the band and did 4 more tours.
It is clear that Westlife have achieved much acclaim and enjoyed a lot of success.
facts:- Westlife have had 14 No.1 hits
- 2 download No.1’s
- 4 No.1 albums
- 7 sold-out tours
- released 8 albums
- won loads of awards, Brit Awards, Meteor Awards, MTV Awards etc.