While in high school, I was a pop music fanatic. It’s time to come totally clean about something that probably makes me totally uncool, but I don’t really care. I was head over heels for Swedish-produced dance pop along the lines of NSYNC, Britney Spears, The Backstreet Boys, etc, etc, etc… The American record companies were churning out pop acts as fast as they could to keep up with the appetites of young female consumers like me.
As I am a curious girl, my pop-loving wandering eyes ventured across the pond to European popstars. That’s where I discovered Five, Billie Piper (who FYI Is proving herself a better actress than she ever was a singer – I’m watching “Doctor Who” at present and she’s just grand!) and, the motherload of successful UK boybands, Boyzone.
Yes, it’s the dumbest name of a group ever.
But, they weren’t half-bad. I’m not saying they were genius, and they were obviously assembled by a studio looking for five photogenic young dudes to make cash off, but their singles didn’t suck and they were charming enough.
When I got back from my trip to Michigan this weekend, I learned that Stephen Gately, one of the Boyzone five, had died tragically – and mysteriously (cause of death still unknown) while on his own vacation, and it made me really sad.
Boyzone was not a collection of five great singers. Hardly. Ronan Keating has an interesting voice, but it was Stephen who could really belt it out. After Boyzone’s “break-up,” He proved himself in West End musicals and with a solo career.
He’s also the brave young man who came out at a time when everyone assumed that, as a member of a boyband, being gay would end your career. It didn’t. In fact, it made Stephen’s fans even more adoring than before.
(Stephen’s debut solo single – “New Beginning”)
(Stephen performing “Bright Eyes” live at the Point in 2000.)