Mark Anthony Patrick Owen (born 27 January 1972), is an English singer and songwriter. He is a member of pop-group Take That. As a solo artist, Owen had sold over 500,000 records worldwide and 45 million with Take That.
Owen was born in Oldham, Lancashire, England. He lived in a small council house with his mother Mary, his father Keith, brother Daniel and sister Tracey in Oldham, Lancashire. His father was a decorator, later getting a job at a police station. His mother was a supervisor in a bakery in Oldham. Owen used to attend singing classes with his cousin, Aidan Sears, and formed his first band with his cousin at the age of 14, after encouragement from their singing teacher.
Owen was educated at the Holy Rosary Primary and St Augustine’s Catholic School in Oldham. He had little interest in music and played briefly for Chadderton F.C., in addition to having trials at Manchester United and Rochdale. Prior to auditioning for Take That, he worked at Barclays in Failsworth.
1989–1996: Early success
After selecting Gary Barlow as the group’s lead singer in 1989, Nigel Martin-Smith introduced Owen, Howard Donald, Jason Orange and finally Robbie Williams to the fold. The group were signed to RCA records, and after a number of top 40 hits, eventually secured their first number one with Barlow’s “Pray”. Previous hits included “A Million Love Songs”, “It Only Takes a Minute” and “Could It Be Magic”.
The band’s debut album Take That & Party was released on 17 August 1992. It reached number two on the UK Album Chart. The following year saw the release of their second album, Everything Changes. It went straight in at number one on the UK Albums Chart and spawned four number-one singles, as well as “Why Can’t I Wake Up with You” and “Love Ain’t Here Anymore” hitting number two and three respectively. Owen sang lead vocals on “Babe”, which was released in December 1993. Their third album Nobody Else went straight to number 1 and was to be their last studio album of the ’90s. The album had three number-one singles, including “Back for Good” which peaked at number seven on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was brought forward an unprecedented six weeks before its official release such was the demand for the single. Owen also sang lead vocals on “The Day After Tomorrow” from the album. A Greatest Hits collection followed again reaching number one. The album featured the band’s eighth number-one single “How Deep Is Your Love”. This was to be the first single released by Take That as a four piece (without Williams) and it was their last single until they reformed in 2005.
Although Owen’s vocal contributions were limited in Take That’s original run, he was arguably the most popular member of the group, on account of his boyish good looks and sweet demeanor, regularly earning awards such as Smash Hit’s “Most Fanciable Male in the World” and “Best Haircut”.
Owen returned to the limelight in the TV documentary, Take That: For the Record in 2005. Following this success and renewed interest, Take That experienced a career renaissance in 2005 when the post-Williams line-up reformed for a sell-out stadium tour. The band released their comeback single “Patience” which went to number 1 for four weeks while also topping the charts across Europe. Patience was also voted The Record of the Year in 2006 and won a Brit for single of the year. This was followed with “Shine” which featured Owen on lead vocals and became the band’s tenth number-one single. Take That’s first album of new material in over ten years, Beautiful World, was released on 24 November 2006. The album peaked at number 1 in the UK Album Chart selling over 2.8 million copies in the UK alone to date. It was re-released as a tour edition with hit single “Rule the World” in 2007 and peaked again at number 1.
In 2008, the band were nominated for four BRIT Awards (Best British Group, Best British Album, Best British Single and Best British Live Act). They won Best British Single and Best British Live Act. Take That released the single “Greatest Day” which went straight to number 1 and became their eleventh number 1 single in the UK. The week after they released their second album since their reunion in 2006, The Circus which was the most pre-ordered album of all time. The Circus album was also a success for Take That going straight to the top of the UK album chart and selling over 2.2 million copies across the country, going multi platinum within four days of its release. In June and July, Take That performed the record breaking tour Take That Present: The Circus Live throughout the United Kingdom which sold over one million tickets in five hours.
It was announced that the group was in the process of writing Take That’s sixth studio album, set for release in late 2010. The album, Progress, was the first to feature the original line-up since their 1995 album, Nobody Else. The band also announced a stadium tour entitled Progress Live which took place in 2011. The tickets for the tour went on sale on 29 October 2010. Due to unprecedented high public demand for tickets, Ticketmaster websites across the UK and Ireland crashed and all initial tour dates sold out in under 15 minutes. It was reported that a record breaking one million tickets were snapped up on the first day of sale, resulting in Take That smashing the previous box office record of tickets sold which was set in 2008 by Take That Present: The Circus Live. Due to unprecedented demand Take That added more dates to their tour, finishing in the UK with a record breaking 8 consecutive nights at Wembley Stadium after which the tour will then commence throughout Europe with an estimated 1.75 million people expected to attend the shows.
The lead single from Progress was announced as “The Flood”. The single debuted at number 2, selling over 500,000 copies since release. On the first day of the release of Progress, the album sold over 235,000 copies across the UK, making it the fastest selling record of the century. On 21 November 2010, Progress debuted at number one in the United Kingdom, becoming the band’s seventh number-one album. By the end of its first week on sale the album sold over 520,000, making it the second fastest-selling album of all-time in UK chart history. To date Progress has sold 2.8 million copies in the UK and has achieved similar chart success across Europe. In June 2011, Take That released their first extended play collection entitled Progressed which returned the band to number 1 in the UK on its first week of release as well as charting across Europe.
1996–1997: Green Man
After Take That split, Owen became the first of the band’s ex-members to release a solo record. He reached number three in the UK Singles Chart with his debut single, “Child”. His second single, “Clementine”, also went to number three. In 1997 his album Green Man was released, charting at a number 33. After another single, “I Am What I Am”, charted at number 29, Owen was dropped by BMG Records in late 1997.
2002–2003: Celebrity Big Brother and In Your Own Time
Owen won the second series of Celebrity Big Brother in November 2002 with 77% of the public vote against television presenter Les Dennis. Owen broke down in tears, overwhelmed by the fans’ support. After being invited to perform on stage with Robbie Williams at Knebworth, he returned to the spotlight and signed a deal with Island/Universal Records. In August 2003, Owen returned to the charts with the Top 5 hit, “Four Minute Warning”, which remained in the Top 40 for eight weeks. His second album, In Your Own Time, was released in November 2003, entering the charts at number 59. After a second single, “Alone Without You”, charted at number 26, Owen was dropped by Island/Universal Records.
2004–2006: How the Mighty Fall
In April 2004 he established his own record company, Sedna Records. One report around 2004 even alleged that Owen was looking for a day job, but he simply said “Doing it properly isn’t cheap. These are my indulgences. I don’t have a Ferrari, I have two albums.” Mark released his first single “Makin’ Out” which charted at No. 30 on the UK Singles Chart, making it his highest charted single released in an independent label. He released his third solo album, How the Mighty Fall on 18 April 2005, which was recorded at Sunset Studios, Los Angeles in 2004. It reached No. 56 in Germany. According to Mark, he said that this is more “his” album than the last couple because he has had full control over every aspect of the record and it is a true representation of where he is at in his life right now. On the strength of this release, he was picked up by Caroline Elleray (Coldplay, Keane), resulting in him signing his publishing deal to BMG Music Publishing. Mark released his second single “Believe in the Boogie”, charting at No. 57 in the UK charts, making it his lowest charting single at that time. Although it didn’t chart well, his second single was added to the European soundtrack of the American film Mr. and Mrs. Smith starring…..