Page last updated at 09:54 GMT, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 10:54 UK

Boyzone talk about comeback tour

By Liam Allen
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Boyzone played to 250,000 fans when they toured the UK this summer

Last November, Irish boy band Boyzone announced they were reforming for a UK arena tour.

Cynics said the band, who scored six UK number one singles and four number one albums between 1994 and their split in 2000, were jumping on the same bandwagon as Take That and the Spice Girls.

Both had proved it was still possible for 1990s pop bands to pull in the crowds. Would Boyzone be able to achieve a similar feat?

Ronan Keating: Solo success with three UK number one albums and 14 Top 10 singles
Stephen Gately: Dropped by Polydor in 2001 after three Top 20 singles. Enjoyed success in musicals, including Joseph
Keith Duffy: Starred as barman Ciaran McCarthy in Coronation Street for three years alongside some theatre work
Shane Lynch: Appeared in reality shows including The Games. Autobiography, The Chancer, released this year
Mikey Graham: Dropped by his label in 2000 after solo single You're My Angel reached number 13. Has taken acting lessons

"We were taking a chance on the tour maybe failing and then being remembered for the failure after all the success we had in years gone past," remembers Keith Duffy.

Luckily, it was a gamble that paid off.

Almost a year since that first announcement, the band have another sell-out tour behind them with another planned for next year.

Not only that, but they have released their first new single in nine years - Love You Anyway, one of two new songs written for a greatest hits album due out next month.

The jaunty, Motown-influenced track entered this week's singles chart at five, maintaining the boys' record of seeing all their singles reach that position or above.

Ronan Keating, the group's lead singer and biggest talent, was undoubtedly responsible for much of that success.

Good looks

Stephen Gately also made a contribution, traditionally providing additional lead vocals - most notably on 1998 hit No Matter What.

Most successful boy bands are put together for their collective combination of singing ability, dancing prowess and good looks.

Inevitably, it is not always possible for every member to be blessed with all of these attributes - something Duffy and the devilishly handsome Shane Lynch have admitted in past interviews.

Shane Lynch
We must not be foolish about things - we're five guys at the top of this corporate chain
Shane Lynch

Duffy, now 34, speaks for the whole band when he admits dancing was never their passion.

"Years ago, when we were in the band, we were at the age where we'd probably go clubbing," he reveals.

"That would be the only other dancing we'd do apart from dancing on stage.

"Practically the only dancing we've done since then is the odd wedding over the last 10 years, where you had a slow dance with your granny or something."

The success of Boyzone's summer tour, which saw them play 10 dates before 250,000 fans, was an emotional and uplifting experience for the band.

Lynch, who admits he developed a drink problem during Boyzone's first stint in the limelight, says the first show at London's O2 in May ranks "at the top" of his career highlights.

"We haven't done it for the last how many years and we're about to come up out of this lift and face the public," remembers the born-again Christian.


"It was incredible. I don't think you could possibly witness any emotion like that, unless you went away again and came back."

While fans continue to buy their records, tour tickets and merchandise, the band are unlikely to go away any time soon.

Boyzone in 1999
Words - October 1996
A Different Beat - December 1996
All That I Need - May 1998
No Matter What - August 1998
When The Going Gets Tough - March 1999
You Needed Me - May 1999

And if sales of their forthcoming greatest hits go well, Boyzone are likely to follow in the footsteps of Take That and record a new studio album.

The mutual massages and in-jokes that abound also suggest the bitterness that partly led to the band splitting eight years ago has been worked through.

Moreover, as veterans of the pop industry, all are acutely aware of the business sense of a successful reunion.

"We must not be foolish about things," says Lynch, now 32. "We're five guys at the top of this corporate chain."

Keating is equally blunt when asked if next single, Better, can indeed go one better than debut single Love Me For a Reason, the Christmas number two in 1994.

"In this day and age, a single, without sounding too corporate, is a tool to sell the album.

"We're not going for the number one for Christmas," he adds. "You can't compete against X Factor, charity records and so on.

"It helps to get Boyzone's name back out there and back on the map again - that's what it's about."

Boyzone's Back Again... No Matter What - The Greatest Hits is out on 13 October.

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