After his acrimonious split from pop darlings Take That in 1995, Robbie Williams launched his solo career with a cover of George Michael's Freedom. His debut solo album, Life Thru A Lens, was an autobiographical affair that struggled to sell until the anthemic single, Angels was released, a classic which found Williams once more in the limelight. Williams confirmed his breakthrough with the chart-topping single, Millennium, in 1998, with the attendant album, I've Been Expecting You hitting the top of the UK album charts. The singer's attempts to break America, in the manner of his idols George Michael and Elton John, were frustrated although his star remained firmly in the ascendant in the UK and Europe with a string of chart-topping singles such as Karl Wallinger's She's The One, and Rock DJ. He even managed to pull off a tribute to the Rat Pack with the flimsy Swing When You're Winning in 2001. Williams took a hiatus following the patchy electro-pop set, Rudebox, but returned in late 2009 with the eclectic Reality Killed The Video Star. This was his first LP that failed to top the UK charts, although it only just missed out, peaking at number 2. However, 2012's Take The Crown saw him retain his status as the King Of British Pop, debuting at number 1.
Followers: Will Young, Ray Quinn, Busted