Stephen Gately Obituary

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Boyzone singer Stephen Gately, who has died suddenly aged 33, had successfully made the transition from teenage pop idol to mainstream show business performer. He had been the first member of Boyzone to bring out a solo single, New Beginning, and his subsequent roles in West End musicals brought him to a new and broader audience. Several successful television appearances, including ice-skating and interviewing film stars, suggested that he would have had a bright future in broadcasting. Gately was born in the working-class Sheriff Street area of Dublin, the fourth of five children (four sons and a daughter) to painter and decorator Martin Gately and his wife Margaret. He was 17 when he joined Boyzone, having answered an advertisement placed by local entrepreneur Louis Walsh. The fast-talking Walsh had observed the huge success of Take That (an outfit itself modelled on American boyband New Kids On the Block) and was seized with the urge to launch an Irish equivalent. After auditioning 300 hopeful applicants, including future Hollywood star Colin Farrell, Walsh settled on a prototype six-piece line-up. Only a day after their formation, the group were hastily shoved in front of the cameras on RTÉ's The Late Late Show, dancing to a pre-recorded backing track, in a performance that later on brought blushes to the participants' faces. After some reshuffling, Boyzone settled into a stable five-piece format, featuring Gately alongside Ronan Keating, Shane Lynch, Mikey Graham and Keith Duffy. They smoothed away the rough edges by performing in clubs across Northern Ireland, and signed a recording contract with Polygram in 1994. Their first single, a version of the Four Seasons favorite Working My Way Back to You, with Gately sharing lead vocals, was a No 3 hit in Ireland. Their first British hit was a cover of the Osmonds's Love Me for a Reason, included on their debut

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