Robbie Williams on Glastonbury 2023 legends slot: ‘I’d like to do that’

Robbie Williams described Glastonbury as "the epicentre of the music world". Credit: PA Images

Robbie Williams has said he is “incredibly grateful that the ship goes forward” as he celebrates 25 years as a solo artist.

The former Take That singer from Staffordshire, last week secured his 14th chart-topping record with the album XXV, overtaking Elvis Presley (who scored 13 UK number one albums), to become the solo artist with the most UK number one albums, the Official Charts Company said.

The album marks his career milestone of more than two decades of success as a solo artist and contains a selection of his greatest hits such as Angels, Let Me Entertain You and Millennium reworked with an orchestra.

The 48-year-old told the BBC: “My big feeling is, my best years professionally could have been from when I was 16 to 21 when I was in Take That.

"I know how brittle my ego is and I know how fragile I am as a human being and to be a has-been… or whatever, it was that would have happened to me after Take That, I’m incredibly grateful that the ship still goes forward. That’s it.

"In short, I’m incredibly grateful, that’s what the anniversary has done for me.”

Last month, Netflix announced that a documentary about the singer is in production, saying the multi-part series, which will launch next year, is an “in-depth examination of a global icon and natural-born-entertainer who had to navigate the highs and lows of being in the limelight for more than 30 years”.

Directed by Joe Pearlman, who was behind the Bros documentary After The Screaming Stops, it will also feature never-before-seen archive and intimate footage of Williams.

Members of the Take That band in 1993. (L-R) Gary Barlow, Howard Donald, Mark Owen, Robbie Williams and Jason Orange. Credit: PA Images

Why did Robbie Williams leave Take That? 

Take That were one of the world’s most successful boy bands when Williams dramatically left in 1995.

Williams joined Take That in 1990, aged 16 after his mother spotted an ad in a newspaper advertising for members for a new boy band.

Despite the group's success, tensions began to escalate over time and in 1995, he decided he wanted to quit, but interviews never really cleared up whether he had been pushed out or was quitting the band of his own free will.

He felt being in a band was constricting and had stopped giving input and stopped doing what he was told by the group's management.

He launched his solo career in 1996 with a cover of George Michael's "Freedom" which reached No.2 in the UK Singles Chart as well as chart-pleasing singles such as No Regrets, Rock DJ and his duet with Kylie Minogue, Kids.

Robbie Williams performing on stage at the 1998 Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Pilton, Somerset. Credit: PA Images

Williams performed at one of the wettest festivals in Glastonbury history in 1998 and said he would love to return to the event again.

Asked if he would be up for performing in the legends slot at the Worthy Farm event, he said: “Yeah, that’d be cool. Actually, I’d like to do that. I’d like another go round on that stage and feel that audience and get the chance to do it.”

When shown footage by the BBC of Mel C saying that the Spice Girls for the legends slot would be “the absolute dream”, Williams quipped: “The Spice Girls trumps a Robbie Williams, so maybe I’ll have to wait”.

He added of Glastonbury: “It is the epicentre of the music world for that weekend. Everybody’s watching, everybody’s got their eyes on it.

"And that kind of thing doesn’t exist these days because music on TV has died a death and music being a potent, viable thing that gets you to sit down on a Thursday night at seven o’clock for a half an hour now doesn’t exist. So yeah, it’s a big deal.”

What is Robbie William's connection to Staffordshire?

Robbie Williams was born on 13 February 1974 in Stoke-on-Trent.

He attended St Margaret Ward Catholic School in Tunstall. He was awarded freedom of the city in 2014.

Robbie Williams last week secured his 14th chart-topping record as he celebrates 25 years as a solo artist. Credit: PA Images

In an interview he once said: "Stoke-on-Trent made me.

"My heart, my humour, it’s all from Stoke. Cut me and it’s through me like a stick of rock."

His parents ran a pub called the Red Lion in Burslem before his father became the licensee at the Port Vale FC Social Club.