Westlife are one of the most popular and best-known Irish bands of all time. Over the course of their 14 year career Westlife amassed enormous numbers of fans in Ireland and the rest of the UK as well as worldwide.
Formed in 1998 and signed by Simon Cowell, the band originally comprised five members: Shane Filan, Mark Feehily, Nicky Byrne, Brian McFadden and Kian Egan. Brian chose to leave the band in 2004 to spend more time with his family, and released a solo single which went to No.1 in the charts. Alongside their many chart achievements, Westlife were also impressive on stage, with 12 international concert tours during their performing career. They visited countries across the world in four continents: Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia.
For their final farewell tour, the Greatest Hits Tour 2012, almost 85,000 tickets for the night at Croke Park Stadium in Dublin sold out in just five minutes, setting new records for ticket sales and forcing the band to extend the run by adding an additional show. Their final concerts were screened in 200 cinemas in 16 countries, including Ireland, Belgium, the Czech Republic, South Africa, Estonia, Indonesia and Denmark.
Over the course of their career, Westlife achieved an impressive 14 No.1 singles in the UK – only one fewer The Beatles – and sold more than 50 million copies worldwide. They achieved a grand total of 26 Top 10 charting singles, and were the first musical act in history to have their first seven singles all consecutively chart at No.1. The Guinness Book of Records listed them in the 2010 edition as the Top Selling Group by Album in the 21st Century.
In addition to their impressive chart career, the band also performed in some unique and significant settings. In 2011, Westlife performed for Great Britain’s reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II on 19 May and then for US President Barack Obama on 23 May. Westlife were also the first ever band to top the entertainment bill at the Vatican, performing in a private concert for Pope John Paul II early in their career in 2001. The Sultan of Brunei booked the band for a private concert, for which they reportedly received 2.5 million in return for singing seven of their songs. Westlife have also appeared at three Nobel Peace Prize Concerts, in 2000, 2005 and 2009.