Contrary to the expectations of many, the break-up of Boyzone did not precipitate a twilight career of opening the occasional Morrisons. That's not to be unkind to Boyzone - they were, and have become again, a very bankable brand. But at their heart was no genius writer of pop songs like Gary Barlow. No, Boyzone's biggest hits were covers.
What the doubters did not appreciate is that while a few may have sneered at a Cat Stevens cover as desecrating the original, Boyzone actually did a great job with that and many other songs. Shaken by the tragic loss of Stephen Gately, it seemed that the voice of Boyzone, one Ronan Patrick John Keating, would probably go quietly, taking the wealth that comes with selling 20 million records and live out the quiet family life for which he was known.
But singers sing and Ronan, the most charismatic of Boyzone's boys, left the band and grew up singing grown-up love songs and forging a solo career which today has shifted nearly 10 million albums. His latest, and ninth, studio album Fires was released earlier this month and Ronan is taking the new material and a canon of pop classics on the road early next year.
There's a neat parallel in Brian McFadden's story of post-boyband pop. With rockier leanings than Ronan, McFadden set off on his solo journey back in 2004. It seemed Westlife had perhaps run their course by then (they hadn't), not that it really mattered to a singer-songwriter keen to expand his musical horizons. The debut single, Real To Me, topped the UK charts and performed well across Europe and the LP, Irish Son, charted respectably. If it seems that Brian went a little quiet after that, it owes much to his relocation to Australia where his next two LPs were sure-fire hits.
The 14-date Fires Live 2013 tour kicks off in Bristol on 16th January, taking in shows in Cardiff, Birmingham, London and more, before the final gig in Aberdeen on 10th February 2013. The London date is at The O2 Arena on 26th January. We have tickets available now, prices starting at around £33.
Brian McFadden will support on all dates and will be playing tracks from his new album, conveniently titled The Irish Connection, which is out in November.