Sunday, January 08, 2006

1001 Greatest Pop Songs Of All Time - #5 - Never Forget by Take That

Adem IAR: Do you remember where you were on the 13th of February, 1996? Well I do. It was the first few weeks of a new term at school, I was getting books out of my locker to head off to my next class. One of my friends came up to me and explained she needed to discuss something with me in private. Quite alarmed and worried as to what was so important and urgent that I needed to miss the first 10 minutes of my Drama class just to listen (I seriously thought she was going to tell me she had fallen pregnant, seeing as she was a bit of a cheap tart at the time), I quickly went off to the girls toilets with my friend.

The next 10 minutes are still, to this day, a blur.

My dear friend had taken me away from the harsh eye of many teenage school students to tell me of the news, in private, that "Take That have just announced they're breaking up".

I remember thinking she was pulling my leg, but the seriousness in her eyes were a sign enough that she was not bullshitting. What seemed like hours, but was probably only seconds of silence, passed. Then the tears began, and eventually they grew violent. After an hour my friend thought it would be a good idea to send me off to the guidance counselor (!!!!!!). Within five minutes of mucus-filled murmurs of "Robbie that bastard! He's RUINED MUSIC FOR EVERYONE THE SELFISH PRICK!!", I was told to go home by the guidance counselor for the rest of the day.

The Take That split affected me in ways that my mother described at the time as similar to the way she had reacted when Elvis died. They were more than just a band in my eyes, they were figures of worship. I honestly thought I'd never allow a pop group of any kind into my heart the way I did Take That after they had so viciously broken it, but of course the whole Spice Girls thing happened shortly after, and they fucked me over just as much as the boys did, but that's for another story and another time.

"Never Forget" is, in my eyes, their real final single. "How Deep Is Your Love", released as the bands official goodbye, not only made me angry, but was pretty much a cover done so badly, I honestly to this day feel its coldness was present simply to make a mockery of one of the most important music groups in history.

"Never Forget" was a masterpiece, coming at a time when Take That fans were in mourning over the loss of Robbie from the band. It was also the follow up single to the downright amazing and breathtaking "Back For Good", which should probably be in this list for obvious reasons as well a little later on. The singing choir children at the opening and closing of the track still, to this day, cause my skin to develop such an insane amount of goosebumps that it's almost frightening. The lyrics meant so much with Robbie's departure, but even MORE so when the band parted ways in 1996. "Never Forget" became an anthem of sorts amongst Take That fans, as they cried away into their pillows listening to the song on repeat till they fell asleep and their mothers came in to turn the stereo and lights off.

Now with the band reforming - minus Robbie - I cannot deny I'm extremely excited. The thought of flying to the UK - with what money I'm not quite sure - just to see one of their live shows this year is a thought that crosses my mind on a daily basis, and if I had the body for prostitution I would probably consider it more seriously. So instead, I can just bask in the new greatest hits DVD, upcoming documentary and brilliant new song "Today I've lost you".

With all this rather sad nostalgia surrounding it, I often wonder if "Never Forget" is the ultimate Take That song, moreso than "Back for good"? Probably not, but it signifies so much of their brilliance and such an important part of their history that it really should be.

Claire: All of the above statements, re the break of Take That, were reflected no doubt in my own mind on that fateful day - I was Take That fan club member #91, which is bizarre, since I don't normally go for boy bands. There are times to this day I still think were Take That "all that" to be honest, but I know where I was when Robbie left (my back garden while my Mum passed on the news with a casual dispassion having found out on the phone) and I still know where I was when the final, somewhat unsurprising statement came through - on a Grade 12 camp, in the middle of nowhere, nursing a brused rib from a skateboard tumble. And I know where I was when I found out Anca, a German Take That fan, killed herself one day after Robbie's final concert (I was playing soccer with my cousin, with a walkman on).

Someday soon this will be someone else's dream - that's the phrase that loops in my mind when I think of Never Forget. It was, soon, it was the Spice Girls dream - and I was on board for a remarkably similar experience, in fact. Never Forget? As if I could, Take That were a band for the heart and the head. My boy band in fact. Bless.


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