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Westlife Biography

In the tradition of British and Irish boy bands like Take That and Boyzone comes Dublin's Westlife, a quintet consisting of Shane Filan, Nicky Byrne, Bryan McFadden, Mark Feehily, and Kian Egan. Filan, Egan, and Feehily were among the group's six founding members, but the other half of the group was dispatched when Louis Walsh, Boyzone's manager, took interest in them. This made room in the band for Byrne and McFadden; Walsh also introduced Westlife to Boyzone vocalist and solo artist Ronan Keating, who became the group's co-manager shortly after they cemented their recording contract. The group's first single, 1999's "Flying Without Wings," entered the U.K. charts at number one, a feat they replicated with "Seasons in the Sun" and "Swear It Again" in 2000. Their self-titled debut album met with similar chart-topping success and quickly went platinum in their homeland. Westlife was released in the U.S. by Arista Records in early 2000. The group's popularity in Europe continued through the 2000s, with the release of albums such as Turnaround, Allow Us to Be Frank, and Face to Face; the greatest-hits collection Unbreakable, Vol. 1 was also released on DVD. ~ Heather Phares, All Music Guide

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