Stephen Gately: 1976-2009


Growing up I was just the right age to be there in the heat of the Boyzone explosion. As it turns out I wasn’t that keen, mainly because at that time I was obsessed with hatred when one person did all the vocals and the rest of the group never being allowed to sing. Finally when Stephen Gately was allowed to bust a groove ‘No Matter What’ happened, was perhaps Boyzone’s biggest hit, went on to be one of the finest Andrew Lloyd Webber songs of the modern day, and is just an utterly brilliant pop song.

Hearing about the death of a famous person in 2009 has meant two things for me. First, you see the news break on twitter and aren’t sure whether to believe it or not. With MJ I was in Ghetto Brighton with some friends when the first reports of a heart attack came through, then lots of refreshing later Colin & I sat on the prom eating fish and chips as the first reports of a death washed in via twitter with no reliable source. This time round the shocking news came in the early hours from NOTW Showbiz Editor Dan Wootton who called it ‘the saddest story I have ever broken’ (and plugged his link a little too much, but I get – it’s his job!) On the other hand social media gives you almost too much access into the reaction of your friends or acquaintances. Seeing them make jokes about the death of a 33 year old moments after his death, just because they think he was in a ‘comical boyband’, leaves me with somewhat of a bad taste in my mouth.

Coming straight out of the glory days of pop that were the 1990s, I remember with a smile the numerous Smash Hits or Top Of The Pops magazine stories which back in the day tried to pair him up with Emma Bunton constantly – the two babies of the biggest group of the day. I can’t claim to be a massive fan, but the only time I saw him live was wonderful. He performed at a big charity gala Rocky Horror show performance at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 2005 and managed to turn my least favourite Rocky song ‘Once In A While’ into something brilliant. Boyzone might not be your cup of tea, but there’s no doubt Stephen was an excellent vocalist.

[Edit: Unfortunately the youtube video has a screengrab of Ronan looking a bit special]

One thought on “Stephen Gately: 1976-2009

  1. I think this year has been really significant for me – celebrities I ‘knew’ and grew up with are those are the ones dying. Up until now, it’s been mainly people I’ve not known a huge amount about, but now it’s my generation.

    And that’s spooky.

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