Robbie Williams' 20 greatest songs ever, ranked

27 September 2022, 15:33

Robbie Williams' best songs
Robbie Williams' best songs. Picture: Robbie Williams/YouTube

By Tom Eames

Robbie Williams has become one of the UK's most successful artists of all time, selling over 75 million records worldwide and sustaining a career for three decades.

In 2022, Robbie releases his latest album as he celebrates 25 years as a solo artist: the greatest hits collection XXV, which sees Robbie re-record his best songs along with a few new tracks, backed by an orchestra.

We've gone through the Take That entertainer's jam-packed back catalogue and selected our favourite songs to date:

  1. Lazy Days

    This was Robbie's third ever single, and saw him continue down the indie-pop path for his first album.

    The hedonistic track wasn't a massive hit at the time, but it was a sign of things to come from the former boyband member.

  2. Tripping

    The lead single from his 2005 album Intensive Care, this reggae-tinged track was nothing like we'd heard before from Robbie.

    Robbie himself calls the song "something like a mini gangster opera" and "kind of cabaret act reggae".

  3. Eternity

    Not as well remembered as some of his other number ones, this was a double-A side with 'The Road to Mandalay'.

    It was apparently a tribute to Robbie's close friendship with Spice Girls star Geri Halliwell at the time.

  4. Mixed Signals

    A single from his Heavy Entertainment Show album, you can tell that it was co-written by Killers frontman Brandon Flowers.

    The incredibly catchy pop-rock anthem sees Robbie jealous and paranoid about his partner's actions. The video had two different endings, where his on-screen partner was revealed to be having an affair with either Robbie's wife Ayda or Gary Barlow!

  5. You Know Me

    This was the second single from his 2009 comeback album Reality Killed the Video Star.

    In the video, he falls asleep and wakes up dressed as a rabbit in a waistcoat, and explores a fantasy world based on Alice in Wonderland.

  6. She's Madonna

    Robbie teamed up with the Pet Shop Boys for this track, which they co-wrote and featured on.

    The song is a reference to a conversation he had with ex-girlfriend Tania Strecker, over the reason her former boyfriend Guy Ritchie gave, for leaving her for singer Madonna.

    Robbie played the song to Madonna shortly after writing it, receiving a positive reaction. Its music video featured a plethora of well-known drag queens, and showed Williams himself in full drag queen regalia.

  7. Candy

    Co-written with his Take That bandmate Gary Barlow, this provided Robbie with his seventh solo number one in 2012.

    While most of the lyrics are nonsensical, it tells the story of a girl who thinks she’s perfect.

    He said: “Some songs take an age to write and some songs just fall out of your mouth completely formed, and you don’t have to think about it. I don’t know why that fell out of my mouth and out of my brain at that particular time – it just did.”

  8. Go Gentle

    The lead single from his second swing album in 2013, Robbie said that it is a promise to his daughter Teddy.

    He said: "It was written when she first arrived on the planet and I'd been a selfish popstar for most of my life and then all of a sudden I've been asked to take care of this whole person.

    "I still am scared that I'm not up to the task! I'm doing a good job of being dad but it's scary, you have to look after this person for the whole of their life, I'm not very good at even looking after me!"

  9. Millennium

    This gave Robbie his first solo number one single in 1998, and was arguably Robbie at the peak of his 90s powers.

    It heavily samples the arrangement of John Barry's 'You Only Live Twice', the title track of the 1967 James Bond film of the same name.

  10. Rock DJ

    Robbie kickstarted the 2000s with one of the best pop bangers of all time, and one that pretty much allowed him the title of the UK's King of Pop.

    The song is perhaps best known for its music video, which saw Robbie strip down to the point where he was just a skeleton. The full version was only allowed to be shown after 9pm.

  11. She's the One

    British band World Party first released this song in 1997, a year before Robbie covered it and took it to number one in the UK.

    It won him two BRIT Awards, including one for its ice skating-inspired music video.

  12. Let Me Entertain You

    The fifth and final single from Robbie's debut album, this song was written a certain homage to The Who, Kiss and The Rolling Stones.

    To this day, it's his bombastic concert opener that makes you know you're in for a good time.

  13. Bodies

    This was Robbie's comeback single after three years away and a stint in rehab.

    The song’s cryptic lyrics, with a wide variety of religious references included, have been subject to speculation. Williams later referred to the lyrics as “gibberish” that he considered pointless.

    Like the rest of the album, it was produced by Trevor Horn, and its music video featured his future wife, actress Ayda Field.

  14. Something Beautiful

    This song was first offered to Tom Jones, but he turned it down. After Robbie chose to record it, he and Guy Chambers heavily reworked it.

    Its music video included a casting in which people from all over Europe contested to win the chance to perform as Robbie Williams at the end of the video.

    The three winners had the chance to meet Robbie, and the public were asked to vote for the winner, with three different versions of the video getting released to various parts of the world including the different winners.

  15. Love My Life

    A top 40 hit for Robbie in 2016, he said that it is "about positivity and making the most of your life. I have a son called Charlton Valentine and a daughter called Theodora Rose Williams. I have been to rehab twice and had lots of therapy.

    "I realised that what happens to you when you become older is because of you when you were a kid. So this song is about hope and spreading positivity instead of negativity."

  16. Supreme

    This song famously samples elements from Gloria Gaynor's iconic disco anthem 'I Will Survive'.

    Its music video sees Robbie as a 1970s race car driver, in a tribute to Jackie Stewart.

  17. Kids (with Kylie Minogue)

    Robbie decided to turn this song into a duet, and was written when Kylie approached him to write her some songs for what would be her album Light Years.

    It was then that Robbie noticed their chemistry and decided to include it on his album too.

    It remains one of the greatest pop duets of all time, and is always a winner at karaoke, especially if you can remember Robbie's rap at the end.

  18. No Regrets

    This song was written about Robbie's feelings about his time in (and departure from) Take That.

    After reconciling with the band years later, he replaced the final line ‘I guess the love we once had is officially dead’ with ‘officially alive!’.

    Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys and Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy provide backing vocals for the song.

  19. Feel

    Co-written with his longtime songwriting partner Guy Chambers, this piano-led track was the lead single from his 2002 album Escapology, and features most of the vocals recorded in the demo version.

    "I just couldn't sing it as well as I did on that day," he said.

  20. Angels

    This was the song that saved Robbie's career, after his first few songs that had lackluster chart runs.

    Despite only reaching number four, it is his best-selling single, shifting over a million copies after its release in 1997.

    It's a soaring crowd-pleaser that will always get everyone around singing every word, and one that will cement Robbie as a pop legend.