Take That's top 20 greatest songs ever, ranked

7 May 2023, 22:39 | Updated: 27 June 2023, 14:41

Take That's greatest songs, ranked
Take That's greatest songs, ranked. Picture: Take That/YouTube

By Tom Eames

From 'Never Forget' to 'Rule the World', what's the ultimate Take That song?

Take That are one of the most successful pop groups of all time, from their 1990s boyband pomp, to their hugely successful comeback 10 years later and beyond.

Robbie Williams and Jason Orange may be gone, but the current trio of Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and Howard Donald are back with a new album and Greatest Hits tour, celebrating their 30th anniversary as a band.

Here are our favourite Take That songs of all time to make for a perfect TT setlist:

  1. 'Wooden Boat'

    Take That - Wooden Boat (With Lyrics)

    Lead vocals: Jason

    This was the final track on Take That’s comeback album Beautiful World, and is criminally underrated.

    It saw Jason take on a rare lead vocal. “It took me 17 years to do that”, he once joked. The folk ballad is a nostalgic look back through the narrator's life, from playing with a friend as a child, to losing his wife as an adult.

  2. 'Babe'

    Take That - Babe (Official Video)

    Lead vocals: Mark

    This song will forever be known as the song that was kept off the Christmas number one spot by Mr Blobby of all people in 1993.

    But the moody ballad was an early chance for Mark to shine, and it's an underrated tune.

  3. 'Happy Now'

    Take That / Fake That - Happy Now - The Video

    Lead vocals: Robbie and Gary

    This song raised money for Comic Relief in 2011, with its music video featuring the boys auditioning for a tribute band named ‘Fake That’.

    The new band saw comedians James Corden (Gary), David Walliams (Howard), John Bishop (Robbie), Alan Carr (Mark) and Catherine Tate (Jason) recreate famous Take That videos. Jason ended up dating Tate for a short while after meeting on the video.

  4. 'Relight My Fire' (with Lulu)

    Take That - Relight My Fire ft. Lulu

    Lead vocals: Gary

    On paper, this really shouldn't have worked. A cover of a forgotten disco favourite by Dan Hartman, featuring 1960s pop icon Lulu?

    Yet, somehow, Take That pulled it off! It remains a regular at the group's live shows, and how can you not dance to this banger?

  5. 'Sure'

    Take That - Sure

    Lead vocals: Gary

    This was the song where Take That rebooted themselves with strange fishnet stockings and hipster haircuts.

    While the style may not have lasted, this R&B-tinged song was an underrated number one.

  6. 'How Deep Is Your Love'

    Take That - How Deep Is Your Love (Official Video)

    Lead vocals: Gary

    Originally by the Bee Gees, Take That decided to bow out in 1996 with this cover version.

    A slightly odd choice, but the song was perfect for the boys, and it gave them another number one hit.

  7. 'Hold Up a Light'

    Hold Up A Light

    Lead vocals: Mark

    This was the final single from the Circus album, and has often been performed by the band on their various tours and lineup changes.

    This was the kind of song that stadium tours are made for.

  8. 'These Days'

    Take That - These Days

    Lead vocals: Gary, Howard and Mark

    This was the first single released by the new-look trio version of Take That in 2013.

    It was also their 12th and final UK number one single to date, and is one of their catchiest tunes ever.

  9. 'Eight Letters'

    Take That - Eight Letters

    Lead vocals: Gary

    The final track on Take That’s album Progress, this song was written about the band’s split and eventual reunion with all five members, mainly from Robbie’s point of view.

    Robbie also a solo version for his next album Take the Crown. It samples Ultravox’s ‘Vienna’.

  10. 'Could It Be Magic'

    Take That - Could It Be Magic

    Lead vocals: Robbie

    Originally, this was a piano ballad by Barry Manilow in 1971, based on chord progressions of Frédéric Chopin’s ‘Prelude in C Minor, Opus 28, Number 20’.

    Take That released a cover over two decades later, based on Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder's upbeat dance version in 1976. Robbie and Gary later performed the song with Barry at a Children in Need concert in 2013.

  11. 'Greatest Day'

    Take That - Greatest Day (Official Video)

    Lead vocals: Gary

    The lead single from The Circus, this gave Take That yet another number one in 2008.

    The uplifting anthem apparently only took the boys three hours to write. Not a bad day at the office.

  12. 'Pray'

    Take That - Pray (Live from Wembley)

    Lead vocals: Gary

    Take That scored a UK number one with this song in 1993, and it was their first of 12 number ones to date.

    Its famous music video was filmed shot in Acapulco, Mexico, and features the band in the exotic location singing and dancing.

  13. 'Everything Changes'

    Take That - Everything Changes (Official Video)

    Lead vocals: Robbie

    This was the boyband’s fourth consecutive single to go straight in at number one, a relatively rare feat at the time.

    Robbie later included it as the final track on his ‘best of’ compilation In and Out of Consciousness.

  14. 'A Million Love Songs'

    Take That - A Million Love Songs (Official Music Video)

    Lead vocals: Gary

    Gary first wrote this song when he was just 15, and it was arguably the song which helped the group to start being taken seriously as a pop act.

    It gave them an early UK top 10 hit in 1992.

  15. 'Shine'

    Take That - Shine

    Lead vocals: Mark

    The second single from Take That's comeback album Beautiful World, this gave them another number one single.

    The song is about former member Robbie's battle with depression.

  16. 'Never Forget'

    Take That - Never Forget (Video)

    Lead vocals: Howard

    You don't get many songs that are better than this at ending a cheesy club night or a wedding.

    This epic anthem was the last to feature Robbie's vocals the first time around, and it still brings a little tear to the eye.

  17. 'The Flood'

    Take That - The Flood

    Lead vocals: Robbie and Gary

    This was the first song to be released by Take That after reuniting as a five-piece for the first time since Robbie quit in 1995.

    He said of the song: “It’s like all the outside forces trying to break through the dam and we are the dam”.

  18. 'Rule the World'

    Take That - Rule The World (Official Video)

    Lead vocals: Gary

    Recorded as the main theme from the 2007 movie Stardust, this was amazingly not a number one hit, but still one of the longest-running UK chart hits ever and selling over a million copies.

    Take That also performed the song at the Closing Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games.

  19. 'Patience'

    Take That - Patience

    Lead vocals: Gary

    10 years after splitting, Take That reunited as a four piece in 2005, and a year later released this self-penned song as their comeback single, which reached number one and just missed out on that year’s Christmas chart topper.

    Manic Street Preachers’ Nicky Wire declared at the time: “It’s the greatest comeback single in history. If Neil Young had written it, people would be calling it a masterpiece”.

  20. 'Back for Good'

    Take That - Back for Good (Official Video)

    Lead vocals: Gary

    Written by Gary, this was Take That’s biggest hit single outside the UK, and he claims to have written it in just 15 minutes.

    In an effort to mock his boy band roots, Robbie often performed a hard rock live version in the style of the Sex Pistols for many years, and later did so with the rest of the group after they reunited in 2010.