The Story of... 'A Million Love Songs' by Take That

16 October 2019, 12:49

Take That
Picture: Sony

By Tom Eames

It was one of Take That's first hits, and helped cement them as a boyband with something a little extra than most.

Gary Barlow's ballad has become one of the group's most popular songs, and is often voted among the greatest love songs of all time.

But what inspired the song and how was it made? Here's a handy guide:

  1. Who wrote it?

    Gary Barlow in 1992
    Gary Barlow in 1992. Picture: Getty

    Gary Barlow wrote 'A Million Love Songs' when he was 15.

    He also recorded a rough demo of the track, and was one of the songs he gave to music manager Nigel Martin-Smith on a cassette tape as part of his audition to join a boyband.

    In his autobiography A Better Me, Gary revealed that Martin-Smith was so impressed by the tape, that he didn't realise it was Gary singing.

    "This tape, who has written the songs?".

    I told him, me.

    "Who wrote the words, then?".

    Told him again, me. "And the music and the backing track."

    "Wow, you'd better come back and see me tomorrow."

  2. How was the song recorded?

    The song remained very similar to Gary's original tape, with added backing vocals from the rest of the band and saxophone parts.

    The two main instruments are piano, played by Barlow, with a saxophone originally performed by Snake Davis.

    Take That's longtime saxophonist and music director, Mike Stevens, went on to perform the sax parts live.

  3. How did it perform in the charts?

    The song peaked at number 7 in the UK, equalling the band's then-highest charting single (with 'It Only Takes a Minute').

    It has sold at least 200,000 copies since its release.

  4. Who has covered it?

    The song was performed in the final of The X Factor's third series by eventual winner Leona Lewis, who was joined on stage by Take That (minus Robbie Williams).

    The song was also covered by Alexander O'Neal on his 2008 album, Alex Loves.....

    James Arthur covered it during the bootcamp stage of The X Factor in 2012.

  5. What are the lyrics?

    Put your head against my life
    What do you hear
    A million words just trying to make
    The love song of the year

    Close your eyes but don't forget
    What you have heard
    A man who's trying to say three words
    The words that make me scared

    A million love songs later
    And here I am trying to tell you that I care
    A million love songs later
    And here I am
    Here I am

    A million love songs later
    Here I am

    Looking to the future now
    This is what I see
    A million chances pass me by
    A million chances to hold you

    Take me back, take me back
    To where I used to be
    To hide away from all my truth
    Through the light I see

    A million love songs later
    And here I am trying to tell you that I care
    A million love songs later
    Here I am
    Just for you girl
    A million love songs later
    Here I am

    I feel for you, babe
    Feel for you baby
    A million love songs later
    Here I, here I am