Take That's reunion in 2005 has marked a rejuvenated renaissance for the boy band. Since reforming, Gary Barlow and company have managed three UK #1 singles and two UK #1 albums in Beautiful World and The Circus (with the latterÂ currently top of the UK album chart on debut entry) and are enjoying aÂ peak in their pop career.
But despite their fame and fortune, an old flame which appeared to be extinguished may be returning - the self-destructive and erratic inferno that is Robbie Williams. Williams, who left the group in July 1995, may make a shocking comeback after a 13 year absence.
Although, critics would argue Williams is returning for the money (if he is indeed returning and not just engineering publicity and speculation) after what has been a recently squalid period for one of the icons of pop in the past two decades.
Drink, depression and drug habbits, which include the Stoke born singer's addiction to the anti-depressant, Seroxat, have all afflicted the troubled star.
Since his five year purple patch with songwriter Guy Chambers between 1997 and when the pair split in 2002,Â Williams steadily declined in fame, fortune and most importantly, affection.
Despite revelling in his return of seven UK #1 albums from the seven he has released, the longevity of the last two albums' popularity, 2005'sÂ Intensive Care and 2006's Rudebox were minimal. Williams missed the influence of Chambers who penned some stellarÂ #1 singlesÂ including the hit ballad, Angels, She's The One, Millenium, Rock DJ, Eternity and Somethin' Stupid with Australian actress, Nicole Kidman.
But since the golden age has come the grimey, nonsenical drivel. Whilst Barlow and Take That have mesmerised audiences with their catchy but revved up pop songs including the addition of the previously forsaken guitar on Shine, they are nearer to the sounds of mid-market rockers Snow Patrol than the teeny-bopper idol tag which they addopted during the 90s. Williams has yet toÂ adjust to the former.
Perhaps this is why he is so desperate to return to a group which he left during a time where they hadÂ sold 30 million albums worldwide between 1991 and 1995. But egos got the better of Barlow and Williams last time and with the northern numskull left to sulk and depart to even greater heights with Chambers, the love affair with his songwriting pal failed to last the distance either.
If Robbie does rejoin Take That, one wonders whether the boys need his input. A peripheral figure in the group pre-1995, Williams would only disrupt what has so far been a successfully marketed and well-drilled campaign upon reunion in 2005.
Williams' image dictated his future and has paid dividends mostly for him as a solo artist. Although his ability to work as a pairing or in a team is decided by his mental state, which usually leaves him devoid of a partner not long after. However, it is imperative for Williams personally, that he rejoins the group.
His last two albums (the latter featuringÂ writing creditsÂ by Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, Jerry Meehan, Stephen Duffy and production from versatile engineer, Mark Ronson) were mainly written by the man himself and failed to enhance his credibility.
Instead, despite #1 albumÂ entries, Williams' songwriting produced hap-hazard nothings including Tripping, theÂ tacky but laughable Rudebox,Â the lightweight Lovelight and the disappointing She's Madonna (featuring Pet Shop Boys), all of which failed to reach the coveted #1 single spot. His ability to compose thought provoking songs is severely limited, something of which adversary Barlow is adept at.
So whilst Williams appears ever closer to a possible reunion with the lads from Manchester, his days may be numbered depending on whether there is room for such a tortured soul to fit in to what is already a well-knit regime.
Robbie needed to leave when he departed last time and perhaps (despite his successful reputation) he needs to stay put this time and concentrate on returning to his former glory with release ofÂ his forthcoming solo album in March/April next year.
If he were to return, back for good he may be. But back for the better of the group, appears doubtful.