1. Westlife were an Irish boy band, formed in July 1998 and disbanded in June 2012.
2. Originally signed by Simon Cowell and managed by Louis Walsh, the group’s final line-up consisted of Nicky Byrne, Kian Egan, Markus Feehily and Shane Filan.
3. Brian McFadden was a member from July 1998 until his departure in March 2004.
4. Westlife sold over 50 million records worldwide, a total that included studio albums, singles, video releases, and compilation albums. The group accumulated 14 number-one singles in the United Kingdom.
5. They achieved a total of 26 UK top ten singles over their 14-year career.
6. In 2012, the Official Charts Company listed Westlife 34th amongst the biggest-selling singles artists in British music history. Despite their success worldwide, Westlife never managed to break into the U.S. market, achieving only one hit single in 2000, “Swear It Again”.
7. Based on BPI certifications, the group have 11.1 million albums and 6.8 million singles in the UK.
8. Kian Egan, Markus Feehily and Shane Filan, along with fellow Sligo men Derrick Lacey, Graham Keighron, and Michael Garrett, were part of a six-member pop vocal group called Six as One, changed in 1997 to IOYOU.
9. The group, managed by choreographer Mary McDonagh and two other informal managers, released a single titled “Together Girl Forever”.
10. Louis Walsh, the manager of fellow Irish boy band Boyzone, came to know the group after he was contacted by Filan’s mother, but the group failed to secure a BMG record deal with Simon Cowell.
11. Cowell told Walsh: “You are going to have to fire at least three of them.
12. They have great voices, but they are the ugliest band I have ever seen in my life.” Three members of the band (Lacey, Keighron and Garrett) were told they would not be part of the new group, and auditions were held in Dublin where Nicky Byrne and Brian McFadden were recruited.
13. The new group, formed on 3 July 1998, was renamed Westside but that name was already in use by another band, so it was changed to Westlife.
14. In Westlife Our Story, Byrne revealed that, unlike the others in the group, he was keen to change the name to West High.
15. McFadden also changed the spelling of his name to Bryan to make it easier to sign autographs.
16. Boyzone singer Ronan Keating was brought in to co-manage the group with Walsh.
17. Westlife’s first big break came in 1998 when they opened for Boyzone and Backstreet Boys’ concerts in Dublin.
18. “Flying Without Wings” was also included on the soundtrack of the Warner Brothers film, Pokmon: The Movie 2000.
19. Their first album, simply titled Westlife, was released in November 1999 and went to No. 2 in the UK.
20. The album was the biggest chart dropper on the top 40 in UK music history when, in its 58th week on the charts it leapt from No. 79 to No. 3 before falling to No. 37 the following week.