I think a lot of people were surprised to wake up to hear the tragic news this morning that Stephen Gately had died in his sleep in Majorca.
Although I’ve never been a huge fan of Boyzone, he was definitely my favourite member, and when he transferred over to the world of musical theatre for a while back in 2004 – 2006, I was rather pleased that he did so. He seemed to bring a lot of fun back into the theatre.
No Matter What was, by far, Boyzone’s biggest single, and came off the back of the Lloyd-Webber musical ‘Whistle Down The Wind’. Without Stephen’s input on this song, I very much doubt Boyzone would ever have peaked as well as they did.
‘No Matter What’ is also one of my favourite music videos (alas, all the high quality YouTubes were all embedding disabled).
I also liked his solo version of ‘Bright Eyes’ – marvellous recording in my opinion.
The first concert that I took Greg to go and see when we started dating was their 2008 reunion tour, and I only really went to get to see Stephen (and spend time with Greg too of course! :)).
As a gay man myself, I thought him to be a very positive gay role model. I respected him enormously for being able to come out in the 90s music industry – it seemed to be much harsher to people then than say, doing it in the 80s or 2000’s. In 1999, Boyzone were at the height of their popularity and there was a lot of intense media interest in him and the group, so it really must have taken some balls to do this.
Hopefully his civil partner, Andrew, is managing to hold up as I would imagine that this is going to be very difficult for him – I don’t think anyone ever expects to lose a partner so young.