In the tradition
of British boy bands like Take That
and Boyzone comes Dublin's Westlife,
a quintet consisting of Shane Filan, Nicky Byrne, Bryan McFadden, Mark
Feehily and Kian Egan. Filan, Egan and Feehily were among the group's
six founding members, but the other half of the group was dispatched
when Louis Walsh, Boyzone's manager, took interest in them. This made
room in the band for Byrne and McFadden; Walsh also introduced Westlife
to Boyzone vocalist and solo artist Ronan Keating, who became
the group's co-manager shortly after they cemented their recording contract.
The group's first single, 1999's "Flying Without Wings" entered
the UK charts at #1, a feat they replicated with "Seasons In The
Sun" and "Swear It Again" in 2000. Their self-titled debut
album met with similar chart-topping success and quickly went platinum
in their homeland. Westlife was released in the US by Arista Records
in early 2000.