Owen was born and bred in Oldham, Greater Manchester, where he lived
for 21 years until moving into his own flat 'up t'road' in Rochdale.
He has since moved to the beautiful Lake District.
As a youngster Mark had trials
for Manchester United, Huddersfield Town, and Rochdale football
clubs (he is actually a Liverpool fan). Unfortunately, due to an
injury, he had to give up his dream of becoming a professional footballer.
Instead Mark took various jobs in and around Oldham (at Zuttis boutique
and Barclays Bank) before becoming a tea-boy at 10CC's Strawberry
Studios in Stockport, aged 19. It was there that he met recording
artist Gary Barlow for whom he provided backing vocals on raw demos
as well as making his cups of tea. Mark and Gary heard about a guy
called Nigel Martin-Smith who was assembling a boy band and thus
travelled into Manchester city centre to the LaCage club to successfully
With Gary, Robbie Williams, Jason Orange and
Howard Donald, Take That was born. Not a lot happened in Mark's
life for 6 years after that day (unless of course, you include Take
That's 16 consecutive British hit singles which sold over 4.5 million
copies, the eight Number 1's including "Babe", sang by
himself, and the four smash albums, promoted by sell-out concerts
World-wide amidst Take That mania!)
Mark was without doubt the most popular
member of Take That thanks to his boyish good looks. He sang lead
vocals on the Number 1 single "Babe", the track "The
Day After Tomorrow" and the EP "Million Love Songs"
as well as co-writing the Number 1 single, "Sure".
On the 13 of February, 1996, (ironically
the birthday of Robbie Williams who had left the band 7 months previous),
Take That announced they would split.
Although the highly critical music press only
expected Gary Barlow, the main singer/songwriter of Take That, to
go solo, Mark was the first ex-member to release his solo work.
Changing direction from the pop-orientated love songs and ballads
he was used to with Take That, Mark employed Stone Roses producer,
John Leckie, and The Fall producer, Craig Leon, to give him a more
In November 1996, Mark reached Number 2 with
his debut single, "Child", which heralded the arrival
of his "Green Man" album (which only reached UK no.33
despite topping the charts elsewhere). His second solo single, "Clementine",
was also a smash hit (it reached UK Number 3), whilst he also scored
success with a remix of the album track "I Am What I Am"
Following a relatively quiet period,
RCA records dropped Mark from their label and left him contemplating
He found work presenting a little-watched
digital TV soccer series touring venues of the Euro 2000 tournament
in Holland and Belgium before bouncing back in style...
In 2002, Mark regained the public's
attention and admiration by taking 77% of the vote to win Celebrity
Big Brother, pushing Les Dennis and Melinda Messenger into second
and third place respectively. Although his ‘nice guy’
image during his ten days in the house won the support of his celebrity
housemates (with all the previously evicted housemates supporting
Mark at the last stage) the huge margin of the victory was a reminder
of just how big a phenomenon Take That were.
Despite denying he went into the Big
Brother house for a career boost, Mark had been working on new material
with guitarists Adam Seymour of The Pretenders and Rob Harris of
Jamiroquai, and had claimed to have written over 400 songs since
The success he enjoyed in Celebrity
Big Brother led to a new record deal with Universal-Island Records
and an album is set to follow sometime in 2003.
see our profile of Take That]