Gary Barlow spent hours in record label offices handing out demo tapes

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Singer Gary Barlow of English boy band Take That, circa 1992. (Photo by Tim Roney/Getty Images)
Singer Gary Barlow of English boy band Take That, circa 1992. (Photo by Tim Roney/Getty Images)

Take That star and songwriting sensation Gary Barlow has revealed that as a teenager he would travel to London to sit in the offices of EMI waiting for someone to whom he could give his music.

Speaking to Kate Thornton on White Wine Question Time, the musician and TV personality spoke about his early gig playing in working men's clubs and bingo halls, and how he would travel to London for a day to sit in label reception areas, before visiting music shops in Soho.

He said he used to travel down on the train with a packed lunch made by his mum.

WATCH: Gary Barlow on daily FaceTimes with Elton John!

He told Thornton: "I often used to sit in reception at 20 Manchester Square, EMI, and wait for people to come past and some days no one would come past.

"I used to have a little envelope with songs in. Now and again someone would come out and I'd go: 'Can I [give you my music]?' They'd say: 'Oh, don't give it to me. I'm just an accountant here.'

From right to left, Robbie Williams, Jason Orange, Howard Donald, Mark Owen and Gary Barlow of English pop group Take That, circa 1994.  (Photo by Tim Roney/Getty Images)
From right to left, Robbie Williams, Jason Orange, Howard Donald, Mark Owen and Gary Barlow of English pop group Take That, circa 1994. (Photo by Tim Roney/Getty Images)

"Now and again an A&R person would come out and you'd give them a cassette and the phone number on it."

He told Thornton that he never got a single call from doing it. He'd get a McDonald's at Tottenham Court Road and then head back home on the train again. He said all his money earned at that time went into recording equipment.

Listen to the full episode to hear Gary Barlow tell Kate Thornton about the time Howard's finger dislocated in the middle of a concert and how Elton John FaceTimed him every morning in lockdown!

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He added: "I was working at that time, so money wasn't an issue for me. I was working possibly every night of the week, maybe not a Monday or Tuesday. But I never had any money because whenever I'd earned money, I'd buy a piece of equipment, I was building a studio.

"So by the time I gave my demos to Nigel Martin Smith, who's the manager of Take That it was like 20% off a finished record."

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04: Gary Barlow celebrates 'Music Played By Humans' becoming his third UK Number One album on December 04, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by MelMedia/Getty Images)
Gary Barlow celebrates 'Music Played By Humans' becoming his third UK Number One album in December 2020 in London, England. (Photo by MelMedia/Getty Images)

Barlow, who turned 50 this year, also admitted to Thornton that he would have loved to have written Oasis's hit Wonderwall, calling it "a brilliant song".

He said some songs such as Billie Jean and Wonderwall didn't need to be grouped by their genre, but that sometimes people got caught up in wanting to define them.

He added: "You don't even need to define these songs. Billie Jean doesn't have a genre.

"I don't think Wonderwall does. There's so many songs that just don't have genres because they're just great songs."

Gary's new album The Dream of Christmas is out now. Tickets for the 'All The Hits Live' tour are available from garybarlow.com/tour and Gary Barlow Organic wines are available exclusively in Morrisons or at garybarlowwines.com.

WATCH: Gary Barlow on Take That's dangerous dance moves and how much he loved his return to singing.

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