西城男孩:成长的岁月 Westlife: Boys to Men

02-24  作者:文/布赖恩·博伊德 译/麦卡  来源:英语世界

Westlife: Boys to Men

文/布赖恩·博伊德  译/麦卡
By Brian Boyd


There may be no need for a special telephone line to be opened up to provide counselling to distraught fans but the news that Westlife are to split will have had many a besotted groupie1 crying into their pillow.


[2] After a hugely successful 14-year career, the Dublin-Sligo boyband say their decision to break up “is entirely amicable” and that “after spending all of our adult life together we want to look at new ventures. Westlife has been a dream come true for us.”


[3] Having sold 44 million records worldwide—including 15 number one singles and seven number one albums in the Irish/UK charts—Westlife remain one of Ireland’s best-selling musical acts. They set a new chart record for having their first seven singles go to number one and had massive merchandising sales.


[4] They formed in 1998 when their manager, *Louis Walsh2, held auditions in Dublin for a younger Boyzone3-style band. Shane Filan, Kian Egan and Mark Feehily were from Sligo, a small town in Northwest of Ireland, and Nicky Byrne and Bryan McFadden (who left the band in 2004) were from the hometown of Boyzone, Dublin.


[5] They were signed by *Simon Cowell4 to the BMG label and their immediate success was helped along by (for the boyband genre) a very strong group vocal ability and a photogenic, clean-cut image. Although all still teenagers when they first tasted success they handled their fame and popularity very well and avoided the usual tabloid scandal pitfalls.


[6] Shane did his first proper stage show when he was 12 years of age, the show was Grease at the Hawkswell Theatre in Sligo. The three Sligo lads, all studying at Summerhill College at that time, started to know each other by performing this. Boyzone’s success really made Shane want to be in a pop group. Then Shane asked Kian if he was interested and he just laughed at that time since Kian was really into heavy rock band then. Later Shane, Kian and Mark joined 3 other members—Michael Garrett, Derek Lacey and Graham Keighron—from the same school and started off a group called IOU and realease their debut (and last) single “Together Girl Forever” which was co-written by Shane and Mark.


[7] Shane’s mom Mae Filan got in touch with the manager of Boyzone Louis Walsh, he came to hear their group in some *Backstreet Boys5 songs. Three members of the band were told they would not be part of the new group, and auditions were held in Dublin where Byrne and McFadden were recruited. The new group, formed on 3 July 1998, was named Westside but as the name was already taken by another band, it was later changed to Westlife.


[8] Westlife’s first big break came in 1998 when they opened for the Boyzone and Backstreet Boys’ concerts in Dublin. In 1999, the group released their debut single, “Swear It Again”, which immediately topped the charts in Ireland and in UK for two weeks. Later, their second single “If I Let You Go” and the third one “Flying Without Wings” all went straight to No.1s in UK single chart.


[9] Westlife’s eagerly-awaited debut album, Westlife, was released in the UK in November 1999, with their fourth No.1 single “I Have A Dream / Seasons In The Sun” becoming the UK Christmas number one of the year. With their fifth UK No.1 single “Fool Again”, they became the first ever British group to have 5 consecutive No.1s in the UK chart, so they broke this record in the UK music history and they even have a Guinness Record for this.


[10] Already in their brief career Westlife have broken records as fast as they have set them—their second album, Coast To Coast, went triple platinum in Ireland after only one day of release, and their seventh single release, “My Love”, gave them a place in chart history as they became the only band in UK chart history to have their first seven singles debut at number one.


 [11] While largely specialising in cover versions they did make a fair stab at writing their own material and as a hard-working touring band they became not just a big live attraction in Ireland and the UK but also in Europe and Australasia6.


[12] March 2004 saw a new chapter begin for the group as Bryan McFadden announced his departure from the band, citing his desire to spend more time with his young family. Rumours suggested that this might be the beginning of the end for the group, however Westlife have set the critics wrong once again.


[13] Even reduced to a four-piece following the departure of Bryan, their appeal showed no signs of wavering and although they were most popular in the teen market they did have a substantial fan base among older fans who appreciated their slick and shiny music and dance routines.


[14] In October 2005, Westlife returned with their comeback single, “You Raise Me Up”, which was taken from their Face to Face album. On 5 November 2005, both the album and the single were at No. 1 in the UK at the same time at the second week of the single. It was the first time that Westlife have held both top album and single position in the same week. “You Raise Me Up” was awarded as their fourth *Record of the Year7 in UK for 2005.


[15] With soulful harmonies, angelic voices and drop-dead good looks, Westlife remain Ireland’s most well-known and biggest selling pop export and undoubtedly one of the world’s biggest pop groups. As of October 2007, Westlife have released eight albums, and have achieved a massive fourteen number ones in the UK—the third-highest such total in UK history, behind Elvis Presley and The Beatles, and tied with *Cliff Richard8.


[16] To mark their tenth year in music, Westlife staged a special 10 Years of Westlife sold-out concert at Europe’s fourth biggest stadium, Croke Park, on 1 June 2008. With a capacity of 82,300, it was the group’s biggest show to date.


[17] On 14 March 2011, Westlife confirmed that they had left Cowell after 13 years and his record label Syco Music after nine years. After going back to RCA Records for a one year album contract, they announced their Greatest Hits album to be released on 21 November 2011. On 19 October 2011, Westlife officially announced they were splitting after the album and a farewell tour.

〔17〕2011年3月14日,西城男孩确认与考威尔及其唱片公司Syco Music分道扬镳,他们与考威尔合作了13年,与其公司合作了9年。在和RCA签了一年的合同后,他们在2011年11月21日宣布推出《精选集》。2011年10月19日,西城男孩正式宣布在这张专辑以及告别巡演后解散。

[18] While each member of the group has had their own individual humanitarian advocacies and activities, Westlife has been supporting various projects for a charity cause from the start. On 4 November 2005, they performed together with *Christina Aguilera9 and Diana Ross10 at Coca-Cola Dome in Johannesburg, South Africa for The “Unite of the Stars” Gala Banquet charity concert that supports four charities: the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Unite Against Hunger, St. Mary’s Hospital and the Topsy Foundation.


[19] The boyband genre is one of the most difficult and demanding areas in the music industry, with many casualties who have been unable to keep up with the workload, the clean-cut image and the derision from serious music fans. Within the parameters of the genre, Westlife achieved excellence. Having a 14-year career in boyband circles would be the equivalent of a rock band having a 35-year career.


[20] Worth an estimated €15 million each (and that would be a conservative figure), Shane Filan plans to embark on a solo career; Mark Feehily will stay in the music business as a songwriter; Nicky Byrne has plans to become a radio DJ and Kian Egan is planning to work in television.


1. 追星族。
2. 著名经纪人,曾担任男孩地带、西城男孩、高歌女孩(Girls Aloud)的经纪人。
3. 20世纪90年代的爱尔兰男子组合,在英国和爱尔兰非常成功,曾获得英国年度最佳单曲唱片奖。
6. 澳大拉西亚:一个不明确的地理名词,一般指澳大利亚、新西兰及附近南太平洋诸岛,有时也泛指大洋洲和太平洋岛屿。
8. 英国演员、歌手,是英国流行音乐历史上最受欢迎和演艺生涯最长的艺人之一,有英国猫王和金童子的美称。
9. 美国著名流行歌手、作曲人、作词人、女演员及舞蹈员,是一位坐拥5座格莱美奖和8首冠军单曲的超级巨星。
10. 美国歌手及女演员。共赢得8个全美音乐奖和12个格莱美奖提名。在全球共卖出超过1亿张唱片。于2007年12月获颁肯尼迪中心终身成就奖。






由商务印书馆主办的《英语世界》杂志创刊于1981年。该刊是一本面向大学师生及其他英语爱好者的阅读学习类刊物,系中国第一家英汉对照的英语学习杂志。该刊宗旨是“文拓视野、译悦心灵”,向以内容新颖、形式活泼而著称。创刊以来,由于选文隽永雅致,刊中文章经常受到《读者》、《青年文摘》等杂志转载。先后荣获 “编校质量奖”、“全国百种重点社科期刊”、“国家期刊提名奖”、 “优秀期刊奖”等荣誉。2009年,中国期刊协会授予该刊“新中国60年有影响力的期刊”证书。


  • 陈羽纶陈羽纶(1917~2010),《英语世界》杂志首任主编,教授级资深编审。 曾多年担任英语教科书、英语读物、英语词典的编译及审订工作。1988年作为翻译家被收入《中国翻译家词典》,1988~1989年美国纽约大学、英国布鲁内尔大学与英国基尔大学访问学者。1991年被国家人事部定为早期回国定居有特殊贡献专家,享受国务院发放一级津贴待遇。2003年12月获中国出版工作者协会、中国韬奋基金会颁发的第八届中国韬奋出版奖。

  • 徐式谷徐式谷(1935~ ),江苏扬州人,《英语世界》第二任主编,北京商务印书馆编审,前副总编辑,中国译协理事、副秘书长,重庆大学兼职教授,第九届、第十届全国政协委员。有《笛福文选》等译著多种,并发表过多篇译学文论,被中国翻译协会授予“资深翻译家”称号,被中国期刊协会授予“新中国60年有影响力期刊人”称号。

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