Gary Barlow almost rejected Take That because he "didn't want to be in a band".

The 'Greatest Day' hitmaker played his first shows at 11 years old in working men's clubs and had racked up "2,000 gigs" by the time he joined the group eight years later, and he wasn't enamoured with the idea of giving up life as a solo musician.

He told Sorted magazine: "I didn't want to be in a band, I was doing all my shows by myself at that point.

"And when I first met our manager and he told me about this group he was putting together, I was like, 'I don't want to be in a group, because I don't want to be lugging drums and amps up stairways, and things like that.'

"And then he got me, 'No it's not a conventional group, it's like a vocal harmony group'. And he played us The Jackson 5, New Kids on the Block, The Drifters - that was the type of group he wanted to make.

"And that was a bit more interesting to me. So that's why I went along and thought, 'Let's see what happens here.' "

Gary, now 53, also shrugged off the 'boyband' label for the group, which is now a trio with Howard Donald and Mark Owen, having previously had Robbie Williams and Jason Orange in the lineup.

He explained: "Well, do you know what? That word wasn't around when we started. It came later.

"It came towards the end of us being together, because then these other bands [appeared], there were a lot of other versions of what we were doing and that's when the word 'boyband' [came about]."

He didn't feel any kind of rivalry with the likes of Boyzone, pointing out that Take That were winding down their first run when a lot of the iconic boybands were on the rise.

He said: "They started as we were closing. I remember when we did our press conference to say, 'Thanks very much everyone but we're splitting up...' I remember all of a sudden, all the boybands - NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Boyzone - they were like, 'We're going to take that spot now.'

"So I was never in competition with them because they sort of started [after us]. And I'd met Ronan [Keating] quite early on in my solo career and we've been mates ever since.

"So never had any chart battles or any of that stuff, thankfully."