In 1998, Ireland gave the world one of the most precious gifts second only to Guinness : Westlife.
The Irish boy band gained prominence after they were signed by Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh, and those who kept up with the state of pop in the 90s will recall that the quintet was composed of Nicky Byrne, Kian Egan, Mark Feehily, and Shane Filan and Brian McFadden.
It wasn't long after their debut that Westlife started to become a worldwide sensation. The band opened for popular groups like Backstreet Boys and Boyzone, and released their first single, "Swear It Again" in 1999.
Westlife eventually sold over 50 million records worldwide, but they never managed to break into the U.S. market. Throughout their career, only their debut single became a hit on the U.S. charts.
However, this doesn't mean that they didn't have loyal American fans. In 2003, Reuben Studdard, American Idol season 2 winner, recorded the band's song "Flying Without Wings," as his debut single. As a result, the original song peaked at number two on the charts.
Shortly before McFadden left the band in 2004, they performed a show in Nashville while filming a TV documentary.
Following the release of their greatest hits album and a farewell tour, Westlife officially split. Their final show was so in demand that it was shown in over 200 theatres across the world.