Gary Barlow / Open Road deluxe edition

As if to underline Gary Barlow‘s status as UK national treasure, Sony have not farmed out a deluxe reissue of his first solo album to the likes of Cherry Red or Demon Music, they are issuing it themselves.

Open Road was originally released in 1997, after Take That had split up, and for the most part it was business as usual for Gary, with the first two singles (Forever Love and Love Won’t Wait) both reaching number one in the UK singles chart (the last four Take That singles had also been chart-toppers).

The album itself was certified platinum, reaching number one and while the other two singles issued weren’t massive hits, UK number 11, So Help Me Girl, did penetrate the US top 50. It was nothing other than a successful campaign, although the tide of musical taste was turning and Barlow’s 1999 follow-up Twelve Months, Eleven Days was nothing short of a disaster.

As for this Open Road reissue, the audio has been remastered and on CD it’s a double-disc set and the bonus audio includes a number of demos, radio one sessions and a handful of non-album bonus tracks. A black vinyl edition is album only.

The Open Road 21st anniversary edition is released on 13 April 2018.

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Barlow, Gary

open road - 2CD deluxe


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Barlow, Gary

open road - vinyl LP


Open Road 21st Anniversary Edition


Love Won’t Wait
So Help Me Girl
My Commitment
Hang On In There Baby
Are You Ready Now
Everything I Wanted
I Fall So Deep
Lay Down For Love
Forever Love
Never Knew
Open Road


So Help Me Girl – Radio 1 session
Hang On In There Baby – Radio 1 session
Are You Ready Now
Everything I Wanted – Demo
Lay Down For Love – Demo
Forever Love – Demo
Never Knew – Demo
Open Road – Demo or Radio 1
The Meaning Of A Love Song
Cuddly Toy

Open Road 21st Anniversary Edition – vinyl LP

Side 1
1. Love Won’t Wait (Radio Edit)
2. So Help Me Girl
3. My Commitment
4. Hang On in There Baby
5. Are You Ready Now
6. Everything I Ever Wanted

Side 2
1. I Fall So Deep
2. Lay Down for Love
3. Forever Love
4. Never Knew
5. Open Road
6. Always

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The Big MD

Was this a Gary driven project as he’s heading out on some solo gigs in the UK shortly?

I’m on the fence about this one, I won’t buy it until a few years down the line when I have an itch to buy a cd and I see it online. It’s not overly-priced, but then it’s missing some content you’d expect as a deluxe re-master, it’s more in line with the limited edition cd of a new release that includes an extra disc of content. B-sides and remixes are missing for sure.

As for Gary Barlow as an artist, he seems stuck between what should be the driving force for his output. Beautiful World and The Circus were great albums from a re-formed Take That but every album since has been weaker than the one before, then he surprised everyone with his solo release Since I Saw You Last which was near brilliant (it tails off at the end, and is probably a track or two too many). Only the first singles from each Take That project are up to their standard of old.

They should probably leave Take That alone recording wise until they have a significant anniversary they can get behind with a new album with Robbie back on board. Get in the studio with a live band on your own Gary.


Never thought this would be reissued on vinyl. I’ve pre-ordered.

Phillip Fogel

One of my pet peeves about the music industry and fans is the extreme snobbery that exist, I have no problem with constructive criticism or not liking an artist or particular album but not proclaiming that one type of music, genre or artist is better then the other. The backlash of the Disco era and the infamous burning of disco records at a US sports game in the late 70’s is a prime example of the horrible prejudices that exist, look now at how all those disco records are pretty much mined and sampled for modern hits.

I love Gary and think he is quite talented as a singer and yes songwriter, without him there would be no Take That. I have the original US/Canadian release of Open Road which has my favorite track “Superhero”, too bad he re-titled it and changed it for the UK release as “For All That You Want” I thought the original flowed much better but he hated it. Open Road is another fav and not just a sappy love song, not that there is another wrong with that. As for this release I was hoping for something more maybe remixes or video’s with a 3rd disc, I already own both the US and UK versions so I’m not sure this is worth it. Where is the US remix of Love Won’t Wait which was the released single version and very different to the UK single and album version?

Dennis Alexis

No remixes?! No thanks.

Michael G

Oh Dear,
Gary Barlow
Has had a successful career but National Treasure?
Not really just makes successful commercial music walk on.

Chris Squires

Anyone who can convince Agnetha to sing live for the first time in 20-odd years is alright by me.


Wonderful to see Agnetha on a stage again….

The Progster

Absolutely Chris and what a great song to top it all…Apparently according to this Wikipedia page it’ was a whopping 25 yrs !!! since she last sang live before she did the duet with Gary on children in need in 2013 https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Should%27ve_Followed_You_Home


Gary Barlow! Anyone? And I mean anyone!

The Progster

Noel Go and listen to Gary’s 3rd album from 2013 “Since I Saw You Last” which is a brilliant album and don’t be blinkered by what you think it might sound like or you assume it will sound like….his sound and Take That’s have matured over the last 12 yrs and they no longer appeal to teenagers now..the audience has got older the songs have got more depth and are mega anthemic if you like that style (you won’t).
Also his backing band and Take That’s are the same REAL musicians who play their instruments and back the one and only Jeff Lynne’s ELO…Lee Pomeroy is the bass player who’s also played for Rick Wakeman and Anderson/Rabin/Wakeman…It’s NOT all manufactured pop so there…it’s musicians playing their instruments with real songs that are well constructed.


Erm, in case you hadn’t realised Gary has sold millions of records over the past 25 years and has written numerous no 1’s. The people who bought these records are known as fans, so yes there someone.

Chris Lancaster

Off topic, but is there any way to make the comments easier to follow when viewing on a phone? They are all out of order (according to the date/time-stamp on each comment), presumably because some comments are replies to other comments in the thread. However as it’s not obvious that this is the case when reading down the comments, it’s all rather confusing.

For what it’s worth, I’ve successfully negotiated the last 20+ years without knowingly hearing a Gary Barlow song, and I’m happy to keep it that way. However music is a broad church, and I’m sure there are SDE readers who will find news of this release as exciting as I do the news of a Bowie release, for instance — so I’m sure there’s room on SDE for the man I call ‘the inferior Barlow’. The best Barlow of all is of course Lou Barlow, of Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh fame. Thought I’d make that clear, in case anyone thought I was a Ken Barlow fan.


The attitudes expressed whenever a remotely “pop” artist or album gets rightly showcased on SDE make for depressing reading sometimes.

Whatever the merits of something like this Gary Barlow reissue (and I certainly won’t be buying it, but that’s because it disappointed me in 1997 and I’ve no interest in revisiting that disappointment with its inessential choice of bonus tracks), it belongs on here just as much as anything else that gets mentioned. I hope (and I’m sure) Paul will ignore the sniping and continue to feature all kinds of music on here.



Eric, I completely agree with you, I loathe people trying to be snobby about pop music, even The Beatles started out appealing mostly to teenage girls.
Thankfully this site is extremely pop friendly which is why many of us visit daily.


Gary Barlow, a member of a teenagers girls band. No thanks!


Very poor tracklist without remixes…I’ll keep the original with all the cd singles….

Daniel ( from Berlin )

i am more interested in the madonna demo version of ‘love won’t wait’. i have this only in poor quality. and meanwhile: why they release no “deluxe editions” of madonna’s warner albums ?
i think there are much fans who will have a 3 cd or 4 cd editions with dvd of any album in their private collection. they are especially for “erotica” so much unreleased shep pettibone demos
and alternate versions.


There are no deluxe editions because Madonna wants so much money from them that Warner’s would be lucky to make any profit.

Andrew Taylor

Tax dodger.


Madonna rarely writes any of her songs alone.
There is a saying in the music industry which has often been used in conjunction with her name ‘change a word take a third’….


Morrissey never writes any of his songs alone.


Actually lyrically he does every word. Musicwise he’s never written a note. Not sure if that’s what you meant.


@bob I would like to know who says that. I googled “Madonna change a word take a third” and got no results.


It is not uncommon in the music business, how do you think the Spice Girls acquired their millions?
Just check out the co-writes on Madonna’s last album, and her publicly berating her manager recently for having to record her albums at songwriting boot camps.

CJ Feeney

Boy George said “put in a word, get a third” in a music doc about songwriting about ten years ago. It was a series where Guy Chambers worked with three different artists to try and write hits. Boy George was complaining about band mates trying to get equal billing and royalties for very little input.

In fact in one episode Guy Chambers took a lyrical idea from the artists’ A&R man to make the song more edgy, and the A&R man was happy for the artist and Guy to get the songwriting credit.

And it’s a practice going back to Elvis that the artist will demand a songwriting credit, and for the songwriter half the royalties of an Elvis or Madonna hit are considerably more than all the royalties from a lesser artist’s hit.


Should help with the next tax bill


I said Morrissey never writes any of his songs alone because bob said Madonna rarely writes any of her songs alone and I thought that was worth pointing out as an example. Madonna had sole song writing credit on 5 of the 8 songs on her first album and it was very popular. OK so two of the biggest singles on it were written by others but Lucky Star was hers alone. I probably haven’t heard that song since the year it was released and yet I can hear the chorus in my head right now.

I’m just curious how this musical snobbery and/or sexism is so acceptable. How is Morrissey creating Viva Hate with his producer different to Madonna creating Ray of Light with her producer?


I’m a fan of Gary Barlow. But the songs I have on the singles offer more than here. So I’ll pass. No “Forever Love” Instrumental & No “Ayúdame” (So Help Me Girl-Spanish Version) ! Also 2 “brand new recordings” back then from the single SHMG are not here: Million To One & Offer My Peace. Everyone just wants to have their collection grouped together on 1, 2 or 3 CD’s with previously unreleased (on CD) tracks from the vaults. And not so much these live, demo, radio session.

Captain Sensible

Please. Gary Barlow. Is this the depths to which we have sunk now. If that’s not the final nail in the coffin of record collecting…

Chris Miah

Oh i am so glad that someone said that.
I was just about to go into a serious rant , I honestly thought it was a joke for a few seconds.What a joke …eh
Thanks Captain

The Progster

You know some people can be cruel about other music artists and quite snobby in what’s good music and not good music..It doesn’t have to be Pink Floyd, The Who or The Rolling Stones all the time…Music is diverse with many different sounds and styles of songwriting be it Rock, Metal, Pop or any other genre in between…Gary Barlow I agree is not a national treasure yet maybe in 20 yrs time…Gary along with Take That SINCE They reformed have produced some VERY good pop music, Anthemic choruses, heartfelt lyrics, positive punchy pop ditties…Yes it maybe not be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s why this site caters for many different tastes music wise…BUT Gary Barlow’s 3rd solo album from 2013 “Since I Saw You Last” DOES contain some superb songs and the latter day Take That albums from 2006 onwards are also very good, they have all matured and got away from their boyband image they are in the late 40’s now and are not going to go away anytime soon…People sometimes are fixated with what they know from the past in Take That’s music and assume it’s all the same sloppy pop love songs it’s NOT…The same goes for Chris De Burgh “Lady in Red” everyone all assumes everything he does is ballads like that song which is far from it he does rock out and is a superb songwriter with stories of history and all his songs ARE melodic…But in the end we are all different in what we like…so each to their own.


I don’t think that These lyrics are actually “heartfelt”. To me the Songs of Gary Barlow, Robbie Williams and other ex or still boygroup members always feel calculated. I never get the Feeling that they write what they want to write but only think what line the listeners will want to hear. That’s not my Cup of tea.


“To me the Songs of Gary Barlow, Robbie Williams and other ex or still boygroup members always feel calculated.”

Do you feel the same about the solo songs of Lennon and McCartney? The Beatles were a boy band for the first 4 albums.


Well said Progster! People really need to accept that their opinions aren’t always the ‘correct’ ones!


I prefer Madonna’s demo version of Love Won’t Wait, shame she didn’t use it for her Bedtime Stories album instead of giving it away to Gary.

Daniel Wylie

Good to see you cover all kinds of music. I’m not a Gary Barlow fan, in fact, I had to avert my eyes there but fair play to you Paul.

Rik Skyline

The real highlight of Gary’s career is the video to the Take That single ‘Do What You Like’. You know – the one where they are all rubbing jelly, custard, and squirty cream over each others semi-naked bodies. It’s almost as good as Boyzone dancing to ‘Light My Fire’ on The Late Late Show in 1993.


Is Love Won’t Wait still the only No 1 written by but not recorded by Madonna?

Lynn reid

A fantastic song luv it open road will be ordering the double cd


I have the original of this album but I’m not enticed to buy this reissue. The second disc is quite poor. They could have included some remixes of love won’t wait and there are a few missing b sides.

Paul Wren

GB a national treasure? My hairy a**e is more of a national treasure than him.


I can vouch for that;)
(Don’t ask how)

mick lynch

I have the original Cd, but they should include the single/ remix release of ‘Open Road’ where it sampled Mr. Mister’s ‘Kyrie’, which i thought was very cleverly done. Never though much of Madonna’s ‘Love Wont Wait’, but dying to hear the demo of ‘Forever Love’.

The Progster

Not sure about this album or the follow up album he was just finding his feet musically speaking at that time…BUT Gary’s third album “Since I Saw You Last” IS a masterpiece superb well put together songs and well worth having in ones collection.


UK national treasure……good grief….

Larry Davis

Ya know…the album is better than you would think…I got it in a junk pile or a mystery bag, put it on out of curiosity and was surprised at the quality pop on the album so I kept it…now I will sell it because there is a deluxe coming… Will prob get less than a dollar but no loss…may get the reissue…I know Clive had hopes for this at Arista US…I don’t think he was happy at its reception…


Love Won’t Wait was written by Madonna. There’s a rumour that The Immaculate Collectin vinyl will be released in Europe soon.


One mans national treasure, another Mans tax evader


got vinyl promos of cuddly toy credited to GB when first issued. Even the mixes couldn’t help this cover version


This is such a great album and should have been much more successful – sadly a good example of what happens when the USA label, Arista, and the UK label, RCA, are pulling in different directions.

After Gary was dropped in the BMG reshuffle, those who were committed to his career eventually took him to Polydor and relaunched Take That so he did get the last laugh after all!

It just goes to show what can happen with a great team behind you… and lots of artist commitment.


Could be an interesting listen. I would be very interested if Mark Owen’s solo albums got the deluxe treatment. All four are underrated gems!


I bought Mark Owen’s first solo outing “Green Man” cos some critics compared to Paul Weller. It was a piece of shit. Never again….


Better than Paul Weller ;)

Boaz Halachmi

Track 6 on CD: Everything I Wanted
Track 6 on LP: Everything I Ever Wanted
So… what did you(ever) wanted? :-)

Kevin Galliford

I can’t contain my excitement for this one, actually, I can! I think Nicky Wire once referred to this sort of Muzak as “Music for Mondeo drivers”!


“Love Won’t Wait” – his only solo No1 I believe – written by Madonna and Shep Pettibone.


His second solo number 1 actually. Forever Love went to no.1 in the summer of ’96.


Dear Lord, a “National treasure”? Maybe for Take That fans, TV talent show fans and readers of OK! magazine and red top newspapers.

Steven Robertson

Im ashamed to say i have the CD Single with Cuddly Toy on it lol. CD 2 of the Love Wont Wait single.


Oh dear, cover the new Arctic Monkeys album quickly to knock Gazza off the top of SuperDeluxe!


Not wishing to start a flame war or anything but are you suggesting a new Arctic Monkeys album is more worth covering than a Gary Barlow re-issue?


And Johnny Marr has just announced a new album…


Thee Hypnotics vinyl boxset anyone..?


Yes Gary, I am.


If I recall correctly – and I may not – he went on – was it Wired on channel 4 – or some or other short lived ch4 show shortly after TT split and a cover of Cuddly Toy is what he sang…


This reissue is a joke!
Where are all the remixes and mixes from the
U.S. version?


Is Cuddly Toy the Roachford song? Won’t be getting this in any case…but just interested! Good luck to those who will pick this up!

Always reminds me of Alan Partridge miming to this in the movie..one of the top 5 AP scenes of all time!


A quick google search confirms that it is indeed the Roachford song…a quick youtube listen confirmed that it is awful.


Yes it is the Roachford song. Can’t find a studio version on Youtube so here is a live version. The Roachford version sounds a lot more dynamic. Always thought it was a superb song. One of my favorite late 80’s songs for sure. Glad I got the Edsel 2cd reissue of that Roachford album. It’s a great record.


I believe ‘Hang On In There Baby’ is also an And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead cover.

Steven Robertson

Already got this ordered. I really like the album. Shame they couldn’t have had a 3rd disc with the remixes on it. Superhero is a superb track that was done for the US market I think, but was rerecorded for the next album as For All That You Want [dreadful new title and lyrics]