RECORD STORE TALES Part 242: The Ego Has Landed
In the spring and summer of 1999, Robbie Williams suddenly got big in Canada. Previously he was all but an unknown. That is until they compiled the best songs from his first two solo albums (Life Thru A Lense and I’ve Been Expecting You) onto one CD and called it The Ego Has Landed. This compilation went platinum in Canada, but before that I had never heard of Robbie Williams.
One of my staff guys Matty K started spinning The Ego Has Landed in-store. It actually grew on me quite quickly. I bought it and still own it today. I don’t play it often, but I have three major memories of this album that still stick with me:
1. Once I got into it, Matt and I would play this album almost every shift together. He’d pull his sweater up over his nose and imitate the cover. Then in horrible accent he’d recite the hidden poem at the end of the CD, “Hello Sir”. Good times!
2. When we first carried it, I wanted to find out who Robbie Williams was. I knew nothing about him, except that people were asking for the CD. I then discovered via the magical internets that he was ex-Take That. I knew who they were, at least. Also, Alex Dickson from Bruce Dickinson’s band was playing with him. I had no idea! I remember trying to tell one of my bosses these cool details, only to have them snap at me!
“Hey, did you know who this Robbie Williams is?” I asked.
“I don’t care!” they barked. “You’re carrying it, whether you like it or not!”
“I was just going to tell you that he used to be with Take That,” I responded sheepishly. Somebody needed to chill the fuck out. Bad times!
3. I’d been waiting patiently for a used copy to come in, so I could get it cheaper. I had a big cottage weekend coming up, and my friend Shannon was coming with me. I didn’t want to subject her to thrash metal in the car trip, and I really wanted Robbie for the journey. The weekend was fast approaching, so I decided to spend the money on a brand new copy. We had a great trip and a great weekend, but the following week, guess what came in used and much cheaper? The Ego Has Landed! Fuck me.
I was given a free copy of the followup album, Sing When You’re Winning, by Warren from Global Bass magazine. Unfortunately, I didn’t like it nearly as much as The Ego Has Landed. In fact I’ve never bought a Robbie album since!