X Factor boss Simon Cowell
has revealed how Westlife’s first No 1 single was picked by his dad shortly before his death.
Cowell told how his father, Eric, a retired record company executive, died on the very day that the Irish pop superstars’ 1999 hit Swear It Again topped the charts.
“About a month before my dad died I played him three songs I wanted Westlife
to record,” said Cowell (52).
“He chose Swear It Again
because he thought it would be a hit, and it ended up being their first No 1. He had this knack of choosing hit records.” Westlife’s Nicky Byrne
revealed that heartbroken Simon was in the US with the band on the day that his beloved dad passed away.
“It was a difficult day to get through,” said Nicky (33). “I think he was incredibly strong, but he was devastated — you could see it in his face.” Westlife split with Cowell and his record label Syco
in April last year after 12 years together. They announced they were to split up soon afterwards.
Singer Shane Filan
(32) claimed that the pop group was “badly let down” by their former boss. “We really feel like we have been let down by our label a lot in the last couple of years,” said Shane. “They nearly admit it themselves. They said ‘Yeah, you haven’t got the attention you deserve.’”
Nicky added they felt “unloved” after Cowell became absorbed in his own fame rather than that of his artists with the success of X Factor. “We signed to Simon back in 1998 and he was brilliant but then came the development of X Factor and American Idol,” he said.
“Simon became famous himself and his interests went that way rather than on Westlife. We almost felt a little bit unloved with Simon Cowell, if I was to be honest.” The band staged two grand finale concerts in Croke Park last weekend.Westlife - Swear It Again