Strong

Album: I've Been Expecting You (1998)
Charted: 4
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • In this song, Williams expresses a vulnerability as he sings about succumbing to cigarettes, alcohol and laziness. Williams is one of the top singers in the UK, but he makes it clear in this song that he suffers from the same insecurities as many others.
  • Williams wrote this song in Cologne, Germany, after an encounter with some particularly obsessive fans who he said "scared the living daylights" out of him. The singer explained on his website that he wanted them to realize that he was a real human being despite his fame: "I'd developed these very, very obsessive fans – I actually was freaked out by these people. Because I was doing my best to avoid them, I just wanted to sit down and let them know that I wasn't being big-headed, I was actually feeling a bit scared. I'm not being rude but you freak me out!"
  • This song nods to the various drug, alcohol, and mental health battles that Williams has faced throughout his career. Williams has checked into rehab multiple times in his life, including for cocaine addiction in 1997, depression in 2006, and dependency on prescription drugs in 2007. Speaking to 60 Minutes Australia about his struggles in February 2018, Williams said: "Fortunately and unfortunately, left to my own devices, I'm inclined to sabotage everything. I've got a disease that wants to kill me and it's in my head, so I have to guard against that."
  • In the opening verse of this song, Williams sings:

    And early morning when I wake up
    I look like Kiss but without the makeup


    This is likely a reference to the video for his past single "Let Me Entertain You," which saw Williams performing in an outfit and makeup reminiscent of the American rock band.
  • After Williams released this song, his nemesis, former Take That bandmate Garry Barlow, released a song called "Stronger," possibly in reference to this song. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Dror - Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Williams performed "Strong" at One Love Manchester, a benefit concert organized by Ariana Grande in aid of the Manchester Arena bombing victims, in June 2017. He opened and closed his set by leading the 50,000 attendees along with a chant of the song's chorus, changing the lyrics to: "Manchester we're strong, we're strong, we're strong/And we're still singing our songs, our songs, our songs."
  • On the final night of Williams' live residency at Knebworth, England, in August 2003, 125,000 attendees sang "Strong" to set the Guinness World Record for Most Karaoke Participants. Williams and his audience held the record until August 2009, when 160,000 people sang "Friends in Low Places" by Garth Brooks at the NASCAR Sharpie 500 race.
  • Directed by Simon Hilton, the video for "Strong" shows a compilation of tour footage, including Williams performing on stage with his dad and playing backstage with his nephew. Coming after theatrical visuals for the likes of "Let Me Entertain You" and "Millennium," the video was meant to show a more "real side" to Williams.
  • The British alternative rock band Lower Than Atlantis recorded a cover of this song for the 2015 reissue of their self-titled fourth album.
  • "Strong" was the third single released from Williams' album I've Been Expecting You, following "Millennium" and "No Regrets." The song peaked at #4 in the UK and also charted in various Top 10s throughout Europe.

Comments: 1

  • Em from Mudgee, Australialove Robbie and I can relate to the lyrics bout how people think ur so strong and ur really not!
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Real or Spinal Tap

Real or Spinal TapMusic Quiz

They sang about pink torpedoes and rocking you tonight tonight, but some real lyrics are just as ridiculous. See if you can tell which lyrics are real and which are Spinal Tap in this lyrics quiz.

Cy Curnin of The Fixx

Cy Curnin of The FixxSongwriter Interviews

The man who brought us "Red Skies" and "Saved By Zero" is now an organic farmer in France.

Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root

Michael Glabicki of Rusted RootSongwriter Interviews

Michael tells the story of "Send Me On My Way," and explains why some of the words in the song don't have a literal meaning.

How "A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss" Became Rock's Top Proverb

How "A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss" Became Rock's Top ProverbSong Writing

How a country weeper and a blues number made "rolling stone" the most popular phrase in rock.

Evolution Of The Prince Symbol

Evolution Of The Prince SymbolSong Writing

The evolution of the symbol that was Prince's name from 1993-2000.

Maria Muldaur

Maria MuldaurSongwriter Interviews

The "Midnight At The Oasis" singer is an Old Time gal. She talks about her jug band beginnings and shares a Dylan story.