Following the break-up of Take That, Barlow went straight into the recording studio and began recording a solo album. On 5 July 1996, the album's lead single, "Forever Love", was released, peaking at #1 on the UK Singles Chart. A second single, "Love Won't Wait", was released in April 1997, also peaking at number one. On 26 May 1997, the album was subsequently released, peaking at number one on the UK Albums Chart on the week of release. The album was certified platinum. Following the album's release, a further two singles, "So Help Me Girl" and "Open Road" were released, which charted at 11 and 7 respectively with the third single becoming Barlow's first solo material to chart in America. The album has sold over 2 million copies worldwide to date.
Following the success of the album in the United Kingdom and the album charting in over 21 countries internationally, Barlow set about releasing the album in the United States, and signed a record deal with Arista. He soon decided to re-work the album for the American market, and began promotion by releasing a remixed version of "So Help Me Girl" as the lead single, complete with a brand new video, on 30 September 1997. The album was subsequently released on 13 January 1998, and on 17 February, one of the new tracks for the American issue, "Superhero", was released as the second single. Although it became widely known for its use as the Yankees main theme, it failed to achieve any commercial success.
The San Diego Vista gave the album a positive review stating that as a "singer and songwriter [Barlow] demonstrates his potential as a successful solo artist on Open Road. The album shows a diversity of musical styles, many acoustic-based tracks, a few haunting ballads and some scintillating up-tempo dance numbers." Rodel goes on to state that "on the title track, "Open Road," Gary's brilliant songwriting abilities are showcased in all its glory. A song that he wrote at the young age of 16, "Open Road" reveals Gary's journey through life [making it] perhaps the best song on Gary's debut album."