Party in your pad? Double Denim on tap! Royal Blue eyeliner vs Shocking pink lippy. Malibu & Pineapple anyone?
Some weeks ago we promised to start up regular posts about ’80s music! Lights, camera, action; it’s showtime so ‘let’s dance’.
First out of the ’80s traps is long legged, big quiffed stud muffin, Paul Young. The blue-eyed soul-belting Lutoner ripped hearts apart when his cover of Marvin Gaye’s Wherever I Lay My Hat rocketed to #1 on the UK singles chart in the Summer of ’83, where it sat on its perch for a total of three weeks.
Young’s sex appeal was further enhanced by the seductive brood of backing musician Pino Palladino’s fretless bass – all cocky swagger and rippling muscle like launderette lothario Nick Kamen.
Young started his career with novelty act Streetband of Toast fame (if you can remember that, you have more grey hairs than Dave Gahan). A successful stint with soulsters Q Tips followed, bringing Young et al to the attention of both media and record companies including Sony/CBS who were to later sign Young as a solo artist.
Appearances on the Old Grey Whistle Test (Annie Nightingale we still love you!) secured support slots with The J Geils Band (Centrefold), Thin Lizzy (if you have to ask you need serious musical schooling) and Bob Marley amongst others.
In 1982 Paul Young fledged the dismantled Q Tips nest and set up home under the Columbia label. Following the huge success of swoon-inducing Wherever I Lay My Hat, 1983 saw Young release three further singles – all of which were Top 10 hits. A second cover single, Joy Divisions’ Love Will Tear Us Apart was followed by an ‘it’s not you it’s me’ power-pop song Come Back & Stay, which peaked at #4 in the charts.
An early November re-release of lighter-loving, arm-waving, feelgood slow dancer Love of the Common People (the original 1982 release had bombed) was timed perfectly for maximum impact on the Christmas charts where it rose to #2. Hitting the Xmas sweet spot guaranteed a slot on the holy grail of music TV shows – the TOTP Christmas Special.
All four singles featured on Young’s huge selling debut album, No Parlez, which went multi-platinum in several countries including the UK (where it went #1 for 5 weeks and stayed in the charts for over 100 weeks!) & Ireland. The album cemented Paul Young’s status as bona fide soul-singer and pop god, and carved the crooner’s name into the annals of ’80s music history.
A hugely successful promotional tour of the States proved personally disastrous for the singer as he badly strained his vocal chords to such an extent that he had to desist from singing for much of 1984 – a year which should have seen him build on an extremely solid foundation.
His chart topping sophomore album The Secret of Association was eventually released in 1985 from which the rhythm-tastic, Motown-esque track Tomb of Memories is this reviewers favourite PY track – cue 4 minutes of self-indulgence – #memories
Two further cover versions produced chart Top Ten singles. First up was the Ann Peebles track I’m Gonna Tear Your House Down. But, it was Paul Young’s cover of Daryl Hall’s divine heartbreaker Everytime You Go Away, that was to become his biggest global hit, bagging him the top slot on the US billboard charts – just one of the several #1’s the song swept up worldwide.
Further successes came and went but with intermittent vocal problems continuing to plague the singer, his star began to wane as he spent less and less time in the spotlight. Finally, two years after his magical 1991 duet with Italian blues singer Zucchero, Sony/CBS called time on Paul Young’s recording contract.
Paul Young has returned to both the entertainment industry and music scene several times since 1993, with appearances on a myriad television programmes, several collaborations and most recently, his Los Pacaminos project which remains ongoing.
Young, who has been involved with the Back to the 80s project, will be touring the US over the course of this Summer. He continues to be a well respected and much loved member of that pioneering group of ’80s music artists who led the post-punk zeitgeist back in the glory days of pop.