|Origin||Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom|
|Genres||Pop, R&B, Soul, Easy Listening|
|Labels||MCA Music, Inc., Wildcard, Polydor|
Lighthouse Family are a British musical duo that rose to prominence in the mid-1990s and remained active until the early 2000s. Vocalist Tunde Baiyewu and keyboardist Paul Tucker formed the act in 1993 in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK after meeting while studying at university and both working at the same bar. Their 1995 debut album Ocean Drive sold more than 1.8 million copies in the UK alone and established them as a popular easy listening duo throughout Europe.
Formation and record deal
Both Baiyewu and Tucker were working in bars when they first met; together, they recorded demos of a number of songs Tucker had written during the late 1980s. Among these, a demo of "Ocean Drive" attracted the attention of Polydor Records A&R director Colin Barlow, who, in 1993, signed the band to a six-month development deal.
In the wake of an economic recession in the UK, British record labels were, at the time, primarily signing artists with the goal of short-term profit. In contrast, Barlow, in The Times, expected that the band could last for "ten years or more". At the time of the launch of the first album, Polydor's investments in the band totaled ₤250,000. Peden's hiring was described as a "big spend", and music videos were filmed overseas in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
The lead single, "Lifted", received airplay on BBC Radio One as well as a number of BBC Local Radio stations, and The Chart Show aired its music video. Still, this did not translate to considerable single or album sales within 1995; it wasn't until "Lifted" was re-released in 1996 that it reached the top five on the UK Singles Chart, and Ocean Drive, which had been deleted, rebounded and was certified six-times platinum by the end of 1997, spending 154 weeks on the UK Album Chart in the process. Its follow-up Postcards from Heaven achieved similar sales status in 1997.
Lighthouse Family scaled down their appearances in early 2003 because of what they called a "heavy promotional schedule" following the release of Whatever Gets You Through the Day in 2001. This led to both men pursuing individual projects. Baiyewu became a solo artist, while Tucker joined a rock band, The Orange Lights.
In November 2010, the duo announced they were reforming Lighthouse Family and did a full UK & Ireland tour, in February and March 2011. It was the first performance of Lighthouse Family in eight years. The comeback was prompted by an aggressive letter-writing campaign from Lighthouse Family mega fan and former president of their fan club, Gemma Gould. To honour her efforts, the band arranged for the final date of the tour to be Morley Town Hall (Gemma's hometown), and she was given a VIP ticket. During an interview on breakfast TV show BBC Breakfast on 17 January 2011, Lighthouse Family revealed they had still been talking to each other during their time away, and that there was no current defined timescale for the release of a new album. However, Tucker mentioned during the interview that the duo had "pockets... full of songs".
- Mike Pattenden (18 November 1996). "Lighthouse Family – Lifted by sheer perseverance". dotmusic. Miller Freeman Entertainment. Archived from the original on 5 February 1998. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
- Alan Jackson (12 May 1995). "Beam us up, star-trekkers". The Times (Times Newspapers Ltd). ISSN 0140-0460.
- "The Lighthouse Family reunite". BBC News (BBC). 17 January 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2011.