Lyn Paul

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Lyn Paul
Birth name Lynda Susan Belcher
Born (1949-02-16) 16 February 1949 (age 65)
Wythenshawe, Manchester, England
Genres Pop
Occupations Singer, actress
Years active 1960–present
Website Official website

Lyn Paul (born Lynda Susan Belcher, 16 February 1949, Wythenshawe, Manchester, England) is an English pop singer and actress. She came to fame as a member of the international chart-topping pop group The New Seekers in the early 1970s. She has more recently found success and critical acclaim starring in the long-running West End musical, Blood Brothers.[1]

Early years[edit]

Paul began her career in show business as a child actress in 1960, while attending regular classes in dance and musical theatre. In the early 1960s she led her own teenage girl band the Crys-Do-Lyns, touring all over the continent. She subsequently qualified as a teacher of dance. In the late 1960s she changed her name to Tanzy Paul[2] and began a solo career as a pop singer, before joining the well-respected Manchester group the Nocturnes along with Eve Graham, before Graham left to join the New Seekers.[3]

The New Seekers[edit]

When Sally Graham (no relation) left The New Seekers, Eve Graham recommended Paul as a replacement. Graham sang lead on most of their earlier hits, but Paul was gradually entrusted with a lot of the lead parts. She was the featured vocalist on their 1972 Eurovision Song Contest entry, "Beg, Steal or Borrow" in which they came second.[4] She was also lead vocalist on the 1974 No.1 hit "You Won't Find Another Fool Like Me" and the No.5 single, "I Get A Little Sentimental Over You". Among the group's other works, they recorded the song "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing", adapted from an advertising jingle for Coca-Cola, which sold over 20 million copies and still remains one of the 100 best-selling singles in the UK. They had many other hits; most notably, Harry Chapin's "Circles"; Delaney and Bonnie's "Never Ending Song Of Love" and a medley of Pete Townshend's "Pinball Wizard"/"See Me, Feel Me" from The Who's rock opera Tommy. They also headlined at the London Palladium and the Royal Albert Hall. The band were also invited to perform at President Richard Nixon's inauguration ball.[5]

Solo career[edit]

After she left the group in 1974, Paul performed as a solo artist for many years and became a television personality, appearing on many television programmes including: Emergency Ward 10, Skyport, Give Us a Clue, Celebrity Squares and 3-2-1 as well as countless variety programmes. Her first solo single, which spent a frustrating seventeen weeks hovering outside the UK Top 50 was the Golden Globe nominated "Sail the Summer Winds", a John Barry and Don Black composition; which was the theme to the first film produced by Gregory Peck, 1974's The Dove.[6] She had a UK Top 40 hit in 1975 with a song that was originally recorded at the same sessions as I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing. The track was used as the jingle for Coca Cola in the summer of 1975; and subsequently recorded as a single by Paul with backing vocals from ex-New Seekers singer Peter Doyle and released as "It Oughta Sell A Million".[7]

During her solo career, she has worked with Andy Williams, Jack Jones, Dionne Warwick and Liza Minnelli, and has won various accolades including the Carl-Alan Award several times. Her other Polydor singles include "Who's Sorry Now", "Love", "Here Comes That Wonderful Feeling" and "Mama Don't Wait For Me". She also released her first solo album Give Me Love in 1975. In 1977, after moving to Pye Records, Paul sang "If Everybody Loved The Same As You" in the Song for Europe UK selection, coming joint sixth. She went on to record "I Don't Believe You Ever Loved Me", a cover of the Doobie Brothers' "Echoes Of Love", and a 1980s power-ballad "Make The Night". She released a single "Hold Me" under the name of Future Primitive with her brother Paul (whose name she took as her stage surname) in 1984. She also headlined at many cabaret clubs including: The Cockney Cabaret, the Talk of London, and the Café Royal.

In 2006, she released an album titled Late Night. It contained her versions of some of her favourite songs, including "Crying", "I Only Have Eyes For You", "Dance With My Father" and "Late Night Grande Hotel". In addition, it also contained two new tracks written for her, "Dance With Desire" and "Clouds".[8]

In 2009, Paul performed in a show called The Sound of The New Seekers.[9][10]

Musical theatre and acting[edit]

Paul found great success, when she starred in the musical Blood Brothers, in the matriarchal lead role of Mrs. Johnstone. It was a part she debuted in 1997, and played regularly in the West End and occasionally on the National Tour, up to and including 2010. Paul starred in the show during its 10th anniversary celebrations and was also invited to play the role in Liverpool in 2008, when the city was given the title as the European Capital of Culture.[11] Paul has received enormous personal and critical success in the show and in 2008 was voted the "undisputed Mrs J. of all time" by a Blood Brothers fansite[12] as well as being awarded Best Actress in a Professional Production from the Alhambra Theatre Dunfermline.

In October 2012 Bill Kenwright announced that Blood Brothers was to close in London's West End after a 24 year run. For the final two weeks Kenwright put together his dream-cast including Original cast members as well as those who appeared in the show on Broadway; inviting Paul back to reprise her role for one last time - making her the definitive Mrs Johnstone. A great honour Paul herself has acknowledged.

Paul starred in the West End stage production of the Boy George musical Taboo, playing Josie James, a part rumoured to be specifically written for her[13] in which she performed two of the show's stand out numbers "Talk Amongst Yourselves" and "Independent Woman". Her successes within the show led her to be invited to perform as the special guest at the Culture Club's 20th anniversary concert at The Royal Albert Hall, and the live DVD. The release of the Original Cast Recording of Taboo was delayed so that Paul could be included on it.

Paul joined the cast of Footloose – the Musical! in the West End 2007 National Tour company in the role of Vi Moore. After the six-month tour, the cast re-opened the show at the Playhouse Theatre, London on 17 August 2007.[14]

In 2003, Paul performed in a new workshop musical called The Biz!, playing the part of Amanda Power, a theatrical diva. The following year she performed in another new workshop musical written by Yusaf Islam, entitled Moonshadow with Ramin Karimloo. Paul has also played many principal roles in traditional pantomimes, her most recent being the title role in Dick Whittington and His Cat in the Theatre Royal Windsor's annual production performed during the 2001 Christmas season. She also leant vocals to a musical-concept album, for the stage adaption of the film Alfie playing the role of Lily.

Paul has also turned to television acting, appearing as a semi-regular character – Freda Danby – in ITV's Emmerdale. She appeared in episodes of Doctors and In Deep on BBC TV; and the long-running series Holby City.[15] As well as these acting roles, she performed Bring Him Home from Les Miserables on a Remembrance Sunday special edition of Songs of Praise and was also a contestant in a Eurovision Song Contest edition of The Weakest Link.

In 2011, she embarked on a nationwide tour of a new musical Rhinestone Mondays starring alongside Faye Tozer, Ian "H" Watkins and Shaun Williamson. She played the role of Sophie. The musical was said to be the first ever country and western jukebox musical to be created and, although the performances were generally well received with Paul singing classics such as "Stand By Your Man" and "Crazy", the show completed its run five weeks early.[16]

In 2013 it was announced that Paul would star alongside Will Young in the UK Tour of the West End revival of Kander and Ebb's musical Cabaret. Young is to reprise his Olivier Award nominated role of the Emcee whilst Paul is to play the part of Fraulein Schneider.[17]

Personal life[edit]

During the 1970s Paul dated pop star Rod Stewart.[18] In 1980 Paul had a short lived marriage to notorious Liverpool night club owner Vincent McCaffrey.[19]

She is now married to Alan Young, with whom she has a son, Ryan. Between 2006 and February 2007 they ran a pub, The Beehive, in Englefield Green, Surrey.

Paul's sister is the West End actress and choreographer Nikki Belsher,[20] with whom she performed alongside in Footloose – the Musical!.[21]

Paul is a keen supporter of the Alzheimer's Society after losing her mother – Doreen Belcher to the disease in 2010. In 2011 Paul produced a Calendar Girls style naked calendar in aid of the charity, alongside her fellow female Blood Brothers cast mates. The calendar was endorsed by both producer of the show, Bill Kenwright and playwright Willy Russell.

Theatre and filmography (2000–present)[edit]

Year Show Role Venue Notes
2013 Cabaret Fraulein Schneider UK Tour
1997–2012 Blood Brothers Mrs Johnstone Phoenix Theatre
2012 Sez Les, Volume 4 Performer DVD
2011 Rhinestone Mondays Sophie UK Tour
2011 The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club Performer DVD
2010 Daybreak Herself ITV
2009 The Hour Herself STV
2009 The Sound Of The New Seekers Performer
2007 Footloose – The Musical Vi Moore Playhouse Theatre
2007 Country Gals Performer DVD
2006 Holby City Anita Powell BBC
2005 Charlie Rich and Friends, Legends in Concert Performer DVD
2005 Tammy Wynette/Various Artists Performer DVD
2005 Johnny Tillotson Rock'n'Roll Legends Performer DVD
2004 Moonshadow Performer
2004 The Weakest Link Contestant BBC
2003 Taboo Original London Production Josie James The Venue DVD
2003 The Biz! Amanda Power Thameside Theatre
2003, 2005 Emmerdale Freda Danby ITV
2002 Taboo Josie James The Venue
2002 In Deep Amanda BBC
2001 When You Wish Performer
2001 Dick Whittington Dick Whittington Theatre Royal Windsor
2001 Doctors Pam Howard BBC
2001 Songs of Praise Performer BBC Remembrance day Special

References[edit]

External links[edit]