19 (song)

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"19"
19 single.jpg
Single by Paul Hardcastle
from the album Paul Hardcastle
B-side "Fly by Night"
Released 1985
Format
Genre
Length
  • 6:20 (album version)
  • 3:37 (single version)
Label Chrysalis
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s) Paul Hardcastle
Paul Hardcastle singles chronology
"Eat Your Heart Out"
(1984)
"19"
(1985)
"Rainforest"
(1985)
"Eat Your Heart Out"
(1984)
"19"
(1985)
"Rainforest"
(reissue)
(1985)
Audio sample

"19" is a song by British musician Paul Hardcastle released as the first single from his self-titled third studio album Paul Hardcastle (1985).

"19" features sampled narration (voiced by Peter Thomas), out-of-context interview dialogue ("I wasn't really sure what was going on") and news reports from Vietnam Requiem[3] the ABC television documentary about the post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by Vietnam veterans. In 2009, the song placed at 73 on VH1's 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 80s.[4]

Background and content[edit]

Hardcastle was inspired to create the song after watching Vietnam Requiem,[3] and comparing his own life at 19 to those of the soldiers featured: "...what struck me was how young the soldiers were: the documentary said their average age was 19. I was out having fun in pubs and clubs when I was 19, not being shoved into jungles and shot at".[5]

The title "19" comes from the documentary's claim that the average age of an American combat soldier in the war was 19, as compared to World War II's 26.[6] This claim has since been disputed.[7] Undisputed statistics do not exist, although Southeast Asia Combat Area Casualties Current File (CACCF), the source for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, shows a large number of deaths (38%) were ages 19 or 20. According to the same source, 23 is the average age at time of death (or time of declaration of death).[8] The song also comments that while the tour of duty was longer during World War II, soldiers in Vietnam were subjected to hostile fire [more frequently] almost every day.[6]

Musically, the song was inspired by electro, particularly Afrika Bambaataa, although Hardcastle also "added a bit of jazz and a nice melody", and beyond the sampling of the documentary narration, the song incorporated pieces of interviews with soldiers.[5][6] The song's pivotal hook: the repetitive ""N-n-n-n-nineteen", was chosen due to the limitations of the early sampling technology used. The E-mu Emulator could only sample for two seconds, so the hook was based around "the only bit of the narrative that made sense in two seconds".[5] Hardcastle wasn't optimistic about the song's chances in the charts. His previous two singles for independent labels had failed to make it into the UK's Top 40 and the musical policy at Radio 1 was felt to be unsupportive of dance music.[5] News interest in the song helped, with the 10th Anniversary of the End of the Vietnam War seeing Hardcastle interviewed by Alastair Stewart of ITN.

Tony Blackburn, then breakfast DJ for Radio London was an early supporter of the song and it quickly reached number 1 in the UK and around the world. Hardcastle produced different mixes of the song to help maintain interest in it.[5] Although the song did not climb as high in the United States chart, Hardcastle claims "it outsold everybody else for three weeks solid, it only reached number 15, because back then the chart was based on airplay as well as sales".[5] The song was held back in the US by some radio stations refusing to play it, feeling that the song took an anti-American stance, something Hardcastle denies, noting "I had tons of letters from Vietnam vets thanking me for doing something for them".[5]

The song's reliance on sampling also caused problems with legal clearance. Ken Grunbaum recalled in 2012 that "there were no precedents for something like this. We ended up having to pay royalties to the narrator, Peter Thomas".[5]

Music video[edit]

After the song's unexpected, rapid climb to the top of the UK Singles Chart, Chrysalis asked directors Jonas McCord and Bill Couterie to rush a video into production.[9] Due to the lack of a band able to perform the song, the video was primarily composed of clips from the Vietnam Requiem documentary, edited together by Ken Grunbaum. The first version of the video included footage from the television networks NBC and ABC, including a newscast by ABC anchorman Frank Reynolds.[9] After it was aired on MTV in the US, NBC and ABC objected to the "bad taste" of using the serious clips in a "trivial" form of "propaganda".[9] McCord and Couterie were forced to produce a new cut incorporating public domain footage, but ABC permitted Reynolds' audio to remain.[9] Couterie asserted at the time that the television networks opposed the video because it involved rock music:[9]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Parody[edit]

In the same year of release, British comedian Rory Bremner, using the band name The Commentators, released a parodied version of the song as "N-N-Nineteen Not Out", about the England cricket team's (which at the time represented the entire geographical area of Great Britain) poor performance in test matches, with references to the team's disastrous 1984 home series against the West Indies in which captain David Gower had averaged 19.[43]

Other uses in popular culture[edit]

Manchester United used the "19" soundtrack to celebrate their 19th Premier League title in May 2011,[44] and the song made a reappearance in the UK Top 40.[30]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ We-Enhance (16 March 2011). "Simon Fuller: From "American Idol" To Formula 1 Idol". B*tchBack . We-Enhance Inc. Retrieved 21 July 2013. Simon Fuller (...) produced "19" for Paul Hardcastle- a very cheesy slice of Eighties' synth pop 
  2. ^ Huey, Steve. "Paul Hardcastle – Artist Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Vietnam Requiem on IMDb
  4. ^ Ali, Rahsheeda. "100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the '80s". VH1. Retrieved 22 September 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Simpson, Dave (24 September 2012). "How we made the pop song 19 by Paul Hardcastle and Ken Grunbaum". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 25 September 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c Perone, James E. (2001). Songs of the Vietnam conflict. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 107. ISBN 978-0-313-31528-2. 
  7. ^ Roush, Gary (2 June 2008). "Statistics about the Vietnam War". Vietnam Helicopter Flight Crew Network. Archived from the original on 7 December 2009. Retrieved 6 December 2009. Assuming KIAs accurately represented age groups serving in Vietnam, the average age of an infantryman (MOS 11B) serving in Vietnam to be 19 years old is a myth, it was actually 22. None of the enlisted grades have an average age of less than 20. 
  8. ^ "Statistical information about casualties of the Vietnam War". Archived from the original on 24 September 2008. .
  9. ^ a b c d e f Bessman, Jim (1 June 1985). "Anti-War Clip Provokes Network Wrath". Billboard. Vol. 97 no. 22. pp. 38–39. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  10. ^ "Hits of the World". Billboard. Vol. 97 no. 24. 15 June 1985. p. 66. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  11. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Paul Hardcastle – 19" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  12. ^ "Ultratop.be – Paul Hardcastle – 19" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  13. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0560." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  14. ^ "MusicSeek.info – UK, Eurochart, Billboard & Cashbox No.1 Hits". Archived from the original on 14 June 2006. . MusicSeek.info.
  15. ^ "Lescharts.com – Paul Hardcastle – 19" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  16. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Paul Hardcastle – 19". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  17. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – 19 (re 1)". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  18. ^ (in Italian) "Singoli – I numeri uno (1959–2006) (parte 3: 1980–1990)". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. . It-charts.150m.com.
  19. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 26, 1985" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  20. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Paul Hardcastle – 19" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  21. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Paul Hardcastle – 19". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  22. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Paul Hardcastle – 19". VG-lista. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  23. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1969 – 1989 Acts (H)". Rock.co.za. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  24. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  25. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Paul Hardcastle – 19". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  26. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Paul Hardcastle – 19". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  27. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  28. ^ a b c d "Paul Hardcastle – Awards". Archived from the original on 4 November 2013. . AllMusic. All Media Network.
  29. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending JULY 27, 1985". Archived from the original on 1 October 2012. . Cash Box.
  30. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  31. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1980s". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. 
  32. ^ "Jahreshitparade 1985" (in German). Austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  33. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1985" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  34. ^ "RPM's Top 100 Singles of 1985". RPM. Vol. 43 no. 16. 28 December 1985. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  35. ^ (in German) "Jahrescharts – 1985". Archived from the original on 15 October 2014. . Officialcharts.de. GfK Entertainment Charts.
  36. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1985" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  37. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1985" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  38. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1985" (in German). Hitparade.ch. Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  39. ^ "Chart Archive – 1980s Singles". everyHit.com. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  40. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Paul Hardcastle – 19". Music Canada. 
  41. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Paul Hardcastle)" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  42. ^ "British single certifications – Paul Hardcastle – 19". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter 19 in the search field and then press Enter.
  43. ^ "West Indies in England, 1984 – Test Averages". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 2 February 2009. 
  44. ^ Roughley, Gregg (9 May 2011). "Manchester United fans campaign to get 19 to No1 when club wins title". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 

External links[edit]