Junior Giscombe

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Junior Giscombe (born Norman Washington Giscombe, 6 June 1957,[1]) is an English singer-songwriter (frequently known simply by the mononym, Junior) who was one of the first British R&B artists to be successful in the United States. He is best known for his 1982 hit single, "Mama Used to Say".


Giscombe was born in Wandsworth, London, and was a backing vocalist with Linx between 1980 and 1982.

When turning towards a solo career, he was first billed simply as Junior and he scored a #7 hit in the UK Singles Chart in 1982, with "Mama Used to Say".[2] His follow-up single, "Too Late" also made the Top 20 in the UK.[2] "Mama Used to Say" was also a Top 40 Pop hit and Top 5 R&B in the United States, earning him a "Best Newcomer" award from Billboard magazine.[3]

Sometime (most likely) around 1984 and 1985, Junior Giscombe recorded (and very possibly co-wrote) an unknown number of songs with Phil Lynott, the former leader, vocalist and bass player of hard rock band Thin Lizzy. Lynott died in January 1986 and the songs were never officially released. Most remain as demos, but one of the songs, "Lady Loves to Dance", was mastered and nearly released before being pulled by the record company. Some of the songs are available on YouTube, including "What's the Matter Baby" (Giscombe provides backing vocals) and "Time (and Again)" (Giscombe shares vocals with Lynott).

After a period outside the charts, he made a brief return to the Top 10 in 1987 when he sang a duet with Kim Wilde on "Another Step (Closer to You)". He also became involved with the formation of Red Wedge in 1986 with Billy Bragg, Jimmy Somerville and Paul Weller, and had been a part of The Council Collective with The Style Council, Jimmy Ruffin and others for the 1984 fundraising single, "Soul Deep". Later Giscombe became better known as a songwriter for various artists, including Sheena Easton. He is currently a DJ with internet radio station Solarradio.com,[4] although he is not listed on their website.

Giscombe is the uncle of the UK comedian Richard Blackwood, who sampled "Mama Used to Say" on his single "Mama – Who Da Man" in June 2000.



On Mercury Records:
  • "Mama Used to Say" (1982), No 7 UK Singles Chart, R&B No 2, US No 30
  • "Too Late" (1981), No 20 UK, R&B No 8
  • "Let Me Know"/"I Can't Help It" (1982), No 53 UK
  • "Communication Breakdown" (1983), No 57 UK, R&B No 40
  • "Baby I Want You Back" (1983), R&B No 72
On Casablanca Records:
  • "Unison (1983)", R&B No 44
On London Records:
  • "Somebody" (1984), No 64 UK, R&B No 47
  • "(Do You Really) Want My Love" (1985), No 47 UK
  • "Not Tonight" (1985), R&B No 76
  • "Oh Louise" (1985), No 74, R&B No 14
  • "Yes (If You Want Me)" (1988), R&B No 24
On MCA Records:
  • "Another Step (Closer to You)" (credited to Kim Wilde and Junior) (1987) No 6 UK
  • "Step Off" (1990), No 63 UK (credited to Junior Giscombe)
  • "Then Came You" (1992), No 32 UK (credited to Junior Giscombe)
  • "All Over the World" (1992), No 74 UK (credited to Junior Giscombe)


  • Ji (Mercury Records 1982), No 28 UK
  • Inside Lookin' Out (1983)
  • Acquired Taste (1985)
  • Sophisticated Street (1988)
  • Stand Strong (1990)
  • Renewal (1992)
  • Honesty (1995)
  • Oceans (2005)
  • Prisoner of Hope (2011)


  1. ^ Birth in England and Wales 1837–2006
  2. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 293. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  3. ^ Juniorgiscombe.co.uk
  4. ^ Solar Radio

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