Junior Giscombe

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Junior Giscombe
Junior performing in 2019.
Junior performing in 2019.
Background information
Birth nameNorman Washington Giscombe
Also known asJunior
Born (1957-06-06) 6 June 1957 (age 64)
Wandsworth, London, England
OriginLondon, England
GenresR&B, soul, funk, pop
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
Years active1981–present
LabelsMercury Records
Associated actsRuby Turner, Kim Wilde, Mumzy Stranger

Norman Washington "Junior" Giscombe (born 6 June 1957)[1] is an English singer-songwriter often known 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". Junior is the uncle of former rapper and EastEnders star Richard Blackwood.


Giscombe was born in Wandsworth, London, England,[2] and was a backing vocalist with Linx between 1980 and 1982.

When turning towards a solo career, he was first billed simply as Junior. He scored a No. 7 hit in the UK Singles Chart in 1982, with "Mama Used to Say".[3] His follow-up single, "Too Late" also made the top 20 in the UK.[3] "Mama Used to Say" was also a top 40 Pop and top 5 R&B hit in the United States, earning him a "Best Newcomer" award from Billboard magazine.[4]

Sometime (most likely) around 1984 and 1985, 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)".[2] 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".[2] In 1992, Junior appeared on stage at the 1992 Labour rally in Sheffield singing Curtis Mayfield's "Move On Up". Later, Giscombe became better known as a songwriter for artists such as Sheena Easton.[2]

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



  • 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)


Year Song Peak chart positions
US Hot 100 US R&B UK
1981 "Get Up and Dance"
(as Norman Giscombe Jr)
"Mama Used to Say" 30 2 7
1982 "Too Late" 102 8 20
"I Can't Help It"/"Let Me Know" 53
1983 "Communication Breakdown" 40 57
"Runnin'" 92
"Baby I Want You Back" 72
"Unison" 44
1984 "Somebody" 47 64
1985 "Do You Really (Want My Love)" 47
"Not Tonight (1985)" -
"Oh Louise" 74
1986 "Come on Over" 87
"Not Tonight" 74
"Oh Louise (1986)" 14 83
1987 "Yes (If You Want Me)" 24
"Another Step (Closer to You)"
(with Kim Wilde)
1988 "High Life"
"Say That You Care"
1990 "Step Off" 63
1991 "Morning Will Come" 81
"Better Part of Me" 51
1992 "Then Came You" 32
"All Over the World" 74
1993 "Lysander's Theme"
(with Ruby Turner)
1995 "I Like It"
2011 "Mama Used to Say" (2011 Version)
(with Mumzy Stranger)
2011 "Prisoner of Hope"



  1. ^ "Trace your Family Tree Online | Genealogy & Ancestry from Findmypast | findmypast.com". Findmypast.com.
  2. ^ a b c d Colin Larkin, ed. (2003). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Eighties Music (Third ed.). Virgin Books. p. 218. ISBN 1-85227-969-9.
  3. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 293. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. ^ "Junior Giscombe". Juniorgiscombe.co.uk.
  5. ^ "Norman Giscombe Jr". Discogs.com.
  6. ^ "Junior (2)". Discogs.com.
  7. ^ "Junior - Chart history | Billboard". Billboard.com.
  8. ^ "JUNIOR | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com.
  9. ^ "JUNIOR GISCOMBE | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com.
  10. ^ "Top Hip-Hop Songs / R&B Songs Chart". Billboard.com.

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