Nick Kamen

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Nick Kamen
Born
Ivor Neville Kamen

(1962-04-15)15 April 1962
Harlow, Essex, England
Died4 May 2021(2021-05-04) (aged 59)
London, England
Occupation
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
  • model
Years active1985–1993, 2004
Musical career
GenresPop
InstrumentsVocals

Ivor Neville Kamen (15 April 1962 – 4 May 2021), better known as Nick Kamen, was an English singer-songwriter, musician and model. He was best known for the singles "Each Time You Break My Heart" from 1986 and "I Promised Myself" from 1990, as well as for appearing in a 1985 Levi's advert.[1]

Early life[edit]

Kamen was born in Harlow, Essex, England,[2] where he attended St Marks RC Comprehensive School. He was the seventh of eight children, with four sisters and three brothers, Ronald Kamen, Chester Kamen and Barry Kamen.[3]

Career[edit]

In 1982, Kamen appeared in the video for The Damned Don't Cry[4] by British synthpop band Visage. He first came to the public's attention in 1984 when Ray Petri featured him on the front cover of The Face.[5] The cover showed him wearing a ski-hat, lipstick, orange roll-neck sweater and aviator sunglasses.

He is best known in the UK for his appearance in the 1985 Levi's "Launderette" commercial,[6] where he strips down to wash his blue jeans in a 1950s style public launderette while he waits, clad only in his Sunspel boxer shorts. It was one of a series of Bartle Bogle Hegarty advertisements that dramatically increased sales of Levi 501s.[citation needed] The commercial ranked sixth in The 100 Greatest TV Ads in 2000.[7]

Kamen's musical success was mainly in Europe. His first single was the 1986 UK Number 5 hit "Each Time You Break My Heart” from his eponymous début album.[8] The song was written and produced by Madonna and frequent Madonna collaborator, Stephen Bray, with Madonna also singing background vocals. Her original demo remains one of many unreleased Madonna songs by the artist herself. Kamen also had a Number 16 follow-up in the UK with his second single, "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever" (a cover of the Four Tops' 1966 hit), although his later singles were less commercially successful in the UK[8] but more so in the rest of Europe, particularly Italy, France, Germany, and Spain.[citation needed]

His second album Us (1988) was produced by another Madonna frequent collaborator, Patrick Leonard. Madonna again made an appearance with background vocals on the song "Tell Me", this time without contributing to the songwriting or production. The song became a massive hit in Italy in the summer of 1988, spending a total of nine weeks at Number 1.[9] Later in 1988 a WEA Italiana compilation Loving You, containing mainly extended versions of previous singles, reached number 7 on the Italian album charts. In 1989, Kamen performed the song "Turn It Up" on the soundtrack to Walt Disney's film, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

Kamen's third album Move Until We Fly was released in 1990 and contained another big European hit, the single "I Promised Myself". The song reached the top ten in several European countries and was the fourth most played record in Europe in 1990. The song was later covered by Dead or Alive (1999), A-Teens (2004), Basshunter (2009), and by German punk rockers Maggers United (2013).

His 1988 European single "Bring Me Your Love" has a Cantonese cover version sung by 張立基 (Norman Cheung) which titled "今夜你是否 – 人 (Are You Alone?)" reached Number 1 on the airplay chart in Hong Kong in 1989.[citation needed]

Kamen appeared on UK television, singing on Top of the Pops (27 November 1986 and 12 March 1987), This Morning (9 April 1990), Night Network (15 April 1987, 19 August 1987 and 1988) and The Tube (31 October 1986 and 21 November 1986). On his first appearance on Top of the Pops, he was introduced by Gary Davies and sang "Each Time You Break My Heart”[10] and on his second appearance, he was introduced by Steve Wright and sang "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever”.[11] On both occasions, his brother Chester Kamen was on guitar and the singer-songwriters Sonny Southon and Zara Phillips were on backing vocals.

In 1992, Kamen released his final album, titled Whatever, Whenever.

Cherry Red Records released his debut album as a two-disc deluxe edition in 2015,[12] followed by the six CD box set The Complete Collection in 2020.[13]

Death[edit]

Kamen died at his London home on 4 May 2021 aged 59, following a long battle with bone marrow cancer.[14][15][16] He had been receiving treatment at Hammersmith Hospital, West London.[17] After his death, Madonna paid tribute, writing, "You were always such a kind, sweet human and you suffered too much".[18][19] Later in May 2021, Kamen's brother, musician Chester Kamen, released the track "Stories" performed by his band The Twins: "Dedicated to the memory of my two beloved little brothers, Nick and Barry".[20]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

List of albums, with selected chart positions and certifications
Year Title Chart positions Certifications
UK
[21]
AUT
[22]
GER
[23]
ITA
[24]
NLD
[25]
SWE
[26]
SWI
[27]
1987 Nick Kamen 34 59 5 38 50 12
1988 Us 2
Loving You 7
1990 Move Until We Fly 4 44 9 15 12
1992 Whatever, Whenever
2020 Nick Kamen: The Complete Collection (6-CD box set)[29]

Singles[edit]

List of singles, with selected chart positions
Year Title Chart positions Album
UK
[21]
AUT
[22]
CAN
[30]
FRA
[31]
GER
[32]
IRE
[33]
ITA
[34]
NLD
[25]
NZL
[35]
SWE
[26]
SWI
[27]
1986 "Each Time You Break My Heart" 5 25 64 8 8 3 2 5 41 6 2 Nick Kamen
1987 "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever" 16 51 18 1 13 15
"Nobody Else" 47 19 97
"Come Softly to Me" 19
"Win Your Love" 5
1988 "Tell Me" 40 1 74 Us
"Bring Me Your Love" 20 16
"Oh What a Night" Loving You
1989 "Don't Hold Out" 32
1990 "I Promised Myself" 50 1 11 5 8 4 1 3 Move Until We Fly
"Oh How Happy" 37
"Looking Good Diving"
"Agony and Ecstasy"
1992 "You're Not the Only One" Whatever, Whenever
"We'll Never Lose What We Have Found"
2004 "I Promised Myself 2004" 42 Non-album single

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Nick Kamen: Model and singer dies aged 59". BBC News. 5 May 2021. Retrieved 5 May 2021.
  2. ^ "Nick Kamen: Model and singer dies aged 59". BBC News. 5 May 2021. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
  3. ^ "Entrevista Nick Kamen". YouTube. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  4. ^ "Visage - The Damned Don't Cry". YouTube. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  5. ^ Ognyan Yordanov (January 2008). "Ray Petri – Urban Guerrilla". Wound Magazine. 1 (2): 116–117. ISSN 1755-800X.
  6. ^ Stephanie Jenkins and Joan Williams (2005). "Clothes & Shoes". UK television adverts 1955–1985. Retrieved 26 January 2008.
  7. ^ "100 Greatest TV Ads (Pt 16)". YouTube. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
  8. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 296. ISBN 978-1-904994-10-7.
  9. ^ "Hit Parade Italia – Top Settimanali Single". Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  10. ^ "Nick Kamen - Each Time You Break My Heart - TOTP - 1986". YouTube. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  11. ^ "Nick Kamen – Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever (Studio, TOTP)". YouTube. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  12. ^ "Nick Kamen: Deluxe Edition – Cherry Red Records". Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  13. ^ "Nick Kamen: The Complete Collection, 6CD Boxset – Cherry Red Records". Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  14. ^ "Nick Kamen obituary". The Times. 6 May 2021. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  15. ^ "Nick Kamen dies at age 59-Madonna's disciple and Levi's model die "after a long gun battle" in Notting Hill's apartment". London News Time. 5 May 2021. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
  16. ^ Bagwell, Matt (5 May 2021). "Nick Kamen, Model, Singer And Star Of Iconic Levi's Ad, Has Died Aged 59". huffingtonpost. Retrieved 5 May 2021.
  17. ^ Stolworthy, Jacob (7 May 2021). "Nick Kamen's partner reveals his cause of death in touching tribute to 'inspiring' former singer". independent. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  18. ^ "Nick Kamen: Madonna heartbroken by singer and model's death". BBC. 6 May 2021. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  19. ^ "Its heart breaking to know you are gone. You were always such a kind, sweet human and you suffered too much. Hope you are happier wherever you are Nick Kamen". Instagram. 6 May 2021. Archived from the original on 24 December 2021. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  20. ^ "Chester Kamen."Stories" by The Twins". YouTube. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  21. ^ a b "Nick Kamen". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  22. ^ a b "Discographie Nick Kamen". Austriancharts.at (in German). Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  23. ^ "Suche nach "nick kamen"". Charts.de (in German). Archived from the original on 21 August 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  24. ^ "Top Annuali Album". Hitparadeitalia.it (in Italian). Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  25. ^ a b "dutchcharts.nl – Discografie Nick Kamen". Dutchcharts.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 25 June 2011.
  26. ^ a b "Discography Nick Kamen". Swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  27. ^ a b "Discographie Nick Kamen". Swisscharts.com. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  28. ^ "Gold & Platin". Ifpi.at (in German). Archived from the original on 8 June 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
  29. ^ "Nick Kamen: The Complete Collection, 6CD Boxset". Cherry Red Records. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  30. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles - April 18, 1987" (PDF).
  31. ^ "lescharts.com – Discographie Nick Kamen". Lescharts.com (in French). Retrieved 25 June 2011.
  32. ^ "Chartverfolgung / Kamen,Nick / Single". Musicline.de (in German). Retrieved 25 June 2011.
  33. ^ "The Irish Charts – All there is to know". Irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
  34. ^ "Indice per Interprete: K". Hitparadeitalia.it (in Italian). Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  35. ^ "charts.nz – Discography Nick Kamen". Charts.nz. Retrieved 25 June 2011.

External links[edit]