|Birth name||Paul Antony Young|
17 January 1956 |
Luton, Bedfordshire, England
|Occupation(s)||Singer, songwriter, musician|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, bass guitar|
|Associated acts||Kat Kool & The Kool Kats
Paul Antony Young (born 17 January 1956) is an English singer, songwriter and musician. Formerly the frontman of the short-lived bands Kat Kool & the Kool Cats, Streetband and Q-Tips, his subsequent solo success turned him into a 1980s teen idol. He is famous for such hit singles as "Love of the Common People", "Wherever I Lay My Hat", "Come Back and Stay", "Everytime You Go Away" and "Everything Must Change", all reaching the top 10 of the UK Singles Chart. Released in 1983, his debut album No Parlez, the first of three UK number one albums, turned him into a household name. His smooth yet soulful voice belonged to a genre known as "blue-eyed soul". At the 1985 Brit Awards, Young received the award for Best British Male.
In July 1985, Young appeared at Live Aid held at Wembley Stadium, London, performing the Band Aid hit "Do They Know It's Christmas?" (having sung the opening lines on the original single release), and his own hits "Come Back and Stay" and "Everytime You Go Away", with Alison Moyet joining him on stage to perform "That's The Way Love Is". "Everytime You Go Away" reached number one in the US in 1985, and won Best British Video at the 1986 Brit Awards.
Early life and career
Paul Young was born in Luton, Bedfordshire, England. He has an older brother, Mark, and a younger sister, Joanne. As a youth, after school, he played football for the Vauxhall Motors factory and in his spare time played in several bands as a bass guitarist.
The first group for which he became lead singer was Kat Kool & The Kool Kats. In the late 1970s he joined Streetband, who had one Top 20 hit in the UK, with the humorous, novelty track "Toast". In December 1979, Streetband disbanded.
The ex-Streetbanders added new recruits Dave Lathwell on guitar and Baz Watts on drums and became Q-Tips. In addition, a four piece brass section was created by Steve Farr (baritone saxophone), Richard Blanchard (tenor saxophone), Stuart Van Blandamer (alto saxophone) and Tony Hughes (trumpet) who all hailed from the North London and Hertfordshire area, while organist Ian Kewley lived in Essex. Q-Tips' name derived from a well-known brand of cotton buds.
Q-Tips's first rehearsals took place in November 1979. Their first gig was on 18 November 1979 at the Queens Arms Hotel in Harrow. This was followed by another at the Horn of Plenty in St Albans - a regular gig for Streetband during 1978 - and a total of sixteen in their first month of existence. Some personnel changes occurred during the first six months, with Blanchard's departure leaving a three-piece brass section, and Lathwell also leaving the band.
By 1 April 1980, the band had recorded two tracks, "SYSLJFM (The Letter Song)", and "Having A Party", both recorded at the Livingstone Studios in Barnet. Constant touring and concert appearances had built up a strong fan base by mid-1981, when the small amount of soul music cover versions were outnumbered by the band's own tracks. The professionalism of the band had attracted the attention of several record labels, with the late Mickie Most (RAK Records) confirming on BBC Radio 1's Round Table programme that Q-Tips "...are easily the best live band working at the moment". In August 1980, the British music magazine, NME reported that Q-Tips had just released their debut, eponymous album.
In time, Garth Watt Roy replaced John Gifford on guitar, and Blandamer was replaced by Nick Payne. This line-up remained for the rest of the band's career. They appeared on BBC Television's In Concert, Rock Goes to College and The Old Grey Whistle Test in the latter part of 1981. Other television appearances included children's Saturday morning TV. Q-Tips opened for The J. Geils Band, The Knack, Thin Lizzy, Bob Marley and the Average White Band.
The band toured with After The Fire, and supported The Who on their twelve date UK tour in 1980. In 1981, Q-Tips played the Montreux Jazz Festival. With poor record sales after the release of two albums and seven singles, the Q-Tips broke up in early 1982 when Paul Young signed a solo recording contract with Sony/CBS. In late 1982 and early 1983, the brass section and drummer of Q-Tips toured with Adam Ant on the UK and US legs of his Friend or Foe tour, and some remained for Ant's 1984 Strip tour.
Young briefly teamed up again with Q-Tips for a reunion tour in 1993.
Solo career and pop stardom
The Q-Tips disbanded in 1982, and Young was signed by Columbia Records as a solo performer.
Young's new backing band 'The Royal Family' included keyboardist Kewley, fretless bass player Pino Palladino, guitarist Steve Bolton, drummer Mark Pinder, and backing singers Maz Roberts and Kim Leslie AKA 'The Fabulous Wealthy Tarts'. Helped by the driving sound of Pino Palladino's fretless bass in his backing band, his first two singles, "Iron Out the Rough Spots" and a cover of "Love of the Common People", had no success, but the third, a cover of the Marvin Gaye song "Wherever I Lay My Hat", reached No. 1 in the UK singles chart for three weeks in the summer of 1983, the first of 14 British Top 40 singles. The song was included on the soundtrack of the 1992 British comedy film Peter's Friends.
Similar success followed all over Europe. In the UK, follow-up single "Come Back and Stay" reached No. 4, and a re-release of "Love of the Common People" made it to No. 2 and even received radio airplay in the United States (thanks to its soundtrack inclusion in John Hughes's film "Sixteen Candles"), while his debut album No Parlez was certified platinum in various countries.
Young's style at the time was a warm, approachable blue-eyed soul, though he sometimes received playful criticism for his fashion decisions. However, his choice of an Antony Price silk suit for the cover of No Parlez proved to be impractical for the concert stage, where his energetic shows dictated more robust clothing.
The year 1984 was a difficult one for Young, as his first heavy promotional and live concert tour of America strained his vocal cords severely, to the extent that he was forced to rest his voice and did not sing for much of the year. He recovered sufficiently to become involved with the Band Aid single "Do They Know It's Christmas?", an all-star charity project put together by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure for Ethiopian famine relief. Young sang the opening lines of the song as a replacement for David Bowie.
He returned to the UK Top Ten with a version of Ann Peebles' "I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down". The latter appeared on his second album, The Secret of Association, released in 1985, which secured his future success in the United States, Japan and Australia. The album went to No. 1 in the UK. However, he continued to have occasional voice and throat difficulties. That year, Young scored the biggest worldwide hit of his career with "Every Time You Go Away", a version of a Daryl Hall song from a 1980 Hall & Oates album. "Every Time You Go Away" topped the pop charts in the US, and was his biggest success in the US. He would perform the song during the London segment of the Live Aid concert.
He continued to have a successful career, with some highlights such as singing the Crowded House track "Don't Dream It's Over" at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute in 1988, producing a popular duet, "Senza una donna (Without a Woman)," with Italian blues singer Zucchero in 1991, and singing "Radio Ga Ga" with the surviving members of Queen in 1992, at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert soon after Freddie Mercury died. In 1991, he recorded a duet with Irish group Clannad for the Blake Edwards film Switch, a cover of the Joni Mitchell song, "Both Sides Now".
"Don't Dream It's Over", "Senza una donna (Without a Woman)" and "Both Sides Now" were all featured on his first greatest hits album, From Time To Time - The Singles Collection, released in 1991. The album included the most prominent hit singles from Young's first four solo albums, the three above-mentioned songs, and a previously unreleased selection called "I'm Only Foolin' Myself".
In 1993, Young was dropped from his contract with the CBS/Sony Records label, and afterward, released fewer solo albums. He reformed the Q-Tips for a short series of concerts that year. He contributed to the Vangelis album Voices in 1995. Young sang the British national anthem, "God Save the Queen", at Wembley Stadium before England's Euro '96 semi-final match against Germany.
In 1992, Young formed a new group Los Pacaminos based on the sounds of Ry Cooder’s "Chicken Skin Music” era and the Tex-Mex group the Texas Tornados, and they first performed low-key events in bars & clubs before progressing to theatres; they continue to perform and record to this day. In 1996, Young was once again performing solo and preparing for his next album, Paul Young, which was released the following year on East West Records.
Following the live tour to support this album, he was known to divide his time between family, the informal Tex-Mex group Los Pacaminos, and performing live during 1980s revival tours in the UK between 2001 and 2008. In November 2001, when Young was on the final night of the Here and Now tour, Michael Aspel awarded him his This is Your Life book. The show went out on BBC One on 5 December that year.
2006 saw the release of Rock Swings – On The Wild Side of Swing. In September 2006, he appeared in the BBC1 cooking show Celebrity MasterChef, and won his show, allowing him a place in the semi-finals. A year later, he was a contestant on another cooking show, ITV's Hell's Kitchen.
Although his musical career had begun to decline, as well as appearing on Celebrity MasterChef and Hell's Kitchen, Young began to make more appearances in the media. He appeared as a guest on shows including The Wright Stuff, This Morning and The One Show.
In 2010, Young recorded and released a new track "Come Back", a duet he did with electronic dance music act Chicane. The single was a sample of Young's 1983 hit "Come Back and Stay", and charted at 151 on the UK Singles Chart. The single was recorded onto Chicane's 2010 album Giants.
After a lengthy absence of recorded material, in 2016 Young released an album of vintage soul songs called Good Thing produced by Arthur Baker, and began a lengthy period of tours and festival appearances. He is still touring around the world with his band: Jesper Mortensen (Drummer and MD), Annika Askmann (Perc.), Christian Warburg (Gui.), Mikkel Risum (Bass) and Peter Dencker (Piano).
Young first formed Los Pacaminos in 1993. The reason for the group forming was Young's desire to get back to basics, as he explains "I was between record labels and writing material for a new album but I wanted to play live again. I’ve always loved the Tex-Mex sound and knew a few musicians who had a similar passion for this type of music. So I asked them to join me in forming a band.
The group’s early performances were in bars and clubs, performing a mixture of their own material and covers. However, in 2000, Young decided to take the group further, and an album Los Pacaminos was released in 2002,
The track listing for the album is:
- "My My My"
- "La Mesa"
- "Shadows On The Rise"
- "Raised On Margaritas"
- "Poor Boys"
- "Handsome Man"
- "Do We Want The Same Things"
- "Two Margaritas"
- "Tierra D'Ensuenos"
Upon the release of the album, the band established themselves as a professional line-up, consisting of:
- Young on guitar and vocals
- Drew Barfield on guitar and vocals
- Melvyn Duffy on pedal steel guitar
- Steve Greetham or David Levy on bass and vocals
- Matt Irving on keyboards, accordion and vocals
- Jamie Moses on guitar and vocals
- Mark Pinder or Jim Russel on drums
The band continues to perform and record throughout Europe and the UK.
In 2014, the band released their second album, 'A Fistful of Statins'. The track listing for the album is:
- "Razor Wire"
- "Jump Back Baby"
- "The Girl From Tennessee"
- "Don't Make Me Wait Señorita"
- "A Letter To You"
- "Come A Little Bit Closer"
- "Every Little Hero"
- "Battered & Broozed"
- "A Little Love"
- "Mi Chorizo Esta Loco"
- "Our Favourite Things"
- "Made For Me"
- "Texas Adios" 
Young's best known collaboration (apart from that with his band Los Pacaminos) was with his early collaboration with bassist Pino Palladino. Palladino, who had also collaborated with others including Tears for Fears, Go West and Gary Numan, featured on three of Young's albums, No Parlez, The Secret of Association and Paul Young. Palladino has also frequently appeared live with Young during his concerts. Well known appearances by Paul Young that featured Palladino were his performance at Live Aid, and several concerts since. Palladino also appeared on Young's non-official album Los Pacaminos, and album Young recorded with his newfound backing band Los Pacaminos in 2002, and so for a year between 2002 and 2003, Palladino acted as a touring member for Los Pacaminos. In 2010, Young recorded "Come Back", a sample of his original hit "Come Back and Stay", with the electronic dance music act Chicane.
Young met his wife, former model Stacey Smith, on his video for "Come Back and Stay" in 1983. They married while they were living in Los Angeles in November 1987. Together they have three children: daughters Levi (born March 1987), Layla (born August 1994), and son Grady Cole (born January 1996). Young and Smith split in May 2006; however, in March 2009, it was announced that they had reconciled. Young is a close friend of singer and Spandau Ballet front man Tony Hadley. The two toured Australia and New Zealand during October and November 2008. .
Young's discography has consisted of 8 studio albums, one live album, 13 compilation albums and 36 singles. Following short stints in several groups, Young became known in the 1980s for his baritone voice and his music genres rock, blue-eyed soul and pop. From 1983 to 1993, all of Young's studio albums were released during a contract he had with Columbia Records, and since 1994, Young has released albums through Vision, East West and SonyBMG Records. Four of Young's albums, No Parlez (1983), The Secret of Association (1985), Between Two Fires (1986), and Other Voices (1990) feature Welsh bassist Pino Palladino. The subsequent release by Paul, The Crossing (1993), was produced by Don Was and featured a rhythm section with the late Jeff Porcaro on drums, along with Pino Palladino, James "Hutch" Hutchinson and Freddie Washington (bassist) on bass. The single "Now I Know What Made Otis Blue" is a highlight. Another exceptional track recorded for the "Crossing" album but which was not included on the initial release, a cover of James Brown's "Cold Sweat", was later released as a single and features Porcaro on drums, Hutch Hutchinson on bass, Ivan Neville on keys, Doyle Bramhall II on guitar and The Memphis Horns.
Several of Young's most famous songs are covers of the originals, such as his 1983 hit "Wherever I Lay My Hat", which is a cover of an original by Marvin Gaye; his cover of "Everytime You Go Away," originally by Hall & Oates; his 1990 hit "Oh Girl," which The Chi-Lites originally performed; and "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted," originally by Jimmy Ruffin. In the past decade, Young has released very little popular new material, and has only one hit since 2000, which was "Come Back", which he recorded with electronic dance music act Chicane, and featured on their 2010 album Giants. However, since 2000, Young has become famed for his frequent performances with his band Los Pacaminos, with whom he released the 2002 album Los Pacaminos.
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