Paul Young was one of the biggest names of the 1980’s – appearing on Live Aid’s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas and releasing a string of hit albums including the legendary “No Parlez.” Some of Paul’s biggest hits include ‘Every Time You Go Away’, ‘Everything Must Change’, ‘Love Of The Common People’ and ‘Wherever I Lay My Hat’ and we’re thrilled he’ll be joining our entertainment line-up for what will be an absolute cracker of an evening at The Green Room Christmas Live.
Paul Young was born January 17th, 1956, and his interest in music dates to when he was young and learned to play the piano and then the guitar. On leaving school he worked for Vauxhall Motors and played in various bands at night. He played bass guitar in his first and second band, but always wanted to be the lead singer. However, his preferred style of music, blues and in particular soul, was not that popular in Luton. So, his second band, Kat Kool & The Kool Kats, gave him a small section in the middle of the set where Paul chose to sing covers of Bill Withers and Albert King amongst others.
With greater ambitions for his musical career, Young left the Kool Kats, moved to London in 1976 and took up the offer to join the better known Streetband.
Streetband had been on the circuit for a while but were in desperate need for a front man. After Paul joined the band, they secured a record deal with Logo and when recording for the first single “Hold On” commenced, the band decided a new song, ‘Toast’ would make a great B-side.
Although the rest of their material was more Cockney Rock, “Toast” was flipped to become the single’s “A” side and became a huge hit. The band responded by playing everything louder, angrier, and faster, and scared any fans they may have had away…
In 1979 Streetband broke up and together with the bass player and rhythm guitarist, Paul went on to form the Q-Tips. During the next three years Paul introduced himself to more and more of the British public through the Q-Tips extensive touring. This period of intense activity gave Paul the chance to develop his unique voice and stage persona.
Despite competing with chart-topping acts of the time like Madness and playing over 700 shows in three years across the UK and Europe, supporting huge acts like Bob Marley, The Who and J.Geils Band, success was not forthcoming in the way Young had imagined. Eventually the Q-Tips found that in the new wave of synth-pop duos, their large membership of musicians worked against them. After struggling to find a new record deal, they went their separate ways at the end of 1982.
By the end of 1982 Paul had signed as a solo artist with CBS/SONY Records and their first project was to surround Paul with R&B musicians and produce an album that the Q-Tips ‘should have made’.
The first single released in the UK was ‘Iron Out The Rough Spots’ in November 1982 but despite strong radio support it wasn’t a success; initially it was the same for the following release ‘Love Of the Common People’. Success came at last with ‘Wherever I Lay My Hat’, which maintained the number 1 spot for the summer of 1983. The album ‘No Parlez’ pushed Paul to the top of the charts.
After an exhausting touring schedule around the world (that at one point had Paul doing 13 live shows in 14 days across America), the end of 1984 saw Paul singing the first line of the historical Band Aid record ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ for Ethiopian Famine Relief.
With the second album, ‘The Secret Of Association’ his status as a world star was confirmed. ‘Every Time You Go Away’ hit number one in America in the summer of 1985, (shortly after his appearance at the historic Live Aid). It was and still is his biggest worldwide hit to date.
In 1987 he went to studios in Milan to record his third album ‘Between Two Fires’ and after a period out to be with his family, travelled back to America to write and record the material for his fourth album ‘Other Voices’. Released in 1990, it features a duet with Chaka Khan on Bobby Womack’s ‘(You’re Welcome) Stop On By’ alongside appearances by Steve Winwood, Nile Rodgers, David Gilmour and Stevie Wonder. During this period Paul appeared in The Nelson Mandela Tribute Concert and sang ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ by Crowded House. So popular was his cover, fans pushed him to record his version for his Greatest Hits album in 1991.
1992 was spent touring the world, which culminated in Paul’s wonderful appearance at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert singing “Radio Gaga” and the release of what turned out to be his final album for Sony, ‘The Crossing’ in 1993.
Paul spent much of the late 1990’s and 2000’s on musical hiatus but continued to write and produce during this time, forming “Los Pacaminos” with a group of friends. In 2009 however, Paul was back touring, travelling to Israel, New Zealand, and Croatia for the first time. These dates were in support of the “No Parlez” 25th Anniversary Edition” re-release of his first Solo Album….
In 2016 Paul released a new solo album ‘Good Thing’, and in late 2018, Paul embarked on the first leg of a tour to celebrate 35 years since the release of “No Parlez”. This continued in the late spring of 2019 through Europe and the UK ending in July with a trip to Japan and a support slot on the UK Cher tour in Oct/Nov.
What’s Next for Paul Young?
The coronavirus put musicians into a forced hiatus for the best part of two years, so during lockdown Paul looked back at many projects he’s undertaken that were unfinished for various reasons. The best of this material was completed during this period and will be heard on a new album, ‘Behind The Lens’, due to be released in 2022.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of “No Parlez”, Paul is touring the UK too, where he’ll meet fans, sing hits, and tell stories about his incredible career
Key Paul Young Facts:
- He is a keen cook and has appeared on Celebrity Masterchef and Hell’s Kitchen.
- 1984 – won the Brit Award for Best New Artist
- 1985 – won the Brit Award for Best Male.
- One of the featured vocalists on ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ by Band Aid.