Paul Young has been relegated to the “Who was he?” file, which is a goddamn shame. This man can interpret a song like nobody else. (He also had impressive skills in the mullet and moose knuckle department, as seen above.)
Although no one really remembers him except for nostalgic aging saddoes like me, back in 1985 he was THE SHIT. I mean, he was everywhere. You could not escape this man, no matter how hard you tried. His cover of Hall & Oates Every Time You Go Away was a huge hit, and he was all over MTV.
I had first become enraptured with him a few years before that, when I saw the video for Come Back and Stay.
His hair is so amazing in that video isn’t it? It’s kind of like a rooster or maybe a hedgehog. If I’m not mistaken, Star Hits magazine used to call him The Hedgehog. I’m almost 100% sure that I remember this, but if any of you readers remember otherwise, let me know. I couldn’t find any proof within easy reach.
When Paul Young wasn’t dating Simon le Bon’s leftovers (anyone remember Claire Stansfield?), he was touring and doing amazing mic twirls. One of my biggest regrets in life is that I never got to see him perform live in concert because he never came to Phoenix. Back in those days, I had no way to travel around the country and catch my favorite acts. If only I had been a little bit older!
I also missed out on Wham! in the 80s, but I did catch George Michael on his comeback tour a few years ago. However, Paul Young never got to have a comeback tour in the US.
I’m not sure why Paul isn’t more popular in America. He would be perfect for American Idol, because basically what he’s famous for is covering and reinterpreting other artist’s songs. He was 1985’s Susan Boyle, I guess. (Except he was cute!) Now all of the older artists like Rod Stewart and Barry Manilow are doing that “American Songbook” cover album. Paul Young should be cornering the market on this shit! What the what????
If you’re curious about Paul’s music, you should download his album No Parlez, which was his debut. Yes, it includes his cover of Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart, which is universally despised (except by me), but I swear it’s a classic album. That’s my favorite record, but all of his music is fabulous – he’s got a really soulful voice and such emotion when he sings.
Come on, Paul, why don’t you come back? Please hurry!
Oh and if you had any doubt or curiosity about Paul’s skills as a live performer, check this video out. When I was watching Live Aid unfold in front of my wondering eyes, this was one of the highlights of my day. (Look at him work the mic stand!)