Artist of the Month: Billy Ocean
March 1, 2019
As Pop’s Premier Party Patriarch prepares to undertake yet another superb series of shows, we celebrate Billy Ocean, our Artist of the Month for March.
There’s a very good reason why Billy Ocean’s career and popularity have endured for almost 50 years. Some might point to his incredible voice which, after all these years, shows no signs of faltering, while others might choose to go for music that refuses to date as it transcends the decades. Some could pick his boundless energy that spreads from the stage to the audience to ensure moving hips and feet.
Of course, it’s all of those things, but central to the appeal of Billy Ocean is an unrestrained sense of joy that’s not only palpable but also utterly infectious. Devoid of cynicism, skepticism and scorn, Billy Ocean is the personification of the very best that life can offer. This is pop in its widest, purest and best sense, so it comes as no surprise that Billy Ocean is set to thrill audiences as he tours the UK, Europe, US and Australia once again.
Born in Trinidad and Tobago in 1950 and transplanted to England at the age of 10, the young Billy Ocean – then still Leslie Sebastian Charles – was first drawn to calypso music before widening his tastes to take in soul and rock music.
His success came with the adoption of his stage name and his first release as Billy Ocean – the glorious ‘Love Really Hurts Without You’ – shot up the UK charts to peak at No.2 while cracking the Billboard Top 100. The follow-up singles, ‘L.O.D. (Love On Delivery)’ and ‘Stop Me (If You’ve Heard It All Before)’ proved to be well-received club hits, while the non-album single, ‘Red Light Spells Danger’, replicated the success of his debut single.
Global success struck for Billy with the release of ‘Caribbean Queen (No More Love On The Run)’, which was taken from his 1984 album, ‘Suddenly’. A global smash-hit, it saw Billy take home the Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and it was swiftly followed up by hits in the shape of ‘Loverboy’ and the album’s title track. Little wonder that Billy was invited to play the American leg of Live Aid in 1985.
Billy’s status as an international talent was cemented with the release of his 1986 album, ‘Love Zone’. In addition to providing US hits ‘Love Is Forever’ and the title song, the album also contained the worldwide smashes ‘There’ll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry) and ‘When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going’. The latter broke through to an even wider audience when it was used as the theme song to the Michael Douglas/Kathleen Turner-starring adventure movie, ‘The Jewel In The Nile’.
Proving himself as one of the most durable and popular artists of the era, his next album, 1988’s ‘Tear Down These Walls’, went platinum and featured the UK Top 3 single, ‘Get Out Of My Dreams, Get Into My Car’.
Taking an extended break after 1993’s ‘Time To Move On’, Billy Ocean returned with the album ‘Because I Love You’ in 2009. It was followed a year later with a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award at the MOBOs.
And as Billy Ocean gets ready to hit the road again, the guarantee of outstanding music from Pop’s Premiere Party Patriarch has never been stronger.
Billy Ocean has released a stunning new animated video for his 1976 hit single, ‘Love Really Hurts Without You’, in celebration of his self-titled debut album’s 45th anniversary this year.Read more
‘One World’, the new album from Billy Ocean and his first new material in ten years, is out now.Read more
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