Following the sad demise of The Q Tips in September 1982, vocalist Paul Young signed a solo record deal with CBC/Columbia and released Iron Out The Rough Spots as his debut single. This was followed closely by an unsuccessful cover of Nicky Thomas’ hit Love Of The Common People.
With his gravel croak, porcupine mullet and fists clenched to his chest, Young was white boy soul personified.
Assembling a backing band (called The Royal Family) containing ex-Q Tips and songwriting partner Ian Kewley (keyboards), Young recorded a cover of the Marvin Gaye song Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home) which topped the UK charts in 1983 and was declared Single of the Week by the NME.
His debut solo album No Parlez also hit #1 in the UK and included soulful covers of Joy Division‘s Love Will Tear Us Apart and the aforementioned Love of the Common People and Wherever I Lay My Hat.
In September 1983 Young began his first headlining solo tour of the UK with The Royal Family, and backing singers The Fabulous Wealthy Tarts.
The following month, the single Come Back And Stay hit the charts, peaking at #4. Meanwhile, Love of the Common People was re-released and, this time, made it to #2.
A US tour followed in 1984 as his singles began charting in the US Top 100. The touring continued to take in Australia and Japan as No Parlez headed towards worldwide sales of seven million. Unfortunately, Young’s voice went on him in August, forcing a two-month rest and the cancellation of several dates.
At the same time, The Fabulous Wealthy Tarts left The Royal Family, as did guitarist Steve Bolton. A new singing soul trio was added to the backing group, comprising George Chandler, Tony Jackson and Jimmy Chambers.
Young’s next single (I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down) hit #9 and in November, he contributed a lead vocal line to the historic recording of Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Band Aid.
The hits kept coming in 1985 with Every Time You Go Away and Tomb Of Memories, while Young released his second album (The Secret of Association) and sang a duet with Alison Moyet at the Live Aid benefit concert at Wembley Stadium in London on 13 July.
A swag of BRIT Awards and appearances at the Prince’s Trust Rock Gala rounded out the 80s for Young, while he released the Between Two Fires album and moved to the island of Jersey for tax purposes.
For all their fretless bass romance, Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home), Come Back And Stay (1983) and wedding disco favourite Every Time You Go Away still prompt gooey feelings inside while begging the question: whatever happened to Paul Young?
He last cracked the Top 10 with 1991’s slow dance with guttural Italian Zucchero – Senza Una Donna (“Without A Woman”). These days, Paul plays in a Tex Mex band in the UK called Los Pacaminos.