Despite a loyal following ensuring decent receipts at live shows, Q-Tips failed to score a charting single in the UK and in 1982 front man Paul Young left for a solo career. Retaining only keyboardist Ian Kewley (now known as ‘The Rev’) from Q-Tips, Young set about assembling a new backing band to support him. The Family, as the band was to be called, was a fairly loose collective of musicians and singers, the only permanent members of which between 1982 and 1984 were The Rev and drummer Mark Pinder. Closely associated with them was another constant, producer Laurie Latham, who wasn’t credited as part of The Family but occasionally contributed percussion to some of their recordings.
Young’s first two post-Q-Tips singles were credited to Paul Young & The Family, but neither charted. First up in October ’82 was Iron Out The Rough Spots, with Matt Irving listed as The Family’s bass player. Also part of the line-up were Kim Leslie and Maz Roberts, two backing vocalists credited as ‘The W.T.’s’. (This, it was later revealed, stood for ‘Wealthy Tarts’, the name they gave to their vocal partnership.) Joining in time for Love Of The Common People in early ’83 was Rico Rodriguez on trombone, but this would be his only single with the band. By the time third single (and breakthrough hit, going to #1) Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home) was released, there had been a number of changes. Young was now billed as a solo artist and his backing band, which had undergone both name and personnel changes, were listed only on the reverse of the single’s sleeve. Now known as The Royal Family, Irving had been replaced on bass by new member Pino Palladino. Kim and Maz were not mentioned by name as they didn’t perform on this song, but they did receive ‘thanks’ in the sleeve notes; at the time, they were attending sessions for the recording of Young’s debut solo album.
That album was No Parlez (CBS CBS25521, 22 July 1983). As the choices for singles had indicated, it was chock full of cover versions of archive and recent material, but the performances from The Royal Family, the vocal improvisations of Kim and Maz, and skilful production from Latham, gave the album a polished, contemporary sound and allowed it to flow smoothly. The three singles to date had been tracks written in the 1960s (Love Of The Common People had been recorded by several acts in 1967, including The Everly Brothers; Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home) was an old Marvin Gaye song), but they rubbed shoulders comfortably with covers of recent compositions by Joy Division (Love Will Tear Us Apart) and Jack Lee (three songs).
One of Lee’s songs, Come Back And Stay, was chosen at the fourth single. Kim and Maz were now calling themselves ‘The Fabulous Wealthy Tarts’ and Steve Bolton, a recent recruit to The Royal Family, provided ghost guitar. Young ended 1983 with a reissue of Love Of The Common People, remixed to include contributions from Palladino and Bolton who hadn’t played on the original recording. (The contributions of Rodriguez and Irving weren’t removed from this mix of the song, but as they were not members of The Royal Family the sleeve noted that the song was ‘featuring’ them.) In between these two releases (which scored Young a further two Top 10 singles), No Parlez made the first of four visits to #1 in the album chart. It topped the chart for the first time in the week ending 17 September; returned for the first two weeks of October, then for a week in November, and finally for a fifth and final week in the week ending 14 January 1984. The first seven months of its 99 consecutive weeks on the album chart were spent in the Top 10 and it returned to the lower reaches of the chart several times in the winter of 1985/1986, bringing the total number of weeks on the chart to 119 and in the process earning triple-platinum status from the BPI for sales of close to a million copies in the UK alone.
NEW SINGLES on sale from May. 27
IMAGINATION (Leee John) Looking At Midnight (R&B Records RBS214)
Nick HEYWARD Take That Situation (Arista HEY2)
ORANGE JUICE (Edwyn Collins) Flesh Of My Flesh (Polydor OJ4)
Mari WILSON Wonderful (The Compact Organization PINK7)
Paul YOUNG Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home) (CBS CBSA3371)