For Paul Young, the second half of 1985 began at Live Aid, at which he performed his hits Come Back And Stay and Every Time You Go Away, as well as duetting with Alison Moyet and singing in the ensemble for the concert’s finale with Do They Know It’s Christmas?. Thereafter, the UK saw little of him as promotion of his album The Secret Of Association had ended; he still had singles to promote in the US and other territories and so he went where he needed to. Also, there was the next album to record.
This was Between Two Fires, which was given a surprisingly low-key release in the autumn of 1986. That’s not to say that CBS didn’t back it – there was a comprehensive campaign of press adverts, the usual fly posters announcing its arrival, etc – but interviews with Young himself were in shorter supply than they had been in the past, and the lead single chosen was the ballad Wonderland, a rather fragile song which was hardly likely to draw attention to its parent album. It did at least make the Top 40, which was more than its follow-up Some People did. The album itself sold modestly in comparison to its #1 hit predecessors, managing only a few months on the chart and peaking at its entry position of #4.
In Smash Hits (11-24 February 1987) he spoke about his recent chart performance: “I’m not disappointed. Other people are disappointed because they want me to be mega. I’m just trying things. I quite enjoy the fact that the hysteria’s died down a bit.” He did concede that leading with Wonderland was a mistake however, and the Smash Hits interview was published just as a third track from the album was issued as a single, Why Does A Man Have To Be Strong?. “I made a stupid move not putting it out first. I wrote most of that song in a matter of minutes like a lot of the best songs,” he said. But in a three-page feature, interestingly these were the only ‘business-related’ matters discussed. Throughout the rest of the piece, his focus seemed to be elsewhere. Asked what he’d like to do next, he said “something completely different and off-the-wall… like getting lost for a while, going potholing or looking at animals in Africa.” In fact, family matters dominated for the rest of the 1987, with the birth of a child in March and getting married in November.
His profile for the rest of the 1980s was very low, with no further releases.
☛ What happened next
Young returned in 1990 with the album Other Voices, which included two Top 40 hits – one of which, Oh Girl, made #8 In America. The following year, he had a #4 hit here with Senza Una Donna, a duet with Italian star Zucchero (Young had repeatedly expressed affection for Italy and Italian culture in interview over the past few years). The single, and the Top 20 hit Don’t Dream It’s Over (a cover of a Crowded House track) were tasters from From Time To Time – The Singles Collection, a compilation of his most popular songs that returned him to #1 on the album chart. (Numerous compilations have been issued since, but this remains the only significant seller. Only The Essential in 2003 has sold well enough to chart in the Top 40.)
In 1992 his cover of What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted, recorded for the soundtrack of the film ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’, reached #22 in the US but was not selected for release here. His then released his last studio album for CBS (or, as it had become by this point, Sony) which was called The Crossing. It contained what was probably his best single of the 90s, Now I Know What Made Otis Blue, which almost made the Top 10 here in the autumn of 1993. “Every artist wants to change, yet every record company wants them to stay the same,” he said of his split with Sony. So in the same year, he took the opportunity to do something different with his music. Looking back, he reformed Q-Tips for a brief tour; looking forward, he put together a loose collection of like-minded musicians to form Tex-Mex band Los Pacaminos. Primarily focused on gigs in small venues such as pubs and clubs, eventually Los Pacaminos developed into a more permanent outfit in the early 2000s and have to date released two albums of their own. They have also been the support act at gigs where Young has been headlining.
Young’s solo career since his last major album (1997’s Paul Young, which included a single called I Wish You Love which just made top 40) has largely been associated with the nostalgia circuit. He has performed on 80s revival tours such as the Here And Now concerts, and earlier this year a comprehensive collection of his recordings, Tomb Of Memories – The CBS Years 1982 – 1984, was released. Although in the last 2 years he has had only one hit single and spent fewer than a dozen weeks on the album chart in the UK, his visibility in recent years has improved with spots on celebrity challenge series and panel shows. His musical career and membership of Los Pacaminos continues.
NEW SINGLES on sale from Nov. 17
Kate BUSH December Will Be Magic Again (EMI EMI5121)
DEXY’S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS (Kevin Rowland) Keep It Part Two (Inferiority Part One) (Late Night Feelings R6042)
The COMMUNARDS (Jimmy Somerville) So Cold The Night (London LON110)
EURYTHMICS Miracle Of Love (RCA DA9)
Howard JONES You Know I Love You … Don’t You? (WEA HOW11)
Julian LENNON Midnight Smoke (Charisma VAD1)
Paul YOUNG Some People (CBS YOUNG2)