Paul Young

Paul Young is an English soul-pop singer who first recorded with Streetband, which made two albums and charted with the 1978 novelty song “Toast.” In 1980, he fronted the R&B septet Q-Tips on one self-titled Chrysalis album.

As a solo artist, Young released the 1983–86 CBS albums No Parlez, The Secret of Association, and Between Two Fires, followed (after a pause) by the 1990 release Other Voices. His biggest hits include “Come Back and Stay,” “Everything Must Change,” and interpretations of songs by Marvin Gaye (“Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home)”), the Four Preps (“Love of the Common People”), Hall & Oates (“Everytime You Go Away”), Ann Peebles (“I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down”), and the Chi-Lites (“Oh Girl”). 

At the height of his fame, Young sang the first four lines on “Do They Know It’s Christmas?,” the holiday 1984 global hit by the British all-star charity group Band Aid.


Paul Antony Young was born on January 17, 1956, in Luton, Bedfordshire; the middle child of Doris (a secretary) and Tony Young.> As a teenager, Paul played football with work colleagues at Vauxhall Motors and did stints as a bassist in assorted local bands. His time in the unsigned Kat Kool & the Kool Kats marked his first experience as a lead vocalist.


Young first recorded with Streetband, a pop-rock quintet with rhythm guitarist John Gifford, bassist Mick Pearl, drummer–percussionist Vince “Chaulkie” Chaulk (ex-Mr. Big), and lead guitarist Roger Kelly (a late-period Starry Eyed and Laughing member). They signed with Logo, the successor to the folk-oriented Transatlantic Records label with a small roster of singer–songwriters and rock acts (Duncan Browne, Gerry Rafferty, Meal Ticket, The Tourists).

In September 1978, Streetband debuted with “Hold On,” a Young–Gifford–Kelly original backed with “Toast,” a sung-spoken cockney reggae novelty credited to their manager, Bernard Kelly. Blockheads keyboardist Chaz Jankel produced both sides, which Logo flipped after Capitol Radio DJ Kenny Everett put “Toast” in high rotation. The song’s celebration of teatime toast proved timely in light of the 1978 baker’s strike and consequent bread shortage.

“Toast” reached No. 18 on the UK Singles Chart. Streetband mimed it on the November 2, 1978, broadcast of the BBC music program Top of the Pops (TotP), which featured autumn hits by the Skids (“The Saints Are Coming”), Elton John (“Part Time Love”), Donna Summer (“MacArthur Park”), Frankie Miller (“Darlin”’), Three Degrees (“Giving Up, Giving In”), Elkie Brooks (“Don’t Cry Out Loud”), Queen (“Fat Bottomed Girls”), and ex-Sweeney Todd frontman Nick Gilder (“Hot Child In the City”). Young sports feathered hair and a white leisure suit in the Streetband segment, which intercuts the sound-stage performance with clips of the band preparing toast in a “too many cooks in the kitchen” scenario.

Streetband released their first album, London, in November 1978 on Logo. It features “Toast” and both sides of the followup single: “One More Step” (a belted uptempo rocker) and “Things Are Never Quite What They Seem” (a jazz-pop harmony number). Jankel produced the album, which features his then-employer Ian Dury on “Mystery,” a gumshoe comedy piece with perky, angular key changes and spoken-word ‘suspense’ sections. Side One houses “Happy Families,” a winding, propulsive song interspersed with power chords. Side Two contains the lyrical ska-tinged “Any Message” and the riff-laden rocker “His Finest Hour,” an abrupt prelude to the disco-fied “Love Sign” and punkish “Loud Music.”

Streetband’s second album, Dilemma, appeared in 1979 on Logo. It features nine originals, mostly co-written by Gifford, Kelly, and Young, including the opening track “Mirror Star” (not the recent Fabulous Poodles song). Squeeze keyboardist Jools Holland guests on “One Good Reason” and the title track. Former Rabbitt mastermind (and future Yes guitarist) Trevor Rabin plays keyboards on four tracks: “It’s No Problem,” “Here Comes That Man,” “Call Me Soon,” and “Slaughterhouse Five.” The album cover shows the band in stilts and long pants.

Streetband recorded both albums at the Kinks-owned Konk Studios. After Dilemma, Chaulk and Roger Kelly departed while Young, Gifford, and Pearl folded Streetband for a new venture.

The Q-Tips

In late 1979, Paul Young and Streetband colleagues John Gifford and Mick Pearl formed the Q-Tips with guitarist Dave Lathwell, drummer Barry “Baz” Watts, organist Ian Kewley, and a four-piece horn section composed of trumpeter Tony Hughes and saxophonists Steve Farr (baritone) Richard Blanchchard (tenor), and Oscar Stuart Blandamer (alto).

Kewley had prior stints in Samson, Strider, and Limey. Farr and Bladamer appeared as guests on the 1973 Status Quo album Hello! Lathwell played in the 1974 one-off Dragonfly, a Bliss Band precursor.

The Q-Tips made their live debut on November 18, 1979, at the Queens Arms Hotel in Harrow. In their first four weeks, they notched sixteen shows. By spring, they trimmed to an eight-piece without Lathwell and Blanchchard.

On March 28, 1980, the Q-Tips released their first single: “S.Y.S.L.J.F.M. (The Letter Song),” a Joe Tex cover backed with the Gifford–Young original “The Dance.” The initial release, on self-press Shotgun Records, impressed Chrysalis, which signed Q-Tips as a sixties-style R&B counterpart to the label’s influx of brassy ska big bands (The Specials, The Selecter).

As sessions commenced on their album, co-founder Gifford cleared for guitarist Garth Watt-Roy, the brother of Blockhead bassist Norman Watt-Roy and a onetime member of Fuzzy Duck, East of Eden, Steamhammer, Limey, and (with Norman) The Greatest Show On Earth, a brass-rock big band responsible for the 1970 Harvest albums Horizons and The Going’s Easy.

The Q-Tips released their self-titled album in August 1980 on Chrysalis. It features the pre-released a-side “S.Y.S.L.J.F.M.” and both sides of their second single: “Tracks of My Tears,” a cover of the Miracles classic backed with “Different World,” a Gifford–Young original. Q-Tips also contains covers of sixties soul hits by Dobie Gray (“The In Crowd”) and the Soul Brothers Six (“Some Kinda Wonderful,” not the Goffin–King Drifters hit, despite the credits).

Blandamer wrote two songs: “You Are the Life Inside of Me” and the third Q-Tips single “A Man Can’t Lose (What He Don’t Have).” Side One contains the group-written “Please Don’t Stay At Home.” Each side closes with a Young–Watt-Roy co-write: “(Now I’m Left With A) Beautiful Memory” and “Keep Your Shoes On.”

Onetime Junco Partner Bob Sargeant produced Q-Tips in sequence with titles by Any Trouble, The Beat, The Carpettes, Headline, and the Monochrome Set. The cover shows the Q-Tips posed sixties showband style in matching stage suits (blue on red) against a yellow backdrop with Paul (center) in a reverse scheme (red on blue). The back cover presents the name, titles, and credits in mid-century modern graphics.

The Q-Tips appeared on the UK music programs Rock Goes to College, BBC Television’s In Concert, and The Old Grey Whistle Test

In May 1981, the Q-Tips released “Stay the Way You Are,” an XDreamysts cover backed with the Pearl–Far–Watt-Roy originals “Sweet Talk” and “Lookin’ For Some Action,” both live numbers produced by Al Kooper.

Blandamer cleared for saxophonist Nick Payn, a Moon alumni and sessionist on albums by Jasper and Stonebridge McGuinness. Chrysalis released the Q-Tips, which released the Everly Brothers cover “Love Hurts” (a 1974–75 hit for Nazareth and Traffic‘s Jim Capaldi) on the new wave indie label Rewind (backed with the Temptations cover “I Wish It Would Rain”). In Europe, “Love Hurts” appeared in a picture sleeve on RCA (Germany) and Vogue (France).

In just over two years, the Q-Tips performed approximately 700 shows, including bills with Thin Lizzy, Bob Marley, the Average White Band, After the Fire, and the J. Geils Band. In 1981, they played the Montreux Jazz Festival and opened for The Who on a twelve-date UK tour.

In early 1982, Young signed to CBS as a solo artist and retained Kewley for his new backing band. Adam Ant enlisted Farr, Hughes, Blandamer, and Watts for his transatlantic Friend or Foe tour. Ant retained the musicians (minus Blandamer) for his subsequent Strip tour. Meanwhile, Young (along with Elvis Costello) sang backing vocals on the 1982 Squeeze hit “Black Coffee in Bed.”

Solo Career

Paul Young assembled a backing band, The Royal Family, with Ian Kewley, guitarist Steve Bolton, drummer Mark Pinder, fretless bassist Pino Palladino. Bolton had prioy stint in Atomic Rooster (1971–73), Headstone (1974–75), and played on 1977–81 albums by Joe O’Donnell, Zaine Griff, Richard Strange, and (with Pinder, keyboardist Matt Irving, and percussionist–soundman Laurie Latham) Philip Rambow and the Vampire Bats From Lewisham. Palladino’s fretless work dominates I Assassin, the 1982 fourth solo album by Gary Numan.

Young augmented The Royal Family with the Fabulous Wealthy Tarts, a pair of backing singers (Maz Roberts and Kim Leslie) who appeared on the 1981 album by Jools Holland & His Millionaires.

On October 8, 1982, Paul Young released his debut solo single “Iron Out the Rough Spots,” a Don Covay cover backed with the Young–Kewley original “Behind Your Smile.”

No Parlez

Paul Young released his first solo album, No Parlez, on July 22, 1983, on CBS.

1. “Come Back and Stay” (Jack Lee) – 4:57
2. “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (Ian Curtis, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris, Bernard Sumner) – 5:00
3. “Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home)” (Marvin Gaye, Barrett Strong, Norman Whitfield) – 5:18
4. “Ku Ku Kurama” (Steve Bolton) – 4:19
5. “No Parlez” (Anthony Moore) – 4:57
6. “Love of the Common People” (John Hurley and Ronnie Wilkins) – 4:56
7. “Oh Women” (Jack Lee) – 3:35
8. “Iron Out the Rough Spots” (Steve Cropper, Booker T. Jones, David Porter) – 4:47
9. “Broken Man” (Ian Kewley, Paul Young) – 3:54
10. “Tender Trap” (Ian Kewley, Paul Young) – 4:32
11. “Sex” (Jack Lee) – 4:49

Recorded 1982–1983
Studio The Workhouse, London
Laurie Latham – producer, engineer
Tim Young – mastering
CBS Studios (London) – mastering location
Jason Bakx – sleeve artwork
Eric Watson – photography
Barry Watts – inner sleeve photography,
Mark Irving – inner sleeve photography
Martin Serene – inner sleeve photography

Paul Young – lead vocals, backing vocals, guitars (1, 10), arrangements
Ian Kewley – acoustic piano, Oberheim OB-X, E-mu Emulator, vocoder, atmospheric sounds, strings, marimbas, bells, backing vocals, arrangements
Matt Irving – ARP synthesizer, Roland MC-4 Microcomposer, guitars, bass guitar (2, 7), backing vocals
Steve Bolton – acoustic piano doodlings, guitars, lap steel guitar
Pino Palladino – bass guitar (1, 3–6, 8, 10, 11, 12), Chapman Stick (1, 10)
Mark Pinder – drums, Simmons drums, Roland TR-808, percussion, cowbells
Rico Rodriguez – trombone (7, 11)
Laurie Latham – arrangements
Kim Lesley – backing vocals, congas (12)
Maz Roberts – backing vocals
Eyethu [Nimsa Calliza, Dagmar Krause, Chief Dawethi, Eyethu, Zundi Lekau, Wally Loate, Jabu Mbato, Fats Mogoboya and Norman Zulu] – backing vocals (5)

“Love of the Common People”
Released: 7 January 1983

“Wherever I Lay My Hat”
Released: 27 May 1983

“Come Back and Stay”
Released: 2 September 1983

“Love Will Tear Us Apart”
Released: February 1984

The Secret of Association

Paul Young released his second solo album, The Secret of Association, on March 25, 1985, on CBS.

1. “Bite the Hand That Feeds” (Billy Livsey, Graham Lyle) – 4:31
2. “Everytime You Go Away” (Daryl Hall) – 4:24
3. “I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down” (Earl Randle) – 5:05
4. “Standing on the Edge” (Andrew Barfield) – 4:38
5. “Soldier’s Things” (Tom Waits) – 6:21
6. “Everything Must Change” – 5:35
7. “Tomb of Memories” – 3:53
8. “One Step Forward” – 3:42
9. “Hot Fun” – 4:26
10. “This Means Anything” – 3:13
11. “I Was in Chains” (Gavin Sutherland) – 5:42
12. “Man in the Iron Mask” (Billy Bragg) – 3:13 (Not included on vinyl record or U.S. releases.)

Producer and Engineer – Laurie Latham
Additional Engineers – Stewart Barry and James Illes
Mastered by Tim Young
Art Direction and Design – Rob O’Conner
Cover Photography – Simon Fowler
Inner Sleeve Photos – “Everyone”

Paul Young – lead vocals, backing vocals, arrangements
Ian Kewley – acoustic piano, Hammond organ, Yamaha DX7, Oberheim OB-Xa, Fairlight CMI, E-mu Emulator, arrangements
Steve Bolton – guitars
John Turnbull – guitars, electric sitar (2)
B. J. Cole – pedal steel guitar
Matt Irving – keyboard bass
Pino Palladino – bass guitar, Chapman stick
Mark Pinder – drums, Simmons drums, LinnDrum, Roland TR-808, percussion
Marc Chantereau – percussion
Laurie Latham – effects, arrangements
Nick Payn – saxophone (7)
Paul Nieman – trombone (5)
Jim Paterson – trombone (9)
Mark Feltham – bass harmonica (11)
Graham Preskett – violin (11)
Jimmy Chambers – backing vocals
George Chandler – backing vocals
Ged Doherty – backing vocals
Tony Jackson – backing vocals
Kim Lesley – backing vocals
Maz Roberts – backing vocals
Chris Difford – backing vocals (7)
Glenn Tilbrook – backing vocals (7)

“I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down”
Released: October 1984

“Everything Must Change”
Released: November 1984

“Everytime You Go Away”
Released: February 1985
“Tomb of Memories”
Released: June 1985

Between Two Fires

Paul Young released his third solo album, Between Two Fires, on October 20, 1986, on CBS. It features seven Young–Kewley originals, including the singles “Some People” and “Why Does a Man Have to Be Strong?” They wrote two additional songs (“In the Long Run,” “Prisoner of Conscience”) with bassist Pino Palladino.

1. “Some People” (4:42)
2. “Wonderland” (Betsy Cook) – 4:56
3. “War Games” (Andrew Barfield) – 4:16
4. “In the Long Run” (4:14)
5. “Wasting My Time” (5:11)
6. “Prisoner of Conscience” (4:18)
7. “Why Does a Man Have to Be Strong?” (4:19)
8. “A Certain Passion” (4:12)
9. “Between Two Fires” (3:48)
10. “Wedding Day” (4:49)
11. “Steps to Go” (5:12)

In the spring–summer of 1987, Young performed as the opening act for Genesis on their world tour behind Invisible Touch.



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