BiographyPaul Young was nearly inescapable on American pop radio and MTV in the summer of 1985. The soulful Brit had turned to like-minded Yanks Daryl Hall and John Oates for "Everytime You Go Away," a song from the duo's Voices album that ended up a No. 1 single for Young. Surrounded by up-to-date production, his rough-edged yet honeyed approach to the ballad made it an irresistible hit.
By the time of his U.S. triumph, the Bedfordshire, England-born singer was already a superstar in his homeland. After brief tenure in Streetband ("Touch") and the retro-soul unit Q-Tips, Young appeared as a backing vocalist on Squeeze's "Black Coffee in Bed." A year later, in 1983, his debut solo disc, No Parlez, was released. Sonically somewhere between high-gloss New Wave pop and classic Memphis soul, the album also claimed a similarly eclectic track listing: the Waylon Jennings hit "Love of the Common People," Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart," Marvin Gaye's "Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home)" and former Nerves ("Hanging on the Telephone") member Jack Lee's "Come Back and Stay" were among its finest moments. It produced three Top 5 U.K. singles, including a No. 1 in the Gaye song, and sold more than a million copies in Great Britain alone. Young also appeared on Band Aid's 1984 benefit song, "Do They Know It's Christmas?"
The Secret of Association featured "Everytime You Go Away" and a follow-up single, the Hi Records-born standard "I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down." While Young never quite matched that chart performance again, he had established himself as a U.S. radio presence. Soon he was a go-to guy for both programmers and movie music supervisors. Another cover, this time the Chi-Lites' "Oh Girl," helped sustain his profile, and the Kathy Bates film Fried Green Tomatoes drew on a Young version of the Motown favorite "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted." While voice problems led to a curtailment of his work later in the 1990s, Young is fondly recalled on both sides of the water. His side project Los Pacaminos issued an album in 2002.