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Paul Hardcastle

Paul Hardcastle (born 10 December 1957, London, England) is an English composer, musician, and multi-instrumentalist. Although he specializes in the synthesizer, he can also play multiple instruments.

In the early 1980s, Hardcastle played the keyboards on several singles on the Oval record label by the dance music groups Direct Drive and First Light, before going solo.

He achieved some acclaim for his early singles, notably in 1984, the electro-funk/freestyle/instrumental track, "Rain Forest", which along with the track "Sound Chaser", hit number two on the dance chart. "Rain Forest" also hit number five on the soul chart and number fifty-seven on the Hot 100. In 1985, he came to greater prominence with the international hit "19", a song about America's involvement in the Vietnam War and the effect it had on the soldiers who served, using sampled dialogue from an American television documentary about the post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by veterans. Producer Simon Fuller named his company '19 Entertainment' after the song, and the two are known to collaborate.

Hardcastle enjoyed several further hits in the UK, including "Don't Waste My Time" (with vocals by Carol Kenyon) (UK No. 8) and "The Wizard", a UK No. 15 hit that became the theme tune for BBC Television's music chart show Top of the Pops from April 1986 until September 1991. He also had a hit with "Just for Money", which reached No. 19 in the UK and featured Bob Hoskins and Laurence Olivier. Earlier, he had cut a cover version of D-Train's most influential hit "You're the One For Me", segued with his own compositions "Daybreak" and "A.M." Hardcastle also wrote the theme tune for Saturday Live, a popular entertainment show which ran from 1985–1987.

He also made the hit single "The Voyager", which was used for the BBC One programme Holiday.

After 1986, Hardcastle started to specialise in television soundtracks and remixed work, for artists as such as Five Star, Barry White, Third World, Sinitta, Johnny Logan, Hiroshima and Ian Dury. His piece "The Shuffle" was included in the soundtrack of the movie When the Wind Blows.

In 1988, Hardcastle released the concept album, No Winners, which focuses on the potential negative effects of the Cold War arms race. In 2000, he released Hardcastle III, which included a remake of "Rain Forest" and a hit single, "Desire".

Hardcastle has also recorded several synth jazz albums, alternating releases under the pseudonyms Kiss The Sky (with Jaki Graham) and The Jazzmasters, as well as under his real name Paul Hardcastle. Working regularly with vocalists such as Helen Rogers, Becki Biggins and Margo LeDuc, Hardcastle has recruited several saxophonists including Gary Barnacle (on the first album), Snake Davis, Phil Todd, Tony Woods and Rock Hendricks. All these albums have been played on smooth jazz radio in the United States, where some of the most played tracks include "Northern Lights", "Lost in Space", "Desire", "Shine", and "Serene". He won the Billboard Smooth Jazz Artist of the Year award in 2008.

2010's The Jazzmasters VI track "Touch and Go", featuring his son Paul Jr. on saxophone, reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Jazz songs chart, becoming his tenth number one on the Smooth Jazz chart in total.

His album, Hardcastle VI, released in September 2011, features yet another remake of "Rain Forest"—this time mixed with R&B legend Marvin Gaye's signature song, "What's Going On".

In February 2014, Hardcastle was appointed Chairman of NUA Entertainment, which was founded by one of the UK's top businessmen, Neil Utley and his wife, Nicky.


In the early 1980s, Hardcastle played keyboards on several singles on the Oval record label by the dance music groups Direct Drive and First Light, before going solo. He achieved some acclaim for his early singles, notably the instrumental, "Rain Forest" (1984), but came to greater prominence in 1985.
In early 1985, the release of the dance hit "19" brought Hardcastle acclaim and chart success. "19" was a straight-forward dance record, featuring stuttering samples of television narrator Peter Thomas speaking about Vietnam war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Initially unhappy about having his voice used in this way, Thomas later relented and allowed the single to be released.).

 

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