Born: December 10, 1957 Primary Instrument: Synthesizer
Paul Hardcastle (born December 10, 1957, London) is an English composer and musician, specializing in the synthesizer.
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 popular instrumental, Rainforest (1984), but came to greater prominence in 1985.
The 1985 release of 19, brought Hardcastle acclaim and chart success. 19 was a dance record, featuring stuttering samples of television narrator Peter Thomas speaking about Vietnam war veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder. Initially unhappy about having his voice used in this way, Thomas relented and allowed the single to be released. A number one hit single for Chrysalis Records in the United Kingdom for five weeks, the record topped the charts in both France and Germany in two versions, the English language original and an authorised local language alternative. Altogether it was number one in thirteen countries, selling just under three million copies worldwide.
UK prog rock musician Mike Oldfield claimed that a melodic element of 19 had been copied from a sequence of his multi-million selling concept album, Tubular Bells, and a settlement was made. Simon Fuller, who was Hardcastle's manager at the time of 19's release later adopted the title for his company, 19 Management.
Hardcastle enjoyed several further hits in the UK, including Don't Waste My Time (with vocals by Carol Kenyon) (UK #8) and The Wizard, a UK #15 and also the theme tune from BBC Television's Top of the Pops. He also had a hit with Just For Money, which reached #19 in the UK. 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.. Paul Hardcastle also wrote the theme tune for Saturday Live, a popular entertainment show which ran from 1985-1987.
After 1986, Hardcastle started to specialise in TV soundtracks and remix work, for artists as such as Five Star, Barry White, Third World, Sinitta, Johnny Logan, Hiroshima and Ian Dury.
Hardcastle has also recorded several acclaimed synth jazz albums, alternating releases under the artist names The Jazzmasters, and Paul Hardcastle. Working regularly with vocalist Helen Rogers, Hardcastle has recruited several top saxophonists including Gary Barnacle (on the first album), Snake Davis, Phil Todd and Tony Woods. All these albums have been played heavily 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. In 1988, Hardcastle released the concept album, No Winners, which focusses on the potential negative effects of the Cold War arms race.
1999 voted Billboards British Best Contemporary Jazz Artist of the Year.