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.