Monday, April 06, 2009

Number 404 - Paul Young

Number 404

Paul Young

"Wherever I Lay My Hat"

403 .........Genre: Vocal............ 405
Art by Ursmar
He was the "Great White Hope" of the Early 80's. And we had a few in the 80's who were to be [so called] heir apparent to "The King" Elvis Presley, for example Grayson Hugh, Mick Hucknell [Simply Red] & George Michael to name a few. And, Paul Young had mighty things said about him in the beginning .... "poised to dominate the remainder of the decade like no other vocalist could have" & "One of the greatest white eyed soul singers of our time".
So, what happened to this dominant force that was going to conquer Everest as if it was just a mere sand dune in the horizon? This question would probably be better answered on MythBusters, but then again, maybe not. He lost his voice in the mid to late 80's and it was as simple as that. But was he the "Great White Hope" of Soul you say? Well in all fairness, he probably was. Paul Young's voice [and the way he used it] was sublime, it was unique, instantly recognisable [he could take any song and make it his own, just like Joe Cocker in some ways] and was obviously created by some higher force other than two parents hooking up for a night over a bottle of vino ... if ya know what i mean. ~ crowbarred
Elvis who? Oh him
One of the most assured debut albums of the mid-'80s, and one of the finest pop-soul confections of all time, No Parlez was the record that, following from the stellar success of Paul Young's earliest hits, left him poised to dominate the remainder of the decade like no other vocalist could have. Three singles laid bare all that Young was so eminently capable of. "Wherever I Lay My Hat," a beautifully impassioned take on what was, in all fairness, never one of Marvin Gaye's greatest performances, left mouths hanging open in awe; a meaty revision of Nicky Thomas' "Love of the Common People" proved that the earlier performance was no fluke; and "Come Back and Stay" indicated that the boy wasn't only a great singer, he had access to some great originals as well. Add the idiosyncratic yowling of the so-evocatively-named Fabulous Wealthy Tarts backing singers, jabbing a wealth of seemingly meaningless refrains, yelps and cackles into the gaps around Young's own vocal and, before it was even on the racks, it was clear that No Parlez was going to be an invigorating ride.
Paul still Young @ 52
And still it was capable of shocks. The title track was borrowed from former Slapp Happy art rocker Anthony Moore's "Industrial Drums" (from his Only Choice album) -- scarcely the kind of role model that Young's apparent drive for pop superstardom normally looked towards, while Moore's erstwhile bandmate Dagmar Krause surfaced elsewhere, to layer mystifyingly Euro-flavored vocals over a deeply soulful version of "Love Will Tear Us Apart." Yes, that "Love Will Tear Us Apart," a song still so draped in the martyrdom of Ian Curtis of Joy Division that to even think of revising it was regarded as sacrilege in some quarters. Young did more than that, though, he reinvented it. As a whole, the album does not live up to its greatest moments -- once past that so-superlative "Love of the Common People," side two lags badly as it heads towards the nadir of the closing "Sex." Breathtakingly original in small doses, Laurie Latham's production (and the Wealthy Tarts' keening) both lose their appeal after a while.
What? I was never in Dirty Dancing!
One cannot help, too, but wish that the regular single mixes of the hits had been replaced by the superlative 12" mixes that accompanied their original release -- "Come Back and Stay," in particular, is up there with any Soft Cell or Frankie extension in the annals of classic 12"s. But though it's not flawless, still No Parlez is fearless and, looking back over Young's entire career (so far), one can only wonder how it all went so wrong? He could have ruled the decade like no other Brit of his age. Instead, the back cover photo simply makes him look like the younger brother of one of the guys who beat him to it. And you can bet Robert Smith [of the Cure] wasn't expecting that! ~ [Dave Thompson, All Music Guide]
Wherever I Lay My .... Phone? huh?
Only me tonight
"Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home)" is a song written by Marvin Gaye, Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield, first recorded by Gaye in 1962. The Temptations did it second in 1966 which was not releasd. Paul Young's version of the song was a UK number one single for three weeks in July 1983. The song was also recorded by reggae singer Cornell Campbell and by 2006 American Idol winner Taylor Hicks on his album. The Paul Young version is stylistically notable for its use of fretless bass played by Pino Palladino which gives it its distinctive style. It was major hit in the UK which broke Young as a star, although it fared less well on the Billboard Hot 100 where it peaked at #70. The song title was parodied by the indie band Super Furry Animals with their 1999 song 'Wherever I Lay My Phone (That's My Home)'. ~ [Source: Wikipedia]
For Elvis Presley see Number 443, #501 & #840
For Grayson Hugh see Number 620
For Simply Red see Number 737 & #791
For George Michael see Number 450, #821 & #581 [with Wham]
For Joe Cocker see Number 453 & #633
For Marvin Gaye See Number 611
For The Cure see Number 811
What does Rolling Stone think about Mr Young?
When the dust settles from the latest British invasion, Paul Young probably still won't have worn out his welcome in America. A better singer than any of those other smooth, carefully coifed Englishmen who've been crooning atop synth washes in the last few years, Young mixes cool technopop and warm soul. The album's showpiece, an old Marvin Gaye song called "Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home)," hit Number One in Britain and ought to have crossover power here – if Boy George can appeal to both pop and R&B fans, Young certainly can. As soulful and expressive a singer as either Gaye or George, Young raids American black-music classics and gives them contemporary settings, losing none of the emotional richness of the raw, original versions. Booker T.'s "Iron Out the Rough Spots" is made thoroughly new: Young's sexy, soulful vocal struts through the song while tweetering birds, shattering glass and lively marimbas fill out the mix. Even the old chestnut "Love of the Common People" has a bright, modern feeling: a woman's panting becomes a textural rhythm instrument through the use of an emulator, and the backup vocals chime like bells.
But this debut album from the former lead singer of a band called the Q-Tips is not without dreck: a whole slew of filler songs with titles like "Sex," "Tender Trap" and "Oh Women"–deceptively romantic titles for chilly songs–are nothing more than collages of studio tricks. Too much of the time, Young's musical director, Ian Kewley, shows off what he knows about vocoders, emulators and synthesizers and covers up what is this record's worthiest effect–Young's beautiful voice. ~ [Source: Rolling Stone RS 407]
For Boy George see Culture Club Number 512
For Booker T & the MGs see Number 421
Rolling Stone magazine deemed their '404th Song of all Time' was "Visions of Johanna" by Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan has appeared in The Definitive 1000 @ #491, #841 & #929
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (Ahhh nah nah nah) and the Album ranked at (We are not falling for this old trick where you make us look bad)
{too late}
This song has a Definitive 1000 rating of 78.3 out of 108
Search Artist here:1-2-3-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z

underlay trademe



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