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Standing on the Edge of Love

Paul Young was a 1980s teenage pop idol. He was famous for hit singles such as "Love of the Common People", "Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home)", "Come Back and Stay", "Everytime You Go Away" and "Oh Girl"

Paul Young: I’ve lost everything – but I’m not bitter…His marriage fell apart, his career self-destructed and he lost his fortune in a disastrous property deal. Now he works in his ex-wife’s restaurant… and he couldn’t be happier.

Young, at 52, looks remarkably fresh-faced. His signature dark hair is still lush, if greying slightly at the temples, and, for a man who has spent the better portion of his life in the music business, his face is unravaged. Dressed in jeans and cowboy boots, he looks extremely trim.

The trademark hair is greying at the temples, but at 52, Young looks remarkably fresh-faced

While personally he’s had a tough time, professionally he appears to be on a high. He has just re-released his multi-platinum-selling 1983 debut album No Parlez, which produced hit singles such as Love Of The Common People, Come Back And Stay and, of course, the Marvin Gaye cover Wherever I Lay My Hat. The album turned Paul into a star and put him firmly at the forefront of the white soul movement.

‘I still can’t believe it was 25 years ago,’ he says. ‘I mean, 25 years is half my life. I look at my kids and I don’t think they believe I was even in my 20s once. They probably think we rode around on horseback in those days.

‘When it came to re-releasing the album, we got all the master tapes out and they were falling to bits. But it was interesting going back over the songs. So much of a person’s success depends on fate. You can have talent, but unless you’re in the right place at the right time, then it isn’t going to happen for you. I was very lucky.’

Singing cured me of my stutter

Paul was a shy child with a terrible stutter but he displayed musical talent at an early age.

‘A large part of me becoming a performer was a make-or-break way of getting over that stutter,’ he says.

‘I sometimes wonder if, subliminally, that was part of the reason I got into the business, and the more I became a performer and grew in confidence, the less pronounced the stutter became.

‘My mum said I used to sing on the bus. I was about five and would simply sit, staring out of the window, singing to myself. When I got to the end of the song and everyone gave me a round of applause, it scared me because I was in my own little world, but I obviously loved singing even then.

But every time I mentioned music to my careers officers, they’d just smirk and gently push me in another direction.’

Paul Young was born in Luton, north of London in Bedfordshire, on January 17, 1956. He started his music career playing bass and guitar in several local bands, gradually working his way up to lead singer posts.

In the end, Paul followed his father into the car business and served an apprenticeship at Vauxhall Motors in Luton, but continued to play in a number of bands in his spare time.

In the late 1970s, he joined a group called Streetband, who had a Top 20 hit with the novelty track Toast, and soon afterwards, he joined the Q-Tips.

It was, he says, a tremendously happy time.

‘We were far from being the kind of band that threw TVs out of hotel windows. In fact, we carried our own toolbox with us so that if anything got broken, we could nail it back together and not be charged for it,’ he smiles.

‘If we could find a room with cotton sheets for £10 a night, we thought we’d arrived.

One time we nearly got killed when we were driving back from a gig and stopped to take a leak at the side of the road. We got back into our minibus but the road crew behind didn’t see us and drove straight into the bus, writing it off. Things like that make for great memories.

It makes me feel sad for people who win shows such as The X Factor. They’re halfway up the ladder already.

They don’t have to go through the whole slog of doing the circuit and they miss out on all the fun. It’s like being thrust into your life without having to go through your childhood, school, adolescence – everything that makes you who you are.’

The Secret of Association Album Cover

The Secret of Association is the second album by the British singer Paul Young. Released in 1985, it reached number one on the UK album charts and the Top 20 in the US. The album spawned the hit singles “Everytime You Go Away” (a #1 hit in the US and #4 in the UK), “I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down” (#9 UK, #13 US), “Everything Must Change” (#9 UK, #56 US), and “Tomb of Memories” (UK #16).

The album has been certified Double Platinum (600,000 copies sold) by the BPI in the UK[2], and Gold (500,000 copies sold) in the US by the RIAA

Lyrics to “Standing on the Edge”

He has had the secret sold to him
The door was open and you’re shaking in anticipation

Let you down just when you let him in
Now you only have to dance away the night again
Lately, lonely

He was old but never felt so young
Like a lion to the slaughtered lamb
He watched you crumble
Walked away before the dance begun
Still he says that he has loved you
Like he loved no other

The best kept secret hidden years
Is still wrapped up with pride and fear
Standing on the edge of love, moving round in circles
Standing on the edge of love, moving round
moving round, oh oh oh

Back to safety, back to well worn womb
Back to someone who is nothing more than passing time
Back to dreaming all that love lost grooms
Does it make you want to scream in anger, cry with rage

The best kept secret hidden years
Is still wrapped up with pride and fear

Standing on the edge of love, moving round in circles
Standing on the edge of love, moving round
moving round


1 Comment»

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