Although he was worked in the music business for 20 years, and hit the number 1 spot in the charts in 13 different countries, Paul Hardcastle is still generally unknown. Born and brought up in East London, his musical career started after he began playing around with a synthesiser back in 1981 -- the very early days of electronic music.

Sticking to a soulful style of music he put out a couple of records which did moderately well but never set the world alight. Then in 1984, deciding to return to the electronic sounds he'd experimented with earlier, he formed his own record label and produced "Rainforest", a melodic, haunting track which was a massive club success. Not just a success in Britain and Europe, "Rainforest" became a massive hit in the USA, even knocking Madonna's "Like A Virgin" from the number one position in the 12" charts. Very much ahead of its time, Rainforest was pretty much what today would be called a trance style of music: but this was '84 and house had yet to break out of the dance clubs and into the mainstream, let alone its myriad derivatives.

Nevertheless Rainforest's dancefloor success gave Paul the encouragement he needed to do more experimentation with attempting to create electronic/dance crossover music. His next single, which shot to the number one slot around the world, was the instantly-memorable "19". The title, which refers to "the average age of a combat soldier in Vietnam" was picked up after Paul watched a TV documentary about that war. Again showing himself to be five to ten years ahead of his time, 19 was pure electronic dance music, mixing synth sounds, sampling (at that time still a fairly new technology) with a great dance floor beat.

Following on from 19, Paul had one more major success in the charts with "The Wizard" which was immortalised for Brits as the Top of The Pops theme tune for many years. After this he moved into production and remixing, working with Barry White and Ian Dury amongst others. In the 1990s he's worked on a number of projects, including signing to Motown for a while where he released a number of soul-influenced tracks, and releasing two albums as Paul Hardcastle and the Jazzmasters, with a jazz/dance crossover style. In the mid-80s he correctly predicted the coming dominance of electronic music: could jazz-derived dance music be the sound of the early 21st Century?

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