Paul Hardcastle

Crossover jazz/pop musician, composer, producer, and bandleader Paul Hardcastle was born on December 10, 1957 in Kensington, London, England. He is best-known for his 1985 Number 1 single “19” and his series of Jazzmasters albums. Hardcastle began his musical career in the early 1980s as a member of Brit funk band Direct Drive. He and vocalist Derek Green left the band in 1982 and formed First Light. After two albums – First Light (1983) and Daybreak (1984) – the band split and Hardcastle pursued a solo career. He achieved some success with early singles like “King Tut” (1984) and especially “Rainforest” (1985) but became a global sensation with his Vietnam War-inspired single “19” in ’85, which was initially a hit but continued chart domination for a few months thanks to a variety of remixes. The song was featured on the 1985 album Paul Hardcastle, which also included the hits “Don’t Waste My Time”, “King Tut”, and “Rainforest”. While he did not achieve the same chart success after that self-titled album, he continued to release a series of albums under his own name that were highly-acclaimed by his fanbase. In 1994, he masterminded a new project called The Jazzmasters, which received a lot of attention from smooth jazz radio programmers. The Jazzmasters recorded a total of seven albums up through 2014. Running concurrently with his Jazzmasters project, he released a series of smooth jazz albums under the name Hardcastle. He released Hardcastle IX in 2020. He’s also released several albums in his Chill Lounge series and two Japanese-only albums with Jaki Graham under the group name Kiss the Sky.

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