Billy Ocean Biography

Leslie Sebastian Charles, 21 January 1950, Trinidad, West Indies. Raised in England, Ocean worked as a session singer simultaneously with his employment at the Dagenham Ford Motor Company plant, before being signed by the GTO label as a solo artist. His early UK hits included the number 2 singles ‘Love Really Hurts Without You’ (1976) and ‘Red Light Spells Danger’ (1977), two purposeful, if derivative, performances. The singer’s subsequent releases fared less well, and for four years between 1980 and 1984, Ocean was absent from the UK charts. Paradoxically, it was during this period that he began to win an audience in America. Ocean lived there for a time at the turn of the decade and several R&B successes prepared the way for ‘Caribbean Queen (No More Love On The Run)’, his first national US pop number 1. Now signed to the Jive Records label, this million-selling 1984 single introduced an impressive run of hits, including two more US chart-toppers, ‘There’ll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)’ (1986) and ‘Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car’ (1988). Despite securing a UK number 1 in 1986 with ‘When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going’ (which was featured in the movie The Jewel Of The Nile), Ocean’s luck in Britain constantly fluctuated. However, his popular appeal secured him three UK Top 5 albums during this period, including the Greatest Hits collection in 1989. ‘When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going’ was later a UK hit for Irish boy band Boyzone.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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