Of the many artists who benefitted from their exposure on MTV, few were as unlikely as Billy Ocean. While his talent was not in question, it was the mid-tempo contemporary pop songs that went against the flow of New Wave and 80s rock standards that was the most surprising. Billy Ocean managed to parlay his considerable talents into three memorable number one hits.
Billy Ocean Musical Beginnings
Born on January 21st, 1950 as Leslie Charles in Fyzabad, Trinidad and Tobago, his family moved to England when he was just 10 years old. His father was a Grenadian musician and young Leslie wanted to follow in his footsteps. He sang frequently in the London clubs and also worked as a tailor on Savile Row. He managed to garner attention in his early years, but did not gain much success until he started fronting bands like Scorched Earth in the early 1970s. It was during this time that a doctor discovered that Leslie had an extra pulmonary node or small third lung which has been attributed to his longevity in terms of singing.
Billy Ocean Solo Career
Going solo, Leslie decided to adopt the stage name of Billy Ocean after the Ocean Estate. He released his first album, the self-titled “Billy Ocean” in 1976 and managed to chart with “Love Really Hurts Without You” in the UK as well as the US. He managed to continue his successful ways with singles like “Are You Ready” and “Stay the Night” which came from his second album, “City Limit”.
However, it was the release of the album “Suddenly” in 1984 that catapulted Billy Ocean into his most famous period. The single “Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run)” was a monster hit that won him the Grammy for Best Male R&B Performance. In addition, the songs “Loverboy” and the title track also managed to become huge hits as well. The music videos arguably helped propel Billy’s career to new heights.
By 1986, his next album “Love Zone” offered the huge smash “When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going” which made it to number one in the UK and number two in the US. The title track and the song “Love is Forever” were also substantial hits.
However, the success that came to Billy Ocean so easily during this time faded fast and by 1993 his album “Time to Move On” garnered little attention.
Billy Ocean 2016
Although his career peak has probably passed, Billy still performs regularly and in 2010 was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the MOBO Awards. The following year, Billy became a Companion of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts with his title being presented by Sir Paul McCartney.
In early 2016, Billy appeared on The Tonight Show and performed many of his famous songs as part of a new tour that will coincide with the release of another album. Billy is planning on a Spring Tour in the UK in the early spring of 2017 which will help continue his musical legacy and performing skills.
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