On this day in music history: May 13, 1985 – &…

On this day in music history: May 13, 1985 – “19” by Paul Hardcastle is released (UK release is on April 26, 1985). Written by Paul Hardcastle, William Coutourie and Jonas McCord, it is the biggest hit for the multi-instrumentalist from Kensington, London, UK. Having made his breakthrough on the European and US dance charts with the singles “Rain Forest (and its B-side "Sound Chaser”) (#1 US Club Play) in 1984, musician Paul Hardcastle quickly makes the jump from indie label Oval Records in the UK and Profile Records in the US to a major label the same year. Signed to Chrysalis Records by label A&R man Simon Fuller, who also becomes Hardcastle’s manager, the musician gets to work recording his first album for the label. While working on material, Hardcastle sees an ABC network documentary on the Vietnam War titled “Vietnam Requiem”, which focuses on the effects of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), a condition affecting many veterans who have witnessed the horrors of active combat while serving in Vietnam. Working in his home recording studio in Leytonstone, East London, Hardcastle utilizes various instruments, including the Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 synthesizer, LinnDrum II and Roland TR-808 drum machines to put the track together. He also utilizes an E-mu Emulator II keyboard to sample spoken audio passages from the documentary to lay on top of the instrumental track. Released in the UK first in April of 1985, “19” quickly leaps to number one the UK singles chart, spending five weeks on top. Released in the US three weeks later, it quickly becomes a huge hit on dance floors and R&B radio. Though lingering controversy about the Vietnam War keeps the song off of some US top 40 pop stations. “19” spends two weeks at #1 on the Billboard Club Play chart on July 6, 1985, peaking at #8 on the R&B singles chart on July 13, 1985, and #15 on the Hot 100 on July 20, 1985. The huge success not only establishes Paul Hardcastle on a worldwide basis, it allows Simon Fuller to leave his job at Chrysalis Records to start his own management firm called 19 Entertainment. Fuller later manages numerous British pop stars including Annie Lennox, Cathy Dennis, The Spice Girls, and creates the highly successful “American Idol” franchise. Hardcastle also finds later success in the smooth jazz realm with his band The Jazzmasters. “Vietnam Requiem” narrator Peter Thomas sues over the unauthorized sampling of his voice on “19”, and receives a co-writing credit and royalties from sales of the record.