MENTION 80s music to anyone of a certain age and there will be a few bands and solo performers whose names are bound to come up as favourites.
And Paul Young would almost certainly be on the list. After going solo following stints in bands such as the Q-Tips, the now 60-year-old took the charts by storm during that decade with hits such as Love Of The Common People, Wherever I Lay My Hat, Every Time You Go Away and Come Back And Stay.
His debut album, No Parlez was released in 1983 and not only reached the top spot in the album charts but it also went triple platinum in the UK and in the process turned him into a household name.
With the release of his second album, The Secret Of Association, which also reached the number one spot, his status as a world star was confirmed and in 1985 he won the Best British Male award at the Brit Awards.
However although he faded somewhat from the public scene during the 90s he never went away and has certainly never been idle as his nine solo studio albums including the most recent, Good Thing, released in April this year is testament to.
Then of course there is his foray into Tex Mex music with his band Los Pacaminos and the two albums that have come from that union which he started in 1993 not to mention the 15 plus live and compilation albums and numerous TV appearances - including BBC Celebrity MasterChef, ITV’s Hell’s Kitchen and The Wright Stuff.
In short, he’s not a man to rest on his laurels. And at the moment he’s gearing up for a tour in March next year alongside other 80s stars Toyah, China Crisis and Martika.
The 80s Invasion Tour takes in venues across the country and includes a date at the Indig02 on March 17 and in a chat as tickets were put on general release, Paul says he couldn’t be happier.
“I have done concerts such as this in the past and the promoter of this particular tour said he was putting this one together and I jumped at the chance to be part of it,” he tells me.
“The final points are being ironed out at the moment but it’s going to be a lot of fun with each of us doing a set of about 30 minutes.
“So, it will be a chance for people to hear all the greatest hits - although the arrangements might be slightly different,” he adds.
“I have updated some, lengthened others and stripped others right back.
“I’ve not played the Indig02 before although I’ve seen bands there over the years, but I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a lovely venue, nice and intimate and you get to see the audience close up which is great.
“I have fans who have followed me for 30 years and over that time I’ve got to know them so it will be great to look out and see familiar faces as well as new generations.
“What’s lovely is that I’ll be singing these songs and the crowd will be singing them back at me. It’s a reminder that they have a special place in peoples’ hearts and minds.
“It’s really nice.”
Paul says he has fond memories of the 80s and his career at that time. These memories are part of the reason he continues to enjoy playing live and performing his songs which were for many the soundtrack of their youth.
“The 80s was very like the 60s in that it was born out of freedom,” he says. “For us at that time it was that we could do anything because of the technological advances in music. There were synths and drum machines, CD and digital recordings - it was amazing really.
“I was, and am glad, to have been there at that time as it shaped the sound of my first album.
“My idea when I went solo was to be an RnB artist but also to add the synths and drum machines. It was a very experimental and exciting time to be making music.”
As well as achieving number ones, and pin up status, Paul’s highlights of the decade included some of the major concerts he performed in, most notably Live Aid at Wembley in July 1985, the Nelson Mandela Tribute concert in 1989 as well as opening the BandAid charity single Do They Know It’s Christmas.
“Live Aid was the most amazing experience,” he says. “I was in America touring at the time and had to fly back for it so I was a bit jet lagged on stage! I flew back to America and then found I was number one - it was pretty special.
“I’ve not toured America since about 1990 and would love to have another crack at it.
“The Freddie Mercury Tribute concert was great too and both these gigs happened within a few yeas of each other.
“I remember having to get out of the dressing room as all the guys from Queen were using it!” he laughs.
Inevitably the music industry has changed markedly in the last 30 years not least in the way music is now distributed and sold.
“I remember going on tour and doing performances of Wherever I Lay My Hat and all the while watching it creep up the singles charts,” Paul remembers.
“It absolutely crawled up there! Then it took a leap - and ended up being number one. It was all about promotion and to begin with I didn’t have a big promotional budget.
“Back then you either bought a single or an album but now you can download ad buy three singles and then can buy another track that’s not a single as such and you might end up with an entire album - but it’s not registered as an album sale. It’s a very strange structure these days and of course there are a lot more things to spend your cash on so although music is much cheaper these days it’s more competitive.
Despite this he says he’s been lucky, citing and praising his “loyal fans” and he says he still gets a kick out of writing new material and performing live.
And this has extended to forming his band Los Pacaminos and indulging in his love of Tex Mex music.
“It is one of the many music genres I love,” he explains. “It’s very happy music and really used to cheer me up so I thought it would be good if I could learn to play it. It was also to challenge myself a bit, play guitar and write songs and instrumentals in that style and play with my friends.
“Besides it’s nice to do something different. Los Pacaminos is a cowboy band - we dress up in all the gear, boots, jackets, hats, the lot, which is a lot of fun of course!
“The plan was to do it for a little while but it never ended! And in fact we are still together and this summer I’ve been doing quite a few shows with the band. It’s great to still be able to do this - I’m very grateful.
“Ultimately it’s fun and it’s a bit kitsch and I love it - so now I wear my hat for one band and take it off for another!”
Paul Young will be performing as part of the 80s Invasion Tour at the Indig02 on Thursday, March 16. Visit www.axs.com or call the box office on 0844 856 0202 for full listings.