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Paul Carrack was pop music's ultimate journeyman. A vocalist and keyboardist who enjoyed considerable success over the course of his lengthy career while in the service of bands ranging from Ace to Squeeze to Mike + the Mechanics, his finest work often came at the expense of his own identity as a performer; indeed, of the many big hits on which the unassuming singer was prominently featured, only one, 1987's "Don't Shed a Tear," bore his own name. Carrack was born April 22, 1951, in Sheffield, England; he joined the pub rock group Ace in 1972, eventually writing and singing their debut single, "How Long." After reaching the Top 20 in the group's native Britain, the record hit the number-three position in the U.S.; however, after subsequent material failed to match the success of "How Long," Ace disbanded in 1977, and Carrack signed on with Frankie Miller.
He soon resurfaced in Roxy Music, appearing on the LPs Manifesto and Flesh and Blood before releasing his solo debut, Nightbird, in 1980. Carrack next joined Squeeze, replacing keyboardist Jools Holland; in addition to contributing to the group's 1981 creative pinnacle East Side Story, he also assumed lead vocal duties on the single "Tempted," their best-remembered hit. However, Carrack's stay in Squeeze was brief, and after working with Nick Lowe he again attempted to forge a solo career with the 1982 LP Suburban Voodoo, cracking the U.S. Top 40 with the single "I Need You." A tenure as a sideman with Eric Clapton followed, and in 1985 he joined Genesis' Mike Rutherford in his side project Mike + the Mechanics. Their hits include "Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground)" and "All I Need Is a Miracle."
While remaining a rather anonymous figure at home, Carrack achieved a higher level of visibility in America as a result of Mike + the Mechanics' success; subsequently, his third solo album, One Good Reason, proved to be by far his most popular effort to date, with the single "Don't Shed a Tear" reaching the Top Ten. Another tenure with the Mechanics followed, and with the title track of 1988's The Living Years, the group scored their first number-one hit. After the 1989 Carrack solo LP Groove Approved, Mike + the Mechanics issued 1991's Word of Mouth, which failed to repeat the chart performance of its predecessors; by 1993, Carrack was again a member of Squeeze, appearing on the album Some Fantastic Place and also resuming lead chores for a re-recording of "Tempted." However, he was once again back in the Mechanics' fold for 1995's Beggar on a Beach of Gold; the solo Blue Views was issued the next year, followed in 1997 by Beautiful World. Satisfy My Soul was issued in 2000, his first album for Compass Records. Carrack spent the first half the 2000s touring, both as a solo act and as the frontman in Mike + the Mechanics, releasing Groovin' in 2001 and It Ain't Over in 2003. A holiday album appeared in 2005, followed in 2007 by Old, New, Borrowed and Blue. After 2008's knowingly titled I Know That Name, Carrack took a detour on 2010's A Different Hat, an album cut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Two years later Carrack returned with the soulful 2012 album, Good Feeling.
Paul Melvyn Carrack (born 22 April 1951) is an English singer, songwriter and musician who has recorded as both a solo artist and as a member of several popular bands. The BBC described him as "The Man with the Golden Voice", adding: "Carrack is a journeyman of British rock, soul and pop whose career has unfolded slowly and steadily until he has become something of a national treasure." William Pinfold of Record Collector, acknowledging Carrack's cult status, remarked: "If vocal talent equalled financial success, Paul Carrack would be a bigger name than legends such as Phil Collins or Elton John."
Carrack arose to prominence in the mid-1970s as the frontman and principal songwriter of Ace, and gained further recognition for his work as a solo artist and for his tenures as a member of Roxy Music, Squeeze and Roger Waters' backing group, The Bleeding Heart Band, intermittently handling lead vocals on Squeeze and Waters recordings. From the mid-1980s to the late 1990s, he enjoyed considerable success as the co-frontman (with Paul Young) and a songwriter for Mike + The Mechanics; following Young's death in 2000, Carrack served as the band's sole lead vocalist until his departure in 2004. He maintains an active solo career to the present day.
Carrack sang some of his affiliated bands' best-known hits, including Ace's "How Long?"; Squeeze's "Tempted"; and Mike + The Mechanics' "Silent Running", "The Living Years" and "Over My Shoulder". He also performed lead vocals on tracks from the Roger Waters albums Radio K.A.O.S. and The Wall – Live in Berlin, and achieved a major solo hit with "Don't Shed a Tear". Carrack's songs have been recorded by artists such as the Eagles, Diana Ross, Tom Jones, Michael McDonald and Jools Holland, and he has served as a session and/or touring musician for the likes of Elton John, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, B.B. King, The Pretenders and The Smiths."Paul Carrack: The Man with the Golden Voice". 15 October 2012. BBC. BBC Four. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01n8kms. Retrieved 15 October 2012. "Paul Carrack – I Know That Name". Record Collector. Retrieved 3 April 2013. Shelton, Jennifer. Paul Carrack. Cambridge News. 1 March 2011. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
ContentsCareer1.1 1970s: Warm Dust, Ace and Roxy Music1.2 1980s: working solo and as a session musician1.3 1990s: solo and collaborations1.4 2000 – present1.5 Session work
1970s: Warm Dust, Ace and Roxy Music
Carrack's recording career began with the jazz rock band Warm Dust, who released three albums of original material between 1970 and 1972. Carrack was the keyboard player for the band, occasionally playing other instruments, with Les Walker as the lead vocalist.
After Warm Dust broke up, Carrack and Warm Dust bassist Terry "Tex" Comer helped to found the pub rock band Ace. Carrack both wrote and was vocalist on the band's debut single "How Long?" which was a 1975 hit in both UK and US. No further Ace recordings enjoyed the same level of popularity, however.
In 1977 Ace disbanded, and Carrack began working as a backing musician for Frankie Miller. Subsequently, he was a member of Roxy Music, playing keyboards on their 1979 reunion album Manifesto. Carrack would also play on the next two Roxy Music albums, but as a session musician, not a band member.
1980s: working solo and as a session musician
Shortly after leaving Roxy Music full-time, Carrack issued his first solo album, 1980's Nightbird. It was not a commercial success.
In 1981 Glenn Tilbrook recruited Carrack to join Squeeze as a replacement for long-time keyboardist Jools Holland. This new Squeeze line-up achieved international success with the album East Side Story, with Carrack as vocalist on the song "Tempted", their biggest US hit at the time. However, by 1982, Carrack had left the band and was replaced by keyboardist Don Snow.
Beginning in late 1981, Carrack joined up with Nick Lowe in a band that featured Lowe, Carrack, Martin Belmont on guitar, James Eller on bass and Bobby Irwin on drums. This band, referred to as Noise To Go, existed to back both Carrack on his solo recordings, and Lowe on his, similar to the arrangement Lowe had with Dave Edmunds and Rockpile in the late 1970s. Noise To Go also backed Lowe's wife Carlene Carter on her 1981 album Blue Nun.
After Carrack's 1982 solo album Suburban Voodoo, Eller left Noise To Go, and Nick Lowe took over bass duties within the group. The group was rechristened Nick Lowe and His Cowboy Outfit, and recorded two albums from 1983 to 1985, with Lowe as lead vocalist. The group also backed John Hiatt on side two of Hiatt's 1983 album Riding with the King.
During this era, Carrack also worked as a session musician for The Smiths and The Pretenders.
Nick Lowe and His Cowboy Outfit dissolved in 1985, and Carrack was contacted by Mike Rutherford (of Genesis) who asked him to join Rutherford's new side project, Mike + The Mechanics. Initially, Carrack and Paul Young were alternating lead vocalists for the group. He sang lead on their 1985 hit "Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground)".
In 1986 Carrack was a member of Roger Waters' newly formed backing band, The Bleeding Heart Band, recording tracks for the soundtrack of the film When the Wind Blows. The following year, Waters (still accompanied by Carrack and the Bleeding Hearts) released a solo album, Radio K.A.O.S. and toured the US and Europe. Carrack often filled in as an unofficial support act on the tour, usually playing "Tempted" to warm up the crowd.
Building on the success of Mike + The Mechanics, Carrack was able to reestablish his solo career in 1987 with the hit album One Good Reason, and the accompanying hit single "Don't Shed a Tear", which reached number nine on the Billboard Hot 100. From this point forward, Carrack consistently maintained both a solo career and a career in Mike + The Mechanics. This band recorded and toured irregularly due to Rutherford's commitments with Genesis.
In 1989 Mike + The Mechanics had a UK number two and US number one hit with "The Living Years", on which Carrack again sang lead. Also in 1989 Carrack recorded "Romance", a duet with Terri Nunn from the Los Angeles-based synth-pop band Berlin. The song appeared on the soundtrack to the movie Sing, starring Peter Dobson and Lorraine Bracco.
1990s: solo and collaborations
In the 1990s Carrack's solo career went into abeyance for a few years, although he maintained a career as a session musician. He also continued working with Mike + The Mechanics, who recorded throughout the decade. During this time Carrack played keyboards in the band and also began to co-compose, with Rutherford, some of the band's songs.
In 1990 Carrack rejoined Roger Waters for the ground-breaking live stage show of The Wall Live in Berlin in front of a crowd of 250,000. He sang "Hey You" and was one of the performers on "The Tide Is Turning" with Waters, Joni Mitchell, Cyndi Lauper, Bryan Adams and Van Morrison.
In 1993 Carrack joined with bassist Tony Levin, drummer Steve Ferrone, guitarist Phil Palmer and keyboardist/producer Rupert Hine to form a band known as "Spin 1ne 2wo". They released one album, a self-titled project, made up of classic rock covers including songs by Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Blind Faith, Steely Dan and Bob Dylan. He dueted with Beth Nielsen Chapman on "In the Time It Takes".
Also in 1993 Squeeze had Carrack return for their album Some Fantastic Place and a subsequent tour. With Carrack on vocals, the band re-recorded their hit "Tempted" for the soundtrack to the movie Reality Bites (1994). Carrack once again left Squeeze, however, after about a year.
Following his second stint with Squeeze, Carrack joined forces with Timothy B. Schmit and Don Felder of the Eagles for an ambitious, but ultimately unrealised, recording project. Schmit and Felder soon reunited with the rest of the Eagles and their Hell Freezes Over album, bringing with them one of the songs Carrack had co-written, "Love Will Keep Us Alive." It was recorded by the Eagles and won an ASCAP award as being the most-played song in America in 1995. The same year, Mike + the Mechanics scored yet another top 20 hit, "Over My Shoulder". It not only featured Carrack on lead vocals, but was the first Mechanics hit to be co-written by him.
In 1996, Carrack resumed his solo career with the album Blue Views.
2000 – present
Carrack maintains an active solo career, as well as his career as a session musician and songwriter, touring solo in 2002, mostly opening for bands such as Supertramp. He also served as the sole lead vocalist for Mike + The Mechanics following the death of Paul Young in 2000. In 2003 Carrack toured with Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band performing his hit songs including "How Long?", "Tempted" and "Living Years". In 2004 Carrack left the Mechanics following the release of Rewired, their only album with Carrack as sole lead vocalist. After a lull in Carrack's career, in 2007 the Eagles covered Carrack's "I Don't Want To Hear Anymore" on their long-awaited reunion album Long Road Out of Eden. The album went to number one in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and several other countries.
In May 2009 Carrack embarked on a tour of Germany, supported by Canadian artist Brendan Croskerry. In 2010, Carrack released the album A Different Hat, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, arranged by David Cullen. Two years later in 2012, Carrack returned with the soul-inspired album "Good Feeling".
In 2012 Carrack was the subject of an hour-long BBC Four television documentary Paul Carrack: The Man with the Golden Voice.
In March 2013, Carrack was seen helping kick off Eric Clapton's 50-year anniversary tour, "Old Sock", celebrating the 50th year that Clapton had been a professional musician. Carrack sang lead vocals on "Tempted", "How Long", and closed the show with "High Time We Went".
Carrack's distinctive voice and keyboard skills have kept him in demand as a session musician on many projects. Some of his credits include:Piano on The Pretenders album Learning To Crawl (1983)Keyboards on The Smiths' eponymous debut album, The Smiths (1984)Keyboards and vocals on Roger Waters' Radio K.A.O.S. (1987) and subsequent tourOrgan on Elton John's Made in England (1995) and The Big Picture (1997)Organ and vocals on B.B. King's Deuces Wild (1997)keyboards on Simply Red's Blue Touring with Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band (2003)
In 1997 Carrack played organ for Elton John on the single "Something About The Way You Look Tonight". It was coupled with "Candle in the Wind '97" on a double A-sided single, which set a new record for best selling single of all time.Paul Carrack from sleeve notes to CD album The Story So Far (2006) Mike + the Mechanics UK chart history, The Official Charts. Retrieved 6 November 2011. Cite error: The named reference bbc was invoked but never defined (see the help page). "RIAA News Room – The American Recording Industry Announces its Artists of the Century – Nov 10, 1999". Recording Industry Association of America website. RIAA. 10 November 1999. Retrieved 8 February 2010. "'Candle in the Wind 1997' soon surpassed Bing Crosby's 'White Christmas' to become the best-selling single of all time." (certified sales) Elton John: Biography | Rolling Stone Music Rolling Stone "Candle in the Wind 1997," easily became the all-time highest-certified single".