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Artist of the Month: Billy Ocean

July 1, 2017

With ‘Here You Are’ – a combination of his greatest hits and favourite covers – starting a new chapter Stateside, we’re proud to hail Pop’s undisputed Party Patriarch, Mr Billy Ocean, as our Artist of the Month.

Join us as we look back on one of the most incredible careers in pop…

You might think you’re familiar with someone but how well do you really know them? For sure, at surface level you might see the public image and the presentation, and quite probably the reputation, but are you really getting the full picture or just a fragment of a bigger, wider vista?

Billy Ocean is a case in point. It’s all too easy to focus on just one aspect or point in time of Billy’s career. But then again, why shouldn’t we? Billy, lest we forget, was one of the first Caribbean-born singers to dominate the early days of MTV, and it’s hardly surprising when he was delivering solid gold hits such as ‘When The Going Gets Tough’.

And of course there’s the not insubstantial matter of scoring three – count ‘em – Number One hits in the USA ‘There’ll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)’, ‘Get Outta My Dreams (And Into My Car)’ and the Grammy Award-winning ‘Caribbean Queen (No More Love On The Run)’). Thiose Americans sure love their brackets.

But there’s so much more to Billy Ocean. The signs of his considerable talent had already been evidence for some time. His debut solo single, the evergreen floor-filling monster that is ‘Love Really Hurts Without You’, hit Number Two in 1976, and the exuberant dance smash ‘Red Light Spells Danger’ repeated the same feat a year later.

These aren’t just one-offs but the mark of major talent whose initial imprints not only made an indelible stamp upon an era but also continue to reverberate and exhort dancing to this very day. Truly, this is music for the ages.

And it should be remembered, if not shouted from the rooftops, that Billy’s forte goes beyond that incredible voice of his. As a songwriter of no small repute, Billy has written material that’s been picked up and covered by singers with huge fame of their own. Just ask La Toya Jackson (‘Are You Ready?’, ‘Stay The Night’), Millie Jackson (‘Love Is A Dangerous Game’), Randy Crawford (‘Love Is’), Marti Pellow (‘Suddenly’) and Boyzone (‘Waiting For You’) among many, many others.

There’s a reason that they turn to Billy for material and that reason is quality. This is a virtue that’s in all too short supply but Billy’s the go-to man when artists want to really connect with their audiences.

Let’s get this triangulated. In addition to that incredible voice that has withstood and weathered the passing of the years, and the innate and almost uncanny ability to construct and deliver a succession of hits for himself and others, Billy Ocean remains a performer of staggering stature.

His love of performing for his fans is evident in a tour schedule that would make artists a fraction of his age baulk – right now, somewhere in the world Billy Ocean is giving some lucky crowd the time of their lives.

It’s precisely this work ethic and dedication to his craft that has seen him play some of the most prestigious venues in the world while elevating his command of a stage to something resembling an art form.

It’s exactly for this reason that Billy Ocean’s set supporting the newly reformed ELO at Hyde Park lingers long in the memory of anyone who was privileged enough to bear witness and dance to it.

It’s all there in ‘Here You Are: The Best Of’, Billy Ocean’s most comprehensive collection of material yet gathered. This isn’t so much of presentation of what you think you know and what you will know of Billy Ocean, it’s also an affirmation of a singular talent whose artistic stamp bestrides the decades like a musical colossus. This is the place where you will fully know Billy Ocean.

Here you are – now come and get it.

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