Craig Allen’s Fun Facts: “Caribbean Queen” by Billy Ocean.
Billy Ocean was a huge, international recording star in the mid to late-1980's...but he was a part of the music scene in England long before!
Our spotlight song, "Caribbean Queen (No More Love On The Run)"...
...would be Billy's breakout hit!
But, first...a little history...which brings us...to our first "Fun Fact!"
Our recording artist's birth certificate doesn't mention a "William Ocean."
Billy Ocean was born Leslie Sebastian Charles in Trinidad, on January 21, 1950. At the age 8, he and his family moved to England.
"Billy's" dad was a musician, and an early influence. In his teens, Billy sang in the local London clubs, while working as a tailor.
I clearly remember hearing Casey Kasem tell the story in the 1980's, of how Billy Ocean also worked in a Ford Plant in London, installing wiper blades on new cars, before hitting it "big."
And, the "big time" wasn't going to happen while singing pop songs...or so it was thought.
Billy's first manager recorded a song in a London studio with Billy, backed by a full orchestra. But, he couldn't get a major label to release the song, as Billy's ballad singing style of the early 1970's was falling out of favor. The song was never released.
His first single was released in England in 1972, under the name "Les Charles."
Afterwards, he took the stage name Billy Ocean from the "Ocean Estate" in London, where he was living.
1976 brought Billy's first album, "Billy Ocean" with the first single "Love Really Hurts Without You."
The song was a #2 smash in England, and a respectable #22 here in the U.S.
I really DIG the song, with its 1960's Motown-inspired sound (that's my impression). I know that the "Fun Facts" are about his NEXT song, but I include the "video" here, so that you can compare this early style to the 1980's Billy Ocean we know and love!
Back to the timeline...
While Billy remained active in England, singing in the clubs and writing songs for others, it would take another 8 years (and a new decade) for him to achieve worldwide acclaim...
"Caribbean Queen (No More Love On The Run)" tells the story of a beautiful and exotic woman seducing the singer. In this case, Ocean.
It went to #1 for 2 weeks in New Jersey, in 1984.
As I said earlier, its's Billy Ocean's "breakout hit."
The song also hit #1 on the Billboard Hot R&B Singles/Tracks chart, and #1 on the Billboard "Club Play" chart!
Billy Ocean took home the 1985 "Best Male R&B Vocal Performance" Grammy for "Caribbean Queen!"
Billy Ocean would sing "Caribbean Queen" at "Live Aid" in Philadelphia, in 1986. Remember?
Did you know that in some parts of the world, this hit has a different name, and alternate lyrics?
While it's known as "Caribbean Queen" in the U.S. and England, it's "European Queen" in the rest of Europe...
...and "African Queen" in Africa!
If you are lucky enough to have a 45/single copy of Billy Ocean's "Mystery Lady," you (already) know what "African Queen" sounds like, as it is the "B" side of the vinyl single!
How many of these other Top 10 Billy Ocean smash hits do you remember?
"Suddenly " #4/1985
"When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going" #2/1986
"There'll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)" #1/1986
"Love Zone" #10/1986
"Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car" #1/1988 (2 weeks).
Over the years, Billy Ocean has received many honors for his work!
As I mentioned earlier, he grabbed the 1985 "Best Male R&B Vocal Performance" Grammy.
In 1987, he was nominated for a "Brit Award" as "Best British Male Artist"
In 2002, The University Of Warminster, in London, bestowed an Honorary Doctorate Of Music.
Billy Ocean was awarded the "2010 MOBO Lifetime Achievement Award" in England...MOBO is "Music Of Black Origin."
In 2011, Sir Paul McCartney was the presenter, as Billy Ocean became a "Companion Of The Liverpool Institute For Performing Arts."
How about some more "Caribbean Queen" Fun Facts?
"Caribbean Queen" was re-released as a "digital single" in 2004...to mark it's 20th Anniversary! The digital re-release went to #25 on the Billboard Digital Singles Chart!
Further, "will.i.am" from the "Black Eyed Peas" released a remix of the song in 2005!
If you have some frequent flyer miles saved up, Billy Ocean is touring England and Ireland this year!
Get your concert tickets, and find out what else Billy is up to, by visiting his official website by clicking here!
One more thing...I am including "The Colour Of Love" (#17/1988) in this appreciation/Fun Facts blog...
...not only because I really like it...
But, it shows the "adult side" of Billy Ocean...he's not "crooning" like he did in his unreleased, early 1970's work...but maybe you can use your imagination!
ENJOY Billy Ocean on New Jersey 101.5...and here at nj1015.com!