Sixty three years ago, a little baby boy named Leslie Charles was born in Trinadad and Tobago. He was the son of Grenadian parents and moved to England while in elementary school. With his Rastafari background, English schooling, and his love of American soul music, Billy Ocean blended his international background into one of the most successful music careers of the 80’s. In the early 70’s, Billy tried to make it as a slow jam R&B artist, but it wasn’t until he went back to his tropical roots in 1984 when he scored his first #1 hit, Caribbean Queen. On a side note, did you know the song was released in multiple versions worldwide including African Queen and European Queen?
Before long, you couldn’t flip on MTV and not see a Billy Ocean song. Ballads like “There’ll Be Sad Songs To Make You Cry” and “Suddenly” showed off Billy’s softer side. Movie soundtracks jumped on songs like “Get Out Of My Dreams (And Into My Car)” and “When The Going Gets Tough”. Billy Ocean was so huge internationally at this moment, he was offered a slot on the Live Aid Concert set where he performed his Top 2 hit, Loverboy. Like many 80’s icons, the changing tides of the next decade, saw Billy’s success come to an end.
What’s happened to Billy Ocean since his 80’s heyday? He’s still touring although primarily in Europe. In 2011, Paul McCartney inducted Billy as a prestigious Companion of the Liverpool Institute Of The Performing Arts. Billy’s married with three children and has been in recent years “paying it forward” as he’s been conducting seminars and clinics at music schools in England. Who knows maybe one of his students will mirror the career of Billy Ocean!
“CARIBBEAN QUEEN 2011”
“THERE WILL BE SAD SONGS”
“WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH”