More Paul Carrack

Wow, this “part two” took almost as long as “Mary Poppins Returns.” Back here, I started writing about the music of Paul Carrack, one of those singers who’s famous for not being more famous. He’s got a beautiful voice and still tours the UK, but doesn’t get the US name recognition of folks like Hall & Oates or Bill Withers.

After scoring radio hits as a member of Ace, Squeeze, and Mike + the Mechanics, Paul barely got into the Top 40 (#37) with a song recorded under his own name, 1982’s “I Need You.” Then, on the next album in 1987, the song “Don’t Shed a Tear” just exploded. It went to #9, stayed in the Top 40 for thirteen weeks, and got big play on MTV. It was co-written by Eddie Schwartz, who also wrote Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me with Your Best Shot.” The 1987 production sound dates “Don’t Shed a Tear,” and Paul doesn’t look much like an MTV star in the video, but his voice makes the song into something special.

After that, Paul Carrack had only one more US charting song, 1989’s “I Live by the Groove.” That doesn’t mean he hasn’t been busy since. Paul’s toured in the bands for Ringo Starr and Roger Waters. He’s playing organ on Elton John’s “Something About the Way You Look Tonight,” the b-side to “Candle in the Wind 1997.”

During COVID, and after fighting off the shingles virus, Paul released a new album in late 2021. “One on One.” It’s a little gospel, a little R&B, a little bar blues. I would have liked the band to mix up the tempo a bit, but Paul’s voice still sounds great, still clean and clear at 70.  Here’s “Precious Time,” a video shot last autumn on a day break while Paul was touring in the US as Eric Clapton’s keyboard player.

Paul is one of those musicians I love that I’ve never seen live. (James Taylor would be another and I’ll always regret never seeing Fountains of Wayne.) This year, Paul’s touring the UK, Netherlands, and Belgium. He’s even got Christmas dates booked in Germany, but nothing in the US for 2022. For the last few years, Paul has tended to end his shows with a song he first recorded in 1987, a cover of Jackie DeShannon’s “When You Walk in the Room.”