... A BRIEF HISTORY (1947-2000)
|Paul Young (often mistaken for
'the other' Paul Young who is known for singing "Every Time You Go Way" and
"Wherever I Lay My Hat") was born in Benchill, Wythenshawe, Manchester, on
June 17, 1947. Young took to music at
an early age and formed his first band, Johnny Dark and the Midnights, by
the time he was in high school. The band's name and image evolved into Paul
Fender and the Teenbeats and eventually Paul Fender and the Tigers before
catching the attention of Toggery Five members Frank Renshaw and Graham
Smith in 1964.
Th Toggery Five had formed a year earlier and derived their name from the
the famous clothes shop "The Toggery" in Mersey Square, Stockport, Cheshire,
the North's answer to London's Carnaby Street. The shop was owned by the
band's manager, Michael Cohen, who also managed The Hollies. The Toggery
Five was seeking to replace original lead vocalist Bob Smith, who had
already left the band. Young was recruited to replace Smith and plans were
quickly put in place to get the new line-up into the studio.
||Despite this success, Sad Café was not
without its internal problems, the most significant of which was reported to
be with their management. Continuing strife between the band and their
representation continued to grow. This unhealthy relationship would continue
to fester for several more months, coming to a head around the making of
their next record. During the completion of their self-titled fourth album,
the band fired Harvey Lisburg as their manager and gave the task of managing
Sad Café to bassist John Stimpson.
Stimpson, who still played bass on the self-titled album, needed a replacement for
live purposes to focus on management of the band. As a result, bassist Des
Tong was recruited.
The release of Sad Café
in October 1980 (now on Swan Song in North America) was a commercial
disappointment. The single "La Di Da" achieved only minor success and other
key album tracks like "I'm Losin' You", "Keeping It From the Troops", and
"Digital Daydream" lacked the strength of the material on the Facades
album and failed to capture audiences' interest.
|"I'm Gonna Jump," The band's first recording, was made at Abbey Road Studios
in London, England on June 22, 1964, which secured them a record deal with
EMI/Parlophone. The single, written by Frank Renshaw, was released with the
B-side "Bye Bye Bird", a Sonny Boy Williamson/Willie Dixon cover, in
September 1964. The single, picked up by the Tower label in the United
States, did not achieve a great deal of success on either side of the
Atlantic Ocean, partially due to being banned by the BBC for the single's
controversial theme of threatened suicide at the loss of a girlfriend. A
second single, "I'd Much Rather Be With The Boys," was released in February
1965 in conjunction with a 30-date UK tour in September and October of that
year with Marianne Faithful, Freddie and the Dreamers, The Hollies, and The
Four Pennies but was received poorly, commercially speaking, much like the
debut single. Toward the end of 1964, Keith Meredith quit the band,
and Alan Doyle took over his duties as rhythm guitarist.
The Mechanics in 1985 (clockwise from left):
Carrack, Peter Van Hooke, B.A. Robertson, Young, and Rutherford
Paul Young (left) with Sad Café
live in concert in the late '70s
In 1981, Sad Café released a live
album, aptly titled Sad Café
Live, and another studio album, Ole, both of which lacked any
commercial success despite an rigorous touring schedule. Throughout this
conflicts continued to plague Sad Café.
Significant financial issues, alleged mis-management, personal and
professional differences and litigious matters, combined with the commercial
disappointment of the last few projects all began to divide the band
resulting in members going their separate ways.
With the band's future
seeming uncertain at best, Paul Young was forced to explore other options as
Sad Café imploded around him. Short of
a posthumous Best of
Sad Café album
released by RCA Records in Europe in 1984, it appeared that due to seemingly
insurmountable obstacles, there would never be another album by the band.
In 1965, The Toggery Five
returned to Abbey Road Studios to record their third single "I'm Alive," a
Clint Ballard, Jr. song rejected by Wayne Fontana and Gene Pitney before
finding its way to the band's management. After recording the catchy track,
it was decided by the band's management that based upon The Hollies' (who,
as mentioned previously, were
managed by the same person) prior success, that the song should be given to
them instead, resulting in a #1 hit single for The Hollies. This decision by
their management left a bad taste in the mouth of the Toggery Five, who were
given a song written for the Hollies to pacify them called "Going Away."
Neither "Going Away or "I'm Alive" were ever released by EMI, ultimately
resulting in the departure of Renshaw and bassist Kenneth Mills.
what was left of the band and enlisted new members to form Paul Young's Soul
Band, which later became Paul Young's Toggery. Young's new band went through
several personnel changes over the next year and a half. After a short stint
at the Haus d' Musik, in Wuppertal, Germany in late 1966, Paul Young's
Toggery returned to the UK to tour in January 1967.
||In 1984, Paul Young and Ian
Devaney co-formed Devaney and Young, releasing the single "Second Chance."
The song was quite different from anything Young had done with Sad Café,
and did not do well commercially. Young would release a follow-up single,
"One More Heartache", under the name YPY a few months later in 1985, but it
also failed to impact the singles charts.
Paul Young was invited to participate
in the recording of a new project with Genesis bassist and guitarist Mike
sought guest musicians for the yet unnamed
project, tentatively known as Not Now Bernard, which featured compositions
written by himself and B.A. Robertson. Eventually named Mike & The Mechanics, the band
featured Paul Young on several tracks including
“All I Need Is A Miracle” which was a hit single on both
sides of the Atlantic
reaching #5 on the Billboard singles chart in the U.S. and "Taken In" which peaked at #32 on the U.S.
The Final Incarnation of Sad
Café with Ian Wilson
Paul Young live in concert in
|After the disbanding of Paul
Young's Toggery, Paul focused on trying to launch a solo career. In early
1967, he signed on with Columbia Records in the UK, and recorded "You Girl", "No! No! No!"
and "Baby You Blow My Mind" at Inter City Studio in Stockport. In 1968,
Young signed with German record label Bewitch and recorded and released one
single, "I Like The Way" with the flipside "You've Got To Have A Laugh,"
both written by Sanford Alexander. Paul's solo endeavors did not achieve
commercial success, but that did not dissuade him. Instead, he reunited
with former Toggery colleague Frank Renshaw to form The Young Brothers.
Young and Renshaw returned to Air Studios in London in 1968 to record "I've
Always Wanted Love" and "Mirror Mirror" for MCA Records, the latter if which
was written by the reunited duo. The single was produced by Roger Cook
and Roger Greenaway.
The duo ultimately changed their name to Young and Renshaw, and recorded two
additional singles at Air Studios in London with Greenaway and Cook, "Way Up
There" and "High Flying Bird" which were released on Bell Records in 1971.
In 1972, the duo released This Is Young and Renshaw, featuring two
additional singles "Gonna See Delaney Again" and "Silver Pearl."
Unfortunately, the album did not climb the charts as the duo had hoped.
Young and Renshaw further collaborated on two more projects, The White
Plains' "Gonna To Miss Her Mississippi" backed by the Young/Renshaw penned
song "I'll Go Blind" for Deram Records featured on their album, When You Are A
King, and Minstrel In Flight's 1973 album, Regal Zonophone.
Paul Young again decided to focus on his solo career, releasing four singles
between 1973 and 1975 with Producer Roger Greenaway. Sadly, commercial success
continued to elude Young. He also contributed
that year to The Drifters' There Goes My First Love album with the Young
written tune, "Please Help Me Down," also produced by Roger Greenaway.
During this period Young also worked with the band Gyro, which also did not
garner much commercial success, but while in that group, he established a
friendship with guitarist Ian Wilson that would later prove to be a
significant relationship in his musical career.
||As a result of the success of the self-titled
album, Mike Rutherford asked Paul Young and Paul Carrack (formerly from
the bands like Nick Lowe's Cowboy Outfit, Squeeze and Ace) to tour in support of the project. By
the end of 1986, the Mechanics had toured both the United States
extensively, had three top 40 U.S. hit singles, and
the album had sold more than 500,000 copies in the
earning a Gold status from the Recording
Industry Association of America (RIAA) and peaking at #26 on the Billboard
After finishing the world tour with Mike and The Mechanics, Paul Young and
former band mate Ian Wilson regenerated
Sad Café. Atlantic Records, who had signed Mike & The Mechanics, took an
interest in the Sad Café project in North America followed by European
distribution from Castle Communications.
The Sad Café album,
Politics of Existing, released in 1986, derived its name from the dire
legal and financial matters that engulfed the band and its members causing
the group's temporary demise in the early '80s. The new Sad Café was really
more of a duo than a band, so Paul Young enlisted the assistance of
Mechanics Mike Rutherford and Paul Carrack for the album. Despite the
obvious chemistry of the musicians, Politics of Existing failed to rival the
success of Mike and the Mechanics.
Paul Young returned to the Mechanics to record
their second album, 1988’s Living
Years. The title track, sung by Paul Carrack, peaked at #1 in the U.S.
and became a massive hit worldwide. The strength of the title track combined
with to Paul Young sung singles: "Nobody's Perfect" (which peaked at #63 on
the U.S. charts) and "Seeing is Believing" (which peaked at #62 on the U.S.
charts), helped skyrocket the Living Years album to #13 on the Billboard
In 1975, Paul Young was
asked to replace David Durant in the Manchester based band, Mandalaband.
Mandalaband, who had just finished touring with Chrsyalis Records label mate
Robin Trower before enlisting Young, also featured former Gyro band mate Ian
Wilson on guitars, Ashley Mulford on guitars, John Stimpson on bass, Tony Cresswell on drums, and Vic Emerson on keyboards. This
newly revamped line-up
of musicians took on a new name, Urban Guerilla, before finally settling on
the name Sad Café, taken from Carson
McCullers' popular novel, The Ballad of The Sad Café.
The band became well known in the Manchester scene and, in 1977, submitted a
demo tape to Harvey Lisberg of Kennedy Street Enterprises, a management and
concert promotion company who had managed the likes of Herman's Hermits in
the 1960s and, more recently, 10CC, who was hugely successful in the UK at
the time. Lisberg was impressed by Sad Café's
unusual combination of "blue eyed soul", pop, jazz, neo-progressive rock,
and rhythm and blues, and took the band under his wing. In September 1977,
Fanx Ta-Ra, the band's European debut album on RCA Records was released.
The album drew heavy criticism at the time for its (then) controversial
album art, which showed a half-undressed woman crying with the album title
written in lipstick on the mirror she is reflected in with the band exiting
the room and heading down a flight of stairs. Many claimed the cover
art was "sexist" and "indulging in rape fantasy" which got the record a
great deal of attention (albeit largely negative) in popular music
publications like NME, Melody Maker, and Sounds.
Despite the controversy, Fanx Ta-Ra was packed with memorable tunes,
many of which remained in the Sad Café
live repertoire for years to follow.
BBC Radio 1 took minor interest in the singles "Hungry Eyes", "I Believe (Love Will
Survive)" and "Black Rose" while album tracks like the fan-favorite,
"Babylon," solidified the album's prowess as a great rock album.
Unfortunately for Sad Café, their 1977
debut album would be foreshadowed by the massive punk rock and new wave
explosion dominating 1977 by the likes of The Sex Pistols, causing the album
to stall at #56 on the UK albums chart. The success of the first album,
combined with the growing popularity of Sad Café
live shows, sparked enough interest from the record company to support a
follow-up album resulting in 1978's Misplaced Ideals.
Despite a few exceptional tracks like the single "Run Home Girl" and "On
With The Show" along with some slightly more concise arrangements (reining
in some of the self-indulgence of their debut) and a continually growing
live audience, Misplaced Ideals failed to meet expectations and
slumped commercially, but still managed to scrape #50 on the UK album chart.
Once again, the band's album cover, this time for Misplaced Ideals,
fell under some scrutiny. This time, unfortunately, RCA took action. The
original album cover (which featured a warped flesh-looking mask) was
substituted for a picture of sunbathers walking on a sand dune on the European
For the Japanese pressing, where censorship prevented the original album
cover from ever being released at all, they opted instead for a solid black cover
with only the eye of the mask revealed.
Misplaced Ideals was later released in North America in November 1978 on
A&M Records. Since 1977's Fanx Ta-Ra never had a North American
release, A&M opted to combine selections from the band's first two albums
rather just release the Ideals album as it was issued in Europe. A&M
also opted to use yet a different cover design for the release. This time,
using a drawing of a woman holding a martini style glass. Despite these
changes to the original product, the album achieved only modest success in
North America, but garnered enough support to keep A&M Records interested.
Meanwhile, back in Europe, RCA and the band's management felt that John
Punter, who had produced the first two Sad Café
albums (and at the time was known for his work with Roxy Music), needed to
be replaced by someone who had a recent track record of recent pop chart
success to take Sad Café to the next
level. Eric Stewart, who was known by Sad Café's
management as was a former member of The Mindbenders and a current card
carrying member of 10CC, was tapped to take on the task of producing a hit
record for the band.
By the time Sad Café were ready to head
into the recording studio with Eric Stewart to record the third album,
original drummer Tony Cresswell had been replaced with Dave Irving and
saxophone player Lenni had been added. Stewart proved to be a valuable asset
to Sad Café. Under his production, Sad
Café further reduced their overly
indulgent soloing and excessive fade ins and outs which dominated much of
their previous efforts. The result was Facades (which was an album
title derived from an anagram of the band's name), a far more commercially
accessible album that still showcased the multitude of influences of musical
styles that made Sad Café unique.
Facades, released in September 1979 worldwide, was heralded as the
album that would put Sad Café on the
mainstream musical map.
Fueled by the single "Every Day Hurts", which peaked at #3 on the UK charts
in October 1979, Facades cracked the UK top ten albums chart. Other
singles like, "Strange Little Girl" (which peaked at #32 in January 1980),
"My Oh My" (which peaked at #14 in March 1980) and "Nothing Left Toulouse"
(which peaked at #62 in June 1980) helped keep Facades on the UK
albums chart for an impressive 23 weeks.
By the end of 1989,
The Mechanics completed another world tour, received a Grammy Award
nomination, and earned a second Gold Certified album in the U.S. 1989
also saw the release of the Rude Awakening soundtrack, which featured
Mike & the Mechanics cover version of The Beatles' "Revolution."
That year saw the release of what would be the final
Sad Café album, Whatever It Takes. The project, again reuniting Ian
Wilson and Paul Young, was not picked up by Atlantic Records. The project
found distribution exclusively through Castle Communications, and despite
several excellent tracks, never achieved any commercial success. Young also
found time in this very busy year to appear on Paul Carrack's 1989 solo
album, Groove Approved.
Paul Young returned to Mike & The Mechanics to record 1991’s Word of
the making of the album, Mike Rutherford began to relinquish some control over the songwriting process,
allowing band members more creative input than on previous Mechanics
of Mouth reached #107 on the Billboard album chart in the
U.S., failing to achieve the success of previous Mechanics albums. The
lead off single of the same name, sung by Young, peaked at #78 on the U.S.
charts. The band attributed this dip in sales to the changing music scene and
the sudden popularity of grunge and
alternative rock music. This change in the music scene was reminiscent to
what Paul Young experienced with
Sad Café with the on-set of punk rock scene in the late '70s.
Between the album's
disappointing sales, a few commercially failed singles, and Mike Rutherford's commitment to return to the studio
with his other band, Genesis, (for what would be the We Can't Dance
album), the Mechanics decided not to tour in support of Word
As a result of the decision not to tour, keyboardist Adrian Lee quit the
Mechanics while other members were disappointed with Mike Rutherford's
seeming lack of support for the Mechanics project.
Drummer Peter Van Hooke quit soon after
making the Mechanics a trio with only Paul Carrack, Paul Young and
Rutherford (along with co-songwriter B.A. Robertson) still attached
to the band. Suddenly, the future of the Mechanics went from being
incredibly promising with a couple of hit albums under their belts to having
a very uncertain future. Taking the back-burner to Mike Rutherford's work
with Genesis put the Mechanics in limbo for the next few years. In the
interim, Paul Carrack and Paul Young pursued other interests.
In 1994, the newly slim-downed Mike and the Mechanics returned to the studio
to record their next album. 1995's Beggar on a Beach of Gold
once again lacked commercial recognition in North America; however, one single
co-written by Carrack and Rutherford, “Over My Shoulder,” did achieve modest success
a European tour in support of the Beggar
album, The Mechanics returned with 1996's Hits,
a collection spanning their first four studio efforts and one new track, a
remake of their hit “All I Need Is A Miracle” re-sung by Paul Young. Atlantic Records, the band’s U.S.
record company, opted not to release the
due to the weak album sales of Word of Mouth
and Beggar On A
of Gold and consequently dropped the band from the label
(Hits eventually saw a North American release in 2005 on the Rhino
After a hiatus while Mike Rutherford worked on the next Genesis album,
1997's Calling All Stations, and a supporting European tour, Mike and
the Mechanics reformed to begin work on their sixth album, 1999's
self-titled release (also known as M6). The album would prove to be
one of The Mechanics best albums, but garnered very little commercial
success In Europe (and has never been released in North America). The
subsequent tour of Europe lasted through the spring of that year.
After completing the 1999 tour, Paul Young worked on the Radio Silence
album, Sirens, and did some concerts with Spike Edney's SAS band, an
all-start act featuring a rotating list of musicians that has included past
members of legendary acts like Queen, Manfred Mann, Marillion, and many
others. On these all-star concert dates, Paul sang hits from his career,
including songs made famous from his days with both Mike and The Mechanics
On Saturday, July 15, 2000, Paul Young died from a massive heart attack
while at home. He was only 53 years of age.
As a result of Young's tragic passing, Mike Rutherford and Paul Carrack reunited
briefly for a Paul
Young tribute concert along with former members of Paul Young’s other
noted band, Sad Café, in Young's home town of Manchester, England. Mike
and the Mechanics released their final album featuring Paul Young,
Favorites, a European only compilation spanning the band's entire career
with Paul Young, by the following year.
leaves behind a wife and three children along with a legacy of music than
spans four decades. He will always be remembered by fans for his consummate
showmanship on the stage and his passionate vocals that brought life to so
many great songs.
World of Genesis.com would like to thank and
acknowledge the following, who in one way or another, helped me put this
brief biography together directly or indirectly between their own work,
press releases, promotional material, promo photographs, and other history
information: Jason Young,
Billboard Magazine, A&M Records (U.S.A.), RCA Records (Europe),
Renaissance Records, Edsel Records, Atlantic Records, Rhino Records, the
official Sad Cafe
website, and the
House of Many
Rooms Mike & The Mechanics fan-site. This biography is
copyright © 2009 World of
Genesis.com and cannot be used in whole or in part without the express
permission of World of Genesis.com and David Negrin.