HE’s had number one singles and albums, he’s performed all over the world including on the Live Aid stage at Wembley. Memorably he also sang the opening lines of Do They Know It’s Christmas? the Live Aid single.
For more than 40 years Paul Young delighted fans both as an artist in his own right and with his ‘side project’ the Tex-Mex country combo Los Pacaminos.
But now he’s about to embark on something new - a massive 96 tour of venues around the UK where the man himself rather than the songs will take centre stage.
In the Behind the Lens tour, Paul will be sharing anecdotes about his life and answering audience questions serving up just a handful of acoustic versions of songs along the way.
“This is a whole new kind of tour for me,” said Paul, who will be at King George’s Hall, Blackburn, next Thursday on what will be only the second date of the tour. “I am going into it with a certain amount of trepidation I must confess but I’m also looking forward to it.”
The tour will also be heading to Oswaldtwistle Civic Arts Centre the following week on Wednesday, March 29.
The idea for this intimate show came about as Paul worked on his memoir, Take a Piece of Me With You - the title is a line from one of his best known hits, Every Time You Go Away - which is published next month.
“Initially the book was ghost written but then I went in and put my own stamp on it,” he said. “By the time it was finished, I had come up with all these things that I hadn’t mentioned in it. There were some quite interesting stories which came back to me so I wrote them as a note in my phone and pretty quickly I had over 20 things to talk about which didn’t get into the book.”
Keeping the evening on track will be Paul’s long-time guitarist and friend Jamie Moses.
“He’s really excited about it - he keeps asking things like ‘should I wear a gold jacket?’ I told him ‘certainly not!’ With Los Pacaminos, anyone who has seen us may know us as being a bit of a comedy double act on stage so I think that bodes well for this tour. It’ll be fun to have him with me on stage.”
Given that his career amazingly spans 45 years, Paul - now 67 - clearly won’t be short of things to talk about.
“There were certain things which I knew I couldn’t put in the book but which I might be able to get away with on stage on the odd night,” he teased. “When I did the book I would talk to friends and family and it’s funny how you forget about things.
“I’ve never been one to look back really. I try to just take things step by step. I just kept going to see how far I could get and it’s amazing to think how far that is.
“At certain points in my life I could have gone ‘that’s it, it’s time to get a proper job’ as my dad would say, but I didn’t and other things and more interesting things happened as a result.”
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Paul’s No Parlez album which made him a regular on Top of the Pops and spawned a string of hits including Come Back and Stay and Love of the Common People.
To coincide with his new tour, Paul is releasing an album, also called Behind the Lens, a collection of previously unreleased songs and reworked demos and B-sides.
“It was mastered last year but my manager suggested we hold on so that it would be coincide with the tour,” said Paul. “There are songs which I have written over the last 15 or 20 years and we will have a vinyl release available at the shows.”
Music will form a small part of the Behind the Lens shows.
“I’ll be doing four songs,” said Paul, “basically one for each decade. We’re looking at the first half of the show being pretty structured with a couple of songs thrown in and then in the second half it will get a little bit looser and we’ll get some questions from the audience which would be interesting and I’ll also do a couple more songs.
“It’s going to be different and I think it will be fun. It’s just that it’s different so I can’t wait to get on the road with it.”
Paul Young, Behind the Lens, King George’s Hall, Blackburn, Thursday, March 23 (www.bwdvenues.com) and Oswaldtwistle Civic Arts Centre, Wednesday, March 29 (www.civicartscentre.co.uk)