Archive for the 'Guest Blog' Category

The Story of 19 – The Final Chapter by Paul Hardcastle

25 Years ago, I recorded the song “19”. The idea came about whilst watching a documentary which highlighted the plight of young men and women who fought in Vietnam.

“In World War 2 the average age of the combat soldier was 26, in Vietnam he was 19” these words really made me stop and think.

When I first approached Chrysalis Records with the Demo of “19” most people there didn’t believe it would get any attention as there would be no interest from the media, and I quote “the public don’t want to hear a song about war”.

Two people thought otherwise, the promotions guy Ken Grunbaum, and Simon Fuller who was working for the Company at the time. I gave the record company an ultimatum, either release “19” as my first record or I would not sign with them.

As luck would have it they agreed, and within three weeks “19” was at the top of the charts in 13 different countries and Simon became my Manager, he later went on to name his company after the song.

At the time it all seemed a long way from home as Vietnam was an American war, but now it seems “history is repeating itself”.

It’s now the 25th anniversary since the release of “19”, only this time the documentary I am watching is about the British soldiers who would be serving in Afghanistan. I hear the words “I looked at my Men, The average age was 19, my god I’m taking boys to war”, It was unbelievable, almost the same words that gave me the original idea to record “19”, this was all sounding too familiar.

I had it in my mind to do a remix for the 25th anniversary of the original track but after hearing that, I felt it would almost be an insult not to mention the British and others, who have lost their lives in recent years whilst doing their duty so I rewrote the song completely.

This time the song is written from the perspective of how I would see things if I was in the position of a young Soldier being sent off to war.

What’s interesting is the fact that a few years earlier I was approached by the BBC to remake 19 to be included in their TV programme “Power to the People” which highlighted the fact that there were no British hospitals for soldiers returning from duty.

At the time I declined, but having listened to the Soldiers and even high ranking army officials from several TV documentaries, it appears that there are many who are unsure that the way we are going about things is the right way,

Some even believe this can easily become another Vietnam scenario which would be a catastrophe for all involved, I’m not here to preach or impose my opinion on anyone and like with the original record I leave you to make up your own minds.

I am no anti government crusader, but take a look at the video trailer , the similarities between Vietnam and Afghanistan are quite alarming to say the least.

Luckily for me, In America I have been fortunate to have sold more records over the last decade than when 19 was at it’s peak so this is something that I don’t need to do, But on the other hand It’s something I feel I should do.

This is the last time I will ever revisit this song so I hope you like and understand what really are THE FINAL ever versions of “19″.

Paul Hardcastle – Feb 2010

A voice in my head is saying welcome to hell,
Will I get to survive I‘ve got no way to tell,
I’m in a situation where one of us dies
I get a stone cold stare from my enemies eyes,

A voice in my head is saying kill or be killed
But my mind is numb and my blood is chilled,
There’s bodies all around they lie on the ground
And all I hear is silence, and it’s a deafening sound

A voice in my head is saying this ain’t a game
If I survive this Hell I will never be the same,
Should I be here? I can’t say for sure,
If I don’t understand what I’m fighting for

Looking forward to the year ahead…. – Zoe Smith

Hard to believe we’re already virtually through the first month of the year.

My training is starting to step up in preparation for my next big competition on 20 February. The competition is the English Senior Championships taking place at Lilleshall National Sports Centre and it’s one of the qualifying competitions for the Commonwealth Games so I want to be ready to do my best.

Although I don’t have to put in any extra hours, the weights I am lifting in training are starting to get gradually heavier and it’s also the time that I have to start thinking about my own weight (again!)

Earlier this week I had a meeting with my coach and the Performance Manager of World Class Lifting to agree my targets for the year and to decide which competitions I’ll be focusing on.

As I’ve already said, my 100% main aim for the year is to compete and do well at the Commonwealth Games in India and because of that my coach has said he doesn’t want me to go to the first Olympic Youth Games in Singapore in August as he feels it would be too close to the Commonwealths. While that’s a bit disappointing, I totally understand where he’s coming from.

Another very important competition that I may have to miss this year could be the European Youth Championships taking place in Spain in May. That competition not only falls during my GCSEs but will be quite close to the British Senior Championships in June which is another event that I’m going
to have to make sure I’m at my absolute best for to ensure qualification for the Commonwealths. Again it would be difficult to be at my peak for both so we’re going to have to leave it til nearer the time for my coach to make a decision. The good news is that on whatever would be the actual day
of my competition in Spain I don’t actually have an exam but as they are either side of that date it really would have to be a “flying visit” if I do go!

Yesterday morning I sat the final part of my GCSE Science. There are 3 exams in total but I had to miss the final one (Biology) when we sat them (a year early) last May as I went to Austria to compete at the Fulda Cup so I was very pleased when I was told I’d get the chance to take it now instead. Fingers crossed I’ve not done too badly, although Science isn’t exactly my strong point.

I had my mock GCSE results through this week and, considering I did have to miss quite a bit of school last year to compete abroad and to attend WCL squads, I was quite pleased with the results.

Looking ahead to this weekend, I’ll be travelling down to Bristol on Saturday for the second Commonwealth Games training squad so I’m really looking forward to meeting up with everyone again.

Happy New Year – Paul Hardcastle

Happy New Year to you all. I hope everyone had a good break and didn’t eat too much! ha-ha!

2010 is definitely going to be a busy year, there is so much I have planned. I’m currently snowed in which has meant I’ve barely left the studio……no change there then ha-ha!

As a special new year treat here’s a taster of the new Jazzmasters 6. I’d love to hear what you all think.

I wish you all a prosperous 2010.

PH

The holidays are coming and so is Jazzmasters 6 – Paul Hardcastle

Well I’ve been a busy bee recently and the weeks seem to have flown by! Whilst I’m sure you’ll be amazed that the Christmas shopping is now done in the Hardcastle household, I’m sure you’ll be even more interested in the progress I’m making with Jazzmasters 6. It is sounding so smooth, and I may even post a few snippets online in the coming weeks, as a sneak preview. So watch this space as they won’t stay up for long!

The finishing touches are now in place for my next single, which will be out in the new year. I don’t want to say too much about it now, but I think you’ll all enjoy it.

After all this I think I deserve a break, so I’ll be jetting off to my favourite destination, the Maldives, for a nice little rest. I’m really looking forward to it, well except for the long flight ha-ha!

Click here for a Chatterbox festive treat.

Paul Hardcastle

Paul Hardcastle – Behind the Scenes

As most of you know I was in the studio last week working on some really interesting stuff. A lot of what we worked on was filmed so I have decided to put together a behind the scenes video for everyone who follows the Chatterbox blogs, so you can watch me work my magic ha-ha!

I’m just editing the footage and then i’ll upload the first bit soon.

Paul Hardcastle

Paul Hardcastle gets festive with his latest blog

With the festive season fast approaching I thought it was time to try my hand at a Christmas song and not just another one of those festive covers that seem to pop up around this time of year. This my friends is a Paul Hardcastle original Christmas track! I am so bored of the usual suspects that are churned out each year so tried to come up with something new and exciting whilst still being Christmassy. This track is available as a bonus track on The Collection which has just been released in the UK for the first time or as a single track here. I hope you like it and as always, would love to hear your opinions.

I feel like I haven’t left the studio recently as there are so many interesting projects planned for 2010 that I am busy working on. All I can say for now is that 2010 is going to be very exciting!

In the studio with Paul Hardcastle

Well yesterday was an action packed day. I arrived at the British Grove Studios in the morning with Maxine, full of ideas for the day ahead. The backing girls arrived shortly after and we were all set to go. I had auditioned for the backing vocalists a few weeks ago and discovered some great girls from the Academy of Contemporary Music. We ran through plenty of ideas for some new tracks and I was really impressed with how enthusiastic and professional the girls were, they’ve really added a new dimension to the tracks.

I’m now just playing around with the bits we recorded yesterday, but watch this space for the finished article coming soon.

And if you can’t wait for that, there’ll be some behind the scenes stuff online soon too.