... A Brief History
Carrack was born
April 22, 1951
England. Carrack took to music at an early age and, by
the time he as a teenager, became heavily influenced by the Mersey Beat
craze of the period. Paul went on to play with a number of small, local
acts before traveling to
Germany, learning his chops playing the night club
In 1970, Paul co-founded the Sheffield-based progressive/psychedelic rock
influenced band, Warm Dust. Even with a strong influence in rock music, it
was clear even in the band’s early days that Carrack’s soulful voice
added another dimension to the group. Warm Dust recorded three
commercially unsuccessful albums and disbanded in 1972.
Paul left the
confines of Warm Dust to form the pub rock band Ace with members two other
local bands, Might Baby and The Action. Over the next five
years, Ace would release three albums including the Carrack penned hit
single “How Long” which went to #20 in the
and #3 on the U.S.
The success of the single “How Long” also took
the debut album,
#11 on the
charts. However, the follow-up release,
For Another, lost momentum at #153 on the charts and failed to produce
a hit single. By July 1977, after the release and modest commercial impact
of the group’s third effort,
Strings, Ace had disintegrated. Having failed to repeat the success of
“How Long” the band went there separate ways.
1977, the music scene began to be dominated by punk rock and new wave
and, as a result, Paul Carrack found himself turning to session work.
Among his early session projects were two albums recorded with Frankie
Miller, Double Trouble and
1993, Paul returned to the studio to work on a classic rock covers
collaboration, Spin 1ne 2wo, with fellow session players Tony Levin, Steve
Ferrone, and Rupert Hine. That year also saw Paul’s brief return to
Squeeze for one album, Some
Fantastic Place, and an appearance on Beth Neilsen Chapman’s album, You
Hold The Key.
Paul spent 1994 on tour with Squeeze playing to crowds
in Europe, Japan, and the
United States. That year
also saw the release of 21 Good Reasons, an impressive 21-track
anthology spanning Paul Carrack's career from his days with Ace to
Following the Squeeze tour and an ill-fated and unreleased project with
Don Felder and Timothy B. Schmidt (from The Eagles), Paul Carrack returned
to Mike & The Mechanics to record their fourth effort, Beggar On A Beach of Gold. Interestingly, Schmidt and Felder used
one of the Carrack co-written tunes, “Love Will Keep Us Alive,” for
The Eagles Hell Freezes Over album,
which won an award for being the most played single in America
Unfortunately, Beggar On A Beach of
Gold did not share the same success. The release once again lacked
commercial recognition in North America; however, one single
co-written by Carrack, “Over My Shoulder,” did achieve modest success
a European tour in support of the Beggar
album, The Mechanics returned with Hits,
a collection spanning their first four studio efforts and one new track, a
remake of their hit “All I Need Is A Miracle” sung by fellow Mechanic
Paul Young. Atlantic Records, the band’s U.S.
record company, opted not to release the
In the fall of 1978, Paul went into the studio with
Roxy Music and eventually recorded two sessions with the group, which
resulted in 1979’s Manifesto
and 1980’s Flesh & Blood
albums. Roxy Music also enlisted Paul tour with them in support of the
albums, which took him on the road for the next two years. Paul was also
eventually featured later on Roxy Music’s critically acclaimed swan
song, Avalon, in 1982.
in 1970 with PAUL (far right)
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
aul released his fifth solo album, Blue
which spawned the hit
single “Eyes of Blue.” In 1996, the album went Gold in Spain, and Carrack toured
with Sting in support
of the project. Blue Views was
finally released in
North America i
1997. The album garnered
In 1980, Paul Carrack released his first solo album, Nightbird. The album was not a commercial success, and failed to
establish Paul as a solo artist. After the paltry impact of Nightbird,
Carrack was offered to replace keyboardist Jools Holland in the rock band
Carrack recorded one album with Squeeze, 1981’s East
Side Story. The album, which was produced by Elvis Costello and is
considered by many to be their best album, included the smash hit "Tempted" featuring lead vocals by Carrack.
Although the song was not written by Carrack, "Tempted" remains
one of his many signature songs to this day.
Paul toured North America
in support of East Side Story before quitting Squeeze less than a year after
joining the band to pursue other projects and resume his own solo career. Unbeknownst
to Carrack at the time, it would not be the last time he would cross
musical paths with Squeeze.
acclaim, and the single “For Once In Our Lives” reached #3 on the Billboard
Adult Contemporary Chart in the U.S.
Having firmly established himself as a gifted songwriter and musician,
Paul Carrack went on to do session work with some of the biggest names in
the music industry including Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Elton John, Van
Morrison, and others.
Carrack even managed to squeeze in some session work with
former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett
for his Genesis Revisited
album, remaking the Genesis classic, "Your Own Special
Among the many popular recordings Paul Carrack
graced was “Something About The Way You Look Tonight” which was the
b-side to “Candle In The Wind ‘97” – one of the best selling
singles ever released. The single sold in excess of 31.8 million copies
worldwide according to the Guinness Book of Records (including more than 9
million in the U.S.).
working with Carlene Carter on her Blue
Nun album in late 1981, Carrack formed a partnership with her then
husband and producer, Nick Lowe.
For the next three years, Lowe and Carrack would jointly lead Martin
Belmont, James Eller and Bobby Irwin under the names The Chaps, Noise To
By the time Paul Carrack released his sixth solo album, 1997’s Beautiful World, his European record label went through some
management changes, which Carrack blamed for the lack of success the album
achieved. While the album did no better in North America, Paul decided to
release future albums independently to avoid the politics of the major
becoming an independent artist, Paul founded his own record label,
Carrack-UK, and his own official website, www.carrack-uk.com. With
the barriers of the music industry executives and major labels behind him,
Carrack began work on his next solo album.
|The Cowboy Outfit and record four albums by 1985.
period, Paul Carrack recorded his second solo effort, Suburban
Voodoo, which was released in 1982 and was named by Rolling Stone Magazine as being one of the top twenty albums of that
year. Voodoo also featured the
hit single “I Need You” which peaked at #37 the Billboard pop singles
chart, #22 on the mainstream rock chart, and #20 on the adult contemporary
chart in the U.S.
Another single, "Lesson In Love," also
garnered some success landing at #33 on the Billboard mainstream
rock chart that same year. The success of the singles and the critical
acclaim for the project helped push Suburban Voodoo to #78 on the
Billboard pop album chart in 1982.
In between Carrack’s many projects with Nick Lowe and the release of his
second solo album, Paul continued his session work, playing with new wave
rock acts like The Undertones, The Pretenders, and The Smiths among
first result of this independence came in 2000 with the release of his
seventh solo album, Satisfy My Soul.
The album was a slight
departure from previous efforts, with Carrack drawing more heavily than
ever from 1960s and 1970s soul influences meshed with a strong pop feel.
The album also featured three collaborations with ex-Squeeze band mate
Initially only available in Europe, Satisfy My Soul earned a
great deal of critical acclaim and eventually found North American
distribution for the album later that year.
July 15, 2000, Paul Carrack received some tragic news. Fellow
Mike & The Mechanics band mate Paul Young died of a heart attack in
his home in
England. Carrack had just finished up a Mechanics
tour with Young in 1999 for the M6 album.
In 1985, Paul Carrack 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.
PAUL (center) circa 1981
||As a result of Young's tragic passing, Mike Rutherford and Paul Carrack reunited shortly thereafter 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.
The impact of Young’s death initially led surviving
Mechanics members Carrack and Rutherford to state that while the band would
continue, they will not tour in support of future efforts. This decision
would be one that the band would struggle with over the next few years.
Eventually, Carrack and Rutherford decided that Young would have wanted
them to carry on without him.
Eventually named Mike & The Mechanics, the band
featured Paul Carrack on several tracks including
“Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground)” which was a hit single on both
sides of the Atlantic
reaching #6 on the Billboard singles chart in the U.S. As a result of the success of the self-titled
album, Mike Rutherford asked vocalists Paul Carrack and ex-Sad Café front
man Paul Young to tour in support of the project.
the end of 1986, the Mechanics had toured both the United States
extensively, had two additional 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
European tour in support of the Satisfy
My Soul later hit the road and climaxed on May 4, 2001, when, just after
Paul’s 50th birthday, he sold out the legendary Royal Albert
Hall in London,
for the first time as a solo artist. The event featured several guest musicians from Paul’s
past, including: Nick Lowe, Mike Rutherford and B.A. Robertson from Mike
& The Mechanics, Rod Argent, and the reuniting of Squeeze songsmiths Chris Difford and
While still touring in support of Satisfy
My Soul, Carrack began the early stages of his next album, 2001’s Groovin’.
The project, which was not released in North America, was a cover album that
paid homage to an array of artists that influenced Carrack.
returning to Mike & the Mechanics for a follow-up album, Paul Carrack found time
to work on Roger Waters’ Radio
K.A.O.S. album, Waters’ world tour, and a third solo album, 1987’s
One Good Reason. The solo album remained in the Billboard
Hot 100 for nearly half a year, peaking at #67 on the Billboard
album chart, and resulted in a North American tour.
The One Good Reason album spawned two hit singles in the
including the title
track and "Don’t Shed A Tear," which went to #34 on the Billboard
singles chart and #6 on the mainstream rock chart in the U.S. As a result of
the song's popularity (and undoubtedly fueling it to become a top 40 hit),
"Don't Shed A Tear" also received heavy rotation on MTV.
PAUL CARRACK circa
In the fall of 2001, Paul
Carrack also found time to return to the studio with Mike Rutherford to start
work on a new Mike & The Mechanics album, Rewired. This project
would be worked on sporadically over the next few years in between
Carrack's solo activities and demanding tour schedule.
In 2002, Carrack toured
extensively for the Groovin’
album, with upwards of 50 dates. During this period, the Groovin’ album was repacked with bonus tracks, a slight album
cover art variation, and an extra
DVD-single under the name Still
2002 also saw Paul receive the
accolade of being invited, alongside the likes of Mariah Carey and Phil
Collins, to serve as a special guest tutor on Operacion Triunfo, the
Spanish version of
filmed at Barcelona's
The phenomenally successful show, which goes out live 24-hours
per day on its own special Operacion Triunfo channel, has achieved
the biggest viewing figures for any show of its kind worldwide - a whopping
70 percent audience share.
Paul Carrack returned to the Mechanics to record
their second album, 1988’s Living
Years. The title track, sung by Carrack, peaked at #1 in the U.S.
and became a massive hit worldwide.
Although no other songs from that album shared its success, on the strength of the title track, the
Living Years album skyrocketed to #13 on the Billboard
saw the release of The Carrack
Collection, an anthology of some of Paul Carrack’s most popular solo
material, including highlights of his work with Ace, Squeeze and Mike & The
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."
MIKE & THE MECHANICS in
2003, Paul Carrack released It
Ain’t Over, his eighth solo effort.
A slightly more upbeat
Satisfy My Soul,
It Ain't Over featured soulful tracks along side a few straight forward pop
tunes like the Chris Difford co-written tune, “She Lived Down The
Like Satisfy My Soul, the album was almost entirely performed by Carrack
including drums, vocals, guitars, keyboards, and bass guitar. Paul even
produced the album. Like previous efforts, It Ain't Over was
critically well received on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2003, Paul Carrack returned to the
singles charts in the
with the single “Happy To See
You Again” cracking the top 40 on the Billboard
Adult Contemporary Chart.
with PAUL CARRACK in 1993 (2nd from left)
1989, Paul returned to the studio to record his fourth solo album, Groove
Approved. The album featured the modest U.S.
hit “I Live By The
Groove” and the Nick Lowe/Paul Carrack tune “Battlefield” which was
later covered by Motown legend Diana Ross among others. The
album was less commercially successful than other recent Carrack projects
peaking at #120 on the Billboard album chart.
In July 1990, Paul Carrack rejoined ex-Pink Floyd
member Roger Waters
for the live reenactment of his classic Floyd penned epic, The
Carrack joined Waters in performing The
Wall live in Berlin, Germany in front of an estimated 250,000 fans at the
site of the Berlin Wall along with notable musicians such as Bryan Adams,
Cyndi Lauper, and The Scorpions among others. The concert was later
released as an album and video release.
MIKE & THE MECHANICS in
During this period, Paul Carrack was contacted by former Beatle Ringo
Starr. Ringo was pulling together a new touring band for a summer 2003
tour in support of his latest release Ringorama,
and asked if Carrack would be interested. Having
been asked once before and being unable to commit due to other
professional obligations, Carrack signed on this time around and joined
John Waite, Colin Hay, Sheila E., and Mark Rivera on tour across
the United States and Canada.
At the completion of the Ringo Starr tour, Paul Carrack returned to Europe
to embark on another leg of solo touring in support of his own It Ain’t Over album through spring 2004.
In June 2004, the
final Mike and The Mechanics album, Rewired, was released in Europe
and Asia (it was eventually released in North America in September 2005).
Despite the previous decision not to tour without the late Paul Young,
Rutherford and Carrack decided to tour Europe briefly in support of the Rewired
album, including a few European dates opening for Phil Collins in his
First Final Farewell Tour.
2004 also saw the
release of the 2003 Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band summer tour on
compact disc and DVD as well as Paul Carrack's first live album, Live
At The Opera House, a double disc set and DVD recorded in Buxton, England in
In 1990, Carrack also teamed up again with Nick
Lowe, resulting in Lowe’s critically acclaimed Party
Of One album. After the concert in
Berlin and the project with Nick Lowe, Paul Carrack 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 band attributed this dip in sales to the changing music scene and
the popularity of grunge and
alternative rock music.
NICK LOWE & THE COWBOY OUTFIT
In March 2005, Carrack released a follow-up double live album and DVD, Live
In Liverpool, recorded live in England in October 2004 as well as the
first Mike & The Mechanics DVD, Live From Shepherds Bush London,
recorded on their 2004 Rewired tour of Europe.
In December 2005, Carrack released Winter Wonderland, a
Christmas album backed by the legendary SWR Big Band. The album, which was
also released under the name A Soulful Christmas in Germany (with
added tracks and a slightly different album cover), featured a number of
holiday standards plus a cover of Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World"
and a new big band version of the Carrack song "Beautiful World." In support
of this album, Paul Carrack resumed his rigorous touring schedule of Europe.
October 2006 saw of the release of The Story So Far, a new one
disc, 20-track anthology spanning Carrack's solo career and various group
projects including his work with Ace, Squeeze, and Mike & The Mechanics.
Among the old favorites were new versions of "Living Years" and "Love Will
Keep Us Alive."
|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 Hook 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.
partnership with Mike Rutherford. In late
2007, Paul Carrack is set to release his next solo effort featuring a
mixture of original songs and cover tunes.
The compilation served as a close to the next chapter in the Carrack story,
because it was during this period that Paul revealed that he had officially
left Mike & The Mechanics ending a impressive 20-year on again off again
Almost 40 years
after co-founding Warm Dust,
Carrack continues to record and tour vigorously. His soulful pop stylings
continue to shine brightly as one of modern music’s finest crooners,
and the artists he has done session work for read like a who’s who of
rock and roll. The All Music
Guide refers to Carrack as “pop music’s ultimate journeyman,” which
sums up his career nicely. One can only hope that the journey and legacy
of his music will endure for a long time to come. The story continues...