January 21, 1950 - Born on this day, Billy Ocean, singer (When The Going Gets Tough, Suddenly, Love Zone). He had a string of international R&B/pop hits in the 1970s and 1980s including three U.S. number ones: Caribbean Queen, There'll Be Sad Songs, Get Outta My Dreams Get Into My Car.
Ocean was born as Leslie Sebastian Charles in Fyzabad, Trinidad and Tobago, to Hainsley Charles, a Grenadian musician and his wife Violet. He moved to Romford, Essex, England, with his family at the age of ten. He was exposed to music at an early age, as his father was a musician. During his teenage years, he sang regularly in London clubs while also working as a tailor in London's Savile Row. He was discovered by his first manager, John Morphew, who recorded a double A-side single at Pye Studios in London with a full orchestra. However, the ballad singing style of Les was going out of fashion and Morphew was unable to get any major label to release it. It remains unreleased.
Ocean's period of greatest success began with the releases, during 1984, of the album Suddenly and its main single, "Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run)". The song's title and lyrics were changed for different regions, such that the song is also known as "African Queen" or "European Queen". The song won Ocean the Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance at the 1985 Grammy Awards. The album's title track also became a success, peaking at No. 4 in both the US and the UK and the song "Loverboy" was a No. 2 US success in 1985.
Ocean appeared at Live Aid in 1985, singing "Caribbean Queen" and "Loverboy" from the JFK Stadium in Philadelphia.
In 2002, the University of Westminster, London, awarded Ocean an honorary doctorate of music. In 2010, Ocean was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the MOBO Awards. On July 29, 2011, Ocean became a Companion of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, presented to him by Sir Paul McCartney. He is a member of the Rastafari movement.
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