The Five Best Vocal Performances Of Any Paul Carrack Songs
Could someone within the realm of pop music sing the telephone directory and make a successful career out of it? I feel that ludicrous statement could be applied to the wonderful English rock/pop vocalist Paul Carrack who, over a varied career spanning 30 years or more, has proved himself to be an outstandingly gifted singer (and no mean songwriter). As a solo artist or in bands such as Ace, Squeeze and Mike and The Mechanics, he's applied a meticulously crafted, spine-tingling delivery to practically everything he's worked on (hence my telephone directory reference) and, in no particular order, I would like to list 5 of those songs that I feel best reflect his unique talent:
1. Eyes Of Blue – From his fifth solo album Blue Views, released in the UK in 1995. Quite a standard song, but elevated to something extraordinary by the great man's vocal. There exists film of a live performance executed in the key of A, as opposed to the recorded version in C, with only his own keyboard accompaniment and it is truly stunning (you can search for this gem easily enough on You Tube).
2. Tempted – From the 1981 Squeeze album East Side Story. One of Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford's most soulful songs, produced by Elvis Costello no less, phrased beautifully by a master at work, it is a perennial favourite of many Squeeze fans.
3. Over My Shoulder – From the 1995 Mike & The Mechanics album Beggar On A Beach Of Gold. A fine example of Carrack's silky vocalising, underrated songwriting ability and whistling prowess It was that album's most successful single in the UK, reaching no. 12 in the charts.
4. How Long – The hit single from way back in 1974 that served to introduce the world to Paul Carrack's vocals. Still pretty much exquisite, although I would say not yet a fully rounded voice, it was to be the zenith of Ace's existence and their only chart entry. They were to disband in 1977.
5. The Living Years – Released in the UK in December 1988, under the Mike & The Mechanics brand and described later by Burt Bacharach as one of the finest lyrics of the previous ten years, Carrack appropriated the lyric with supreme sensitivity and almost gospel-like fervour in its later stages. A deserved hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
There are, in truth, so many Paul Carrack songs I could list here, but this is just a personal selection which I hope will inspire others to comment.