One Hit Wonders of the ’80s: 1985 – Paul Hardcastle

“19” by Paul Hardcastle


Well, this is one of the stranger songs I have come across on this list so far. I must have been in the phase where I only listened to hard rock/heavy metal, as this song actually peaked at #15 on the U.S. charts on July 20, 1985, and I had never heard of this song until recently. This is an electronic song, that brought Paul Hardcastle into prominence, which features sampled narration from the documentary Vietnam Requiem. This song has a strong anti-war message, focusing on the effect that it had on soldiers.

The title “19” comes from the documentary’s claim that the average age of an American combat soldier in the war was 19, as compared to the claim of World War II’s 26. This claim has since been disputed.

The success of “19” meant that Hardcastle’s manager Simon Fuller, who had recently left Chrysalis Records to set up on his own, was able to use the funds to continue his business. He named the business 19 Management in acknowledgement and the number 19 has become of great significance to Fuller. Fuller went on to become the most successful British music manager of all time and was behind the success of the Spice Girls and American Idol. Hardcastle has continued his connections to 19 Entertainment and in 2009 created the sound for the end card used at the end of 19’s television shows.

“19” was #73 on VH1’s 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 80s.

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