Can you say the name of Paul Hardcastle's classic without 'na-na-na-na-nineteen?'
In a few weeks it will be Memorial Day Weekend and here at Lost and Found we always try to pay some respect in May to '80s songs about war and the soldiers that fought bravely for their country. This year we will devote a whole week to dark belly of war with a focus on songs dealing with the Vietnam War like the Top 40 hit 19 by Paul Hardcastle.
While many think of the Vietnam war in terms of the '60s history, the Vietnam War actually ran from 1954 to 1975 with the Americans getting involved in 1965. By time the U.S. exited from Vietnam, over 58,000 Americans were killed and more than 150,000 more were injured not to mention the several thousand listed as M.I.A. Of the three million soldiers that served in Vietnam, it is estimated that 15 to 30% suffer from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). It was these troubling numbers that gave birth to Paul Hardcastle's 19.
Hardcastle is a British musician who specialized in dance records and while he had a total of four Top 40 hits in the U.K., in most countries he only charted with 19. By melding bold synth rhythms with audio from the 1982 Emmy and Peabody winning ABC News documentary Vietnam Requiem that featured host Peter Thomas and interviews with Vietnam vets, the single 19 distinguished itself as the top-selling single worldwide in 1985. In the U.S., 19 made it to No. 15 on the Pop Singles chart and worldwide it was a number one hit in over 14 countries including a five-week stay at the top in England.
Hardcastle is still producing music though most of his material in now in the jazz genre.