Peak UK Chart Position: #3 in December 1984.

Nicholas David Kershaw, born in Bristol, England – better known as Nik Kershaw –¬†heads today’s birthday list, as he turns 59 today. Described by Elton John as “the best songwriter of a generation”, he notched up eight top forty hits, coming consecutively across 1984 and 1985 (two years in which he amassed 62 weeks on the British singles chart, beating all other solo artists). Five of those singles went top ten, with “I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” being the biggest, peaking at number two. He is still very much musically active, and regularly appears on the bill for the ‘Let’s Rock’ and ‘Rewind’ events and festivals. He was once described by Smash Hits magazine as “the thinking man’s Limahl’…

Quick facts:

  • “The Riddle” was the lead single from the album of the same name, which peaked at number eight, and spawned two other top ten singles in “Wide Boy” and “Don Quixote”.
  • The lyrics were described by Kershaw thus: “In short, ‘The Riddle’ is nonsense, rubbish, bollocks, the confused ramblings of an 80s popstar.”
  • His biggest success as a songwriter was 1991’s seventh best-selling single and five-week number one, “The One And Only” by Chesney Hawkes.
  • This year sees him at ‘Let’s Rock’ in Shrewsbury, Bristol, and Norwich; ‘Rewind’ in Perth, and Henley-on-Thames; and the Isle of Wight’s ‘Jack Up The 80s’ event among others.

He performed four songs at 1985’s ‘Live Aid’, appearing on stage at just after 2:20 in the afternoon – and sandwiched between Elvis Costello and Sade. Here, from that set, is “The Riddle”.

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