Peak UK Chart Position: #2 in April 1977.

Up five places to number eight on this day forty years ago was Fyzabad, Trinidad and Tobago-born Leslie Sebastian Charles, otherwise known as Billy Ocean. His career has spanned almost fifty years, singing in London clubs in his teens, after his family moved to Romford, Essex, when he was just ten. The first band he joined in 1969 were known as The Shades Of Midnight, after which he released solo material under the name Les Charles, and fronted another band, Scorched Earth, for two years. He would go on to take the surname Ocean from the Ocean Estate, Stepney in London’s East End, where he was living at the time, and hit the big time with “Love Really Hurts Without You”, his debut solo hit in 1976.

“Red Light Spells Danger” matched the peak of “Love Really Hurts Without You” – number two – just a year later, but it would be in 1986 when he scored his first (and only) UK chart topper with “When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going”, from the movie “The Jewel In The Nile”. It wouldn’t be an American chart-topper though, but he did have three other songs that managed that feat – “Caribbean Queen”, “There’ll Be Sad Songs”, and “Get Outta My Dreams”, his last major hit globally.

Still immensely popular, and as busy as ever, Ocean is currently in the middle of a UK tour, with the Birmingham Symphony Hall playing host to him this evening, There was also an album released last April where Ocean interprets songs that influenced him – including “No Woman No Cry” and”You Send Me” – plus a bonus disc of greatest hits which, of course, includes “Red Light Spells Danger”.

 

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