Billy Ocean holds the prestigious title of being the biggest selling British black artist of all time. During his career Billy has sold in excess of 30 million singles and albums worldwide, reaching his pinnacle throughout the 1980's.
He has collected a several Gold and Platinum records across the world and hit the number one spot worldwide on pop charts including in the USA, Australia, Germany, Holland, and the UK.
Billy has achieved extraordinary success as both artist and songwriter. However, his success is only the tip of the iceberg.
From humble beginnings to international stardom his road to fame has at times been tinged with despondency. His determination to succeed and talent have always shone through even the darkest of times, proving that when the going gets tough... the tough really do get going.
Born Leslie Sebastian Charles in 1950, on the Caribbean Island of Trinidad, it was in 1958 at just 7 years old when his family immigrated to England in search of work, settling in the East End of London. The calypso crazy kid soon got turned on to soul singers like Otis Redding and Sam Cooke as well as pop groups like The Beatles and Rolling Stones leading him to spend much of his study time in the music room.
In 1975, adopting the name Billy Ocean, he signed a production deal with GTO records, for whom his second single was the Motown-ish Love Really Hurts Without You, which reached No. 2 in the UK charts and No. 12 in the US.
Two top twenty singles followed; Love on Delivery and Stop Me, then Red Light Spells Danger became a smash in both the UK and the USA. Billy changed record labels and his move to Jive Records provided instant success, with the million selling American number one single Caribbean Queen (for which Billy won a Grammy for best R&B Vocal), followed by Loverboy, and Suddenly, which became the first of Billy’s killer ballads.
The Album from which these singles came from spent a year in the US Charts selling double platinum (triple in Canada). Billy also performed on the American half of Live Aid, making 1985 a truly incredible year for him.
1986 wasn’t bad either, opening with When the Going gets Tough (the tough gets going), the theme song to the Michael Douglas/Kathleen Turner/Danny Devito movie Jewel of the Nile.
Billy then launched the Love Zone album, which went straight to No. 2 in the UK charts, staying in the top 40 for six months. In the US, there was a No. 1 single with There’ll be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry). More Hits were to follow with the now classic Get Outta My Dreams; Get Into My Car, giving Billy yet another US No.1 hit.
Billy Ocean proved himself to be one of the most hardworking artists on the live stage, touring the world to ever-growing enthusiastic audiences.
After years of hard work and well-earned success, he decided to take time away from the music business and devote himself to his family. Jive issued a Greatest Hits package in September 1989, which went on to be Billy's biggest selling UK album, this time going Platinum.
In November 2002, Billy was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music by the University of Westminster, where his eldest daughter Cherie studied for her degree in Commercial music.
In 2007, Billy decided to get back out to perform his hits again, this time with his daughter Cherie on backing vocals, with live dates in the UK, Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and the Caribbean. The tour was a great success and culminated in his getting the bug once more for writing and recording.
2010, and Billy went back on the road again with his band in the UK, Europe and the US with the release of ‘The Very Best of Billy Ocean’, which entered the UK album charts at number 17 and sold 72,000 copies in 4 weeks.
In 2012 he went back into the studio with his old buddy Barry Eastmond to record tracks that became the album Here You Are which was released in 2016 entering the charts at No 4 — his highest chart position since 1988.
2017 saw the Here You Are album released in the USA. The year was another fantastic one for him; playing shows in Dubai, USA, Canada, Spain, Mozambique, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Germany and even Luxumbourg.
Throughout 2018 and 2019 Billy continued to play shows around the world, and also finished his latest album, ‘One World’, out now.