Friday, August 10, 2012

Paul Hardcastle - "Rain Forest"

Rain Forest - Paul Hardcastle

(Debuted January 12, 1985, Peaked #57, 18 Weeks on the Chart)

Here's a song that I'd heard several times over the years without ever realizing it. There was a station I used to tune in on Saturday afternoons that used this as a music bed to fill in the space between the last song of the hour and the content of the next hour, an old radio "trick" that is often neglected now that stations (especially the ones I tune in nowadays) rarely even have any real people manning the board anymore. That bothers me as a former radio DJ to understand...but the first thing people complain about with their local radio stations is the fact that there's too much talking in between the music. I think part of that is the commercials, but the radio stations aren't going to be cutting into their revenue streams. Anyway, I'll get off my soapbox...

Paul Hardcastle is best known for his hit "19" (featured on this blog last summer), which interspersed dialogue from a documentary on the Vietnam War with a beat that was solidly from the 1980s. "Rain Forest" actually arrived first and was a big hit on black radio (it peaked at #5 on the R&B chart). A jazz-inspired electronic tune, it had an atmosphere that gave it a definitive sound. Despite the R&B success of "Rain Forest" and the hit that "19" later became, it might be a surprise to some to learn that Hardcastle is actually a British artist, who was born and raised in London.

He has continued riffing on his jazzy side ever since and has remade "Rain Forest" at least two times. The MP3 versions of the song above and below may be the remake versions; the original appeared on his 1984 LP Zero One, and that's the version in the video clip below.

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