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19 reworked for Afghanistan

Paul Hardcastle re-releases anti-war track

  • 03/04/2010
  • Sinead Garvan
Paul Hardcastle

25 years after releasing his anti-war single 19, Paul Hardcastle has re-worked the track.

The original was inspired by young soldiers going to the Vietnam War with the title being a reference to their average age.

A quarter of a century on and the 'godfather of sampling' has turned his attention to Afghanistan.

He says he felt compelled to rework the Ivor Novello winning song after his son's friend George Sparks was killed in the conflict:

"I shouldn't have to be the messenger but I have got a voice to actually do that. I was the one that made that record so I think if someone else had done it, it might have been different.

"When I get the letters and emails from some of the families, people that have actually been out there, serving there now and they say we're really proud of what you're doing then to me there is no better accolade.

"I could win the Ivor Novello award again, it still wouldn't mean as much as what they're saying to me."
Paul Hardcastle told 6 Music he doesn't believe things have changed over the years:

"We are in the same sort of situation I believe as 25 years ago and I would have liked not to release this record with Afghanistan in it.

"That's the one thing that would have been brilliant for me to say, that happened a long time ago."

"I could win the Ivor Novello again, it wouldn't mean as much as what they're saying."

Paul Hardcastle

'19' topped the charts for five weeks back in 1985, selling four million copies worldwide.

It's success meant Hardcastle's manager at the time, Simon Fuller, who had just left Chrysalis Records, was able to use the funds to continue his own business.

He called what has now become a huge empire '19 management' as a nod to the song.

It was a two way street though, Hardcastle says without Fuller's backing, the song may never have seen the light of day.

"Well Simon worked at Chrysalis Records and I went in there with the demo of it.

"Everyone else in the record company looked at me and said 'blimey what's this you've brought in?' because it was so new and different.

The composer and musician was the first to use samples in pop music, with this song, it all happened by accident:

"The 19 title really is because in them days you only had two seconds worth of sampling time, which is crazy by today's standards.

"That was the only word I could get in that made any sense, technology wasn't very good, that's all I had the time for.

'19' is released on 19 April in the UK

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