11 Songs, 46 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though he started his career in the early '70s, the '80s were Billy Ocean’s salad days. With a string of gigantic hits—including 1984’s “Caribbean Queen,” 1986’s “When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going,” and 1987’s “Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car”—Ocean showed that he could be sultry, fun, and even a little bit silly, and do it all with an transnational sensibility. He was a perfect star for a decade symbolized by shiny yachts, mirrored dance clubs, and white suits. Producers loved Ocean for his adaptability and his songwriting talent, but above all, he was a unique and highly nuanced vocalist. He wasn't a raspy lothario in the mold of Teddy Pendergrass, nor was he an androgynous minx like Prince or Michael Jackson. His vocals are clipped but exuberant, and even though his productions are thoroughly modern, his overall feel seemed more connected to the classic Motown performances by The Four Tops and The Temptations. Though they're usually overshadowed by his signature hits, “Love Zone,” “Here’s to You,” and “Suddenly” afford the best opportunities to get a closer look at Ocean's masterful vocal skills.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though he started his career in the early '70s, the '80s were Billy Ocean’s salad days. With a string of gigantic hits—including 1984’s “Caribbean Queen,” 1986’s “When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going,” and 1987’s “Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car”—Ocean showed that he could be sultry, fun, and even a little bit silly, and do it all with an transnational sensibility. He was a perfect star for a decade symbolized by shiny yachts, mirrored dance clubs, and white suits. Producers loved Ocean for his adaptability and his songwriting talent, but above all, he was a unique and highly nuanced vocalist. He wasn't a raspy lothario in the mold of Teddy Pendergrass, nor was he an androgynous minx like Prince or Michael Jackson. His vocals are clipped but exuberant, and even though his productions are thoroughly modern, his overall feel seemed more connected to the classic Motown performances by The Four Tops and The Temptations. Though they're usually overshadowed by his signature hits, “Love Zone,” “Here’s to You,” and “Suddenly” afford the best opportunities to get a closer look at Ocean's masterful vocal skills.

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