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Billy Ocean Biography

Home > Music > O > Ocean, Billy > Biography

Birth Name: Leslie Sebastian Charles
Birth Place: Fyzabad, Trinidad
Years Active: 1972–present
Genres: Rhythm And Blues, Pop, Soul

Billy Ocean was born Leslie Sebastian Charles on January 21, 1950 in Trinidad and Tobago and is an R&B singer who achieved international success during the 1970s and 1980s with a string of hit singles. Ocean's family moved to Romford in London, England when he was eight years old, and he was raised in and around music from his parent's culture. Ocean's father was a musician, who influenced Ocean musically from an early age by. Ocean decided that he wanted to follow in his father's footsteps, and by the time he was a teenager he was singing in and around London venues. Ocean released his debut single in 1972 on Spark Records under the name, Les Charles. After a number of U.K. Top 20 hit singles, Ocean stepped away from the music limelight, before he returned with three U.S #1 hit singles on his hands. 1985 saw a Grammy Award for 'Best Male R&B Vocal Performance' for his massive international, “Caribbean Queen.”

Ocean got his start in music when he was spotted singing in a London Club by a Spart Records rep and was signed shortly thereafter. 1976 marked the release of his self-titled debut album, “Billy Ocean,” which produced the single, “Love Really Hurts Without You,” peaking at #2 on the U.K. Singles chart and #22 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. Ocean built a slow, steady following in the R& B and pop world, with the height of his success peaking in the mid-1980s. Ocean's second offering, “Suddenly” appeared in 1984, which featured the hit single, “Caribbean Queen,” and brought Ocean international stardom overnight. The second single off the album, “Suddenly” peaked at #4 in both the U.S and the U.K. Singles chart. “Loverboy” followed, peaking at #2 on the Hot 100 chart.

Ocean's third album “Love Zone” emerged in 1986 and was also a commercial success. It spawned the hit singles: “When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going” and “There'll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry).” 1988 saw “Tear Down These Walls” appear, which produced the hit single, “Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car,” with the album going platinum. By the end of the 1980s, Ocean had become the most successful R&B act in England. The 1990s saw a decline in album sales for Ocean and singles failing to chart as the music climate of the era shifted. Ocean's last studio album with Jive Records, which was aptly titled “Time to Move On,” was issued in 1993, featured a collaboration with R. Kelly and was moderately successful.

2007 saw Ocean embark on his first tour in over 15 years. Ocean's tenth studio album, and first in 16 years, “Because I Love You” was released in 2009, followed by another tour to promote the album. 2010 saw a compilation album by Sony Music, “The Very Best of Billy Ocean,” being released, debuting at #17 on the U.K. Albums chart. In 2010, Ocean was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the MOBO Awards, and became a Companion of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, which was presented by Sir Paul McCartney.