The top ten chart this week in 1983
In a straight shootout between Paul Young and the late, great Marvin Gaye, there would only be one winner. However, Young's 1983 treatment of Gaye's Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home) is generally considered better than the original.
Marvin Gaye co-wrote the song in 1962 as his solo career was starting to take off. It was included on his second album for Tamla Motown and, while not released as a single, did become popular on both the Northern Soul and Mod scenes in the UK during the sixties.
It also re-surfaced as the B-side of Gaye's 1969 hit Too Busy Thinking 'Bout My Baby.
Zip forward to the early eighties and Luton-born Paul Young, frontman with the highly rated but moderately successful Q-Tips, was struggling to find songs for his first solo album.
'As we were making the album, publishing companies were sending us all these overly complex songs,' Young told The Guardian in 2018. 'I said: "I just want a simple three-chord trick with a melody". Then I remembered an old Marvin Gaye B-side I used to play at my friend's house when I was 14. Because that version of Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home) hadn't been a hit, I effectively had a blank canvas.'
His use of that blank canvas was a masterstroke. He slowed it down, added more melancholy to the vocals and enlisted the help of bass player Pino Palladino who had been touring with Jools Holland and the Millionaires for £50 a week while sleeping on Holland's couch. Palladino's contribution is now one of the most famous fretless basslines in popular music.
After two failed singles, Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home) struck gold for Young. The first of his 14 UK Top 40 singles, it spent three weeks at number one and helped propel debut album No Parlez to platinum status in many countries.
The song not only launched Paul Young's solo career, it was also life-changing for Palladino. 'After the record became a hit, David Gilmour from Pink Floyd called. Suddenly I was being asked to play with some of the biggest names in music. I've never stopped since,' he told The Guardian in 2018.
'It's funny, because when I first heard Wherever I Lay My Hat on the radio I was really embarrassed. The bass was loud and on its own, and it sounded a bit out of tune to me. Then all these people started telling me they loved it, so I quickly started saying: "Yeah it's great, innit? Thanks!".'
1 Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home) Paul Young
2 I.O.U. Freeez
3 Who's That Girl? Eurythmics
4 Double Dutch Malcolm Mclaren
5 Come Live With Me Heaven 17
6 The Crown Gary Byrd and the GB Experience
7 Moonlight Shadow Mike Oldfield
8 Wrapped Around Your Finger The Police
9 Baby Jane Rod Stewart
10 Cruel Summer Bananarama