Nick Kamen’s career as a singer was a short-lived one, spanning just four LPs between 1987 and 1992. But the former Levi’s model – best known for his role in the denim company’s “Launderette” television advertisement in which he walks into a laundromat and removes his shirt and 501s – scored considerable success in that period including a U.K. Top 5 hit co-written and produced by none other than Madonna. Cherry Red’s Cherry Pop label has recently reissued Nick Kamen, the debut album from the British pop-soul man, in a deluxe 2-CD edition bolstering the line-up from 10 tracks to 25.
Producer Stewart Levine indulged Kamen’s love of classic soul men like Sam Cooke and Otis Redding on Nick Kamen. The eclectic album opened with a cover of Cooke’s “Win Your Love” and also featured renditions of Darrell Banks’ “Open the Door to Your Heart,” The Four Tops’ classic “Loving You is Sweeter Than Ever” (penned by Stevie Wonder and Ivy Jo Hunter), and Chuck Jackson’s “Any Day Now” (written by Burt Bacharach and Bob Hilliard). The retro vibe, layered with eighties gloss, came courtesy of pop and R&B veteran session players like Jerry Hey, Paulinho da Costa and even American Sound Studios’ Reggie Young and Muscle Shoals’ Roger Hawkins. The Waters provided background vocals. Kamen even found room for more surprising interpretations including Bob Dylan’s New Morning cut “The Man in Me,” The Fleetwoods’ dreamy 1959 hit “Come Softly to Me” and Benny Mardones’ 1980 smash “Into the Night.”
“Each Time You Break My Heart” was written by Madonna and Stephen Bray for Kamen, at the urging of Sire chief Seymour Stein. Madonna also offered to produce the song, so Kamen was whisked to L.A. to record with the Material Girl and her collaborator Bray. Kamen’s first single, with Madonna on backing vocals, reached the top 5 of the U.K. Pop chart, placed at No. 5 on the U.S. Billboard Dance chart, and went Top 10 around Europe. When “Loving You is Sweeter Than Ever” was plucked as the second single, it reached the top 20 in the U.K. but No. 1 in Italy. Brenda Russell’s “Nobody Else,” the third single from the LP, didn’t fare as well, though it did peak within the U.K. top 50. “Come Softly to Me” and Sam Cooke’s “Win Your Love” both scored mightily in Italy; the latter was an exclusive single release for that country.
Cherry Pop’s expanded edition adds 15 bonus tracks drawn from the various singles released to support Nick Kamen including the non-LP singles “Baby After Tonight” and “Miss You” plus various remixes including five versions of “Each Time You Break My Heart,” Arthur Baker and Jellybean’s dance mixes of “Nobody Else,” and many more. Note that Track 14 of the first CD, the Baker mix of “Nobody Else,” is plagued by a glitch on early copies of this release. Cherry Red can be contacted for replacement discs.
The deluxe Nick Kamen includes an illustrated Kamen discography (though lacking information as to which mix was drawn from which single), plenty of images of the photogenic star, and new liner notes by Michael Silvester. Today, Kamen leads his life outside of the spotlight, working with his community and painting. You can revisit his first album at the links below!
- Win Your Love
- Open the Door to Your Heart
- Nobody Else
- Into the Night
- Come Softly to Me
- Loving You is Sweeter Than Ever
- Each Time You Break My Heart
- The Man in Me
- Any Day Now
- Help Me Baby
- Baby After Tonight (Bonus Track) (WEA single YZ 106, 1987)
- Miss You (Bonus Track) (WEA single YZ 133, 1987)
- Each Time You Break My Heart – Dance Mix (Bonus Track)
- Nobody Else – Arthur Baker Dance Mix (Bonus Track)
CD 2: Bonus Tracks
- Each Time You Break My Heart – Extended Version
- Loving You is Sweeter Than Ever – Extended Dance Mix
- Nobody Else – Special Arthur Baker Dance Mix
- Win Your Love – The Love Mix
- Come Softly to Me – 12″ Version
- Each Time You Break My Heart – Dub Mix
- Nobody Else – Jellybean U.S. 12″ Version
- Each Time You Break My Heart – Extended Instrumental
- Loving You is Sweeter Than Ever – Instrumental
- Each Time You Break My Heart – U.S. Radio Mix
- Nobody Else – Jellybean U.S. Dub Mix