You could of been lifted, high, or taken a ride down ocean drive with The Lighthouse Family. But where did it end and why?
by Christopher Smith
Vocalist Tunde Baiyewu and keyboard player Paul Tucker met in the 1980’s while working in bars and quickly began writing and performing together. In the 1990’s they formally called themselves The Lighthouse Family and would become one of the decades most successful British music acts.
After sending many demo tapes off to record companies in the early 90’s, they were picked up by Polydor in 1993 and began developing what would become their debut album “Ocean Drive”. Their debut single “Lifted” was released in May 1995, but despite lots of radio play, only managed to reach No.60 in the UK. They followed this up with “Ocean Drive” the song in October that year and again gained considerable radio play, this time faring a little better in reaching No.34. A much more aggressive promotional attitude was adopted in 1996 and as a result of this “Lifted” was reissued and this time proved more successful reaching No.4 in the UK and No.15 in Ireland, as well as charting in Germany and Australia.
“Ocean Drive” the album had been released in November 1995 but had done nothing, now with “Lifted” gaining everyone’s attention, the album took off and climbed to No.3 in the UK charts and would spend a year and a half there, eventually selling 1.8 million copies! The title track was re-released in May of 1996 and this time reached No.11 in the UK as well as charting across Europe.
The pair followed this in August with “Goodbye Heartbreak” (UK No.14) and “Loving Every Minute” in November (UK No.20) completing an enormously successful year with one of the biggest selling albums and four top 20 hits.
By this time, writing and recording for their second album had already begun and in October 1997 the lead single “Raincloud” was released reaching No.6 in the UK and charting high across Europe and in Australia. The album “Postcards From Heaven” was released at the end on the month and entered at No.2 in the UK, eventually gaining quadruple Platinum status for sale of over 1.2 million copies. It also proved a big success globally, more so than “Ocean Drive”, making No.2 in Australia and top ten in Germany and New Zealand.
1998 would bring even greater success with “High” which would peak at No.4 in the UK and top the Australian singles chart, as well as making the top ten in a further twelve countries and No.23 in the US, although the album failed to make an impact Stateside.
Three further singles also proved successful with “Lost In Space” in April reaching No.6 in the UK, “Question Of Faith” making No.21 in July and the title track which made No.24 in the UK in early 1999.
The pair would spend two years writing and recording a third album that would return them to the charts in 2001 with the single “(I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be) Free” making No.6 in the UK as well as reaffirming the following they had built up across Europe and Australia. The album “Whatever Gets You Through The Day” came in November and peaked at No.7 in the UK and No.3 in Germany, selling over a million copies worldwide.
Two further singles came in 2002 with “Run” (UK No.30) and “Happy” which became the first single to miss the UK top 40 since the original release of “Lifted” six years earlier. Paul and Tunde released a “Very Best Of” album in 2003 which has sold over 600,000 copies in the UK and included a new track “I Could Of Loved You”, which was released as a single but failed to make any of the charts across the world, perhaps as it was released at the same time as the greatest hits and that had captured the majority of the sales and success it received.
After this the pair took a break and embarked on solo projects, with Paul joining the group The Orange Lights and Tunde working as a solo artist. He released his self titled debut album in 2004 reaching No.32 in the UK and followed this with “Diamond In A Rock” in 2013, the same year as he supported M People on their 20th anniversary greatest hits tour. Paul and Tunde reunited in 2010-11 to play their first live gigs as The Lighthouse Family for over ten years and promised at the time there would be new material stating that they had a “pocket full of new songs”, but to date, these have yet to see the light(house) of day!
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