Each time you break his heart, Nick Kamen will probably head down to the launderette. That could be where he is now!
Essex born model Ivor Neville Kamen (b.1962) was just 17 when he gained exposure on the cover of The Face magazine modelling a roll-neck sweater and wearing lipstick! It was the start of a fruitful career that would peak the following year in a starring role in Levi’s jean commercial that featured ‘Nick’, as he now called himself, stripping off and putting his dirty clothes in a washing machine in front of a shop full of customers…to the sound of “Heard It Through The Grapevine”! Nick was also a budding singer and his ‘talents’ in the launderette did not go unnoticed. Over in the States, none other than the hottest female singer of the time, Madonna, saw the commercial and made contact with Nick. He told her of his love of music and she didn’t forget it. A few months later, together with Stephen Bray, Madonna sent Nick a song they had both wrote for her upcoming third album.
“Each Time You Break My Heart” was unrecorded by Madonna but she felt Nick would be more suited to it and having been signed to the same label, Sire, as ‘Madge’, Nick released “Each Time You Break My Heart” in November 1986. The song was a big hit making the top ten all over Europe and No.5 on the US dance chart. Production of Nick’s debut album was well advanced when in early 1987, he released a cover of The Four Tops’ 1966 single “Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever”. The song went to No.1 in Italy and made the top twenty in the UK, Switzerland and The Netherlands. Nick’s self-titled debut album was not a massive success in most countries although Italy continued the support by making it peak at No.5 on the album chart there. Three further singles were released, although these only made any kind of impact in that aforementioned country.
Production of Nick’s follow up came swiftly after the demise of “Nick Kamen”, this time with another Madonna associate, Patrick Leonard. The lead single, “Tell Me”, again topped the Italian chart and just snuck in the top 40 in the UK. The album, “Us”, was even more successful in Italy as it peaked at No.2 although it flopped everywhere else. Only one other single was released from it, “Bring Me Your Love” (Ita No.16). Nick contributed the song “Turn It Up” for the 1989 film ‘Honey I Shrunk The Kids’ before entering the 1990’s with “I Promised Myself”, which turned out to be a big success everywhere apart from the UK. The song hit number on in Australia, Italy and Sweden and has been subsequently covered by Dead Or Alive in 1999, The A-Teens in 2004 and German rock group Maggers in 2013. The song was the lead single from his third album, “Move Until We Fly”, which was a success in ‘down under’ and, guess where…yes, Italy! Nick covered Morgan-McVey’s 1987 debut single “Looking Good Diving” for the album, which is notable as having been written and produced by Stock Aitken Waterman, although it was not a commercial success on its own.
Nick released one more album, “Whatever, Whenever”, in 1992 although it and the singles did absolutely nothing and Nick promptly disappeared. Nick turned up again in the 00’s, once again for The Face magazine as well as modelling more ‘mature’ mens clothing, but generally seems to of retired from everything these days. He re-issued “I Promise Myself” in 2004 off the back of numerous covers.
Sadly it was announced on May 5th 2021 that Nick had died suddenly at the age of 59. RIP and thank you
Remember Nick and his music at his official FACEBOOK page