Paul Hardcastle debuted as a solo artist in 1984 and scored the following year with "19," an electro-oriented record featuring news reports and other sources on Vietnam. It became a major hit in his native country; in the U.S., it topped Billboard's club chart. Later, he produced and did remixes for artists such as Ian Dury and Phil Lynott. He continued to sell well in the specialty dance market and occasionally released records as part of the duo Kiss the Sky (with Jaki Graham) while also operating under names like the Def Boys, Beeps International, and Jazzmasters. Zero One (1985), Jazzmasters II (1994), and Hardcastle 2 (1996) were among his most popular releases through the '90s, while the two-disc Cover to Cover (1997) assembled his greatest hits, along with a bonus record of newly recorded cover versions. Hardcastle kept the Jazzmasters series running through 2010, the year the sixth volume was issued, and he also continued his Hardcastle series of smooth jazz-oriented affairs through its own sixth volume, released in 2011.
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