Categories: Arts Music Pop

Paul Young: Being on the road ‘eases the pain’

After losing his wife Stacey to brain cancer earlier this year, singer Paul Young says he was forced to push thoughts of her aside for the first few shows following her death, for fear of crumbling onstage.

“I tried thinking of anything else,” says the blue-eyed soul singer known for romantic covers. “But now I can think of her and use my own emotions to sing the song without losing control of myself.”

Young — singing career-defining songs from four decades as well as tracks from his most recent release “Good Times” in his co-headlining tour with New Romantic legend Midge Ure (at the Mezzanine on Wednesday)– met his future wife 35 years ago.

Model Stacey Smith was hired as an actress on his “Come Back and Stay” video off his debut album “No Parlez”; he was quickly won over by her smile and directness.

“She was very pretty, of course. She smiled a lot, even in relaxed mode. I was jealous of that as I have a natural downturn to my mouth. Plus, she was very honest and direct. Words just fell out of her mouth on whatever she was thinking about,” says Young.

After his career took off, fueled by hit singles like 1983’s “Love of the Common People” and “Come Back and Stay” and 1985’s chart-topping “Everytime You Go Away” — as well as his vocal contribution to Band-Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” charity single — the singer married Stacey in 1987 and eventually had three children with her.

Young would go on to achieve two more U.S. No. 1 hits — “Oh Girl” off his 1990 album “Other Voices” and “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted in 1992 from the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes” — and found an Americana band dubbed Los Pacaminos. (Following his tour with Ure, he’ll perform several shows with Los Pacaminos, and go on a separate solo tour to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the “No Parlez” album.)

“I love the road,” Young says. “It definitely eases the pain, but really, I try not to get maudlin about it. That wasn’t Stacey’s way at all. In fact, overall, she was very positive as well as feisty. The type of songs that remind me of her are songs like ‘I Wish I Were in Love Again’ by Frank Sinatra. That really reminds me of the exciting relationship we had.”

Midge Ure, Paul Young
Where: Mezzanine SF, 444 Jessie St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Aug. 29
Tickets: $25

Quentin Quick

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