Our Billy Ocean songs list looks at one of the most successful r&b singers from the 1980s.Billy Ocean was born Leslie Sebastian Charles on January 21, 1950. He received an honorary doctorate in music in 2002. Billy Ocean wasn’t an overnight success. He recorded several albums in the 70’s before he achieved any type of success. He had some modest hit singles, but it was nothing compared to what was coming later on.
He recorded his first album in 1976. The first single “Love Really Hurts Without You” peaked at number two on the U.K. charts. It was number 22 on Billboard. The album also features the single “L.O.D. (Love on Delivery)” and “Stop Me If You Heard it All Before.” “L.O.D.” and “Stop Me If You Heard it All Before” were on the U.K. charts. He didn’t have much success with the albums he released early on in his career. As we said earlier, he had some modest hit singles. His second album City Limit was released in 1980. He scored a couple of club hits with the singles “Are You Ready” and “Stay The Night.”
In 1981, he released his third album Nights (Feel Like Getting Down). This album features the r&b hit “Nights (Feel Like Getting Down).” His career had resurgence when he left GTO Records and went to Jive Records. He recorded his fifth album Suddenly in 1984. The album was a success for Ocean. It features his first major pop single “Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run).” This is his highest charting album in the U.K. as well as the U.S. The album charted at number nine on both charts. In addition to “Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run),” it features the singles “Loverboy,” “Suddenly” and “Mystery Lady.” The album sold over two million copies. He won a Grammy for the single “Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run).”
Ocean’s sixth album was also a success. Love Zone was released in 1986. It includes the number one single “There’ll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry).” It also features the single “When The Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going.” This single was featured in the movie The Jewel of the Nile. The album also includes the singles “Love Zone” and “Love Is Forever.” The album debuted at number six on the pop charts and number one on the r&b charts. The album sold over two million copies. He won multiple Grammys for this album.
His seventh album Tear Down These Walls features the number one single “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car.” The album peaked at number three in the U.K. and number 18 on the Billboard charts. The album features the singles “Calypso Crazy,” “The Colour of Love,” “Tear Down These Walls” and “Stand and Deliver.” The album sold over 700,000 copies.
Ocean’s eighth album Time to Move On was released in 1993. This would be his last album for a while. He took a four-year hiatus from recording music because he had a death in his family. He wanted to spend more time with his family. The album features the singles “Pressure, “ “Pick Up The Pieces (Put It Back)” and “Everything’s So Different Without You.” These singles didn’t do as well as his previous work. The album also didn’t do that well. This was his last album with Jive Records.
Ocean released a greatest hits collection that would go on to be successful. He also released compilation albums. He released his ninth album Because I Love You in 2009. The album failed to produce any hit singles. The album also didn’t do well on the charts. He released his tenth album One World in 2020. The album was supposed to come out in 2019, but it was delayed. The album features the songs “All Over The World,” “We’ve Gotta Find Love,” “Love You More” and “Feel The Love.”
Billy Ocean didn’t have instant fame when he first started recording albums, but he did manage to score several hits throughout his career. He proved that he could be successful in the United Kingdom as well as in the United States. He had to compete with a lot of 80’s artists such as Michael Jackson, James Ingram, Prince, Jeffrey Osbourne, Peabo Bryson, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder as well as other 80’s singers, but he managed to make his mark in the music scene. This Top 10 Billy Ocean Songs list will feature his biggest hit singles.
# 10 – Love Really Hurts Without You
The first song on our Top 10 Billy Ocean Songs list is the tender “Love Really Hurts Without You” from the self-titled album. This ballad has a British soul sound. This passionate song is about him missing someone who is not with him anymore. He pours his heart out in this song. He made a song about heartbreak sound energetic and upbeat. He makes you feel as if he’s really missing the love of his life. The music is groovy and funky. It has an old school sound. It sounds similar to Motown music. It’s a song from the 70’s, but it sounds like a 60’s song. The chorus is a killer. It’s catchy and memorable. Ocean really belts when he sings the chorus. . He sings this song in a higher octave than his normal baritone voice. He is showing versatility by belting towards the end of the song. The only thing missing were longer notes. Other than that, the song is flawless.
# 9 – Loverboy
The next song on our Top 10 Billy Ocean Songs list is the energetic “Loverboy” from the successful Suddenly album. This up-tempo song has a dance pop and synth rock sound. This pleading song is about him wanting to be a woman’s “loverboy.” The music has a classic 80’s beat. It is designed to get you on the dance floor. There’s no way to sit still through this song. The musical arrangement is fantastic. The guitar riffs are through the roof. The guitar solo sells the music. It gives the song a rock edge. The drumbeat is thumping and on fire. The synths sound like a lot of 80’s music put together. It may drive you crazy trying to figure out which 80’s song this sounds like. His vocals are outstanding. He sounds mellow and laid back. He saves the best part for the end when he belts the hook.
# 8 – When The Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going
This inspirational love song is from the popular album Love Zone. It is also featured on the soundtrack for the movie The Jewel of the Nile. This midtempo song has a pop and dance sound. This anthemic song is about being strong through difficult times. The title of the song is a proverb, but it could also be a love song. He includes lyrics about lovers. Here is some trivia about the song. A line in the movie The Jewel of the Nile inspired the song. The music has an 80’s dance feel. The beat is good, but it’s a little dated. You can tell that it’s an 80’s song. The musical arrangement is impressive. The keyboard is rhythmic and melodic. The saxophone solo is impeccable. Ocean’s vocals are strong and smooth. He nails the lyrics perfectly. His voice is sheer excitement. He sounds as if he’s having a good time singing this song. He doesn’t hold any notes, but he does belt a little in the song.
# 7 – Love Is Forever
This romantic song is from the Love Zone album. This song has an r&b and soul sound. The beautiful song is about him losing a love that could have lasted a lifetime. The melody of this song sounds similar to other 80’s ballads. You may not be able to put your finger on it, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying the song. It is a touching song despite being about a lost love. The music is soft and soothing. The keyboards make the song sound romantic. It gives the song a pop edge. There is a guitar string that gives the song a soft rock edge. It is truly a high point to the song. The middle section comes alive. The music gets louder in this section. Ocean’s voice is calming and soothing. Once he gets to the catchy hook, his vocals soar. He does a great job with the vocals in this gorgeous song.
# 6 – Love Zone
This laid back song is from the album of the same name. This ballad with tempo has an r&b and funk sound. This relaxed song is about his devotion to the woman he loves. The tempo of the ballad will give you a reason to move around on the dance floor or in your seat. One of the highlights of the instrumentation is the killer bass line. It shines without dominating the other instruments. The keyboards soar in the bridge and segue into the guitar strings. The lyrics are perfect and will get you in a romantic mood. It’s always better to be in the “love” zone then it is to be in the “friend” zone. Ocean’s vocals are smooth and controlled. He sings in time with the beat changes. He holds a little note in the bridge of the song just before the fade out into the chorus. He sounds really passionate in this song.
# 5 – Nights (Feel Like Getting Down)
The next song on our Top 10 Billy Ocean Songs list is the groovy “Nights (Feel Like Getting Down)” from the album of the same name. This up-tempo song has an r&b and disco sound. This party song is about dancing with the woman he loves. It can actually be interpreted in different ways. It could be about him dancing with the woman he loves or it could be about him having sex with the woman he loves. This underrated song is amazing. Everything about this song is flawless. The music will have you doing what the song says and getting down on the dance floor. It’s perfect for the club scene. As soon as you hear the percussive beats in the beginning, you will be instantly hooked. The guitar strings are funky and rhythmic. The horn arrangements are outstanding. It gives the song a smooth jazz feel. Ocean’s vocals are impeccable. He has a double throughout the song. One of his doubles is in a higher key while the other is in a lower key. The two tones blend well with the music. This song should have been a bigger crossover hit because it is fire.
# 4 – Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car
This playful song is from the Tear Down These Walls album. This song also appears on the License To Drive soundtrack. This up-tempo song has a dance, r&b and pop sound. This flirtatious song could have a couple of meanings. It could be about him trying to pick up the woman he’s attracted to or it could be a threat to someone. The music is energetic and upbeat. There’s no way to sit still through the song. The music is a perfect fit for the 80’s. The saxophone and drums give the song a lot of energy. The electric piano attacks the verses. The pre-chorus builds to a grand finale. Ocean’s vocals are layered to sound like more than one person is singing throughout the song. He sounds really passionate and energetic. The lyrics to the song are an odd choice, but he makes it work. It was in danger of being a novelty song because of the lyrics, but again, he makes the song work.
# 3 – Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run)
This seductive song is from the Suddenly album. This midtempo song has a post disco and pop sound. This captivating song is about a beautiful woman trying to seduce him. Here is some trivia about the song. The song was originally titled “European Queen.” The song didn’t so well in the U.K. so Ocean decided to change the title to “Caribbean Queen.” Once he changed the name of the song, it became a massive hit. The electric guitar and drumbeat compliment each other. The saxophone solo makes the song sound sexy. Ocean’s velvety vocals carry the song. His vocals as well as the music command the song. There aren’t enough compliments to describe the music as well as his vocals. They are a perfect marriage with each other. He sails through the lyrics with ease. He harmonizes well in the memorable chorus. The only mini complaint is the sound effects that appear in the song. They don’t hurt the song, but they weren’t needed. They don’t add anything to the song so they could have omitted.
# 2 – There’ll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)
This somber song is from the Love Zone album. This ballad has a soul and r&b sound. This emotional song is about a woman who went through a break up with her boyfriend. The woman cried when she heard a love song. This song is relatable to anyone who feels emotional when they think about breaking up with the love they lost. The melody is similar to Ocean’s “Suddenly.” The music sounds pretty. It is the perfect accompaniment to the story he is telling. Ocean is the narrator of the song. He isn’t singing the song from his point of view, but he’s telling the story as if it’s about his life. His vocals are strong and comforting. He sings well with the music. He starts the song off softly and then soars towards the end. He doesn’t try to be showy. He did miss an opportunity to hit long notes, but it didn’t hurt the song. This could have easily been number one on this list, but another song beat it to number one.
# 1 – Suddenly
The number one song on our Top 10 Billy Ocean Songs list is “Suddenly.” This enchanting love song is from the album of the same name. This ballad has an r&b and soul sound. This mesmerizing song is about him being in love. This is such a beautiful song. The lyrics are enticing. The orchestral swells make the music sound romantic and sexy. The piano, violin and guitar are fantastic. The music will give you goose bumps because it’s that great. Ocean’s voice is amazing. His vocals are heartfelt and emotional. He was trying to give other male singers who were out at the time a run for their money when it came to singing love songs. He sings softly to the music. His vocals will send chills up and down your spine. He makes you believe that he is really in love. This is truly one of the best love songs of all time. It deserves its spot in the number one spot.
Top 10 Billy Ocean songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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