Album: Best Of Paul Hardcastle (1985)
Charted: 1 15


  • The title refers to the average age of US soldiers who fought in the Vietnam War. The song is made up of American commentators and soldiers along with a female chorus talking about the Vietnam War. The vocals play over an electronic rhythm.
  • Hardcastle is a British producer. In 1984 he formed the Total Control Record Company through which he released some early singles. This was his first hit - he had 3 more British Top 40s, including the 1986 song "The Wizard," which was the theme for the show Top Of The Pops from 1986 to 1991. In America this was his only hit.
  • Worldwide, this was a huge hit. It was #1 in 13 countries and won an Ivor Novello award for the best selling single of 1985.
  • Mike Oldfield sued Hardcastle over the similarities between this and his song "Tubular Bells."
  • This is the only single named entirely after a number to top the UK charts. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for all above
  • Hardcastle was an early success for Simon Fuller, who managed him and promoted this song. Fuller, who worked for Chrysalis Records before signing Hardcastle on his own, named his management company "19 Entertainment" after this song. Fuller went on to work with the Spice Girls and S Club 7, but is best known for creating the hit TV shows Pop Idol and American Idol.
  • The song returned to the UK top 40 in May 2011 when supporters of Manchester United football club decided to mark their side winning a record-breaking 19th league title by buying this track. Hardcastle embraced the attempt to return the song to the charts and agreed to donate all the proceeds to charity.

Comments: 13

  • Chris from Germany i heard this song on german radio a few years ago and i love it since then.

    Actually this song was the first ever number one TECHNO song reaching the german charts. Back in 1985.
    I cannot believe that it was number one because it was so different from other stuff of that time.

    In the US and UK the song was banned on radio most the time. In the US the song reached #15 on the hot 100 although it was the best selling single for a couple of weeks. but due to zero airplay it was only #15
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 6th 1985, "Rain Forest" by Paul Hardcastle entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #95; and ten weeks later on March 17th, 1985 it peaked at #57 {for 1 week} and spent 18 weeks on the Top 100...
    It was released twice in the United Kingdom; reached #41 in 1984 and then peaked at #53 in 1985...
    "19" was his only other Top 100 record in the U.S.; he did make the United Kingdom's Singles chart with thirteen hits, with two Top 10 records, his other Top 10 hit was "Don't Waste My Time", it peaked at #8 in 1986.
  • Cc from Covington, LaHe also had a big hit with the song Rainforest.
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesDave in Cardiff: My thanks to you.
  • Eric from Beaverton, OrAnonymous from Bardstown, KY: The Steely Dan song you're thinking of is called Hey Nineteen.
  • Charlie from London, United KingdomBefore he went solo, Paul had been in the bands Direct Drive and First Light. Contrary to the info given here, he did not commission the commentary, not did commentator Pete Thomas send anything to Paul. The narrative was taken directly from a documentary film about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in US vets after the Vietnam War. Although the highest US chart position is correctly given as 15, the single was actually the best-selling record of the week in the US, but Billboard's chart position was Na still is) an average between sales and radio play. The US was the only country in the world where many radio stations refused to play the song because of its controversial nature. I'm glad to see here that at least one person took note of the song's message and hoped to avoid being drafted. [I should declare an interest - my company Oval Music is publisher of the song]
  • Anonymous from Bardstown, KyI thought Steely Dan did the song Nineteen. Is there another song with this name? Also, a Paul hardcastle is a DJ on a local radio station here and he sounds in his 20s. So I don't think he is who you are talking about. What's the deal with all this?
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesEkristheh, the commentary on this song is provided by the American television narrator Peter Thomas, best known for his documentary and advertisement voice-over work. Paul Hardcastle asked him to perform on the record after watching Thomas' television documentary "Vietnam Requiem" (screened on ABC in the States in 1984 and then the BBC2 station in the UK later that year); it was his viewing of this documentary that inspired Paul Hardcastle to compose "19" in the first place. Thomas was unavailable to actually perform on the single at the time, so he sent Hardcastle some taped vocal samples of his dialogue from the documentary, which Hardcastle then wrote into the song
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesYoop - in 1991 Paul Hardcastle admitted that the backing tune of "19" was inspired by parts of "Tubular Bells Part II", but maintained that essentially "19" was supposed to be a 'sound collage' rather than an actual song, with the backing track playing and a number of different sound samples being added in electronically thereafter, and that he had not intentionally copied from "Tubular Bells"; he eventually settled this with Mike Oldfield out of court
  • Scott from Philadelphia, PaI remember the first time I hear this song. I was in my late teens and I thought how it would have sucked to have been drafted to a war I didn't want to go to at that age. Excellent song with a good point that I am sure was missed by many people. How sad. "Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it." ~ Edmund Burke
  • Yoop from Amsterdam, NetherlandsDid Mike Oldfield got his money? He shoud, because you really can hear Tubular Bells in 19.
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesI want to know who the commentator is on this, the one who gives all the facts.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesRory Bremner parodied this song later on in 1985, based on the England Cricket team's poor performance in the 1984 Test series against the West Indies, with Bremner mimicking the classic Cricket commentary team Richie Benaud, John Arlotte and 'Johnners'. Released under the name "The Commentators", Bremner's version, entitled "N-N-Nineteen Not Out!" made No.13 in the UK in July 1985, three months after Harcastle's version went to No. 1 for 5 weeks. The parody was based on the fact that the English batsmens' average runs per head in each innings was a paltry 19, compared to the 35 they averaged in 1968. Against the record company's wishes, Paul Hardcastle actually contributed to this remake
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