Sheffield rock star Paul Carrack looks over his shoulder to city roots ahead of hometown show

Sheffield singer Paul Carrack returns to his home city for a concert that’s become a regular fixture in his touring schedule.

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 10:41 am
Updated Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 9:49 pm

The star, whose biggest hits are How Long with Ace, Tempted with Squeeze and Over My Shoulder with Mike + The Mechanics, performs with his own band at Sheffield City Hall on Sunday, February 2.

He said: “Pretty much it’s become a bit of an institution while I’m touring the UK from January to March. I’m looking forward to it. I always do.”

Paul hasn’t lived in Sheffield for a long time but still sees family in the city, where his band are also from.

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Paul Carrack returns to his home city of Sheffield for a City Hall gig

He has fond memories of the venue, too. “As a kid at the City Hall I saw everybody there – The Beatles, the Stones, Chuck Berry.

“It is amazing really to be treading the same boards as them. I couldn’t have dreamt it.”

Paul, who is 68, grew up in Crookes and went to Western Park Junior School, then on to Myers Grove, which was brand new at the time. It was the first purpose-built comprehensive school in Sheffield.

His music career started early. Paul recalled: “When I was at school I was playing in little bands and I already knew I just wanted to be in a band.

“I had to go through the motions of pretending I was going to get a job. Back then work was available, there was pretty much full employment.

“I don’t know what I would have done, I had no academic qualifications and I was pretty useless at practical things. My mother used to say, ‘ask him to do one job and he’ll give you 50 more’.

“I had to make music work.”

Paul didn’t let exams get in the way of his ambitions. “I was supposed to be sitting O-levels. I remember going and taking an O-level in the morning and coming out at lunchtime, then I had one in the afternoon. The van was waiting and we went off to do three gigs in Scotland.

“The guy who booked the band said you can’t let us down. I wouldn’t have passed it, it was technical drawing. I was hopeless at that.”

He said: “My mum was very concerned. She had every right to be. She didn’t think it was respectable, didn’t think there was any future in it.

“She did an incredible job bringing up me and my brother, John. We had a little wallpaper and paint shop. My dad had an accident at work and it proved fatal. I was 11, John was 15. He took over the shop at that point.

“He ran that shop (Carrack’s) until he retired, two or three years ago.”

The family lived at the back off the shop. He fondly remembers the closely-knit community: “It wasn’t a bad place to grow up. Everybody knew everybody. Everybody would sit and have a natter.”

Paul’s son Jack plays drums with his band and has enjoyed picking up Yorkshire phrases from the other musicians. “He’s addicted to Hendo’s!” joked Paul.

The set at the City Hall will combine Paul’s best-loved hits that he still loves performi ng with some of his newest work. He said: “I’ve made 17 solo albums so that’s a lot of repertoire to choose from. I like to keep it fresh.”

He’ll be including songs from his latest album, These Days, released on his label Carrack-UK, in 2018.

Paul said of the show: “I’m always a little bit nervous. They know I’m not really a pop star – I used to go to school here. It’s nice because I get to meet old friends and cousins.”

To book tickets for the Sheffield show, go online at www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk

Paul also headlines the Underneath the Stars Festival in Barnsley on July 31.

More information on all Paul’s 20/20 tour dates at paulcarrack.net