Shropshire Star

T’Pau! Carol Decker back in Shrewsbury for anniversary gig

It feels entirely appropriate that she’s back to where it all began.

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Carol Decker

Flame-haired rock star Carol Decker, front woman for 1980s supergroup T’Pau, wrote the songs that defined her career while living at Pengwern Boat House, opposite the Quarry Park, in Shrewsbury.

And tonight she’ll be back in town with a headline show at The Buttermarket to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the mega-selling single China In Your Hand.

“I can’t believe it’s been 30 years,” she says. “I’ve no idea where the time has gone. I’ve been around the world, played to hundreds and hundreds of thousands of fans and now it’s time to come home. I’m really looking forward to being back.”

November marks the 30th anniversary of the classic hit China In Your Hand reaching Number One in the UK music charts.

To mark the occasion, Carol and the band have announced a special set of live shows.

Decker burst onto the music scene in 1987 with the hit Heart & Soul reaching No 4 in both the UK and US charts.

Taken from the debut album Bridge Of Spies, its innovative use of a rap verse by a white female vocalist introduced the world to the distinctive lead vocals of Carol and the songwriting talents of Carol and Ronnie Rogers.

They had lived together on the banks of the River Severn and wrote their songs during a creative period in their lives.

“We loved Shrewsbury but I was itching to get out," says Carol. “I wanted to make it big. I was determined to have a number one hit. And, with China, that’s exactly what we did.”

Heart & Soul led to a meteoric rise in T’pau’s fortunes both at home and in the USA, where the track stayed on the US billboard chart for six months.

After a UK arena tour supporting Bryan Adams, the band immediately toured UK city halls as headliners to tie in with the next and biggest single China In Your Hand.

Nobody could have predicted the enormous impact of China, which stayed at No 1 for five weeks – the longest serving No 1 of the year. Simultaneously, Bridge Of Spies occupied the No 1 album slot for two weeks.

The arena concerts followed.

To date, China In Your Hand has appeared on more than 150 compilations and was one of the most played songs of the 1980s.

After further hits such as Valentine, I Will Be With You, and Sex Talk, the Bridge Of Spies album was certified quadruple platinum in the UK, selling 1.2 million copies.

Rage, the second album, also went platinum.

Decker has a particular fondness for Shrewsbury, even though she had to move out and move to London when she became a star.

“I did a lot of my growing up in Wellington then I spent a bit of time in Bridgnorth before moving to Shrewsbury.

“That’s the place that always felt like home. I had a great time at the art school and then we put the band together.

“There was an enormous amount of hard work and struggling to make things happen

“But when it started to take off there was no stopping it.

“We were mixing with Lady Diana, Sir Elton John, Eric Clapton and Sir Paul McCartney. For a while, T’Pau were unstoppable.”

The original line up of T’Pau split in 1991 after the final hit Whenever You Need Me and band members went their separate ways.

By 1997, Carol had taken the decision to build a new T’Pau around her, and get back on the road after assembling a massive amount of new material.

And since then, she’s never stopped.

She has appeared on TV, in the West End and even addressed The Oxford Union, speaking on Women In The Music Business.

“It’s been a busy few years. My autobiography came out last year and we did the 30th Anniversary Virgin Anthology Boxset.

“Coming back home to Shrewsbury to celebrate China In Your Hand is the perfect thing to do.”