15 April 1962
Harlow, Essex, England, United Kingdom
4 May 2021 (aged 59)
Nick Kamen (born Ivor Neville Kamen, 15 April 1962, Harlow, Essex, England - 4 May 2021) was an English male model, songwriter and musician, and brother of session guitarist Chester Kamen and artist Barry Kamen.
Kamen was first brought to the public's attention in 1984 when Ray Petri featured him on the front cover of The Face. The cover showed him wearing a ski-hat, orange roll-neck sweater and aviator sunglasses.
He was most remembered, in the UK, for his 1985 beefcake performance in Levi's "Launderette" television commercial, where he strips down in order to stone-wash his blue jeans in a 1950s style public laundromat while he waits clad only in his boxer shorts, which dramatically increased their popularity. It was selected for, and came fourth, in "The 100 Greatest TV Ads of All Time" in 2000.
His first single was the 1986 UK #5 hit "Each Time You Break My Heart" from his self-titled debut album. Written and produced by Madonna and Stephen Bray, it also cracked both the U.S. dance chart (remix by Shep Pettibone) and the Top 50 in Canada. Madonna also sang the backing vocals. Her original demo remains one of many Unreleased Madonna Songs. Kamen also had a #16 follow-up in the UK with the second single, "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever", although his later singles were less-commercially successful in the UK but more so in the rest of Europe, particularly Italy, France, Germany and Spain.
He appeared on UK television, singing, on Top of the Pops (12 March 1987 and 18 October 1990), This Morning (9 April 1990), Night Network (15 April 1987, 19 August 1987 and 1988) and The Tube (31 October 1986 and 21 November 1986).
Kamen's second album Us (1989) was produced by Patrick Leonard. Madonna again made an appearance as a backing vocalist on the song "Tell Me", this time without contributing to the songwriting or production.
In 1989 Kamen performed the song "Turn It Up" on the soundtrack to Walt Disney's film, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.
A new dance remix of his self-penned 1990 song, "I Promised Myself", and his biggest hit, was featured on a 2004 various artists collection in Europe and three years later, in 2007, the Spanish singer José Galisteo recorded his own version of the song. Kamen's own version was the fourth highest played record in Europe in 1990 and reached No 1 in eight European countries.
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