Hazell Dean (born Hazel Dean Poole, 27 October 1952) is an English dance-pop singer, who achieved her biggest success in the 1980s as a leading Hi-NRG artist. She is best known for the top ten hits in the United Kingdom “Searchin’ (I Gotta Find a Man)”, “Whatever I Do (Wherever I Go)” and “Who’s Leaving Who”. She has also worked as a songwriter and producer.
Dean was born in Chelmsford, Essex. She started her career in the mid-1970s and came to prominence in the following decade after many years as a club performer and working on the gay scene with her brand of Hi-NRG. She was elected three times as the “Best Live Performer” by the “Federation of American Dance Clubs” (US), and twice as a “Best British Performer” by “Club Mirror Awards” (UK).
Dean started her career signed to Decca Records releasing a few pop/soul singles from the mid to late 70’s written and produced by Paul Curtis. Dean participated in the A Song for Europe contest in 1976, and took eighth place (out of twelve) with the ballad, “I Couldn’t Live Without You for a Day”, written by contest veteran Paul Curtis.
Dean’s first album was first released in 1981. The Sound Of Bacharach and David was a collection of covers written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David and was only released promotionally to radio stations for them to use the songs to pad out their programming with songs they didn’t have to pay so much for in royalties. A very rare album, it was re-released commercially for the first time in 2014. Dean also released a promotional double A side single for the area of Medway (Medway You’re The One / Medway That’s Where I Wanna Be) in 1982. This was re-discovered and put onto YouTube in 2017.
Dean decided to put behind her pop/soul sound she had been recording, and issued her first dance record, “Searchin’ (I Gotta Find a Man)” in the summer of 1983. While it was a big hit in gay clubs, it only peaked at #76 in the UK.
In February 1984 she entered the UK Singles Chart with the double A-sided single, “Evergreen” / “Jealous Love” which peaked at #63. In April 1984 Dean participated in “A Song For Europe” again, finish in seventh place out of eight, with another dramatic ballad, “Stay In My Life”, which she wrote herself. In June 1984, the re-release of “Searchin’ (I Gotta Find A Man)” became her first single to reach the UK top 10, peaking at #6. Dean then released the follow-up, “Whatever I Do (Wherever I Go)” (produced by Stock/Aitken/Waterman), in July which peaked at #4.”Whatever I Do” was originally named “Dance Your Love Away”, but the song was re-written by Mike Stock and Matt Aitken because Dean disliked the chorus.
Artist Michael Prince released the original version in 1985. Its #4 placing gave Stock/Aitken/Waterman their first top 10 hit. Further singles, “Back In My Arms (Once Again)” and “No Fool (For Love)” both peaked at #41. These singles were included on her debut mainstream pop album, Heart First, which did not sell well and failed to chart.
In 1985 the single Harmony (written by Bill Clift and Peter Marsh) was released in Germany on the Bellaphon label. In 1985 Dean signed with label EMI Records, releasing the Stock/Aitken/Waterman-produced single “They Say It’s Gonna Rain”, which reached #58 on the UK Singles Chart, and became a #1 single in South Africa. Subsequent singles fared worse with “ESP”, “Stand Up” and “Always (Doesn’t Mean Forever)” failing to reach the UK top 75. In early 1988 however, she achieved her biggest hit in four years with “Who’s Leaving Who”, which reached #4. The follow-up singles, “Maybe (We Should Call it a Day)” and “Turn It into Love” (originally recorded by Kylie Minogue and included on her debut album, Kylie) peaked at #15 and #21 respectively. Her second album, Always, was released in October 1988 and featured many of the singles from the previous 3 years, as well as new material. The album charted at #38 in the UK.
Dean left EMI and signed with Lisson Records, releasing two singles for the label. The first was a cover of Yvonne Elliman’s “Love Pains” in 1989, produced by PWL producers Phil Harding and Ian Curnow. It reached #48 on the UK Singles Chart. More than 18 months elapsed before Dean’s next single was released, the Stock/Aitken/Waterman penned and produced “Better Off Without You”, originally recorded by Lonnie Gordon. It was her final UK top 75 chart entry, peaking at #72. After the failure of these two singles, Dean ceased working with Stock/Aitken/Waterman and began working with Ian Levine, who had previously remixed and produced tracks with her in the mid 1980s. She provided backing vocals for Samantha Janus in 1991’s Eurovision Song Contest.
During this time, Dean produced and wrote songs for Bad Boys Inc, Bona Riah (produced “House of Rising Sun”), Miquel Brown (produced “It’s a Sin”), MEN 2 B (co-wrote “Love Satisfaction”), Upside Down and Sandra Feva.
1996 saw the release of Dean’s next album, The Winner Takes It All, which was released on Carlton Records. This album contained covers of ABBA songs. The title track was released as a single. In 1999, Dean released a cover version of Bon Jovi’s “Living On A Prayer” and, in 2001, a remixed version of “Who’s Leaving Who” was released. Neither of these singles charted.
After the success of “Searchin'”, Dean made her LGBT club début at Heaven in London and has subsequently enjoyed a large LGBT following. Acknowledging the support she has received from the LGBT community throughout her career, Dean frequently performs at LGBT Pride events both in the UK and abroad.
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