“19” is a song by British musician Paul Hardcastle, released in 1985. The song was released in April 1985 as the first single from his self-titled fourth studio album Paul Hardcastle with “Fly by Night” on the B-side. “19” was a commercial success, reaching number one in several countries, including the UK, New Zealand and Germany, and #15 in the United States. It also received critical acclaim and has been credited with popularizing the use of sampling in music production.
The song’s title refers to the average age of American soldiers fighting in the Vietnam War, and the lyrics and music video focus on the psychological and emotional impact of the war on those soldiers.The song features a collage of samples, including sound bites from news broadcasts, interviews with soldiers, and military marching music. The distinctive electronic melody and robotic voice that counts up to “19” add to the song’s futuristic sound.
Hardcastle, who was born in London in 1957, had a successful career as a producer, songwriter, and musician, with several hit singles and albums in the 1980s and 1990s. “19” remains one of his most iconic works and a powerful commentary on the human cost of war.