On Thursday 31st May BASCA, in association with PRS for Music, celebrated the International Achievement of songwriter Billy Ocean.

Writing in the official ceremony brochure, journalist Mark Sutherland, said:

One of his most famous songs might have been entitled When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going, but the going has mainly been smooth as far as Billy Ocean is concerned.

A serious contender for the crown of Britain’s most successful ever soul/R&B star, Ocean’s career has been blessed with the sort of hits that last a lifetime, all enhanced by those silky tones. Born in Trinidad, Ocean moved to London when he was seven and, while he’s always been hugely popular in the UK, this award acknowledges the incredible success he’s also enjoyed overseas.

Indeed, Leslie Sebastian Charles’ stage name was well-chosen, for his songs have been crossing oceans ever since his song Love Really Hurts Without You hit the US Top 30 in 1975. British R&B wasn’t renowned for travelling back then but, ever since, he’s been a fixture on the US charts, scoring three Number One pop hits in the ‘80s in the form of Caribbean Queen (No More Love On The Run), There’ll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry) and Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car.

He loves a song title bracket or comma, does Billy – and the world has loved him back, with Ocean also racking up chart hits in places as far flung as Australia, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands and New Zealand during a remarkable chart run spanning the albums Suddenly, Love Zone and Tear Down These Walls.

Ocean put his career on hold in the ‘90s in order to raise a family but, such was the enduring nature of his songwriting that many of his hits remain airplay fixtures around the world to this day. And, when he did return with 2009’s Because I Love You, his first album in 16 years, the world was waiting to embrace him all over again. He also returned to the road, touring everywhere from Dubai to Mozambique. Proof that, while the going may not be so tough, Billy Ocean is still more than happy to get going.

Billy came on stage to a standing ovation from The Ivors crowd and was presented with his award by longstanding Jive Records President Steve Jenkins.

photo: Mark Allan