In the early 1980s, Hardcastle played keyboards on several singles on the Oval record label by the dance music groups Direct Drive and First Light, before going solo. He achieved some acclaim for his early singles, notably the instrumental, "Rain Forest" (1984), but came to greater prominence in 1985.
In early 1985, the release of the dance hit "19" brought Hardcastle acclaim and chart success. "19" was a straight-forward dance record, featuring stuttering samples of television narrator Peter Thomas speaking about Vietnam war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Initially unhappy about having his voice used in this way, Thomas later relented and allowed the single to be released.).
Easy Come Easy Go