If fate had dealt him a different hand, Billy Ocean might still be on Savile Row.
Back in the early 1970s, the pop-soul crooner was working as a tailor on London’s most fashionable street when a radio DJ played one of his earliest singles. Instead of applauding, his bosses promptly fired him.
“I think they supposed I wasn’t a dedicated worker, so they got rid of me as soon as possible,” he tells The Post. In truth, it was a blessing, as it meant Ocean (on the bill for Replay America: The Ultimate ’80s Festival at the NYCB Theatre in Westbury on Thursday) could concentrate on his singing career.
After some minor success during the 1970s, he hit the big time in the 1980s with “When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going,” “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car” and “Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run)” — singles which are collected along with select covers of standards and classics on his new album “Here You Are: The Music of My Life.”
Here, the 67-year-old recalls his heyday, and his possible role in the Michael Douglas-Catherine Zeta-Jones marriage.
Did you have to teach Michael Douglas, Danny DeVito and Kathleen Turner their dance moves for the “When the Going Gets Tough . . . ” video?
They worked on all the moves themselves — I was really impressed with them. They came over from Los Angeles totally prepared. They must have been practicing like hell, ’cause they blew my mind. It truly is my favorite video.
I like to think that Michael Douglas’ wife [Catherine Zeta-Jones] saw him dancing and thought, ‘That’s the man I want.’ I was a little disappointed not to be invited to the wedding!
You were at the peak of your fame when so many legends, such as Madonna, Prince and Michael Jackson, were also peaking. Did you ever bump into any of them?
Not really, because my whole thing is to get my head down and get on with it. One time at an awards show, I was sitting next to my manager, and Madonna was the…