NICK KAMEN DIES AT 59: GOODBYE TO THE SINGER AND LEVI'S MODEL WHO, FOR MADONNA, HAD IT ALL
Singer and model Nick Kamen has died at the age of 59, as confirmed by a family friend to the BBC. Kamen was one of the best-known faces of the late eighties and early nineties. Starring in the television commercial that catapulted the sales of Levi's 501, Madonna wrote one of her early hits, and in 1990 he became a ubiquitous icon with I promised myself.
Kamen was a member of a family of artists (guitarist Chester Kamen, collaborator of Pink Floyd and Brian Ferry, among others; and also artist and model Barry Kamen, who died in 2015), and rose to fame in 1984 as a model in his Native England. From there, he would achieve international fame as the face and body of Levi's. Also at that time he began a musical career with considerable success in England and Europe supported, among others, by a song written by Madonna
In 1986, after a couple of hits, Madonna received a four-track package by Kamen and the Levi's ad. The author of the submission was Seymour Stein, the powerful executive whose nose made Warner a record superpower. In the ad, Laundrette, Kamen walked into a laundromat like a rebellious youth to the rhythm of Marvin Gaye to wash the clothes he was wearing down to his boxer shorts. The image of Kamen captivated Madonna, who she would confess after her on the BBC that she was ecstatic: "that boy has everything."
Madonna even asked Stein to participate in the production of Each time you break my heart, where she also worked as a backup singer. The song was a discarding of True Blue, and a sign of the confidence that the singer had in the young man. The success of the single propelled Kamen's career for years, until the bombshell of I promised myself, the single with which in 1990 he became an omnipresent face. However, his career would end abruptly after a last album in 1992.
Since then, Kamen has disappeared from public life completely. His last appearance in the media dates from 2002 and he led a reserved life after a decade in which the world did not tire of seeing his face.