Singer Nick Kamen, Who Launched His Career with His Pants Down

updated 06/01/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/01/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Nick Kamen—the pompadoured gentleman on the preceding page—has a simple goal: He'd like to become famous with his clothes on. He's already famous, in Europe, with his clothes off. In the British blue-jeans commercial that launched his career—a commercial that, in fact, until recently was his career—Kamen strolls into a Laundromat, drops his dungarees and stands around wearing boxer shorts and a come-hither pout while the jeans get cleaned. In the process the hearts of countless female viewers were spun, wrung and hung out to dry. "The whole of Europe," says a surprised Kamen, "knew who I was instantly."

Record execs, who had previously ignored the would-be singer's demo tapes, recognized the potential in, his commercial. So did Madonna, who co-produced Kamen's first single, Each Time You Break My Heart. Although British tabloids dubbed Kamen Madonna's "Toy Boy" and hinted that the pair were singing sweet duets, the relationship is apparently no more than publicity-deep: Madonna and Kamen share a record label, Sire, and her name will help his fledgling career. That's probably just as well, given that her husband, Sean Penn, once threw a lectern at a man he thought had kissed Madonna.

As he launches his assault on America, Kamen, 25, has the perfect contemporary rock rookie résumé: head-turning good looks, an easy manner, an association with Madonna, an MTV video and an unpretentious dance-pop LP, Nick Kamen. There's only one thing missing: He's never done a concert. It is, he says, "something I want to do."

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