In 1984, I was asked by EMI Records to perform at the Tokyo Music Festival in the stunning and historic ‘Budokan Hall’ with an audience in the hall of 10,000. and a staggering estimated ‘live’ TV audience of 44 million viewers !!
Amazingly though I remember vividly not being fazed or daunted by this figure, such was my confidence back in those days. After all, I was barely 24 years old with a recent, worldwide, multi million selling debut album (which I had co-written) so low self esteem was definitely not on the menu.
The Tokyo Music Festival was very much a big deal and over the years had previously drawn some of the worlds greatest artists to perform ( Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Sammy Davis Junior, Jackson Five, Olivia Newton John, Shirley Bassey, Frank Sinatra, The Three Degrees, The Commodores, Natalie Cole, The Pointer Sisters, Paul Anka, Kim Carnes, Al Green, Kate Bush, Rita Coolidge, Donna Summer, Al Jarreau, Dionne Warwick, Andy Williams, Joe Cocker, Barry Manilow, Lionel Richie) ..so I naturally thought, well if it’s good enough for them, it’s certainly good enough for me.
The flight to Tokyo was long, actually it was one of the longest I’d done – 17 hours in those days with a 2 hour stop-over in Anchora (Alaska) for refuelling. I remember having a drink at the airport lounge bar with Roger Taylor the drummer from the fabulous rock band ‘Queen’ who was on the same flight. We were both signed to EMI Records and in the music business this was referred to as ‘stable mates’……so it was usually a good starting point for a conversation.
Tokyo was great fun, I loved it, the people were so friendly and it was bustling with energy. My favourite thing was shopping for clothes, because oriental people are usually quite small builds so everything fitted me really well, ha ha. Funnily enough I found this gorgeous suit in a colour I can only describe as electric blue and didn’t hesitate to buy it. As the shop assistant wrapped it up she proudly announced to me that a certain Mr Freddie Mercury had bought the exact same suit a few days earlier..hmm, once again I thought, well if it was good enough for him !!
The Tokyo Music Festival trip was also significant for one other very important reason……it was here where I met the legendary Italian maestro of music producers Giorgio Moroder who was working on a new film soundtrack ‘The Neverending Story’. My then manager, the very colourful and entrepreneurial Billy Gaff (who had previously managed Rod Stewart) was not one to miss a potential business opportunity, and before I knew it, they were having dinner together and Billy was busy singing the praises of Limahl.
Of course, with the benefit of hindsight, thank god he did because just six weeks later, Giorgio’s office called and invited me to fly to Munich to record the song……and the rest as they say is history.