Music careers are usually worked on in the background by a large team of professionals that include management, marketing, promotion, record companies, publishers, the essential music producers, songwriters and of course by the very artist themselves.
However, even with all these cogs in place, one can always benefit with a little visit from lady luck and I’ve often wondered if she did indeed visit me in the form of ‘The Neverending Story’, I thought it was perhaps her way of helping me heal the wounds after I was so unceremoniously kicked out of Kajagoogoo, either way, it was a gift.
The song was such a huge hit all over the world and reached the coveted top spot of charts in over seventeen countries……actually in many ways it has genuinely helped give me longevity as a performer because although Limahl may not be in the charts anymore, this song (along with ‘Too Shy’ of course) gets played and played on radio stations worldwide, which creates an ongoing demand for appearances and ‘live’ performances.
I flew to Germany quite excited, if a little nervous about working with the legendary music producer Giorgio Moroder, whose previous hits had included the massive Academy Award winning hit movie theme’s from ‘Top Gun’ (‘Take My Breath Away’ – Berlin) and ‘What a Feeling’ from ‘Flashdance’. On top of all that, there had been his pioneering and much revered production work on the early hits he’d written/produced for Donna Summer including the classic ‘I Feel Love’ with it’s breakthrough synthesizer sequencers. He inspired a whole generation of musicians, in my eyes he was a god and there I was, on a plane looking out at the sky pinching myself as I travelled to meet him.
I seem to remember I was a little tired when I arrived at the studio in Germany that afternoon, probably because it was an early flight and I wasn’t good at getting up early those days – mainly because I always seemed to get to bed so late from either partying or working late in the recording studio. Giorgio, it turns out, was the consummate professional, he had a sweet Italian accent , was very charming, and made me feel extremely comfortable. He was probably aware that his very name, track record and huge wealth of experience could perhaps intimidate a relative newcomer like myself. In hindsight, I think this was very astute of him because, if an artist is relaxed then he/she is bound to give a better vocal performance.
‘The Neverending Story’ is a fairly highly pitched song to sing so it took me quite a few attempts to warm up and really lock into the vibe……we had a break for food at about 6pm then after some wine started to record again and that’s when I really nailed it…….it must have been the red wine, hey hey. I flew home the next morning with a rough mix which I immediately took to my manager’s office (Billy Gaff). On hearing it he was ecstatic and started jumping around, “this is a f***in hit” he was yelling whilst running round the office, I was laughing my head off……deep down it was also a huge a relief to me that he liked it so much after all of his hard work behind the scenes setting it up.
I remember vividly EMI Records were quite reluctant to sign the song and Billy (who had previously been manager to Rod Stewart) called the the managing director Peter Jameson and it got quite heated……Billy was shouting in his delightful Irish accent, “Peter, I’ll personally pay for your flight to Germany to see this movie, then when you have seen the movie you can tell me you don’t want the f***ing song” he was effing and blinding all over the place, I was in the same room and nervous about the whole thing but ultimately impressed by Billy’s sheer audacity. God I thought, he’s swearing at the managing director !! Billy was fighting for his artist’s career and I felt grateful he was on my side……he must have had some pretty good fights after all those years managing superstar Rod Stewart (I did hear quite a few juicy stories).
Needless to say, Peter Jameson thankfully agreed to fly to Germany and was either persuaded by Billy or the actual movie or both, but either way, EMI finally signed the soundtrack and rest as they say is history.
I’m grateful to Billy for his persistence, I was in the right place at the right time but I also give myself a little credit too for perhaps having made an impression (as an artist) on Giorgio that he even considered using Limahlfor one of his projects in the first place, because let’s face it, a call from Giorgio Moroder would pretty much convince any artist to go to work.