As last weeks SONG STORY SUNDAY featured the Searchers, how about Mike Pender this week. First you’ll hear “It’s Over” which was a solo single for Mike. I did not write this song but I produced the single as well as paying bass and keyboards on it. My co-producer and I, John Verity gave him one of our songs as the B Side which is what you hear next. It’s a pretty crappy song really but to give Mike his due he did his best with it.
Anyway when the single came out Mike had set up Mike Pender’s Searchers he called me asking me to do a TV show with them in Manchester. I was playing off stage and would not be in camera shot. However, various camera men and dudes with clipboards found my positioning not to their liking as I kept getting into shot. I was eventually moved to about 30 feet away. Now, although I had a monitor it was a bit discomforting to be playing with a band that was small figures in the distance. What was really difficult was that I could not hear the drummer’s count-in. A couple of times I had to add to the surreal-ness of the situation by shouting across the studio floor, “sorry I missed the intro can you count in a bit louder”
Here is another of my songs going through it’s various stages. Firstly there is my home rough demo using a DR 55 Dr Rhythm drum machine (a very early drum machine ). Next I took it to Guardian Studios in Pity Me (UK) where Paul Smith supplied the drums I did the rest and Dave Black added the vocals. I’m afraid I don’t recall the name of the girl who did harmonies. Next we hear Sheena Easton’s version. This was released in 1982 on the top twenty album “Madness Money and Music”. Unfortunately my song was not included on the USA release but it did really well in Japan and was added to later Stateside releases. Finally there is a version by Celine Dion which is a French adaptation by Eddie Marnay released both as a single and album track in 1984. The single was a big hit in France and Canada (cert Gold) and the album Les Chemins de ma Maison also did well. As you can imagine the album has been re-released many times now and Ne Me Plaignez Pas is on oodles of compilation CD’s which continue to sell well to this day. Incidentally, Sheena’s version was produced by Chris Neil who also went on to produce Celine Dion. I’ve featured a live version of Ne Mr Plaignez Pas which I prefer
Here is the story behind Hurry Home. The audio collage you can hear below starts with my rough demo. Unfortunately auto-tune had not been invented in those days. The rough demo was laid down after a heavy metal session I recall, everyone had left and there was only me and audio engineer Mickey Sweeney in the studio. I nipped in quickly and laid down a demo. There is a recording in my kitchen that pre-dates this but I can’t find it so you have been spared. This particular demo was recorded next to a taxi office which you can hear. Next, I only made a couple of simple demos, the first being with Paul Caffrey followed by another with Mick Whitaker. Next there is a clip sung by Vikki Clayton (Fairport Convention) and after that a version by Sarah Brightman. We conclude with the big one by Wavelength. Wavelength’s version charted in 1982 and went top 20 staying in the charts for 3 months. Oh, and BTW Sarah B, if you’d like to pay me the royalties from your 100 date world wide La Luna tour of stadiums I’d be happy to accept!
My wife Molly had to go into hospital for a operation. She was on the phone to her mother telling her and I was playing a kind of spoof slushy love song. Afterwards I went out into the kitchen and finished off the song. Molly loved it but I thought is was overly sentimental. Anyway she took it into hospital with her and all the staff loved it. She insisted I send it out to people so I sent it to my publisher. The producer, Chris Neil was looking for songs for Sheena Easton and called my publisher. He spoke to Sarah Toniolo and she told him the story. His own wife was in hospital having a baby so he related to the song. Sheena hated it so he recorded it with Wavelength and boy am I glad he did. The song coincided with the Falklands conflict and became a much requested favourite. Some people assumed I had written it specifically for that reason but, as you can see, this was not the case.
I’ve been thinking about this for a while. For any song there will be demos, pre-demos, work-tapes, and perhaps various versions. It means trawling though cassettes and hard drives but I was thinking I might do that with a number of my songs – watch this space.
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.