The Winner

There are times when we’ve all said: ‘This could be the One!’

The three-minutes that could change everything; Pay off the mortgage, provide the cushion from the constant barrage of bills with a few leisurely drinking vouchers left over. I think we’re all looking for those ‘Three plums’ moments, the jackpot, the results on which everything else will be judged, and, after which, everything else may simply be just a nice thing to do rather than an absolute necessity.

I had been writing songs with many people. Not being a lyricist, my thing was to provide some music, a backing track idea, a groove, maybe a suggested melody onto which the talented wordsmith of choice would cleverly glue their fine ideas and meaningful intent.

I was also touring. As I mentioned in a previous blog, I had every intention of taking full advantage of writing with Cliff so that eventually I could secure a hit that would produce the results described above.

I took with me what was available at the time by way of portable recording gear (mostly a plethora plugs and tangled cables) and managed to scribble a tune here and there so that I could give it to him when there was a free afternoon.

I did a demo on a cassette. He liked it and got quite excited.  Within minutes he’d got the verse and pretty much the entire chorus which made us both bounce up and down, probably for different reasons, but it was nonetheless a great start.

With a few tracks completed we returned back home to see what was happening off-road and in the normal world, where laundry didn’t do itself and there was no room service.

I started recording these ideas with a hope that Sir would pop over and add some distinctive vocals on our shared tunes, getting me a little closer to this potential and yet still elusive hit.

He turned up in his Golden Roller that just about fitted onto our short driveway. The net curtains were a-twitching in the road.

We’d had many a celebrity record there but to have Cliff Richard actually turn up alone with no minder or gatekeeper was unusual and special.

He sang in perfect tune. We’d managed to get a great vocal down in excellent time so that the full benefit of daylight leaving was achieved when he finally left the building.

Some time later I had what I thought to be a final mix of the song. It was called The Winner. I sent it off to him via his office and the many disinterested gatekeepers therein.

He loved the results and we spoke about doing more. But what was unusual was that it had been pitched to a third party that had worked with Cliff and who were now looking to find a promotion for the Football World Cup taking place in Germany in a few months’ time.

The title fitted as did the intention of the song. Cliff was certainly known over there so it went in to be used as the soundtrack.

Everybody wanted it. It was liked by all involved parties. It would fit the brief and it was a perfect length. I had the master and was asked to drive it across to Gatekeeper Mansions to make it available as and when the production company requested it.

Then the ever-familiar sound of absolute silence. Never mind The Winner; It was becoming The Deathly Quiet.

Several days later I called the office. “Did you get the master? Did it work ok? Did you send it in to the production Company?”

Needless to say, I received the news that couldn’t be made up. “No, we forgot to send it, and now it’s too late!”

There’s probably nothing more that needs to be written here. To try and describe the incompetence and undiluted stupidity would certainly take too long. The building up and instant tearing down of all hope and projected financial reward was deafening. And there was nothing I could do. We still had this great song with all its commercial potential but it was dead in the water.

I suppose the point of this is that there are and always will be many times when we get very close to hitting the bull’s eye, or pulling those juicy plums. It’s at those times you have to find something else, something more inspiring, exciting, challenging to fill the void of disappointment.

Most importantly, never give up. It only takes the one to make the difference and, on the way, there may well be many near misses.

Believe and work towards getting your Winner track and never stop believing that it will happen.

Despite this now sounding a little dated and of its time, I wanted to add it here as I did with a previous song. It’s not officially part of the library but who knows, it might trigger a retro-request for something or other. And I think it stills sound rather good!