Im Zuge der Veröffentlichung von The Other Sides als 4CD heute hat Kate in ihrem Erinnerungsschatz gekramt und Details zu den Songs Rocket Man, Under The Ivy, The Man I Love und Experiment IV auf ihrer Webseite veröffentlicht.
I remember buying this when it came out as a single by Elton John. I couldn’t stop playing it – I loved it so much. Most artists in the mid seventies played guitar but Elton played piano and I dreamed of being able to play like him.
Years later in 1989, Elton and Bernie Taupin were putting together an album called Two Rooms, which was a collection of cover versions of their songs, each featuring a different singer. To my delight they asked me to be involved and I chose Rocket Man. They gave me complete creative control and although it was a bit daunting to be let loose on one of my favourite tracks ever, it was really exciting. I wanted to make it different from the original and thought it could be fun to turn it into a reggae version. It meant a great deal to me that they chose it to be the first single release from the album.
That meant I also had the chance to direct the video which I loved doing – making it a performance video, shot on black and white film, featuring all the musicians and… the Moon!
Alan Murphy played guitars on the track. He was a truly special musician and a very dear friend. Tragically, he died just before we made the video so he wasn’t able to be there with us but you’ll see his guitar was placed on an empty chair to show he was there in spirit.
The Man I Love:
This romantic song was written by George and Ira Gershwin and when Larry Adler put an album together of their songs, called The Glory of Gershwin, he asked me to sing this beautiful song. The album was produced by George Martin. I was very fond of George – such a special talent and creative spirit, a really gentle man, very kind and incredibly interesting. It was a great honour to work with him and Larry. George and Larry were very different personalities ( Larry was a real character), but they made a great creative combination.
It was released as a single and Kevin Godley directed the video. I loved working with Kevin – so imaginative and great fun. I’d worked with him and Lol Creme when they directed the video for Peter Gabriel’s song, Don’t Give Up. Kevin chose to present the video in a very traditional way which suited the song extremely well. Godley and Creme are huge talents who left their mark not just in the music industry with their intelligence and wit in the band 10CC but also in the visual world with their groundbreaking videos, working with an impressive list of diverse artists.
Under The Ivy:
I needed a track to put on the B-Side of the single Running Up That Hill so I wrote this song really quickly. As it was just a simple piano/vocal, it was easy to record.
I performed a version of the song that was filmed at Abbey Rd Studios for a TV show which was popular at the time, called The Tube. It was hosted by Jools Holland and Paula Yates. I find Paula’s introduction to the song very touching.
It was filmed in Studio One at Abbey Rd. An enormous room used for recording large orchestras, choirs, film scores, etc. It has a vertiginously high ceiling and sometimes when I was working in Studio Two, a technician, who was a good friend, would take me up above the ceiling of Studio One. We had to climb through a hatch onto the catwalk where we would then crawl across and watch the orchestras working away, completely unaware of the couple of devils hovering in the clouds, way above their heads! I used to love doing this – the acoustics were heavenly at that scary height. We used to toy with the idea of bungee jumping from the hatch.
This was written as an extra track for the compilation album The Whole Story and was released as the single. I was excited at the opportunity of directing the video and not having to appear in it other than in a minor role, especially as this song told a story that could be challenging to tell visually. I chose to film it in a very handsome old military hospital that was derelict at the time. It was a huge, labyrinthine hospital with incredibly long corridors, which was one reason for choosing it. Florence Nightingale had been involved in the design of the hospital. Not something she is well known for but she actually had a huge impact on hospital design that was pioneering and changed the way hospitals were designed from then on.
The video was an intense project and not a comfortable shoot, as you can imagine – a giant of a building, damp and full of shadows with no lighting or heating but it was like a dream to work with such a talented crew and cast with Dawn French, Hugh Laurie, Peter Vaughn and Richard Vernon in the starring roles. It was a strange and eerie feeling bringing parts of the hospital to life again. Not long after our work there it was converted into luxury apartments. I can imagine that some of those glamorous rooms have uninvited soldiers and nurses dropping by for a cup of tea and a Hobnob.
We had to create a recording studio for the video, so tape machines and outboard gear were recruited from my recording studio and the mixing console was very kindly lent to us by Abbey Rd Studios. It was the desk the Beatles had used – me too, when we’d made the album Never For Ever in Studio Two. It was such a characterful desk that would’ve looked right at home in any vintage aircraft.
Although it was a tough shoot it was a lot of fun and everyone worked so hard for such long hours. I was really pleased with the result.