the True story behind the recording of the first Creation single

the-legend-73-in-83

Just sent off some thoughts about this to Allan Glen at Record Collector. Thought I’d share them here…

The first song recorded for Creation Records(far as I recall) was Melt The Guns – an anti-war song at the time of the Falklands War written by me at the behest of Alan that later got roundly (and probably rightly) ridiculed for being so wimpy. Alan’s wife Yvonne sung harmony on the chorus, and it had no drums (something that always bothered me, but drums took way too long to set up in the studio).

Alan was so happy with it, he switched from his initial plan of having the first Creation release a split single between me and his band (who were then called Revolting Paint Dream) and went back into the West London studio for four hours to record the other side.

The studio (IPS Shepherds Bush, engineered by Peter McGhee) was chosen because Television Personalities had recorded there. I can still picture its exact location from the tube

The four-hour session went well – a buzz of creativity and music – but I remember feeling disappointed that we didn’t produce more songs during the four hours we had to record, and mix. We only managed 11, which I felt was slack. We invited Patrik Fitzgerald along cos Alan knew how much I rated him – it was kind of an early showing-off to a mate that he could just call him and ask him down. He played occasional keyboards and I was thrilled.

73 in 83 stood out, partly because it was the only one with drums on (played by Alan). It seemed like a manifesto too (something we were all into, Weller fans to a man) and it was short. Slightly ridiculous vocals, but there you go. I stand by it. It could still end up being massive one of these days through a smart remix.

After I came out of the studio having finished the vocals to You (Chunka Chunka) Were Glamorous – the chunka chunka was intended as a musical annotation to a disco-inspired bass-line that never happened – I sat down next to Patrik on a sofa, and he made a show of moving away pretending to be scared of my intensity. Well, he taught me!

We pressed up three white labels. One for me, one for Alan, and one for John Peel.

Peelie played the white label three times, compared it to his favourites of the day (And The Native Hipsters) and we were thrilled, thought we were away. When we sent him the finished version, he never played it – and it received pretty much zero reviews too, aside from a caustic takedown by Weller’s favourite Tony Fletcher’s Jamming! fanzine – something that I think more than anything else caused Alan to turn on the single after we fell out a couple of years later.

Certainly, every time he has mentioned it since it has been to call it “the worst single ever released” or similar, or nastier… he may well believe that now but he obviously didn’t at the time. That was always the difference between me and him back then though (and probably why he’s a thousand times richer than me now) – I never changed my taste in music just cos someone trendier than me said so.

Bless him.

P.S. I still think You (Chunka Chunka) Were Glamorous is a terrific song.

And if nothing else I was myself on record – something that could barely be said of any of the Creation acts post-1984 who were all trying their hardest to be someone else, from the Mary Chain, Primal Scream and Oasis onwards. But, of course, that is why I am currently scraping a living as an Associate Lecturer.

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