Category: Single of the week

The Dying Of The Light (Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds)

The downside to modern day technology is that it has taken away some of the excitement of things. In chart-terms, it was always the anticipation of waiting to see where your favourite song was on chart day, now, the midweek sales flashes are readily available so the excitement has gone. Likewise, when your favourite artist was about to release a new single or album you couldn’t wait for it to be released and you were straight down the record shop eager to buy it and get it home to play, now so many things are leaked onto YouTube and various other site that all that happens is the excitement, once again, has gone and the artists themselves are angry and upset. That’s exactly what happened to this week’s suggestion of single of the Week.

When Oasis broke up and the Gallagher brothers continued to snipe at each other, fans wondered which one was going to fly first and it was Noel – with his new group the High Flying Birds.

Once a guest on The Jonathan Ross Show, Noel explained how he came up with the name, “It was from two sources, “I prefixed it with my name whilst I was listening to the album Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, and the latter part of the name is taken from the song Jefferson Airplane song High Flying Bird.”

It was in 2011, two years after Noel had formed his new band, that he held a press conference confirming what fans had heard rumours of and were please when he revealed he was releasing a self-titled debut album. It was released in October that year and reached number one and spent just over a year on the chart. Almost three and a half years later came the follow-up, Chasing Yesterday which also topped the chart. The teaser single, In the Heat of the Moment, was released the previous November and peaked at number 26. The follow up single, Lock All the Doors, sank without trace as did the next once, The Dying of the light, which showcases Noel brilliant song writing skills. Why it never made the chart remains a mystery.

It was during the soundchecks on his 2012 tour that someone leaked it onto YouTube and was given the title It Makes Me Wanna Cry which Gallagher later said, “It was a shit title, unless it was a song about an onion.” In actual fact, the song, which can be described as a slow tempo melancholic look back at times past, is all about Noel’s relationship with his wife Sarah.

The second verse is more of an indication of his dying days in Oasis; ‘Woke up sleeping on a train that was bound for nowhere’ and, ‘Echoes that I could hear were all my own’ were the realisation that the ideas he had then can now be used by him for his own project. ‘The world had turned and I’d become a stranger and I’m tired of watching all the flowers turn to stone’ again back to the ‘no light at the end of the tunnel in Oasis.’

Gallagher has enjoyed a working relationship with trusted producer Dave Sardy who produced Oasis’ last few hits including Let There Be Love, The Shock of Lightning and Falling Down as well as the High Flying Birds’ eponymous album, but when it came to Chasing Yesterday, Sardy was unavailable and so Noel took on producer responsibilities. He said, “I enjoyed the freedom of producing the album but not the responsibility.”

For their third and final album, to date, Who Built the Moon? in 2017, Noel brought in David Holmes to co-produce with Noel and reaped to hit singles Holy Mountain which reached number 31 and She Taught Me How to Fly which stalled at number 70.

Basically, the High Flying Birds project is a tighter, slicker and a more controlled version of Oasis and Noel does it all his way because, as he described in an interview with The Guardian, if one of the band or the producer came in and said, ‘I don’t like a particular song’, he’d say, “Well I do and we’re doing it.”

Moonight Shadow (Mike Oldfield)

This week’s suggestion came in from General Blee who emailed to say, “Just thought I would add another song for the single of the week list. I heard Moonlight Shadow by Mike Oldfield last week on the radio, and the song always brings back memories of a pub we used to virtually live in many years ago. The then Guvnor’s son, loved this song and so it was played an awful lot on the juke box. I still think it’s a great song and worthy of being added to the list. The guitar work is really outstanding and overall just a great song.” Well General, I remember a lot of rumours at the time of what inspired the song, but found out a few years later that what I’d heard wasn’t true. So, here’s the truth.

The story I heard and it almost became folklore was the song was tribute to John Lennon who was murdered shortly before Mike Oldfield began writing the song and you can understand why when you analyse the similarities. It’s a very cheery song on the face of it, but Mike later revealed the it was a 1953 movie which was the inspiration.

The song tells of a girl and her utter shock after witnessing the death of her boyfriend who was shot to death during a fight. The guest vocalist, Maggie Reilly sings, ‘He was shot six times by a man on the run.’ – Mark Chapman shot the Beatle four times and he wasn’t on the run. She also sings, ‘Lost in a riddle that Saturday night’ whereas John was killed on a Monday. All these things are relatively minor given a lot of songwriters change some details to suit the song and the way it flows. As the song comes to a climax you can hear Maggie’s vocals crescendo-ing as if it’s a personal experience and gets irate as realisation dawns that he’s gone in tragic circumstances.

“I actually arrived in New York that awful evening when he (John Lennon) was shot,” Mike explained to the journalist Gareth Randell in 1995, “Some people suggested it may have had something to do with John Lennon – I never meant there to be. I was staying at the Virgin Records house in Perry Street, which was just a few blocks down the road from the Dakota Building where it happened, so it probably sank into my subconscious. It was originally inspired by a film I loved – Houdini starring Tony Curtis which was about attempts to contact Houdini after he’d died, through spiritualism, it was originally a song influenced by that, but a lot of other things must have crept in there without me realising it.”

The version of the song we know was quite different from how it started out; “A lot of the lyrics happened by accident as one word would rhyme with another, then a gun got in there somewhere and then got a bit West Side Story-ish,” he wrote in his 2007 autobiography, Changeling. In there he also explained that he had attempted an earlier version with different words and with Hazel O’Connor singing. He wasn’t happy with it and stayed up late with a bottle of wine and tried again.

“Moonlight Shadow was very different from everything else on the album,” explained the album’s producer Simon Phillips in an interview with Ed Power. “I was surprised to be asked to co-produce with Oldfield but it was a tune very close to his heart. He always wanted a lot of control over it.”

The song’s closing verse, ‘Far away on the other side, caught in the middle of a hundred and five, the night was heavy and the air was alive’ left the majority of listeners confused as to its meaning, so in 1995, Oldfield, via his website, explained, “Well, it was a hundred and five people, just signifying a large amount of people, and presumably it was a hundred and five rather than a hundred and four or whatever because ‘five’ rhymed with the next line!” Personally, I was still a little confused until someone said check out the extended version, so I did only to find a few extra lines, one of which was ‘The crowd gathered just to leave him’ which might explain where the large amount of people fit into the song.

Oldfield famously ‘launched’ Richard Branson’s Virgin record label, but the pair had an interesting relationship. They had very different ideas about the title and sleeve of the album that the label was initially famous for, Tubular Bells. Mike Oldfield remembered sitting in Branson’s office and Richard saying he wanted the album title to be called Breakfast in Bed. “He also had a photo of a boiled egg with blood dripping out, which he thought would look good as a cover, I hated it,” revealed Oldfield, “but when I said Tubular Bells, he said he still preferred Breakfast in Bed. I almost had to beg.”

By the 1980s, Oldfield was still determined to push himself artistically. He recorded Five Miles Out which gave him a top 10 hit in 1982 and followed it the following year with Crisis which he recorded at Tilehouse Studios – a purpose-built luxury studio he had attached to his house in Denham, Buckinghamshire. It was a mixed album in as much as the opening title track was very synth-heavy and featured a rare vocal performance by Oldfield and ran to nearly 21 minutes. The third track was called In High Places and featured Yes’ Jon Anderson on vocals, but sandwiched in between the two was Moonlight Shadow. The closing track Shadow on the Wall featured a guest vocal from Family’s Roger Chapman. In a promotional statement at the time, Oldfield said, “One side is very commercial, full of singles, while the other is more the material I want to do for personal satisfaction. It’s a case of keeping everybody happy.”

Mike Oldfield wasn’t the only person to have a run-in with Richard Branson, producer Simon Phillips, who also played drums on the album, did too as he recalled in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, “I was about to fly to America for some recording sessions and Branson called demanding I work with Oldfield on his album Five Miles Out. Richard was not taking ‘no’ for an answer, he never does, so I said, ‘Richard I’m leaving on a plane tomorrow. This was before Virgin Airlines – he couldn’t just put me on another flight. I said, I’m really sorry Richard. He just slammed the phone down.”

Nellie the Elephant (Toy Dolls)

Well, if I didn’t believe in fate before, I certainly do now. I cannot believe that it was whilst researching some archive material for this week’s Single of the Week – which is Nellie the Elephant, at 16:38 hours on Saturday 7th November 2020 that my phone started going mad with messages that Joe Biden had become the 46th President of The U.S.A. and Trump was history. So, in the words of this great song, ‘Off (s)he went with a trumpety trump, trump trump trump’ Hopefully not to Bombay (or Mumbai as it is now) because I wouldn’t want that inflicted on the poor Indian people.

The song goes back to 1956 when it was written by the British songwriters Ralph Butler and Peter Hart. Butler was born in 1886 and during the 1920s – 1950s wrote, or co-wrote mostly novelty songs. His repertoire included The Sun Has Got His Hat in 1932 and the Flanagan and Allen World War classic Run Rabbit Run in 1939 which were both penned with Reginald Armitage under the pseudonym Noel Gay. Gay is also best remembered for writing The Lambeth Walk and George Formby’s Leaning on a Lamp Post.

Nellie was first recorded in 1956 by a 12-year-old actress called Mandy Miller. She was born Carman Isabella Miller in Weston-Super-Mare in July 1944 and it was her family who began calling her Mandy. Her father was a BBC Radio producer and in 1950 took Mandy and her older sister Jan to watch a film being made at Ealing Studios. Mandy’s looks and enthusiasm impressed the people in charge that they offered her a small role in the film The Man in the White Suit which starred Alec Guinness. Her most impressive role came in 1952 in the film Mandy in which she played the part of a deaf girl called Mandy. In 1960, she attended the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and later made a couple of guest appearances in the TV shows The Avengers and The Saint, but soon after she left the movie world. She moved to New York to become an au pair and three years later married an architect called Christopher Davey, had three children and enjoyed a ‘normal’ life. In the 1990s she moved back to Britain where she remains in retirement.

Her recording of Nellie the Elephant was produced by George Martin and received endless plays on Uncle Mac and later Junior Choice, but never made it onto the UK chart, at least not until 1984 when a punk version was recorded by the novelty band The Toy Dolls.

The Toy Dolls were formed in Sunderland in 1979. Their line-up over the years has changed so many times, but at the time of the hit their personnel was singer/guitarist Michael Algar who is known as Olga and the only constant member for 40 years, bass player Flip (b: Philip Dugdale) and Happy Bob (born Robert Kent) who was their fifth drummer. Dave the Nut is their current drummer and their 13th.

Their version of the song was their fifth single to be released. All their previous ones, Tommy Kowey’s Car ‎(1980), Everybody Jitterbug ‎(1982), Cheerio & Toodle’ Pip ‎and Alfie From the Bronx (1983) went nowhere. Even Nellie, which was first recorded and released in 1982 didn’t do anything. They were signed to Volume records an independent label and also a small chain of independent record shops based in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The Toy Dolls followed it up with We’re Mad later the same year followed by James Bond (Lives Down Our Street), She Goes to Finos in 1985 and Geordie’s Gone to Jail in 1986 but nothing else brought them to the chart. Even a fairly indifferent version of Livin’ La Vida Loca in 2000 didn’t excite the CD buyers.

As for cover versions, well, the beloved little pigs, Pinky & Perky did it in 1962, Cannon and Ball in 1982, Sam Brown in 1992, Crazy Frog in 2006 and both The Dickies and the unlikely named Dixie Ticklers in 2008. In 1990, there was a short-lived TV series of the same name which began on ITV and then transferred to Children’s ITV in which Nellie was a pink elephant and voiced by Lulu who also performed the opening theme. It was narrated by Tony Robinson. The most unlikely version was recorded in 1989 by a Dutch novelty band called WC Experience who called it Fritske d’n Olifant.

In 1957, one year after the song was first recorded, Butler won an Ivor Novello award for that Year’s Outstanding Novelty Song, he was 70 years old at the time. Butler died in a London hospital on 8th April 1969 at the age of 82.

The Toy Dolls had a stack of tour dates lined up in 2020 to celebrate their 40th anniversary but due to Covid-19, those dates will be delayed until 2021. In the meantime, Olga has been giving guitar lessons via the Toy Dolls website. He said, “I aimed this course at anyone who has just bought a guitar or who has never played before.” He speaks slowly and goes over and over each section. You can have a look here if you fancy it.

I Hear You Knocking (Dave Edmunds)

This week’s request comes from my good lady who said to me one night, “What’s I Hear You Knocking all about?” to which I replied, “I’m not actually sure” so she said, “Ok, you can research it for your Single of the Week feature.” So, naturally, not wanting to let the better half down, I got to work.

When Dave Edmunds topped the UK chart in 1970 with the song, many thought it was written by Edmunds as the song was new to the UK chart. Many older people will remember the version by Fats Domino in 1961 but it actually goes back six years before that. It was written by Dave Bartholomew who was a New Orleans trumpet player and Pearl King which was a song writing pseudonym for the guitarist Earl King and first recorded by Smiley Lewis – the same man who recorded the original versions of Fats Domino’s hit Blue Monday and Elvis Presley’s One Night.

Lewis’ version, which featured Huey ‘Piano’ Smith on the keys and Earl Palmer on drums, reached number two on the Billboard R&B chart and soon prompted a number of cover versions. Gale Storm took the song to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and Connie Francis released a version in 1959. Bartholomew and Domino began their collaboration as early as 1949 and it was Bartholomew who suggested Domino do a version which was produced by the former and the one most will remember.

The song’s meaning is best understood from the Domino version which tells the story of yet another relationship that goes wrong, seemingly, as the song suggests, she had cheated and refused to commit to the relationship and despite him not wanting here to go, (‘I begged you not to go but you said, goodbye’),  she leaves nonetheless. But now the ex-girlfriend/lover is back wanting to re-ignite the relationship (‘now you come back tellin’ all those lies’) but he doesn’t want to know (‘I hear you knockin’, but you can’t come in’) and telling her, ‘Go back where you been.’

Domino’s version is just a couple of verses, but Dave Edmunds’ version has two additional short verses, verse three says, ‘You better get back to your used-to-be, ’cause your kind of love ain’t good for me’ and verse four reveals, ‘I told you way back in ’52 that I would never go with you,’ but who wrote those verses is a mystery as the writing credit on Edmunds version is the same and Lewis and Domino’s.

Domino’s version is more relaxed in his delivery whereas Edmunds is a bit more forceful cemented by the heavier backing. Domino’s middle break is a simple guitar instrumental where Edmunds is heavier and he even credits most of the previous people involved as he sings, ‘Child, rave it up, Fats Domino, Smiley Lewis, Chuck Berry, Huey Smith, oh let’s do it’ over the top.

Dave Edmunds had been part of the Cardiff band, Love Sculpture and his frenzied guitar work on Sabre Dance had taken the single into the Top 10 in 1968. Two brothers, Kingsley and Charles Ward, had converted a barn in Monmouth into a recording studio, Rockfield, and Edmunds was to work there, either producing himself or others in a neo-rock ‘n’ roll style.

Why did Dave Edmunds choose that song? “I’d heard Let’s Work Together by Wilbert Harrison while I was in America, but Canned Heat beat me to it. Instead, I went for I Hear You Knockin’,” he explained. “I heard I Hear You Knocking on my car radio whilst I was driving in Britain because the song was getting airplay due to a Smiley Lewis compilation album which had recently been released. “I was absolutely amazed when it got to number one because it had nothing going for it at all. I didn’t have a band or a manager and the only publicity was a quarter-page ad in Melody Maker. Number one around the world, amazing.”

Edmunds’ mechanical version sees him playing most of the instruments and his phase-reverse sounding vocals gives it a very original appeal. But it would be three years until he had another UK hit, how come? Well it wasn’t through a lack of trying, the follow up single Down, Down, Down sank without trace as did the next single I’m Comin’ Home. Probably frustrated he returned to the Domino/Bartholomew stable and had a go at the aforementioned Blue Monday but that didn’t do anything either. When Spencer Leigh said to him about the problem of following up a million-selling, six-week number one, Dave said, “Well, it’s a great problem to have. The next couple of records didn’t do anything and then I did some Phil Spector-type things, Baby I Love You and Born to Be with You and I was all right then.”

He had further hits with I Knew the Bride and Girls Talk written by his friends Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello respectively. In 1980 he returned to the oldies by having a hit with Guy Mitchell’s Singing the Blues and John Fogerty’s Almost Saturday Night. He has produced the first three hits for The Stray Cats as well as The Polecats’ cover of David Bowie’s John I’m Only Dancing. In 1984, he produced the Everly Brothers’ come-back single On the Wings of a Nightingale but his biggest success as a producer came with Shakin’ Stevens on his 1985 festive chart-topper Merry Christmas Everyone.

In the early 2000s, he was touring with his guitar in a one-man show but admits that he needs accompaniment on a backing-track if he is to tackle Sabre Dance again. In 2015, he released his final album called On Guitar…Dave Edmunds: Rags & Classics which was instrumental covers of classic songs like A Whiter Shade of Pale, Wuthering Heights and R. Kelly’s I Believe I Can Fly.

In July 2017, Edmunds was among the special guests appearing with Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot! at the Rockers Festival in Lahti, Finland and it was to be his final live performance. On announcing his retirement, Brian said, “It’s with bittersweet announcement that my good friend and guitar legend Dave Edmunds is retiring, he flew in to Finland to play his final two shows with me. I wish him all the love in the world in his retirement!”

Why Do Fools Fall in Love (Teenagers featuring Frankie Lymon)

In the mid-fifties, doo-wop was all the rage and one of the few genres that wasn’t swept aside by rock and roll. Many of the doo-wop groups were from New York and around that time the street corners in Manhattan were littered with group of boys singing harmony often emulating gospel group like The Dixie Hummingbirds and that is how and where doo-wop originated. The Teenagers did their harmonising on the corner of 165th and Amsterdam. Few doo wop groups were successful in the UK, but this week’s act was one of the first.

Frankie Lymon was born in Harlem, New York in September 1942 and, like his parents, sang in church. In 1954, at the age of 12, it was at school that he first heard a local doo-wop group known as the Coupe De Villes and soon befriended their lead singer Herman Santiago who invited him to join the group and changed their name to The Ermines and then The Premiers.

They auditioned for the producer Richard Barrett who liked what he heard and renamed them The Teenagers. He also liked a song based on a poem from a friend of the group, Richard White and played the song, Why Do Fools Falls in Love? to the notorious record label owner, George Goldner. Whilst Goldner liked Herman Santiago’s lead vocal, he realised that Frankie Lymon was sensational. The record starts with some wonderfully loony doo wop harmonies and is then followed by Lymon’s soaring voice, which had not yet broken. The record reached number six in the US, despite strong opposition from Gale Storm, and they topped the UK charts, with a cheerful cover version from Alma Cogan also making the Top 30.

The Teenagers were Sherman Garnes and Jimmy Merchant who were both African American alongside Herman Santiago and Joe Negroni from Puerto Rico and it was at the audition for Gee records that Lymon became the lead singer. Santiago had turned up slightly late and Lymon said that he knew the part as he had co-written the song. The record label credits the writers as Lymon / Goldner but it should have been Frankie Lymon, Herman Santiago and Jimmy Merchant. Buddy Holly’s producer, Norman Petty, was notorious for adding his name to the writing credits in order to gain more money. It appears Goldner had similar thoughts.

Lymon was just 13 when he put pen to paper but he already had some experience of life; “I’ve been falling in love since I was only five, but I’ve been a fool about it since I was 11,” He explained to the singer Frankie Laine in 1956. The way The Teenagers all dressed in matching outfits set the tone for the soul groups of the seventies like the O’Jays and Stylistics and the screaming fans, usually female was the bench mark for all future boy bands to follow.

Like The Jackson 5 who followed suit around 10 years later, Frankie, like Michael Jackson, grew up in public, “I never was a child, although I was billed in every theatre and auditorium where I appeared as a child star,” Lymon explained in a 1967 interview with Art Peters in Ebony magazine. “I was a man when I was 11 years old, doing everything that most men do. In the neighbourhood where I lived, there was no time to be a child. There were five children in my family and my folks had to scuffle to make ends meet. My father was a truck driver and my mother worked as a domestic in white folks’ homes. While kids my age were playing stickball and marbles, I was working in the corner grocery store carrying orders to help pay the rent.”

Their follow-up hits included I’m Not A Juvenile Delinquent, but that is precisely what Lymon was. He was involved all manner of wheeling and dealing and taking drugs. Nevertheless, Lymon was the first black rock ‘n’ roll star and the group can be seen in the film, Rock! Rock! Rock!, although the movie wasn’t so hot, it didn’t have much of a plot. His younger brother, Lewis Lymon, formed The Teenchords and appeared in another rock ‘n’ roll film, Disc Jockey Jamboree.

The Teenagers split with Frankie Lymon in 1957 and neither had much success on their own. In the mid-Sixties, Frankie Lymon joined the US army and during leave in February 1968, he had a recording session scheduled. He took heroin to celebrate his return to the studio and died from an overdose becoming one of rock ‘n’ roll’s first drug casualties. He was just 25 years old.

For years there have been royalty disputes over the song caused by the aforementioned Goldner who, not only credited himself as a co-writer, but told the Teenagers that only two names were allowed on the credits and they weren’t entitled to anything. He later sold the right to American entrepreneur and music publisher Morris Levy. In 1987, the two real co-writers tried to sue Levy who, in turn, threatened to kill them if they took the case to court. The case did go to court and a judge ruled that Levy was entitled to the money, the reason being that the two real writers had taken too long to file their claim. Lymon’s share is also a story in itself because he had married three times in his short life but didn’t divorce any of them, so all three of them were trying to claim ownership. In the 1998 biopic, Why Do Fools Fall in Love his three wives were played by Halle Berry, Vivica Fox and Lela Rochon.

Many have covered the song; Gale Storm (1956), Four Seasons (1963), Beach Boys (1964), Eddie Holman (1967), Lou Christie (1972), Mud (1978), Diana Ross (1981) and Boyz II Men (2011), but Lymon had the first hit and was also the youngest artist to have a UK number one until this week in 1972 when Little Jimmy Osmond turned up Long Haired Lover from Liverpool.

Baby Blue (Dusty Springfield)

When the request for this song came in, I thought, ‘Ooh yes, I remember this song, but not too many will. A minor hit in the late seventies and one which, at the time, came with the headlines, ‘Dusty’s comeback’ and ‘Dusty does Disco’, both those statements are true, although she never really went away.

Checking any chart book, my one is recommended! you’ll see that the wonderful Dusty Springfield had 17 UK hit singles between 1963 and 1970 followed by a gap of nine years until she appeared again in 1979 with the number 61 hit, Baby Blue. She didn’t disappear during the seventies, she continues to record and released the single Yesterday When I Was Young (1972), Who Gets Your Love and Learn To Say Goodbye (1973), Bring Him Back and What’s It Gonna Be (1974), A Love Like Yours (Don’t Come Knocking Every Day), That’s The Kind Of Love I’ve Got For You and I’m Coming Home Again in 1978, none of which made much impact. But then she appeared in October 1979 with Baby Blue and written by an act who, not only had their debut hit in the same chart, but it’s the same week they hit number one. The song was written by Messrs Geoff Downes, Trevor Horn and Bruce Wooley aka The Buggles, so it was a double whammy for the trio with Video Killed the Radio Star flying to the top.

Horn was born in Durham in 1949 and followed in his father’s footsteps. His father played double bass in a big band and when Trevor was eight, he took up the same instrument. Once proficient he even stood in for his dad when he couldn’t make a gig. He moved to London in 1970 where he played some sessions and also produced the occasional jingle for some advertising companies. He played bass guitar for Tina Charles and began writing songs. In 1978, he formed The Buggles and signed a deal with Island records.

His song writing career began with Baby Blue, Trevor recalled in Songwriting in 2019, “It wasn’t much of a success, it only got to number 41 (actually 61! Trevor) but it was the first time somebody jumped on a track that we had written. We wrote it at a party I think after Bruce’s (Wooley) brother had given is all poppers or something. We were in the kitchen with an acoustic guitar. When I first heard the Dusty version of it, I just thought it sounded so ordinary.”

It was a disco stomper and the first Dusty single to be released on a 12″ single. For reasons unknown, the song was not included on the album Living Without Your Love but the tour that accompanied the album led to an unexpected problem with royalty. She performed a concert at the Royal Albert Hall with Princess Margaret in attendance and her on-stage chat between songs included a comment about the large number of gay people in the audience and said that she was glad royalty wasn’t “confined to the box.” Although the comment was said in all innocence, given many knew of her own sexuality (which she never made clear publicly), Dusty was absolutely mortified when she learned that Princess Margaret had felt personally insulted. Soon after, The Princess send Dusty a typed letter which dusty had to sign and send back.

Her ‘real’ comeback happened in 1987 when Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys revealed that Dusty in Memphis was one of his favourite albums and wanted to work with her. He’d written What Have I Done to Deserve This? with fellow Pet Shop Boy Chris Lowe and American songwriter Allee Willis in 1984 and submitted it to Dusty’s management, but they weren’t interested until the PSB’s debut album, Please proved a success. She then agreed and the song eventually went to number two and becoming her biggest hit since her chart-topping You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me (Io Che No Vivo Senza Te) 21 years earlier.

In 1994, Dusty went to Nashville to record a new album called A Very Fine Love during which she felt unwell and soon returned the UK. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through months of treatment. In 1995 was given the all-clear. The following year, the cancer had returned but further treatments failed to work and she died in her home town on Henley-on-Thames on 2nd March 1999 aged just 59.