Category: Single of the week

Mr Raffles (Man It Was Mean) (Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel

Whenever I hear the name Steve Harley, it always brings a smile to my face because it reminds me of a situation that could not have been timed any better. It was back in 2004 when I was mid-way through writing the 1000 UK Number One Hits book and I was with a friend having lunch and were talking about number one hits and he mentioned Make Me Smile by Steve Harley and at the same moment my phone rang and it was Steve Harley. Unbelievable! My friend almost fell off his seat. I had left a message for him to arrange an interview to talk about the aforementioned song and he’d rung me back. We arranged the interview and he told me a good story. Anyway, today’s choice is for a different Harley song. GeneralBlee emailed to ask, “I hadn’t heard Mr Raffles (Man It Was Mean) for years and listening to it the lyrics are quite disturbing and I am interested in finding out what it all relates to.” Well General, let’s find out.

 

Steve Nice, as he was born on 27th February 1951, grew up in south-east London, sharing a bedroom with two of his four brothers and sisters. His father was a milkman and semi-professional footballer while his mother gave up a career as a Jazz singer to look after all her children. When Steve was three, he contracted polio and spent a total of four years, on and off, in hospital. “I was always reading and writing. I wrote poetry from the age of 12,” Harley remembered, “I don’t recall the pain of polio but I do remember being with my grandmother and breaking down in floods of tears when I was 15 after my second round of major surgery. I let it all out.”

 

From the age of nine, her learned violin and the following year took up guitar. When he left school, he was determined to fulfil his ambition of becoming a journalist, so realising he had to start somewhere, his first job was as a trainee accountant with the Daily Express. He worked at various newspapers, mostly local ones, but by the time he was 20 he’d lost interest and took up music.

 

He formed the original Cockney Rebel as his backing group and they comprised violinist Jean-Paul Crocker, bassist Paul Jeffreys, guitarist Nick Jones and drummer Stuart Elliott. Jones was soon replaced by Pete Newnham and they added keyboard player Milton Reame-James. In 1972, they signed a three-album deal with EMI records.

 

Judy Teen became their first hit in 1974 followed by Mr. Soft later the same year and then the following year they hit the top spot with the aforementioned Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me). This week’s suggestion was their next hit, Mr. Raffles (Man It Was Mean) and was the second release from the parent album The Best Years of Our Lives.

 

“Raffles was a master thief. He was a con artist too,” Harley explained to Fred Dellar. “The titular character refers to a fictional thief created by author E.W. Hornung. I use his name to invoke a religious allegory, yes. We see religion and its leaders in our own ways: Sham: ‘Man, it was mean to be seen in the robes you wore for Lent, you must’ve known that it was Easter.’ Then in the third verse: The Devil within: ‘Then in Amsterdam you were perfect fun. You never let on you had a gun and then you shot that Spanish Dancer.’ I always think these references and allusions are obvious to listeners, and it feels a little pretentious to explain. It’s not T.S. Eliot, I know, but I was a serious young man!”

 

Harley’s diction in places is interesting and very pronounced for example, in the first verse the white says, ‘There for a while in your smile I could see Mexico blood say’. If you only know the radio edit where verses three and four had been blasphemously edited out, then you won’t have heard the line, ‘And then you shot that Spanish dancer’ which he sings with conviction.

 

One year went by until they had their final big hit with a cover of the Beatles’ Here Comes the Sun which reached number 10. They had two further hits that both failed to reach the top 40.

 

In 1977, Harley jettisoned the band, moved to Los Angeles and began work on his debut solo album. Soon afterward he decided to leave Britain and set up home in Los Angeles. The album was called Hobo with a Grin (note the US terminology for a tramp) and the second track, Amerika the Brave featured Marc Bolan making his last ever studio performance just weeks before he died.

 

Steve still tours the UK and Europe under the banner ‘Acoustic Trio’ with fellow musicians James Lascelles and Barry Wickens. Earlier this year he released his sixth solo album which was called Uncovered and BBC 6Music, at least, gave a good airing to the first single I’ve Just Seen a Face.

 

Steve has kept his youthful looks, in facts just a few weeks ago he appeared as a guess on the TV show Celebrity Pointless and at 69 years of age, he could easily pass as a man in his late fifties.

I’ll Never Fall In Love Again (Bobbie Gentry)

Finding grammatical errors in songs is, for me, always fun, but finding factual ones is even better. Hearing David Bowie say ‘It’s about to be writ again’ in Life on Mars? used to drive me nuts, but I’ve mellowed now. In this week’s choice, Hal David, the lyricist to Burt Bacharach’s music, used the line, ‘What do you get when you kiss a guy? You get enough germs to catch pneumonia’ which is interesting as you can’t catch pneumonia from kissing someone, even if they had it. Maybe he did it for effect or maybe he just never knew. That I don’t think we’ll ever find out.

The partnership of Burt Bacharach and Hal David cannot be understated. Together they wrote over 60 UK hit singles including six chart-toppers of which, this week’s choice was their final one. Dionne Warwick was the pair’s guinea pig in many respects and she recorded many of their songs first. Some of them were demos for other artists. Warwick did indeed record a version of this song but, in this instance, she was not the first.

The famous New York Brill Building writers stuck to what they did best, but in 1969 the announcement that the 1960 Oscar-winning Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine comedy, The Apartment, was going to be on stage with a script from Neil Simon was greeted with surprise especially when it was discovered that the songs were going to be penned by Burt Bacharach & Hal David. The musical was renamed Promises, Promises was very successful on both Broadway and in London’s West End.

The score was not full of vintage Bacharach & David songs, though it does contain the plaintive ballad Wanting Things and the punchy title song. The key song was I’ll Never Fall in Love Again. This song had been added at the last minute in Boston and at a time when Burt had flu: hence, Hal David’s little joke of rhyming ‘pneumonia’ with ‘phone ya’. Because there was no time to work up a full arrangement so the song, very unusually for Burt, was performed to a solitary guitar accompaniment and performed originally by Jill O’Hara & Jerry Orbach.

As expected, the song became so popular that myriad of people recorded it including Jack Jones, Bobbie Gentry, Dionne Warwick, Emmylou Harris, Johnny Mathis and Ella Fitzgerald who all did it in 1969. It was Bobbie Gentry’s version that took off and went to number one becoming the antepenultimate chart-topper of the 1960s just before Rolf’s Two Little Boys saw the decade out! Last week I covered the story of Galveston and mentioned that Glen Campbell had his own The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour show and in 1971, the Bobbie first performed her version on that very show.

In a later interview, Burt Bacharach has said that he wrote this song faster than any other, since he was working to a deadline. “Given the opportunity, I’ll play with a song or an orchestration for as long as I can.” In another interview with Record Collector, Burt Bacharach said: “I had just gotten out of the hospital. I’d been on the road and gotten pneumonia. We were on the road with Promises, Promises and we’d try to get this song written and into the show the next night or two nights later. That’s where Hal’s line came from, ‘what do you do when you kiss a girl, you get enough germs to catch pneumonia, after you do she’ll never phone ya.’ So, having been in the hospital for five days with pneumonia, I got out and struggled to write that song feeling not too great. You should take a rest after that and not go back into the Broadway show environment out on the road!”

Bobbie, who was born Roberta Lee Streeter, followed up her chart topper with the aforementioned Glen Campbell on a cover of All I Have to Do Is Dream. Her final UK hit was another Burt Bacharach and Hal David cover, this time with Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head from the film, Butch Cassidy And the Sundance Kid, but lost out to Sacha Distel and B.J. Thomas. Once the hits stopped, Bobbie Gentry became a high-earning act in Las Vegas for a couple of years before deciding to go into semi-retirement but did make the odd appearance on various TV shows and award ceremonies. Her final public appearance, however, was in 1982 when she attended the Academy of Country Music Awards. She was married three times, but none of those marriages lasted more than two years. He current whereabouts is unknown.

The font used on the cover of Bobbie’s 1967 album Ode to Billy Joe was designed by the American graphic designer Milton Glaser, the same man who designed the I NY logo some years later. He passed away on 26th June this year – the day of his 91st birthday. Hal David passed away on 1st September 2012 also aged 91 and Burt Bacharach is still going and has just turned 92.

I’ll Never Fall in Love Again won the 1970 Grammy award for Best Contemporary Vocal Performance and was performed by both Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello on the soundtrack of Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me in 1999.

Galveston (Glen Campbell)

Glen Campbell is something of a legend. He began as a session guitarist, proved his worth and then everyone wanted him. Jimmy Webb was a prolific songwriter and when he got Campbell on his books – so to speak – they complimented each other nicely and made each other very rich. This week, I’ll look at the story of Galveston – a protest song which Campbell had not recorded first.

Glen Campbell was born in Billstown, Arkansas in April 1936. He showed an interest in music so young that his father bought him a guitar when he was just four and an uncle taught him the basics of how to play it. When he was 17 he moved to New Mexico to join his uncle’s band and four years later set up his own band called the Western Wranglers. As an adult he moved to Los Angeles and became a session musician playing as a member of the Wrecking Crew who played on a multitude of hit records. The artists he played for include Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, the Monkees, Bobby Darin, Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, Doris Day, Bing Crosby, Rick Nelson and the Beach Boys literally to name just a few. In 1960, he was briefly a member of the Champs before launching a solo career in 1962 after he’d signed a deal with Capitol records. In late 1964, he spent three months touring as a member of the Beach Boys standing in for Brian Wilson and singing the falsetto parts. He is playing guitar on their 1966 classic album Pet Sounds.

Was Galveston written about the Vietnam War? Well when the writer Jimmy Webb was asked that questions his reply was, “It was about a young American soldier and the only war we were fighting at the time was in Vietnam, so the answer is pretty obvious. The reason I chose Galveston was because I wanted a place that was on the sea. I wanted this character to be from the heartland. I wanted him to be a character I could identify with.”

The Vietnam War has had more songs written about it than any other war or battle. The reason being I guess is that during the First and Second World Wars there weren’t as many songwriters let alone outspoken ones back then, people didn’t write about that sort of a subject, it was mostly songs about relationships. Just for reference, Billy Joel’s Goodnight Saigon, Edwin Starr’s War, Jimmy Cliff’s Vietnam, Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A., the album track Still in Saigon by The Charlie Daniels Band and Paul Hardcastle’s 19 are good examples of songs written about Vietnam but by no means a comprehensive list.  The War raged for almost 20 years beginning in November 1955 and many other protest songs like Barry McGuire’s Eve of Destruction was not specifically written about that war but came out during it. That song was written by P.F Sloan who was only 19 at the time and said on his website, “The song was written in the early morning hours between midnight and dawn in mid-1964. The most outstanding experience I had in writing this song was hearing an inner voice inside of myself for only the second time. It seemed to have information no one else could’ve had.”

The inspiration for the song comes from the coastal city of Galveston in Texas which tends to suffer a great number of hurricanes. Webb was there one day on a beach and began writing the song. He originally wrote it as a ballad about a homesick GI in Vietnam who had been separated from his first love, Webb said, “It’s about a guy who’s caught up in something he doesn’t understand and would rather be somewhere else.”

It was first recorded by a Hawaiian-born singer called Don Ho with the Oak Ridge Strings. It transpired that Ho appeared on Glen’s show The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour in 1969 and Glen gave Ho a tape of the song saying, “I didn’t have any luck with this, maybe you will.” Ho’s version was released in 1968 on the flip side of the single Has Anybody Lost A Love? but because few people bought the single, few heard the B side.

Campbell recorded it few months later and it took off. Webb said in an interview with Songfacts, “Glen was very, very good at commercialising my songs. He could come up with great intros and great solos, great breaks, and he wrote perfect strings, because he wrote very little. It was a minimalist approach and it just left Glen out there with the song and the guitar. I tended to write a little bit more as an arranger, and probably too much, so I could have done better to have stayed out of Glen’s way, I think.”

Webb’s father was a Baptist preacher and subsequently travelled between churches in Oklahoma and Texas taking a young Jimmy with him. They often visited the coastal towns and cities and Jimmy would spend time watching the crashing waves and the seagulls swooping which fascinated him. These images came back to him whilst writing the song.

Galveston became Campbell’s second UK hit single just three months after its predecessor Wichita Lineman which was also written by Webb. In the 1970s he struck gold with Honey Come Back, It’s Only Make Believe, Rhinestone Cowboy and the Allen Toussaint song Southern Nights. His last UK hit was in 2002 when he teamed up with pop duo Rikki and Daz for an updated version of Rhinestone Cowboy (Giddy Up Giddy Up) which reached number 12.

Campbell, who had married four times and has fathered nine children, learned in January 2011 that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s. Three years later he became a patient at an Alzheimer’s long-term care and treatment facility and made a documentary called Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me which examined his condition and how it affected him. He died in Nashville, Tennessee on 8th August 2017 aged 81.

Campbell made the message of Galveston accessible to everyone by singing it exactly how Webb meant it. His creation of it was so special that in recent years it has become the unofficial theme song for the city.

In June 2020, Kim Campbell, Glen’s wife of 34 years, published a memoir of their life together called Gentle on My Mind: In Sickness and in Health with Glen Campbell.

Street Life (The Crusaders)

Many songs have uncredited vocalists and, in-turn, many of them fade into obscurity, one good example is Dean Friedman’s 1978 hit Lucky Stars; the song was only credited to Dean but is clearly a 50/50 duet with a lady called Denise Marsa, but after that hit she wasn’t heard again although Dean did once tell me he remains in touch with her on an occasional basis. In this week’s case, the uncredited went on to have a prolific career. The song in question is by the jazz band The Crusaders and their debut UK hit was Street Life in 1979 with a vocal provided by Randy Crawford.

The Crusaders’ UK chart career began in 1979, but their roots go back as far as 1952 when a few guys got together to play some jazz music and called themselves the Swingsters. The original members were Wilton Felder on bass and saxophone, Wayne Henderson on trombone, flautist Hubert Laws, keyboard player Joe Sample and drummer Stix Hooper whose real name is Nesbert Hooper. As teenagers they travelled the Gulf Coast playing various strip joints and small clubs before changing their name to the Jazz Crusaders.

During the 1960s, they released 16 albums and two more in 1970 before shortening their name to the Crusaders. At the height of the career they opened for the Rolling Stones but their music was often commercial playing renditions in well-known songs in a jazz-funky style. “We are the fathers of jazz-funk-fusion, and I am a funkster at heart,” Wayne Henderson explained in a 1995 interview with The Los Angeles Times. “We took pop tunes like Eleanor Rigby and So Far Away and did them melodically with a groove, so people could dance if they wanted.” Joe Sample said in 2003, “There’s nothing city-slick about what we do, it’s a combination of southeast Texas and Louisiana roots.”

They released a further 11 albums in the 1970s, but in 1979, their 12th album, Street Life, and its title track changed everything and they suddenly hit the big time. The track was written by Joe Sample and Will Jennings. Joe had first heard Randy Crawford sing in 1976 when she was recording her debut album Everything Must Change which he played on and arranged as well. That album contained Randy’s original version of I’ve Never Been to Me which was a 1982 UK number one hit for Charlene. Joe recalled, “After I did two recordings of Randy’s in 1976 and around that same time I met the lyricist Will Jennings and it looked to me right and I thought, ‘wow’, everything is just right because I could do something I had always wanted to do and that was to introduce vocals to the Crusaders. The reason being, I had always loved the voice and the trumpet of Louis Armstrong, I love the songs Duke Ellington had written and I loved the collaborations with Count Basie, Frank Sinatra and Sarah Vaughan and I always thoguht the combination of the instrumentals with a unique voice was wonderful. When I heard Randy’s voice, I thought to myself, ‘I think the time has come, I finally heard the voice – the ‘Crusader’ Voice.”

Randy recalled her story, “In 1976 Joe, who had played on my debut album, felt that my voice was distinctive and struck a good nerve and when he and the Crusaders decided they wanted a voice for Street Life I was the person he wanted. I was the first female ever to sing with the Crusaders of which was very flattered and very proud.”

Will Jennings, in an interview with Song Facts recalled, “The lyric, all that came right off of Hollywood Boulevard. It’s also been used in a lot of rap songs, some samples, they always do the chorus.” As for Sample, “It was the beginner’s ski slope at Mammoth Mountain in California,” he explained in a Reuters interview, “I saw people falling, running into each other, it was absolute chaos. It looked like a boulevard of madness. And I said, ‘That’s what street life is.'”

Randy’s career took off after that hit. Sample and Jennings both wrote her first two hits, Last Night at Danceland and the number two hit One Day I’ll Fly Away. Other hits of hers included a cover of Turley Richards’ You Might Need Somebody, Tony Joe White’s Rainy Night in Georgia and John Lennon’s Imagine which was a live recording that I was present at. Her only other top 10 hit was Almaz which reached number four in 1986. Randy is still recording but turned more to jazz and recorded and album with Quincy Jones and George Benson.

The Crusaders continued recorded and in the mid-90s reverted to the Jazz Crusaders. In 2010, they called it a day. Wayne Henderson and Joe Sample both died in 2014 – five months apart and Wilton Felder died the following year.

Jennings continues to write prolific songs including While You See A Chance, Valerie and Back in The High Life Again with Steve Winwood, Up Where We Belong for Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes, I’ll Never Love This Way Again for Dionne Warwick, Didn’t We Almost Have It All for Whitney Houston, Tears in Heaven for Eric Clapton and the 1998 number one hit My Heart Will Go On for Celine Dion. His income continues in the 2010s by way of cover versions of Higher Love by Tyler James (2012), One Day I’ll Fly Away by The Vaults (2016) and the 2019 number two cover of Higher Love by Kygo & Whitney Houston. He was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 2006.

All Right Now (Free)

Recently I did a round in my quiz of songs that the writers claimed were written in less than half an hour. The following day I got an email to write the story of one of them and this is the one. Can you believe that such a classic and worldwide radio favourite was written in such a short time? How come? Let’s find out all about All Right Now by Free.

In the late sixties, three music genres were starting to flourish which was good news because there hadn’t really been a new fad since Rock ‘n’ Roll burst onto the scene in the mid-fifties. Rock, prog rock and blues were suddenly upon us with Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Creedence Clearwater Revival leading the rock category, Pink Floyd, Yes, Rush and Genesis heading up the prog scene and Fleetwood Mac, Cream, John Mayall’s Bluebreakers and Free sang the blues.

Free were formed in London in 1968 and originally comprised lead singer Paul Rodgers, bass and keyboard player Andy Fraser, guitarist Paul Kossoff and drummer Simon Kirke. They released their first two albums, Tons of Sobs and Free in in 1968 and 1969 respectively but neither sold that well. I’ll Be Creeping was the first of five singles released in 1969 and not one of them troubled the charts. The band concentrated on touring.

All Right Now was featured on their third album Fire and Water in 1970 and only happened by chance. The song was written in the North East of England in the dressing room after a terrible gig. Andy Fraser, who wrote the song, told the story to Songwriting, “We’d driven up to Durham on a rainy Tuesday, it was cold and miserable and we got there in a pretty foul mood to be honest. And then we saw the audience… it was a venue that could hold 2,000 people, but there were only about 30 people there. And those 30 were all off their heads on Mandrax, it was pretty grim. But of course, we went on anyway. Now usually, we could get up there on stage and it didn’t matter who was watching or whether they were getting into it, we’d just play for ourselves, basically, and have a good time. But this night, it just wasn’t happening. We absolutely sucked. And the audience were too out of it to even notice, which just made it all the more depressing. Afterwards, in the dressing room, there was just this horrible silence – a really bad atmosphere, so, to try and alleviate the tension, I just started singing, ‘Y’know, all right now, baby it’s all right now,’ over and over, kind of like a parent trying to gee their kids along! But it worked, the rest of the band started tapping along and so I thought, we’re onto something here.

The music was made there and then too, “The chords of the song were basically me trying to do my Pete Townshend impression,” Fraser continued, “I actually wrote the riff on piano and then Kossoff transposed the chords to guitar, and he did a helluva job because that’s not always easy. Basically, the chorus wrote itself, the chords took me about 10-15 minutes and then Paul came up with the verses while he was waiting for a lift to a gig the next day.”

According to the liner notes of Molten Gold – An Anthology, Simon Kirke explained, “Our repertoire at that time was mostly slow and medium paced blues songs which was alright if you were a student sitting quietly and nodding your head to the beat. However, we finished our show in Durham and walked off the stage to the sound of our own footsteps. The applause had died before I had even left the drum riser. When we got into the dressing room, it was obvious that we needed an up-tempo number, a rocker to close our shows. So, All Right Now was created by Andy Fraser who sat down and wrote it right there in the dressing room. It couldn’t have taken more than 10 minutes.”

The song took off and went to number two in the UK chart where it sat for five weeks behind Mungo Jerry’s In the Summertime which took residency for six weeks. Its success, however, earned them an invite to the Isle of Wight Festival. As for a follow-up hit, that proved difficult.

Their next single was The Stealer, a great song that still gets an airing on Planet Rock but didn’t interest the record buyers. Thankfully they did have other hits, My Brother Jake made number four in 1971, Little Bit of Love got to number 13 in 1972 and their final hit, Wishing Well peaked at number seven in 1973 thus giving them four UK hits in four consecutive years.

By 1973, it was all over, the band split. Rodgers and Kirke continued together and found success as members of Bad Company with guitarist Mick Ralphs and Boz Burrell on bass. Paul Kossoff succumbed to his drug addiction and passed away in 1976 and Andy Fraser went to live in the USA but continued writing songs for other artists including Avenging Annie for Roger Daltrey, Every Kinda People for Robert Palmer and Be Good to Yourself for Frankie Miller. In the early eighties the song was used in cinemas to advertise Juicy Fruit chewing gum and was covered, not very well I have to add, by Pepsi & Shirley in 1987 who stalled at number 50 and the Scottish all-girl group Lemonescent who, in 2004 just scraped into the top 40 and left just as quickly.

It’s arguably the song Free will be best remembered for but not the one Andy Fraser wished for. He concurred to Songwriting, “I don’t know if it’s actually the song I’d like to be remembered by. Every Kind of People, which was one of the first songs I wrote when I moved to the States and which my dear, much-missed friend Robert Palmer, who I’d known from even before the Vinegar Joe days, ended up performing, that’s one I’m particularly proud of. But, by the same token, All Right Now has been such a durable song. I play it in my solo shows, I played it with Ringo Starr and I think one of the highlights of my career.”

Freed From Desire (Gala)

Every decade has its own music genre or two! The seventies had a bit of everything really, glam, disco, soul, prog rock, the eighties had new romantic, Chicago House and electronic and the 2000s+ seem to have grime and rap as for the nineties, especially the mid-nineties that had dance anthems. There were many of them with arguably the most played and well-known being Show Me Love by Robin S. Another one on heavy club rotation, especially by me, was this week’s suggestion – Freed from Desire by Gala.

Lyrically the song doesn’t have too much to offer apart from the memorable repeated line ‘My love has got no money, he’s got his strong beliefs’ although it did take me a few weeks to actually work out what she was singing, but nonetheless, its infectious dance beat made it very memorable.

Gala was not a band, she was a female whose full name is Gala Rizzatto who was born in Milan in Italy in September 1944. Her name comes from a combination of Salvador Dali’s wife and also from the Russian dancer Gala Ulanova. When she was 17 she moved to Boston, Massachusetts to study art and once she qualified she moved to New York where she chose photography. It was whilst on a trip back to Italy she was taking pictures of a DJ. She started singing and the DJ recognised her talent. Her debut recording was called XS and was featured on a compilation album called Originale Radicale Musicale, the response was so positive that she began her recording career and cut her first single Everyone Has Inside which went to number one on the Italian chart.

On returning to New York, she continued recording and started writing songs. “The original reason why I got into singing was because when I was in high school I realised that everyone was separated,” Gala explained to Tom Victor. “I felt ‘My God, we used to be so together and everyone is separating’ and singing was a way to connect all the people who travelled to Paris and to London. When I had this big hit, everyone would call me from all over the world and that gave me a sense of keeping the unity and the feeling that there was a community. That is not the same as having a real community, but it was my desire, my innocent young desire of bringing everyone together. So, the fact that this song is used and sung by many people together, to bring them together, is kind of the goal of that song. It keeps repeating in different ways. When I wrote this song I wanted to change the world, it was driven by a strong passion.”

Freed from Desire became the follow-up single and also topped the Italian chart for four weeks before exploding in Europe. She described the track as being, “Born as a chant, it is born as a prayer. I was very young, I wanted to save the world with the Buddhist concept of not wanting more. I believe the worst thing in the world is greed, it’s the beginning of all evil. I hate that.”

Gala is not a one-hit wonder as some would think although many would struggle to remember her second hit which got to number 11 on the UK chart. Anyone? No? Well, it was called Let A Boy Cry. She did have one further minor hit – Come into My Life which just scraped into the top 40 in 1998.

In 1998, she met Prince’s manager, Steve Fargnoli and signed a new deal with Universal music, but when Steve died suddenly in 2001 she broke her contract and returned to photography. Seven years passed and Gala returned to singing and over the following five years released a couple of albums Faraway and Tough Love. In 2010, Freed from Desire was used in both Spain and France for a Nissan television commercial.

It got another lease of life in 2016 when Sean Kennedy, a Wigan Athletic supporter, recreated the song under the title Will Grigg’s on Fire after he fired 25 goals for Wigan Athletic that season. He uploaded it to YouTube and it went viral and became a terrace chant. How did Gala find out about the new version? “This guy from England called me and said, ‘Your song has become my favourite chant ever!’ Gala explained to AOL.com. “I listen to many of these football chants but this one is my favourite one’. I don’t follow football so much but I said, ‘If you tell me it’s good, I trust that it’s good’. I think it’s not by chance that it gets used as an anthem. My intention was not soccer, and in one way I could say I don’t like that they changed my lyrics because the lyrics mean so much to me, but you have to see things from a different perspective. I understood music can be perceived on many levels, it doesn’t always matter. I remember being in a cafe in Italy and a guy said, ‘I don’t know what this song is about but I believe it’s about something important.'”