Category: Single of the week

You’re the One That I Want (John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John)

This week’s request comes from one of the members of my top pop quiz teams, Richard Hunter who emailed to say, “I watched Grease over Xmas for the umpteenth time but wondered how John Farrar came up with such a huge selling worldwide smash hit single with You’re the One That I Want? Well, Richard, the short answer is I don’t know, but I wondered too. How does anyone come up with at least one song that will leave them comfortable for the rest of their life? Some people never say and some just don’t know. The famous quote from Don McLean was after he was asked about the meaning behind American Pie and his reply was, “It means I never have to work again.” Let’s see if we can find out.

Olivia’s career began when she was 15, John’s when he was 18. “I entered a gong show contest when I was 15”, recalled Olivia. “You show up early in the morning and perform something. I performed Summertime and I got three gongs.” On that show she met songwriter, John Farrar. Her performance got her noticed by a host of talent agencies, but her mother refused to let any of them handle her, insisting that if anyone was going to be her manager, she was.

Born in 1948 in Cambridge, Olivia had grown up in Melbourne, Australia and returned to Britain in the mid-sixties. Her solo recording career took off in 1971 and through her then-boyfriend, The Shadows’ Bruce Welch, she met Cliff Richard and they soon began singing together. For her first UK release, John Farrar suggested that she covered Bob Dylan’s If Not for You. Olivia said, “I wasn’t keen on that song at all, but I’m so glad John chose it because it’s not one that I would have picked.”

John was born in New Jersey in 1954 and after dropping out of school early he travelled north to New York and landed a part in the Broadway musical Over Here! followed by an extra in the touring version of Grease in 1972.

The original Grease was a book by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey who later wrote lyrics and songs for the show and John Farrar was asked to provide a few extra songs. The title got its name from the nickname of the working-class youngsters who were known as greasers. The film was set in 1959 and follows the lives of 10 teenagers who all attended the fictional Rydell High School which was named after the American teen idol singer Bobby Rydell. It showed how they grew up and dealt the usual teenager culture of violence, sex and love.

John Farrar, who was born in Melbourne in 1945, was not only a songwriter, but he was a musician as well as a producer and arranger and had been in a couple of groups between 1963 and 1970. In 1970, he joined The Shadows’ Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch to form the trio Marvin, Welch & Farrar. They released a couple of albums and four singles and made four appearances on Top of the Pops in 1971 and 72 but none of their songs charted and by 1973 they went back to what they were doing before.

John (Farrar) had come to England and began working with Olivia by producing her first US number one, I Honestly Love You and then writing and producing her next, Have You Never Been Mellow the following year. She had also begun a romance with Bruce Welch. By the mid-seventies, Olivia was having more success in America, so ended her relationship with Bruce and decided to move there. It was whilst out to dinner one evening with singer Helen Reddy she met Allan Carr. He talked about his new film version of the stage musical, Grease. “I’ve seen the London stage version with Richard Gere as Danny”, Olivia told Carr. Carr asked her if she fancied playing the lead role of Sandy. Olivia’s reply of “Are you serious?” was acknowledged in the affirmative and the part was hers. The film’s director, Randal Kleiser agreed, “Olivia was always first choice for Sandy.” Olivia was really nervous about the role initially especially as she was nearly 30, but having a familiar face in the shape of John Farrar certainly made her feel at ease. Travolta, however, was not the first choice as Allan Carr remembered, “We originally offered the role of Danny Zuko to Henry Winkler because of his phenomenal success as The Fonz in Happy Days. Henry turned us down because he felt he had played the ultimate greaser on TV for too long to repeat himself in our movie.”

Farrar was then approached to write some more songs for the film version, John recalled, Hopelessly Devoted to You was the first one I did and they liked that so they gave me a chance to write others. Writing for both John and Olivia was really easy because the situation was already there in the script and for the song it was pretty obviously what they needed.”

You’re the One That I Want topped the UK singles chart for nine weeks and the Billboard Hot 100 for one week. Another Olivia and John duet from the film, Summer Nights, was written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey and was a UK number one seven weeks, both tracks are in the top 30 all-time best-selling singles in the UK with the latter selling 1.6m and is the 27th best-seller and the former at number five having sold just over two million copies.

The filming for the fairground scene where they sung You’re the One That I Want’ took the best part of a day and the skin-tight outfit Olivia wore restricted her. As she recalled, “It was a hot day, and I wasn’t allowed to drink because I wasn’t allowed to go to the toilet and as they had to sew me into that outfit, it would take too long to get in and out of.”

With 14.4m sales, Grease the soundtrack album is the third biggest selling soundtrack of all time behind Saturday Night Fever with 21.6m and The Bodyguard with 28.4m sales.

Farrar and his wife Carroll have a son called Sam Farrar who is a bass guitarist in the American rock band Phantom Planet. They scored a UK top 10 hit in 1995 with the song California. Farrar also contributed a number of songs for Olivia’s next film Xanadu, which many will agree had a rubbish plot, but the music was fantastic. More recently in 1995, Farrar wrote with Tim Rice on the score for Cliff Richard’s musical, Heathcliff which was based on Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights.

There have been a number of cover versions including the one that was in the chart at the same time as John and Olivia by Hylda Baker & Arthur Mullard, a purposely done bad version by two people who really couldn’t sing and were never going to threaten to steal the limelight of the real version. In 1993, Craig McLachlan and Debbie Gibson, who played Danny and Sandy in London’s West End took their version to number 13 and another cover by Julia Stone stalled at number 72 in 2012. Other versions worth checking out are, Leslie Gore (1982), Less Than Jake (1997), Brotherhood of Man (2002), The Beautiful South (2004), McFly (2007) and, naturally, The Glee Cast (2012)

Son of My Father (Chicory Tip)

How many times do you hear about a band who write and record their own material and struggle to get anywhere. Then, all of a sudden, they come across an obscure unknown song, cover it and presto, they’re stars. Well that’s what happened to the group who recorded this week’s suggestion.

Bass player Barry Mayger and the guitarist Rick Foster were schoolboy friends in Maidstone, Kent, they formed their first band, the Sonics in 1961 and were named after the guitars they both had which were Burns Tri-sonic guitars. Members came and went but by 1967, they were Chicory Tip with Peter Hewson as their lead vocalist and Mick Russell on drums.  “We wanted to get away from names which started with the word ‘The’ as there were so many around like ‘The’ Shadows and ‘The’ Beatles,” explained Rick in an interview with Stuart Cameron. “We were in an army barrack just outside Maidstone and on with another band called The Mannish Boys featuring David Bowie,” he continued, “we came off stage and Barry saw a brand of coffee (probably Camp Coffee) which had Chicory in it and featured that fact on the label. He said ‘What about Chicory Tip for a name?’ and I agreed, so we went with it.”

Mick married and moved to Wales and was replaced by Brian Shearer. Rick’s girlfriend knew the record producer and manager Roger Easterby who was then managing Vanity Fare and she recommended Chicory Tip to him. He went to see them perform and was impressed and thus got them the recording contract with CBS records in 1970. Their first four singles, Monday After Sunday, Excuse Me Baby, My Girl Sunday and I Love Onions (presumably another component of the Chicory Tip salad) – all flopped.

Giorgio Moroder, the Italian composer, who later found major success with Donna Summer, Three Degrees, Sparks, Blondie, David Bowie and Irene Cara to name a few as well as having the top three hit Together In Electric Dreams with Philip Oakey in 1984, was 28 years old when he moved to Munich and wrote a song called Looky Looky which earned him a gold disc. “That was a great bubblegum song,” he recalled to Todd L. Burns in 2013. “I heard it a few days ago, and thought that it wasn’t a bad song. It became a hit in France, Spain and Italy. Then there was Son of My Father where, for the first time, I used a synthesizer, my version made it the Top 40 in America.” He went on to explain more about the synthesizer, “The Moog I was working with was constantly out-of-tune. It was really a pain to work with it. Obviously, it had great sounds but everything now is much easier. It’s always in tune, and you can play longer than a minute before you have to retune it.” The song was co-written by Moroder and Michael Holm and it was Holm who recorded the original version in 1971 with Moroder producing it. It was first published in Germany as Nachts Scheint Die Sonne and Pete Bellotte, who later worked extensively with Moroder, wrote the English lyric. Moroder recorded his own version the follow year on an album with the same title.

Moroder considers himself to be an average musician and he revealed in an interview in The Guardian, “I learned a little about music, I play a little, I play enough to compose; but with a computer, if you make a mistake you just redo it as often as you need. I could never play live with what we have the musicians doing on stage or in the studio. If I were to play the piano or designed difficult things then I would be nervous, but I do exactly what I want to do and the big work is not mine – that will be the singers, and they are absolutely top.”

Roger Easterby, who also did a bit of record plugging, found a demo copy of Son of My Father and brought it to Chicory Tip. He wanted them to record a version before Moroder’s version was released in the UK. They recorded it at George Martin’s AIR studio on Christmas Eve and was pressed and released within three weeks. It entered the UK chart at number 30 and three weeks later it was number one. Once the recording was finished, George turned up and was asked his opinion of the song to which he replied, “It smells like a hit to me!”

The lyrics were hard to understand and because of the speed and secrecy required to get the track recorded, they didn’t have time to find out the correct lyrics, so the band just made notes of what they thought Moroder was singing. Moroder’s version, although not seemingly making a lot of sense, went, ‘Son of my father, moulded I was folded I was preform-packed, Son of my father, commanded I was branded in a plastic vac, surrounded and confounded by statistic facts’. Hewson almost got it right, his second line was, ‘Moulded, I was folded, I was free from draft’.

The moog on the Chicory Tip version was played by Chris Thomas, who became a leading record producer working with Procol Harum, Roxy Music, The Sex Pistols, Wings, Pretenders and Elton John to name a few. Thomas was unavailable when it came to a live Top of the Pops performance, so session keyboard player Trevor Bastow played it on TV.

Chicory Tip’s follow-up’s, What’s Your Name and Good Grief Christina, made the Top 20 but their next release, Cigarettes, Women and Wine was banned by the BBC for fear of leading teenagers into bad habits.

Rick Foster left the band in 1972 to join Edison Lighthouse, hardly the best career move you might think, but he was with them for 25 years and Chicory Tip disbanded in 1975. In 1997 Chicory Tip reformed in their hit-making line-up and they released the CD, Chicory Tip In 2000.

Rick Foster and Brian Shearer are still performing in Kent, Hewson appeared as a prison warden in the 2012 film Offender, Barry Mayger became the landlord of the Dog and Gun pub in Maidstone and then retired in 2008 to Portugal, he passed away in January 2020. Richard Easterby went into the Horse Racing world later becoming the director of Parliamentary Affairs.

Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini (Brian Hyland)

Back in 1960, when this week’s suggested song was first released, there was no benefit of a video to help promote the song, you had to use your imagination of what a song might be about or form an image in your mind of the story it was telling. Fast forward, 30 years and a cover version goes to number one with an accompanying video, a pretty ropey one too I have to say, but nothing was left to the imagination, it was right there in front of you, a gorgeous-looking woman on the (makeshift) beach wearing a sexy yellow polka dot bikini. But in 1960, it was quite a different story.

Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini was written in 1959 by Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss and it was in the summer of that year that Paul Vance took his two-year-old daughter, Paula, to a beach and watched her playing on the sand in her new yellow polka dot bikini. The reason it was teeny weeny was because it was on a two-year-old.

Vance often sang on his own demo versions, but on this occasion, he thought a female voice would suit it better, so he hired a session singer and two other female backing singers. Once finished, he took it to David Kapp at Kapp records who was sceptical about releasing it as he thought it was a bit risqué and told Vance in as many words. When Vance explained that it was about his young daughter Kapp relented and agreed to release it, but expressed the opinion that he thought a male voice would suit it better. As luck would have it, the label had just signed a new artist.

The teenage singer Brian Hyland would go to the New York’s Brill Building hoping for a record deal. His first single for Kapp Records, Rosemary, did not sell but the second had more promise. Brian recalls, “We had cut Don’t Dilly Dally, Sally but Kapp wanted something stronger for the A-side. Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss had shown Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini to a lot of singers but no one wanted to do it. Kapp thought it was right for me and got really excited about it. “They gave me the demo on a Friday and I had to learn it over the weekend,” recalled Hyland in an interview with Bruce Nash. “We cut it on the Monday and I was pretty relaxed during the recording session. Even though it wasn’t really the kind of song that I usually liked, but I had a feeling that it was special. When we recorded it, there seemed to be a real buzz in the air about the song. It was a number one hit in America which meant that I could stop riding on the subway and buy some Martin guitars.” Despite having a male sing the lead, the song benefits from the sexy sounding Trudy Packer who adds the, ‘two, three, four stick around we’ll tell you more’.

Timmy Mallett began broadcasting while he was studying at Warwick University and then he worked for Radio Oxford and Piccadilly Radio in Manchester. The wacky and highly excitable entertainer replaced Roland Rat as the children’s favourite on TV-AM and then presented his own shows, The Wide Awake Club (1984-89) with Carol Vorderman and Wacaday (1985-92). Wacaday featured a word game which incorporated an oversized large pink sponge mallet, known as Mallett’s Mallet. He would attack celebrities with his mallet, including Mrs Thatcher.

In 1990 Andrew Lloyd Webber suggested Timmy should revive Itsy Bitsy… and he recorded the song at Nigel Wright’s Scratch Studios in Chertsey, Surrey. Lloyd Webber released it under the name Bombalurina, which was one of the felines in Cats, and a new label, Carpet, was formed. When Timmy went on location, he played the song in a nightclub in Crete and the DJ told him it would be a monster hit. When he was convinced it would be number one, Andrew Lloyd Webber threw a party at his mansion in Berkshire and everything stopped for Bruno Brookes’ chart rundown on Radio One. A few weeks later Timmy married Lynda Bingham in Wye and said, “I may be number one, but it’s nothing compared to be being married to the number one girl in the world.”

The Bombalurina video was very corny with Mallett blurting out ‘Oh yeah’ all over the place, but did feature a couple of lovely ladies, Dawn and Anne, prancing around a fake beach. Dawn later married Gary Barlow. The added extra push that helped the song to the top of chart was a headline The Sun newspaper ran after spotting Princess Diana in a bikini; ‘Itsy Bitsy’s Di’s A Dream in Her Bikini’ that same week Timmy made his debut on Top of the Pops.

Nowadays Brian Hyland is better remembered for his classy ballads, Ginny Come Lately and Sealed with A Kiss, another cover that went to number one courtesy of Jason Donovan, but whenever he comes to the UK for a sixties tour, he includes Itsy Bitsy in his stage act with his wife Rosemari chanting the female’s part. His son, Bodi, plays the drums and Brian surprises many of the audience by playing raunchy rock ‘n’ roll.

Timmy Mallett later devised a stage show for universities and he is a pantomime star who has the kids singing along to Itsy Bitsy. In 2004, he was on the substitute bench for I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here and although none of the celebs walked out, he generated publicity by singing the song from the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Burlesque (Family)

Family were an underrated band from the late sixties and early seventies and Roger Chapman’s voice hasn’t changed in 50 years. Major commercial success eluded them and one of the reasons is probably due to the ever-changing personnel that made it was hard to sustain their artistic potential.

Roger Maxwell Chapman was born in Leicester in April 1942 and as a youngster didn’t know what he wanted to do, so how did he get started? “I never planned to be in the music business really, I just started singing with pals, literally on street corners back in 1958, stuff by The Coasters, Fats Domino and Jerry Lee Lewis,” he explained in an interview with Peter Viney. “We were 15-year-old kids and we started doing talent contests. We were called The Searchers, but then I joined a local group in Leicester, the Rocking R’s, because they were the only people I knew who could play Ray Charles tunes. I left school and wanted to go to art college, but being the type of geezer I was I ended up doing an apprenticeship in painting and decorating. I got the elbow from that after a few months and never really got on with work anyway, just doing odds and sods, working in factories and stuff. I remember Charlie Whitney and Jim King (two other members of Family) got me off the building site, they turned up one day and asked me to join The Farinas, and that was that.”

The Farinas released one single on Fontana in August 1964 called You’d Better Stop, and it was Jim who sang lead vocals on that. He then joined The Roaring Sixties who, in 1966 were renamed Family. Their first three singles, Scene Thru the Eye of a Lens, Me My Friend and Second Generation Woman all failed to make any impact, but then came No Mule’s Fool which reached number 29 towards the end of 1969. Jim King left the band later that year due to ill health. The following year saw The Weaver’s Answer peak at number 11 and one year after that In My Own Time gave them their biggest hit when it reached number four in the summer of 1971. Seemingly, annually, came their final hit and this week’s suggestion, Burlesque.

The line-up of the band at the time of Burlesque were; Roger Chapman (vocals), John ‘Charlie’ Whitney (guitars & keyboards), John Palmer (keyboards & flute), John Wetton (bass) and Rob Townsend (drums)

All their hits were written by Charlie Whitney and Roger Chapman but Roger didn’t start writing song until he was in his 20s. “My first attempt was when I was about 22, but as I didn’t play an instrument everything I did was instinctive, so it was very difficult to write songs in that sense. Then it just sort of grew – Charlie and I wrote two or three songs together, rehearsed them and did them on stage. Then the band went through this thing where we elbowed the drummer that we had, and a lot of the writing came from when the four of us would be in Jim King’s flat. Jim would be playing soprano sax, Ric (Grech) would be playing the violin, Charlie would have his acoustic guitar and the four of us would rehearse while we were waiting to get a new drummer- who was Rob Townsend. It was a very strange environment, you have to remember that this is a real loopy trio of instruments we had there as well. For no particular reason we started to write all these songs, and what we came up with was really quite unique.”

Burlesque really showcased John Wetton’s bass so much that really it became the lead instrument. It was also the opening track on the album Bandstand which saw a more commercial change in direction. The song was about a bar/nightclub of that name in Humberstone Road, Leicester. The venue was opened by George Neal who said on Facebook, “I opened The Burlesque All-nighter in 1966 and it was part of my plan to celebrate England winning the World Cup.”

Family’s final concert was at the Hawthorn Building of Leicester Polytechnic before splitting in late 1973. Wetton went on to played with King Crimson and later Asia, Townsend briefly joined Medicine Head and Roger and Charlie formed The Streetwalkers who were around for three years and recorded a couple of sessions for John Peel.

Roger has continued to perform, and in February 2013, they played a one-off reunion gig at the o2 Shepherds Bush Empire which featured Palmer, Townsend and Jim Cregan who had replaced Wetton in Family and was also a member of Steve Harley’s Cockney Rebel. Demand for tickets was high that they ended up playing two nights and obviously getting the bug again and played more gig in 2014-2016 including festivals in Italy and the UK.

In reply to a question Nick Lowe was asked about when do you know you’re a great bass player, he replied, “When you can play Burlesque.” Praise indeed.

Sound of the Undergorund (Girls Aloud)

It was Noel Gallagher who once said, “The chart of only relevant when you’re at the top of them.” Maybe for a musician, but for any casual radio listener it was always the coveted Christmas number one that got the attention and the publicity, at least until 2001 when after that it was fairly predictable that a reality TV star would head the festive chart – with the occasional exception. This week’s choice was the first to do it.

The first series of Popstars produced the number one group, Hear’Say, and, in a surprising move, a group of also-rans, Liberty X, did even better and had a lengthier career. Pop Idol was even more popular than Popstars, largely because the public could vote, and so telephone voting was introduced for the second series, Popstars: The Rivals. The presenter was Davina McCall, who was used to evicting contestants from the Big Brother house, and the judges were Geri Halliwell, Louis Walsh and Pete Waterman. The public interest was enormous as the members were selected for the girl band, Girls Aloud (to be managed by Walsh), and the boy band, One True Voice (to be managed by Waterman). Come to think of it, whatever happened to One True Voice I hear you ask? Hmmm, history!

More importantly, the winning members of Girls Aloud were Nadine Coyle (the 17-year-old lead vocalist from Derry), Sarah Harding, Nicola Roberts, Cheryl Tweedy and Kimberley Walsh. The surprise at Javine Hylton being voted out led to bets that she would have her own hits before the end of 2003 and, indeed, she found herself in the Top 20 with Real Things and Surrender (Your Love).

Sound of the Underground was written by Xenomania who were a Kent-based song writing and production team founded by Brian Higgins and Miranda Cooper who had a track record of penning hits by the Minogue sisters, Cher, Pet Shop Boys, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, The Saturdays and Sugababes. On this hit an additional writing credit went to Niara Scarlett who was later one half of the one-hit wonder act Mania who had a number 29 hit in 2004 with Looking for A Place. Whilst writing it, for the chorus, Scarlett began singing the wheels on the bus in case you spotted a similarity.

What may surprise you is that the song was not written for Girls Aloud, it was originally penned for Miranda and Brian’s own girl group project Orchid, who had a record deal lined up with Polydor, but was cancelled. That group comprised Giselle Sommerville, Louise Griffiths and Eve Bicker.

It’s a light-hearted pop disco song with a feel for the beat and dance to loud music just to annoy the neighbours, all summed up in the first verse; ‘Disco dancing with the lights down low, beats are pumping on the stereo. Neighbours banging on the bathroom wall, you’re sayin’ crank the bass, I gotta get some more.’ What also make it’ stand out and distinctive is the surf-like guitar riff over a drum and bass rhythm.

Because there was a race to get the song out after the show’s finale and in time for the Christmas chart, Brian had all final 10 girls in Popstars: The Rivals record it after they’d made it to the live shows, but rumours went around that some of the girls were disheartened because they weren’t told the style and were expecting a lush ballad. But each week Brian cleverly deleted the voice of each eliminated contestant from the final recording.

Sound of the Underground, which according to Cheryl Cole: Her Story, an unauthorised biography was also turned down by Samantha Mumba, spent a month at the top of the chart. As for One True Voice, they spent a mere week at number two then began to descend the chart. They did, however, chart one more song; six months later Shakespeare’s (Way With) Words reached number 10 and after four weeks they were gone forever.

The Girls Aloud machine has gone from strength to strength having, to date, notched up 23 UK hit singles, 21 of which made the top 10 and includes four number ones, their last of which, The Promise in 2008, being as catchy and as distinctive as their first.

Girls Aloud did make unexpected headlines when their road manager, John McMahon, was killed when their van crashed on Christmas Day with McMahon well over the limit. Also, Cheryl Tweedy (Cole) was found guilty of assaulting a toilet attendant at The Drink Club in Guildford. She was fined £3,000 and sentenced to community service and despite apologising to the group and to fans, she neglected to apologise to the victim.

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.”