From then on, I started writing more and more. Marilyn Powell came along and did a few of my songs, "Please Go Away" and a couple of others. In fact, Marilyn recorded two of my songs before I released my first record. That's my guitar on the intro of "Please Go Away" and that's me singing with her, the high voice. She had a really good voice. I became best friends with Marilyn. I saw her just the other week. She lives in Spain now.
Then Judy Cannon did "Hello Heartache" with Joe Meek producing. Joe Meek actually offered me a recording contract at the same time. I was about to sign with Pye/Piccadilly when he showed an interest. He wanted to record "Hello Heartache" with me. I didn't get to record with Joe, but I did go to his studio to meet him. He was an interesting guy. He took me into his recording studio, which was his bathroom. He had toothbrushes in a glass in a certain place so the sound could vibrate against them. And he would have the string players sitting on the staircase. They actually recorded all the voices in the bathroom. Joe was a clever man . . . but a bit strange. Gerald Benson thought Pye would be a better bet, but who knows?
John Schroeder was great. I stayed with him as my producer at Piccadilly, but we worked with different arrangers. Ken Woodman arranged "You Can't Blame A Girl For Trying." He was the guy that did all the Sandie Shaw stuff. I wrote that song with Sandie in mind. I much prefer the other side, "No More To Fall," the ballad. Johnnie Harris arranged "Well How Does It Feel." Radio London flipped that one and made "Wishing Your Life Away" the A-side, which kind of blew all the promotion because we were trying to push the other side. I think "No More To Fall" is my favourite of my Piccadilly records, and "Song Without End" was a good one too. I wrote "At Times Like These, Mama" for my mum, because she was great. I'd lost my dad and my brothers when I was very young. She was right there for me, behind me all the way. That one was totally for her. Most of my songs have a personal significance. I was a very prolific writer - every day, another song. John used to encourage me to bring my songs along. I would sit in his office and play them for him. He and Tony Hatch had offices next door to each other. They were in competition, of course. John did take me seriously as a songwriter. I tried to write for Status Quo, but they had their own stuff anyway. He was Billy Davis' recording manager as well. I tried to muscle in there too, but it didn't work out. But I did get some songs recorded by other artists.
I did quite a lot of radio work too, especially Saturday Club and Monday, Monday. They had some big acts on that show, like Roy Orbison. It was a live show and, in trying to get to the rehearsals on time, I crashed my car. I arrived in a bit of a state. Roy Orbison was so sweet, such a sweet, lovely person - very calming. And I did a TV series for TWW Television, Welsh TV, just with my guitar. I went down there and did one or two shows. Then they asked me if I'd like to do a whole series. They recorded them all in one day and used one song each week. That was a nice bit of exposure. I also did Thank Your Lucky Stars and Lift Off with Muriel Young.
Piccadilly had faith in me and would have continued making records with me. I'm very grateful for that. But we decided that it was time to break away and have a go at making our own records independently. That's how "Euston Station" and "Come Into My Arms Again" came about. They started out as demos and we built them up from there. We offered them to Parlophone, who seemed to be quite keen, which was very nice, because they were a very powerful company. There was an offer from Decca as well, I think. So I went on to Parlophone and did four singles with them. This would be 1967. I wrote "Euston Station" before all those other station songs came out. That one was featured on Juke Box Jury and was voted a hit. Then "Waterloo Sunset" and songs like that came along. John Macleod was the arranger on the Parlophone records. He'd played piano on some of my earliest demos. He wrote lots of songs with Tony Macaulay for the Foundations and people like that. They even took one of my songs, "Just A Little While Longer," for the Foundations, which was very flattering.
Come Into My Arms Again
I'd got "Euston Station" and "Showdown" lined up for my next demo session. They wanted three songs. I needed one more. I didn't have a car at the time. I used to catch the Number 73 bus from Stoke Newington to the studios. It was about a half-hour journey. I wrote the basis of "Come Into My Arms Again" on the bus. I put it together with parts of two other songs in studio. That one turned out to be one of my most profitable songs. I got quite a few cover versions of that one, by people like the Vogues, and others all over the world. And Marilyn Powell recorded "Showdown."