Halfway to Paradise

I once walked into Decca records at the invitation of their artists and repertoire department. Their offices were in a somewhat imposing building facing the Albert embankment on London’s river Thames. A few months earlier in 1973  I’d written and recorded a song called Leading to Paradise, a simple tune, featuring myself on guitar, drums and vocals, and my dear friend Rod Morris on acoustic and electric guitars.

An album acetate, The Rough Tapes, from 8th February 1977 covering our songs, including Leading to Paradise,  recorded from 1973 to 1975

An album acetate, The Rough Tapes, from 8th February 1977 covering our songs, including Leading to Paradise, recorded from 1973 to 1975

970193_10151661321708698_611037333_nIn any musically ambitious teenager’s life, the A & R department was the ultimate hurdle on the road to success and fortune. These were the people that, if they liked a singer or band, could instantly transform lives by catapulting them into the frontline of the record business. If a collection of rejection letters from disinterested secretaries at record companies had any market value, I’d have been a very wealthy man many years ago. Still, my friends and I were convinced that one day, that illusive ‘one day’, someone somewhere may recognise our work. Then the unheard of happened: a letter arrived that was by way of invitation to Decca to discuss my latest offering. decca_9_albert_embankment1As we entered a rather plush office I immediately noticed my record sitting on a turntable in the corner. I can’t tell you what a thrill that was. The suited man shook our hands, and after a few pleasantries we sat in excited silence as he placed the needle onto the spinning acetate. As the song ended he looked at us both. “Who wrote that?” “He did” said Rod, pointing to me. “Well” said the man, “The deal is this. I want to buy the song”. At this point one has to understand the naivety of an animated teenager from the 70’s. I told him that the song must only be performed by Rod and I, and nothing else was acceptable. Of course, logic dictates that I should have just sold out to Decca, but my friendship with Rod meant more, although, I have many times wondered, ‘What if?’

Roderick Neil Morris (Rod) pictured in the living room of 27 Thoroughsale Road, Corby

Roderick Neil Morris (Rod) pictured in the living room of 27 Thoroughsale Road, Corby, Northamptonshire

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