Do you have the nerve to make the first phone call?
Le 9 avril 2019 par Magazine En-Contact
Édito n°109 /
Dans son livre Purple Records 1971-1978, Neil Priddey raconte, parmi d’autres histoires, celle de l’enregistrement de l’album Food for love d’Yvonne Elliman*, à AIR Studios. Rupert Hine, producteur de l’album, se rappelle, comment, après un simple coup de fil passé à Pete Townshend (The Who), dont il a récupéré le numéro via un plombier qui jouait également dans un groupe, celui-ci accepta de venir jouer de la guitare, “Next Friday? Ok.”
Ils ne s’étaient jamais parlés au préalable mais après cette première rencontre, Pete recommandera Rupert à quantité d’autres musiciens pour la production de leurs albums. Pour la session, le guitariste des Who ne demanda aucun cachet. “It sounds fucking brilliant”, indiqua-t-il. That was it. Done. No talk of money, no speak with agents, no nothing.
Dans ce numéro 109, des histoires de gens qui ont du talent, de jolies voix et n’attendent que votre appel. Business should be simple, shouldn’it ?
“So then I said, ‘I wonder if we can get Pete to do it? She said, ‘Don’t be ridiculous, that’ll never happen!’ So there was a guy who came to fix Pete’s plumbing or electricity in his flat in Soho, he ended up in Thunderclap Newman with ‘Something In The Air’… apparently he was singing that tune as he was fixing something and Pete heard him, signed him to Track Record and it became a huge hitÉ and I knew that band and they gave me Pete’s number. So I just called Pete at his flat… and he picked up!
“Yeah? Who’s that? ”
“So I told him what I was up to and said we were recording his song in AIR Studios.
“You are?” he said.
“Would you like to play guitar on it?” I asked.
“Well this Friday… if you can do it…”
That was it. Done. No talk of money, no speak with agents, no nothing. He turned up with his amp. Stuck his amp in the studio himself at a very particular angle, positioned the mic himself, came in and said, “Right, come on then let’s give it a go.”
“He had no idea who I was, but he’d heard of Purple Records so knew there was some energy and money behind us… so it was amazingly energetic. I did three tracks of Pete’s guitar, we played the whole thing live. Mike Giles in from King Crimson on drums, the greatest drummer of that era, just fantastic; Ann Odell from Blue Mink on keyboards, who was mostly known for her arrangement skills; Mick Grabham from Procol Harum on guitar; Morris Pert on percussion… so a blistering line up.
“So I’d double tracked Pete’s guitar, said that I might not use it, but then we did a third track because it was so much fun, he was having so much fun! ‘I’m lovin’ how this is sounding!’ So I was thrilled at that, I was getting Goosebumps, as you might imagine. And then just for fun, as you do, I just put all three takes of his guitar left, right and centre to make this huge guitar, like I figured it should have always sounded. And Pete loved it! ‘It sounds fucking brilliant!’
“So he walked off, didn’t charge a penny, lots of hugs and handshakes all round and then he recommended me as a producer for the next dozens of years and I’d get these calls from all parts of the world saying, ‘Pete Townshend said you should listen to this and consider producing it.’ He was very sweet. It was all down to having the nerve to make that first phone call and I’m sure he figured, like I would, ‘You know what? It’s y fucking song and I’ll fucking play it!’
“In the middle of recording ‘Love’s Bringing Me Down’, she was doing the main vocal over the lovely orchestral thing that Simon Jeffes had done, I remember sitting there at AIR Studios, the best studio in the country, listening to this gorgeous voice coming out of this huge sound system, thinking, “That’s my song!”É and then this little voice came through saying, “How was it?” And I had no idea I just thought it was brilliant listening to someone singing my song so beautifully!
Extrait du livre Purple Records 1971-1978, de Neil Priddey.
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• Notre reportage chez Teleperformance à Tunis,
• Un entretien exclusif avec Alec Clément, directeur opérations & service chez Samsung Electronics France,
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Par Manuel Jacquinet
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*Yvonne Elliman est une choriste et chanteuse célèbre, connue pour avoir joué dans Jesus Christ Superstar et accompagné Eric Clapton sur de nombreux albums. Elle apparaît également sur Saturday Night Fever.
Photo de Une : Yvonne Elliman and Eric Clapton – © DR