I could have been on road to paradise

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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 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.

In 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 who, 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 elusive ‘one day’, someone somewhere may recognise our work.

Then the unheard of happened: a letter arrived inviting me to Decca to discuss my latest offering. As we entered a plush office I 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 on to 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 70s.

I told him that the song must only be performed by Rod and me, 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?”