China

In 1985 I’d sent a cassette tape of a song called ‘China’ to Tyne Tees Television’s music programme “The Tube”.  My band The Definite Article (Paul Siddall, Iain Denby and I) were called in the following week to make a video down in London.  The film was shown the following week because The Cocteau Twins cancelled and The Tube needed to fill the time.  There was also another band called Definite Article on the scene so we hurriedly chose ‘Secret People’ as a new band name.  It was aired close to Christmas 1985.

Here’s the video..

China – Secret People

Off the back of the show we got management and spent a year trolling round record companies.  With no takers we decided to record and release ‘China’ ourselves via a distribution company called Red Rhino.

Just before it’s release Jive Records stepped in and we re-recorded the song at Battery Studios with Steve Lovell and Steve Power as producers.

It crashed and burned as BBC Radio One found the ‘..dead men in Africa’ line to be inappropriate during an Ethiopian famine.

What is surprising is that a 45rpm single of the never-released Red Rhino version of ‘China’ should turn up on eBay in Germany!

I often wondered how I got royalties from Europe for the song ‘Workingman’ when it was never released. (£8.45p!!)

The Red Rhino cover jacket showed a picture of an aged Chinese woman taken by a friend, Peter Darnborough.

The back cover shot and logo were done by bassist Iain Denby. (Now an architectural artist.)

When Jive records released the song we used a different B side (‘Evergreen’) and the JIve cover was of little children.

On the reverse of the jacket Paul Siddall’s name was spelt wrong and the mastering team also put the wrong copy of  ‘Evergreen’ on the B side.  As you can tell, the management and record company didn’t give a hoot about us and we were subsequently dropped after a year.  Happy days.

it’s nice to get my hands on the Red Rhino copy.  I thought our version of the song was better than the Lovell/Power production.  Lovell went on to produce Sam Fox. 10 years later his ‘understudy’ Power was producing Robbie Williams.