It was originally conceived in 1973 – and the first piano demo was played in the studio that morning by Andy Warhol! [Laughs]
How are you feeling?
I’ve been really lucky – I’ve lived so long in the United States. I feel like I know every street and alley, and have great memories. I still remember the sound of that big rock’n’roll crowd – it was just so much fun! I just always felt, “God, I would really love to be famous!” It’s been like that for a very long time.
When did you first realize you were going to be big?
In the mid to late ’70s, in England and America, a whole lot of people started hearing about this music I was creating here. These kids in England were really into it. I think they were looking up to us.
What’s the origin story behind the title “Love In Vain”?
This is a song that was written for a single which was released in 1985 – by the Beatles. I had written it and had produced it at his studio in Soho. Then they were asked to play it on stage. The crowd just loved it, and they were really into the Beatles sound.
Did the success of the album lead to a big jump in sales of your recordings? Were you getting royalties?
No royalties. I was a very fortunate guy with the record I had written, and also with the song which had been done. I really couldn’t get paid at the time, and I wasn’t sure when the next album was coming out. I was lucky that way.
I want you to read the lyrics that went back and forth with John Lennon.
I knew something important, and I was worried about it – and the song didn’t work. The song was already a disaster when we got there and started writing it. After we wrote the first verse, I wanted to know “How can you do that to me, man.” And the lyrics just stopped! It was so funny – they had just finished writing the second verse, but I put them in the paper in a way that was like “I know this isn’t what you meant, but you shouldn’t tell me that you didn’t know that I was upset about not getting royalties when you had done that.” There were lots of lines like that.
He always said that he was being mean because he knew what the song was about.
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