In my case they are the ones I feel will still be around after my band and I have shuffled off. They tend to be the songs that other people take to their hearts – almost like I’m out of the equation or grateful to be part of it at all.
A lot of writing is just inspired graft but very occasionally something special occurs in the process and a rare diamond emerges that must have come from another place.
I’ve been lucky in 40-odd years of writing to have come up with a handful of these sort of songs.
They just strike.
Sometimes the chorus is floating about in the head for ages waiting for the verse – and vice versa.
But you certainly know when you have written a song like that.
They can make people cry…
Stop Forever from 2001 and Foreign Agent written in 2006 are two of the songs that mean that much to me.
When we came to do the Bloodmonster album we included versions of them but I think now it was a mistake – we were a three-piece guitar band recording live and both songs wanted something different than that.
I had already recorded Stop Forever on my solo album with a big arrangement and excellent keyboards from Steve Gallagher; I played bass and guitar and Tim Robinson drums. The only thing that treatment of the song lacked was some female backing vocals but it pointed to the way it should be done. Foreign Agent I felt needed piano and maybe strings to do it justice.
So in listening through to Bloodmonster it was obvious to me we should drop those two songs out of it and re-record them now that the line-up includes Hannah with her musical and vocal talents. The album wouldn’t suffer too much – Frida and The Ghost of Del Rey are both songs of that ilk that really suit the renditions we made of them and the rest of the material is very strong.
It’s a kind of twisted luxury that I can re-edit an album after ten years or so but I think it makes it a more coherent collection of songs all fully realised.
As for Stop Forever and Foreign Agent I think it’s about time we recorded them again and properly this time around. They are two of the best things I’ll ever write and deserve the royal treatment.
While they don’t really fit with the songs I’ve worked up for our next album, my thinking is that we record them as a double sided single – if such a thing still exists.
It turns out that we don’t yet have the funds to release Bloodmonster on the world anyway so they will all have to wait….
“Bless the things that stay
Bless the hearts that came
Keep the power of hope alive
To fill the hole you left”