EMI bought the plan immediately and before you could go Naa Naa Na Naa Naa the producer was sitting in Magenta’s living room eying the pro 1. Oh I wanted this to happen. The ZZ producer showed us his ideas, we looked at our feet, knew this was never gonna work and Elvis left the building.

We tried again to humour EMI with Steve Levine - the producer of Culture Club - but Degville managed to come up with the worst vocal I had ever heard and the Sputnik version of Rebel Rebel was consigned to the musical junk yard.

We decided it had to be original material, we didn’t want to do covers and assuming, after the last debacle with all the mixes, that Moroder wouldn’t necessarily jump at the chance to work with us again, we set the speed of the 808 to the same one as for ‘I Feel Love’ and Hey Presto! A beat we liked. Success. But hang on a minute, God’s telling us something here, we could hear it in our head but couldn’t understand what he was saying. Then X played ‘Get it On’ over the top of the beat and Degville sang the first four lines of the new song.

To celebrate our genius epiphany moment we went to the pub to celebrate, without saving... when we came back the sequencer had crashed and we were convinced that we never quite found the dream beat again! The saga of writing ‘Success’, after that initial dream beginning, was to take up the rest of the year. We couldn’t come up with the chorus for months.


The good thing was, nothing changed at Magenta’s ever, nothing moving for years and years, so the trusty Pro 1, connected to the 808 drum machine, was still there waiting, exactly where we had left it, having given such sterling service to the first 10 identical Sputnik tracks.

We approached it with new vision and daring. We changed the speed a tiny bit. Don’t worry, of course it still went DDDDaDDDaDDD.

EMI wanted a new hit single. Immediately if that was possible. January’s a good time to release new product and some wag at the label had had the idea of recording a version of Bowies ‘Rebel Rebel’. Maybe they’d heard us jamming it at a soundcheck. I was really half hearted about it, but sensing a possible free trip to Memphis, home of our Elvis 1990 inspiration, the plan was hatched get the producer of ZZ TOP to work with us. I loved their video trilogy and saw a connection with their sequenced bass sound.

Except that small nagging voice. Bloody hell, Tony, what’s the plan?

And what was it? I honestly had no idea, I’d put all the ideas into the first chapter and how could I possibly come up with a story to top the last one? All the innovations, the slogans, the ideas, the visuals were all last years chip wrappings by now. I stared at the first page of the next script and it was blank.

It occurred to me it might be a good idea to write some new songs. Since the band had launched, I had become a marketing man, being a musician had taken a back seat to being the mouthy know it all. It was time to go back to my real day job which was writing songs.

What was the new slogan to be? I look back and wonder what the hell was I thinking to say “This time it’s about the music?” What I meant was that we were going back to our roots, keeping it real and avoiding the hype surrounding the music that, as I had seen, could threaten to engulf it and take away it’s credibility. What it sounded like was that the first time around it hadn’t been about the music at all, that we were admitting the very thing everyone had been accusing us of, that we weren’t credible musicians and it wasn’t credible music. It was another ‘Fleece the World’ moment but for now I thought it was a good concept and I was going with it and would write the songs accordingly.

I was still living at Magenta’s in Pindock Mews, although increasingly I had been sleeping at JSPs, that in itself an ever changing stream of rented places as she waited for the completion of her dream home, currently being designed and built in Clarkenwell.