Ever wonder how “Starry Eyes” became a hit? It was no accident. Rather, it was right place, right time.
The guys in The Records knew Dave Robinson, head of Stiff Records, long before they had a record deal with Richard Branson and Virgin Records. “Robo” as they used to call him, asked John and Will if they’d be the touring band behind Rachel Sweet, a Stiff wonderkind.
The band had just cut a demo for “Starry Eyes”. They were convinced it was a hit despite a remark from their then manager who asked, “But….where’s the hook?”. John’s response was simply “The whole thing!”.
So, John and Will told Robinson that they’d perform as Rachel Sweet’s band under one condition – that they get their own set. Back then, Stiff tours featured a revolving lineup of many artists including Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Lena Lovich, Ian Dury, Ducks Deluxe (w Dave Edmunds), and others. However, The Records were not signed to Stiff – or anyone else for that matter.
Long story short, John had 45’s of “Starry Eyes” pressed to bring along on the trip. He gave them to anyone who’d take one.
By the time they got back to England, they had learned that “Starry Eyes” had been picked up on New York’s most influential station, WNEW and was in frequent rotation. They had a HIT.
That’s the way it was told to me – or the way I recall it. If anyone was there and you know of any irregularities in the story, please leave a comment and straighten me out here. And thanks for reading.