I didn’t know it but I was about to co-produced tracks with Paul and Linda McCartney, write songs for Kim Wilde, Bonnie Tyler, Elkie Brooks, Fish from Marillion and produce Elvis Costello and Loudon Wainright.
Artists just kept on coming my way and I somehow managed to stay on my feet and remain compos mentis even though I was only getting around five hours sleep and less each night.
I was spending more and more time producing artists in every top studio in town and had to eventually split from my two Off Beat Music partners in Hammersmith; they still believed I should be composing music for television and radio despite all the top flight action I had scored through hard graft and yelling at the top of my voice to anyone who would listen to what I had planned.
I was working an all nighter in Abbey Road studios – I was up in the penthouse and at around 3.am the internal phone rang. I thought it was the young kid and tape op from down stairs again – he had been supplying me with coffees every hour to keep me awake. When I picked up a voice said ‘Hello is that Charley Foskett?’ to which I replied ‘Yes! Piss off and let me get on with my work, I’m on a deadline here!’ ‘I’ve had enough coffee to last me all week’ – I then hung up and continued working.
Two minutes later the phone rang again and a voice said ‘Hello Charley, it’s Paul here’ to which I replied ‘Paul who?’ and the voice said ‘Paul McCartney’ – and I yelled back ‘F**k Off’ and hung up the receiver again. I thought about running down stairs and tying up, blind folding and gagging the young tape op then locking him in the basement for the rest of the night.
I had no sooner sat down and rewound the tape and the phone rang again – by this time I was really pissed off and just took it off the receiver and left it hanging there. I could hear a little voice talking away as I got on with my work.
I picked it up again after running the tape for a couple of minutes and there he was still on the line. ‘Hello Charley, It’s Paul McCartney here’ to which I replied ‘Yes of course you are but your scouse accent is rubbish!’ I had almost turned into Basil Fawlty before the penny dropped – his accent was perfect Liverpudlian and it was Macca ringing me in the middle of the night. ‘You’ve really gone and done it haven’t you’, said the one of great Hofner violin bass playing. ‘Oh shit! – Sorry! I thought you were the guy down stairs making the coffee’ I mumbled nervously. On reflection, I wondered what kind of pranks the Beatles had got themselves up to in their day in that very same recording studio?
We laughed and he invited me to ‘discuss stuff’ the following week after Zak Starkey’s 21st birthday bash at Tittenhurst Park. He had written a song for me called ‘Simple as that’ and he was sending his guy over with the rough mixes for me to checkout.
The double album and single ‘It’s a Live-In World’ was due for Christmas release 1986 and featured pretty much everybody that was a big name at that time. I had artists flying in from America, taking days out from their tour schedules to get in on the action. Organising it was an administrational nightmare but with the help of my p.a. and various EMI departments (who would run in the opposite direction at the sight of me coming) we kept on top of it.
It always becomes a lot easier when you have a major label support behind you – every Tom, Dick and Harry wants to jump on your ride to big up their own failing careers and why not – I got a million quid’s worth of free publicity including prime time television – BBC and ITV news, MTV and the whole shebang. We, without doubt were going to have the biggest number one Christmas hit that would equal Band Aid without problem.