London in the mid 60s was the most exciting place on earth. I’d wangled a job as an arranger/songwriter with a music publisher in Denmark Street, London’s Tin Pan Alley and I loved it. Mind you, the first few months were pretty frustrating. Instead of arranging scores for all the top stars, as I had imagined, I was arranging sandwiches for all the office girls!
After a few years, I teamed up with a slightly mad Scot called Bill Martin, and we joined an illustrious band of songwriting duos on the street - Roger Greenaway and Roger Cook, Les Reed and Barry Mason, Mitch Murray and Peter Callander, Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood.
To supplement the cash flow I was also moonlighting as a piano player and worked in the studio or on stage with everyone from Van Morrison and Tom Jones to Jerry Lee Lewis and The Rolling Stones. Life was sometimes fraught, never boring.
Within a couple of years we’d written our first major hit ‘Puppet On A String’ which won the Eurovision Song Contest for the U.K. in 1967. It went on to be a huge international hit clocking up over 100 versions. The next year we came within one point of pulling off a double with ‘Congratulations’ by Cliff Richard. We didn’t win, but we had another massive worldwide hit.
Between those two songs we sold over ten million records. Now we were in business!