Lesley Joseph narrates a documentary about the unlikely pin-ups of the 1970s music scene, from Gilbert O'Sullivan and Barry White to Leo Sayer and Demis Roussos.
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# ..Puppy love... #
In the 1970s, teenage girls had only one hobby.
For some, Donny was the reason. For others, it was David.
And there were even those who bellowed for the Bay City Rollers.
-Bay City Rollers!
Out of their teens, British women became more restrained,
but they too had wholesome pop star pin-ups of their own to idolise.
For them it wasn't David, but Goliath.
Forget the Rollers, they fancied a rocker.
Who needed imported Donny, with our own home-grown dreamboat?
The screaming teenyboppers scoffed, but their mums and sisters
knew who were the true Kings of '70s Romance!
This is the story of five improbable heart-breakers.
The shy and sensitive singer-songwriter.
The sweaty but seductive balladeer.
The TV cop turned chart-topper.
And the curly-maned clown.
But first, the most surprising of all,
and the inspiration for budding Shirley Valentine's everywhere.
# Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah Ah-ah
# Ah-ah-ah-ah Ah-ah-ah-ah... #
-Well, what DO we want to listen to then, Beverly?
# Ever and ever For ever and ever
# You'll be the one... #
Demis Roussos always seemed to be this unlikely heartthrob,
because he was the wrong shape, he wore all these ridiculous kaftans,
and yet women adored him.
# ..and ever Forever and ever
# You'll be my dream... #
Different. He was, with a capital D.
# ..rainbow's end... #
He could sing the news and make it sound happy or sad.
He could sing the Bible, and put it over in so many different ways.
# ..destiny... #
He was Kool and the Kaftan.
# ..eternally... #
The image was part of a snowball
that has been created through record companies and managements.
The most important thing in my head was the music.
He actually has a track record which is quite interesting.
He was in a fairly progressive band called Aphrodite's Child,
with Vangelis early in his life, in which he played bass.
Dishy young Demis and his psychedelic chums
had a hippie hit in 1968 with this sandal-tapper.
# ..tears in the sun... #
With the three albums, two of them were like pop albums
and the third one was much more serious.
After going all apocalyptic, Aphrodite's Child split,
and Demis went solo.
Hits like Goodbye My Love turned him into a massive star in Europe.
# Goodbye my love
# Goodbye... #
But here, his British record label struggled to interpret his unique appeal.
We've got a big problem here. How do we break Demis Roussos in this country?
I said, "I think I've got a German song called Happy To Be On An Island In The Sun
"that's about beaches, it's the feel that Demis Roussos would like."
Hey, we've got a great guest!
He's a big star on the continent, he's a super singer, and he's Greek.
-It's Demis Roussos!
# Sitting in the sun Waiting for a senorita to show... #
In two or three weeks it charted. That set the whole ball rolling.
# The smell of sweet roses To each and every one... #
The phenomenon can be explained in one word - holiday.
# ..on an island in the sun. #
It conjured up that image of sunshine, relaxing, romance.
A fling they might have had with a Greek on an island.
A Greek lover.
The Roussos phenomenon even merited its own documentary,
confirming Demis would last longer than just one night of Mediterranean passion.
'This man is an enigma.
'A gentle giant with the mysterious power to hypnotise millions.
'He is a phenomenon,
'and fast becoming a living legend.'
His lavish lifestyle provided a marble-coated, gold-plated alternative
to humdrum '70s suburbia.
I was so gobsmacked at this house.
The marble staircases, just all the marble in the bathroom as well.
It was just something that I hadn't really seen.
And Demis was very proud
of his home.
I do think that part of his appeal
had to do with the fact that he looked like and lived
as a real superstar.
I always liked to live comfortably, and I still do.
Today, I live even more comfortably than back then.
It was opulent.
We went to Paris, and I think we turned up at his mini chateau
at about 12 o'clock, and told his servants that we were there,
but in fact Demis didn't make his real appearance until an hour later.
In full, flowing robes.
He liked the best of everything, as most people would.
He was a connoisseur of food,
and I'm sure he had the best wine, drank champagne.
Why shouldn't he have the best?
Why shouldn't you lavish yourself with these? I would.
In Formica-topped homes everywhere,
millions more women were seduced,
and Demis was propelled to the top of the charts.
It's time for the number one, and what is the really big thing in Greece at the moment?
No, not a BBC hamburger, it's Demis Roussos.
It was a big hit all over the world.
Because it's a good song.
# Ever and ever Forever and ever
# You'll be the one... #
He sang it on Top of the Pops one evening. I was laid on the floor,
watching him, and I was just mesmerised by the whole song.
# ..You're my dream come true... #
He sings like he's speaking to you specifically,
and a lot of women out there really can feel that.
My goodness. Everyone wants a man to talk to them like he sang.
# ..my symphony... #
He's very manly, as well. Did you see that big, hairy chest?
And it wasn't just that hairy chest that sent temperatures rising.
The sun-kissed strains of Forever And Ever
provided a sweltering soundtrack to the long, hot summer of 1976.
That was the one everybody wanted to hear.
And he was very happy to sing it.
Demis's ample Greek charms
translated into bumper ticket sales at venues across Britain.
You could feel people getting more and more excited.
And then all of a sudden, in the middle of the stage,
appeared Demis Roussos, and he was enormous at that time.
This huge, white, satin kaftan,
which was volumes of material.
His arms spread out, almost like a religious prophet.
Just stand there, with the music surrounding him.
# Ever and ever Forever and ever
# You'll be the one... #
Afterwards, you would often get people coming backstage.
< ..and please don't push!
English women are wonderful. I love them.
Because I love women. They're very important for us.
We can't do without them.
He was absolutely fantastic. Out of this world. Yes.
I'd come again and again and again. I'd go to London to see him.
I've never gone anywhere to see a singer before,
but I... And I'm getting on, you know!
But I come to see him.
Demis really knew how to work an audience.
He would walk to the front of the stage, ask the girls to come forward.
We tried to put security men on the front,
when he came back he'd say "No, let the girls come."
I remember having lots of shouting going on
between me and the so-called security staff
because these girls were just crazy.
I had a lot of gifts, a lot of fan mail,
and I had some... interesting encounters
which I don't think they are for this show to talk about.
# ..that shines on me... #
The ladies weren't the only ones who loved Demis.
He also proved very popular with British comedians.
-# ..take me forward in my dreams... #
I think he set himself up to be lampooned.
I mean, you can't go around in these floating kaftans and not be lampooned.
He never complained about it.
In fact, some of them he used to really laugh out loud at.
# Ever and ever I ne-e-e-e-ed your love... #
Don't forget that the comedian lives out of that, it's his job.
And it is very important for a comedian
to take the goofy, if we can say, out of celebrities.
He was happy that he was being talked about.
-So happy that he joined in on the joke!
Even to the point of forming his own double act.
-I see that you are wearing a very nice kaftan.
-Thank you, Mr Demis.
It's a little thing I ran up myself as a compliment to you.
'Basil Brush was a cult show in England.'
And I enjoyed it because the guy that was behind the puppet
was a very clever and talented man.
I say, Mr Demis, what's Greek for "Boom-boom!"?
Well, it's BOOM! BOOM!
Watch it! I'll do the boom-booms.
'This is why I say that I had a lot of fun'
by mocking the image they were giving to me.
# ..forever as one... #
The image achieved one more big hit for Demis,
but sadly, after forever HAD gone, so did any more UK chart success.
Thankfully, in 1977, an iconic TV play
meant that the kaftan-clad crooner will never be forgotten.
He is immortalised, strangely enough,
not in catalogue record sales, but in Abigail's Party.
The Mike Leigh play,
in which the horrifying hostess insists on hearing Demis Roussos.
Angela likes Demis Roussos. Tony likes Demis Roussos.
I like Demis Roussos, and Sue would like to hear Demis Roussos.
So please, do you think we could have Demis Roussos on?
Abigail's Party was one of those seminal moments of television.
Would anybody mind if I turn this next track up?
Cos it's my favourite. It's Forever And Ever,
and I'd like us all to hear it. Anybody mind?
Beverly from Abigail's Party sort of sums up the typical Roussos fan.
Sort of slightly older suburban housewife
who'd maybe, you know, had a bit of a naughty holiday in Greece.
-Do you think he's sexy, Ange?
It's a pity he's so fat.
Yeah, but he doesn't sound it, though, does he, when you hear him?
'That was good, because that was a cult show.'
I'm very happy that my song was, like, part of that.
Ange? Imagine making love to this, d'you know what I mean?
Well, that'll survive for decades,
so there you are, Demis, a place in history.
The kaftan is now history, but Demis has survived.
He's still out there, and 2007 sees him celebrate 40 years of serenading.
# When you lie close to me
# My heart is aflame... #
'I've reached the point where I consider myself a world music artist
'and I feel very comfortable with it.'
OK, I don't have a number one as I had in the '70s,
but for me, that doesn't mean anything.
# ..we're forever as one. #
Demis's appeal still lingers on.
Possibly in the UK, we don't understand how big Demis really is.
He's determined, absolutely determined to ensure
his career goes on for ever and ever.
With flares a-flapping,
our next improbable pin-up who sent female pulses racing
is the diminutive Leo Sayer.
# ..How much love do we need? #
Women probably liked him more than...
The young girls were screaming over David Cassidy,
but there was Leo Sayer looking vulnerable and a bit different.
# ..How much love, I wanna know... #
I think that maybe what you lack in romantic looks at times
you can make up for in enthusiasm and humour.
# ..How much love... #
You see that cute little face and that mass of hair,
and that great big smile, always.
# ..so much love don't know where to begin... #
It all began for Leo in Brighton.
Long before the X-Factor, Adam Faith's former drummer
fancied himself as a south coast Simon Cowell.
I put an ad in the local paper.
Unfortunately, I did make one omission,
because I didn't limit it to bands.
I had people turning up and doing farmyard impressions.
He says, "Damien. You're a comedian. OK, you've got five minutes."
And the comedian would be like, "Funny thing happened to me..."
and meanwhile we're setting up our gear. You can imagine the scene.
About band or artist 48 on the list, and by then I had a migraine.
This little character sort of walked across the stage,
with this fuzzy hair, and this voice coming out of him.
# ..in a pub they call the Lady Jane... #
To co-manage his new discovery, Dave teamed up with Adam Faith,
a man who knew all about stardom.
Adam was really flash, he was very cool.
He was a cool dude.
But he said to me, and I think it was very genuine,
"You have the voice I've always wanted."
But Adam's masterplan didn't originally involve Leo's voice.
Someone else was to record the songs Dave and Leo wrote together.
# Oh, I was just a boy... #
Lead singer from The Who.
# ..Giving it all away... #
At the time he was one of the biggest rock stars. Massive.
He was Bruce Springsteen or Robbie Williams now.
He was there.
# ..and I know better now... #
Leo and David and Adam saw an opportunity for them as well
because they realised that if Roger recorded
songs by an unknown artist,
somebody's going to start sitting up and saying, "Who is this Leo Sayer?"
# ..I know better now
# Giving it all away... #
Giving It All Away became Daltrey's first solo hit in spring 1973.
It was fantastic. I drove around with Dave all day in his sports car waiting for it to come on Radio 1
and when it played eventually it was just like...
I don't think anything's ever topped that moment.
When Leo came to release his own album,
everyone now knew who he was but not what he looked like.
So his TV debut came as a bit of a surprise.
# I know I chose this lonely life
# It seems it's strangling me now... #
'I was absolutely, pricelessly nervous.
'I think I'd thrown up all over myself about five times.'
# ..but they're all laughing at me now... #
'Apparently the phone lines lit up.'
"What is THIS?! What's this crazy, loony bloke?"
# ..but I won't let the show go on. #
Adam Faith had been a huge heartthrob himself, you know,
the blond hair and the chisel-cut features.
But when he looked at Leo, there wasn't the heartthrob look to work on,
so putting him in a Pierrot outfit,
making him the little, mournful clown,
was just brilliant thinking.
# ..Doo-doo dum doo-doo dum doo-doo dum doo-doo
# Dum dum dum whooo... #
'People like Elton John are phoning up and saying, "Who's he?"
'And suddenly it all happened.'
It gave Leo mystique, which he'd not had before.
It worked on film, it worked on camera,
and something like that catches the media's attention.
Having done its job, the clown suit went back to the circus, but the hits continued.
# ..Moonlighting They're losing everything... #
Adam then decided to move Leo to the States
to work with the hot-shot producer of easy-listening stars
like Carly Simon, Harry Nilsson and Barbra Streisand.
'Adam Faith called me and said,
' "Would you like to produce Leo Sayer?"
'And I immediately expressed interest.'
We had a meeting and I felt a kinship toward him
right from the get-go.
I felt almost like he was my kid brother.
I was really happy to be in America.
Happy to be working there with some really groovy people.
He brought me a tape of ten or twelve songs
that he had been working on for the past six months
and I listened to them carefully,
and I sat him down the next day
and I said, "I don't know how to tell you this, but none of them are good enough."
"What? I'm a songwriter, for God's sake, that's what I do!"
And he said, "No, no, I like the voice. It's the voice that I like."
To his credit, and I admired him for it,
he went along with it.
At first we started recording some old Motown songs.
And Leo just started to ad-lib in this falsetto voice.
And I just, like, lunged for the tape machine,
because I knew that this was very special.
# ..You make me feel like dancin'
# I wanna dance the night away... #
It had a great uplifting kick to it. Good track.
Dodgy jumpers aside, their next single turned the troubadour clown
into a fully fledged love balladeer.
# When I need you
# I just close my eyes and I'm with you... #
It's a fabulous romantic song.
And I think it doesn't really matter what the singer looks like -
if they're coming out with fabulous words, then every woman will melt.
# ..only a heartbeat away... #
Ladies, men, anybody.
Eunuchs would have to fall in love when they hear that song.
# ..Honey that's the heavy load that we bear... #
You have people that come up to you and say "We met to When I Need You.
We got engaged to When I Need You, we got married to When I Need You,
and then we got divorced to When I Need You!
Now he's no longer there, I still play it all the time.
What a cross to bear, you know?
# ..When I need love
# I hold out my hands and I touch love... #
I was in Las Vegas
and he was the main lead star.
And I was sitting in the front row. And I've interviewed him a lot over the years.
He reached down to where I was, and came down with the microphone.
And I stupidly, like a silly cotton-wool type teenager,
was going a bit like "Aaah! It's Leo Sayer!"
Gloria wasn't the only one smitten, as Leo found out backstage
at the concert held to celebrate the Silver Jubilee.
# It's not easy when the road is your driver... #
Her Majesty turned round to me and she said, "Are you English?"
And I said, um, "I am, ma'am."
And Philip behind her, Prince Philip, said, "I told you so. I told you so."
She said, "You're awfully good. We did enjoy you."
I've got a very pleasant surprise for you.
-This for your album...
-Oh, my God!
-Endless Flight -
a platinum disc for a million pounds' worth of records.
'The only problem with When I Need You was as soon as it was a hit,'
suddenly it put me into a straitjacket of loads of people coming up with,
"Got another love ballad for you, Leo."
# Saw you leaving
# In the morning... #
It was something he could do and do extremely well, but it meant he threw out of the window
an opportunity to have far greater success than he actually had
and far greater recognition and respect that he ever got thereafter.
# I can't stop loving you... #
I didn't mind being the balladeer,
but I didn't want people to think that was all I ever did.
# Though I tr-ry-ry-ry! #
The thing is with rock'n'roll, you go one direction like that, you can't come back.
He had big hits with When I Need You, You Make Me Feel Like Dancing and How Much Love
and all these, but that early audience was gone now, that door had been closed,
and Leo was now appearing in Vegas with Bill Cosby.
# I just can't stop loving you... #
'It was only part of my picture,'
and it was great to be recognised for that,
but I was always trying to - dare I say? - break out of that
and show that the soul singer was there, you know.
# When the money runs out... #
Turning back the years, Leo tried to get all funky,
reuniting with Dave Courtney on the album Here.
The songs that we were now writing -
great - the musicians on the album - the best you can get -
and the album, the quality of the album, everything for it,
but the audience now want to hear When I Need You.
Reverting to love songs proved to be the only way that the hits would continue for Leo.
# Woh-oh-oh, yeah, yeah... #
Leo had become a balladeer, which was, for a ten-year journey,
twice as long as your pop star usually has.
# I love you twice as much... #
The problem is, where do you take it from there?
Inevitably, you're middle-aged,
and...he fell off the charts.
# 6, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9... #
And straight into the arms of light entertainment.
# One thin dime won't even shine your shoes... #
Chart success seemed to be a thing of the past,
until a club DJ from the Ministry of Sound rediscovered him.
I think Leo would know, he comes with a sort of cheesy connotation.
If I'm honest, I would say I wasn't a massive Leo fan.
Like most of the population, I probably only knew three or four
of Leo's records.
# Call on me, brother
# And give me your hand... #
My business partner, Clive Black, brought in this album,
stuck it on my stereo in the office and said, "Listen to this. You've got to hear this record.
"This is the record I used to get ready to go out to when I was young."
# Standing here, alone with you... #
He said, "Can you guess who it is? "I said, "Is it so-and-so?" "No."
"Is is so-and-so?" "No." He said, "You're not going to believe it. It's Leo Sayer."
It just about blew me away, cos I couldn't guess from the vocal delivery who it was.
I said, "I must do something with that record."
# Baby, I'm all yours... #
Do something, he did.
Realising there was more to Leo than just sweet love songs,
Meck brought him his first No.1 in three decades.
I always knew I was going to come back.
I knew it would happen. I knew it would work.
I knew that the work we did between '73 and '78 was good.
It was done with heart and soul and passion.
# Thunder in my heart! #
Dashing David Soul may have roared to fame as a TV tough guy,
but music was his first love.
# You smile that misty way and something in me says... #
My name is David Soul. I want to be known for my music.
# Remember the last time... #
David took his music very seriously.
# This time I'm going in with my eyes open... #
A very macho man delivering these very lovely lyrics -
it's a winning combination.
What he did was to cash in on his popularity with Starsky And Hutch.
Well, not quite. Growing up as the son of a Lutheran minister,
music had always been an important part of David's family life.
I grew up in high-school days, singing in a quartet and with the church choir.
I learned very early on, the way you get a girl is through music.
You play a guitar, you can hook the bird.
With the birds well and truly hooked, David invented a bizarre new persona to boost his profile.
I am the covered man.
# Many girls and many guys complain that life is such a task... #
The idea was that I didn't want to be known for what I looked like.
I want to be known for my music and I did it.
# Cos I'm a man who has to be free! #
I thought, "This is a fantastic angle.
"What does he really look like?
"Is he hideous? Is he deformed? Why is he doing this?"
It's so hilarious to think there was a handsome guy underneath this hood.
# And as long as I'm me... #
I recorded a song called I Am The Covered Man.
It's so bad, it's good.
It's so bad, it's good!
The mask worked. It got it noticed by one of Hollywood's top talent scouts.
Lovely voice, lovely voice, and after the show, I said,
"He's got to be an actor.
"Nobody else would come out with a bag over his head like that."
I said, "I'd like to get in touch with him. I'd like to have him come in and audition."
David dropped the mask, donned a cravat and passed the audition.
He was on his way to TV stardom.
I got a call from Aaron Spelling,
and he said, "I'm going to do a show called Starsky And Hutch. I'm stuck.
"I need a couple of leads. You got any ideas for me?"
And I said, "Well, yeah, I do, as a matter of fact."
I told him about David and I also told him about Paul Michael Glaser.
He saw them both, he fell in love with them and there was Starsky and Hutch.
Starsky And Hutch was an immediate hit,
both in the States and around the world.
As soon as that show hit the air, he became a major star.
David Soul was a heart-throb right from the start.
I watched the first episode of Starsky And Hutch as it was screened here and went, "Wow!"
But David hadn't given up his love of music.
Bless his heart. He worked very hard to get music-themed episodes
into Starsky And Hutch, where he could actually have a little go.
We did a country music version once.
It was a big passion of his to try and work the music in somehow.
It was no secret that I wanted to sing, that I enjoyed singing.
It wasn't a career, I just enjoyed singing.
The blue-eyed soul boy was offered the chance to release an album,
but the hits didn't come until he joined forces with top songwriter Tony Macaulay.
The album wasn't bad,
but we needed something to kick it off.
I got a call from Larry who was the head of a record company with whom I'd worked before
and he asked me, "Are you aware of David Soul?" and I said, "Yes,
"I know him as one of Starsky And Hutch, the big drama series on Saturday nights and that's all.
He said, "If you could come up with a hit single for him, we could really build a major star here."
And everything, they say, in show business is timing,
and I'd written a couple of songs already...
..and so I went up to Larry the following day.
I said, "Well, really all I've got is this."
# Don't give up on us, baby... #
After round-the-clock recording sessions over a few frantic days and sleepless nights,
the track was rush released.
Got up, turned the radio on and the first track I heard was Don't Give Up On Us.
# Don't give up on us, baby... #
I've played Don't Give Up On Us, Baby so many times.
I wish I had a penny for every time I played it.
# The future isn't just one night... #
It's a song that gets into your brain and it's hard to get out.
It's got a great lyric. He sold it really well. He looked terrific.
# And painted on the stars
# We can't change ours... #
The strongest thing about it was that David was an actor
and the lyric was quite an emotional one
and he put the song across with a tremendous degree of emotion.
# Don't give up on us, baby
# We're still worth one more try... #
Show me a woman who wouldn't want a man saying those lyrics to her.
"Don't give up on us, give us one more chance, I still love you, it'll all be OK in the end."
# Don't give up on us, baby... #
David appeared very dreamy on Top Of The Pops.
They used lots of shots of his face all in one sort of screen,
so it was very dreamy, very romantic. Yeah, it was lovely.
# The angel and the dreamer... #
I can't tell you how many people over the years have told me, "That song kept us together."
Well, you can't have a better compliment than that.
# Don't give up on us
# I know we can still come through-ough-ough... #
With dreamy David topping the charts on both sides of the Atlantic,
he flew into the UK to play a series of sell-out shows.
CROWD CHANTS "What do we want? David Soul!"
My abiding memories of my first trip to the UK with this record is terror.
I'm talking about, "Woh!"
The reaction was just extraordinary.
I'd never...really seen anything like that,
even when we were making Starsky And Hutch.
And even more terrifying was the thought of topping the bill.
I've dreamed about this all my life.
I just want to go back to Los Angeles.
I was out there on my own, I was the head-liner, you know, I had somebody opening for me,
and, um...I was a little frightened by that.
No wonder. Screaming teens and their mums wanted a piece of him.
Mum said she'd get us tickets to go and see David Soul in concert at The Rainbow.
I was so excited. I couldn't believe I was going to see him live.
All I remember is just screaming.
You couldn't hear anything except people screaming. It was so loud.
Every time I did something, like, pick up my guitar, they'd scream.
Sobbing their hearts out and screaming and tearing their hair.
I'd put my hand on the fret and play a chord and they'd scream.
As soon as you opened your mouth, they'd scream.
You said hello - "aggh!"
It was horrible. These people didn't come to listen, they came to scream.
He was a grown man.
A lot of the people the kids were screaming at
were not much older than they were,
whereas David was probably in his 30s.
There was an exciting part to the... sort of Beatlemania, if you will,
and then there's a part that says, "Wait a second, guys, this isn't what it's about."
But increasingly it was as, like it or not,
he was now a chart-topping fan-clubbing bona-fide pop star.
# Drifting, searching
# Shifting from town to town... #
My records were the best-selling of '77, '78.
I suppose I was proud of that.
# I can't blame you if you won't take me back... #
He won Artist Of The Year, which considering the Bee Gees were omnipotent in that period,
was pretty extraordinary.
# But, honey, you're my last hope. #
There's one year when he's sold more singles
than any other recording artist in Britain, which is...
It's like one of those Trivial Pursuit questions.
You get the answer, you think, "Are you kidding? David Soul."
# Come on, silver lady, take my word
# I won't run out you... #
He was the golden boy. He looked the part of the pin-up.
He was the pretty boy.
He capitalised on it while he had it.
But serious muso David had misgivings about being seen solely as pop eye-candy.
The term "heart-throb" probably would have bemused him somewhat.
I didn't set out to become a heart-throb. I'm just glad my heart works, which is nice.
It's still pumping.
# It sure brings out the love in your eyes... #
After their successful partnership, David and Tony Macaulay went their separate ways
and the string-laden ballads were no more.
The third album we did was an album called Band Of Friends
and more than any other album I've done,
it was closer to the David Soul that I wanted out there.
The Band Of Friends album saw a more bluesy, country-rock approach.
# Can't change it
# You can't change my heart... #
Unfortunately it was the album that didn't get a release, except in Japan.
When his record label went bust,
David's recording career lost momentum and his pop-star days were behind him.
They were great days, but I've had years of great days since then,
and bad days too.
This is it. It's time for Jerry Springer, The Opera.
Screams of passion turned to screams of outrage after David appeared in Jerry Springer, The Opera.
# I'm tired of drifting, searching, shifting from town to town... #
He's since appeared in other West End musicals,
and the old hits still get the occasional outing.
David can now reflect on the upside of his brief spell as a '70s singing heart-throb.
I think those 18 months probably gave me an aspect of living that very few people would ever experience,
you know, so I'm thankful for that.
In the mid-'70s, somewhere between the excesses of progressive rock and the filth and the fury of punk,
sat the intensely private Gilbert O'Sullivan.
# Sign on the door says go away
# Sign on the grass says you will pay... #
I've thought of him probably as the most missing-in-action artist of my adulthood.
# Ask your neighbours... #
There are always people you think, "Gee, why aren't they in the chart?"
# I don't know if your father knows but I'm a boy... #
As he has done since his adolescent days in Swindon, Gilbert, born Raymond O'Sullivan,
still spends eight hours a day writing songs at his piano.
This is a folder, actually, from when I first started writing,
in the shed in my mum's garden.
Raymond got on very well at school,
then music became a big part of his life
and my mother bought him a drum kit,
and, to accommodate that, we had to have a shed built at the bottom of the garden.
She also got him a piano. He had his record player and he was in a little world of his own.
Time alone in a shed can do things to a man.
Ray decided that to become noticed he would become Gilbert O'Sullivan,
and dress up in a flat cap and short trousers.
As a show-biz journalist, you get sent loads of photographs
and hand-outs, publicity hand-outs,
and I was so startled - I saw this ridiculous photograph of this young singer
called Gilbert O'Sullivan.
I'm working in A & R at the moment in EMI.
If I'd seen my dad coming along, I'd be totally interested,
because what he did was to create,
like, a totally different look to what was going around
cos everyone had long hair, so he decided he was going to have short hair.
Everyone was wearing sweaters, he wore suits and hats, so that would catch my eye.
# It's not unusual to be loved by anyone... #
It seemed a funny way of interesting female fans,
but Gilbert now turned to the manager of Tom Jones -
a man who knew all about attracting women.
My dad, Gordon Mills, at the time, he had 100 tapes
coming in a day for him to listen to,
which he did try and listen to - every one of them.
And Gilbert's was opened and he had a little giggle at the photos of Gilbert.
He was listening through the tape and my mum came in and said, "Who is that?"
So Dad had another listen through again and again
and that's how it started.
# Turn the landing light off
# No, wait, leave it on... #
Since swapping life in Swindon for California,
big sister Marie had no idea Gilbert had been rummaging through the dressing-up box.
It was the Tom Jones' Special and Raymond was going to be on there as a guest and so was Liberace.
I was really looking forward to seeing him and telling my friends about it.
Gentlemen, if you please.
I think I was more shocked at seeing the outfit on there for the first time, you know.
Well, obviously one of us has to make a costume change
-and I think it had better be me.
After upstaging Liberace, the gravy train beckoned for the Bisto kid.
# If I give up the seat I've been saving
# To some elderly lady or man... #
I was listening to one of the songs recently
and I was able to sing along to it all these years later.
Every word was ingrained. I must have played it over and over.
# And this pleasure I get from, say, winning a bet
# Is to lose... #
He did seem very shy. He did seem sensitive.
The typical singer/songwriter and that was his romantic appeal, if you like.
# Nothing gained, nothing still-born or lost... #
It is one of the great songs of all time.
It's so deep, it's so profound,
that I thought we were in for a lifetime of revelations
from this man.
# Nothing I couldn't say
# Nothing why, cos today
# Nothing rhymed... #
Never wanted the fame. He just wanted his songs to be heard.
That was the main thing about everything. It was about the songs and the music.
And when the fame came along, I always say I wished that I'd been there, going to the parties.
He just didn't take advantage of it.
# Alone again
# Naturally... #
The solitude he desired got even less likely after a No.1 hit in America,
and the decision was made that it was time for a makeover.
They advised him that he should have a more sporty image,
and, as a result, cardigans came in.
The hair was grown longer and groomed
and you suddenly saw this rather good-looking young man.
For his new album, Gilbert took off the flat cap and turned all hunky.
I remember Lewis, the store in Manchester, had their window
completely plastered with it - "Is that what he looks like now?"
And then, you know, at 18, something starts to flutter.
When people hear who my dad is, straightaway, they're like,
"Oh, my God. My mum used to really fancy him. Can you get an autograph, please?"
# Who was that lady I saw you with?
# It was not your wife... #
He became just... almost an obsession.
I don't think my parents had to decorate my room for quite a few years,
cos it wasn't worth it.
Floor to ceiling. Get in bed at night, look up and there he was.
Big G's biggest hit had an unlikely inspiration -
his manager's three-year-old daughter.
# Clair - the moment I met you I swear... #
Uncle Ray was very much part of our family.
Um, he lived just down the road.
On occasions when Mum and Dad were going out, he'd baby-sit.
The song is about me being a terror, I think, as a child,
which I was,
but he wrote it very lovingly, that's for sure.
# Nothing means more to me than hearing you say
# I'm going to marry you. Will you marry me, Uncle Ray? #
Always when I come across a Clair, who's however many years younger than I am,
I'll always ask them to find out why they were called Clair,
and more often than not, it's because of the song.
# Oh, Clair! Clair! #
I was pulled out of the pool to go into the studio, which I wasn't too happy about,
but I sat on my mum's lap and she just tickled me to get that giggle.
# Oh, Clair! #
Giggling all the way to his first British No.1,
Gilbert was now so popular that he had his own fan club.
They were happy to follow him all over Europe.
We were 18 at the time, but people that we met, they were 40, 50, you know,
and they used to write to him,
so it wasn't just young girls, was it?
There were married women following him around that were old enough to be our mothers.
The camaraderie was just wonderful
but to say, I know it sounds a bit cheesy, if you like,
but to say it was one big happy family - it really was.
Maybe you all want to kiss him.
Give him a kiss in the camera.
At the time, we would have been more than happy to blow him a kiss,
probably would have wanted to deliver it in person if we could.
# Why is it you must be so very cruel to me
# In order to be kind? #
He loves the fact that people were at the concerts and the shows and everything,
but once a show was over, he became very, very shy.
We'd be in airports and people would come up and say, "Are you Gilbert O'Sullivan?"
He'd say, "No, not today."
# Why, after all these years we've been together...? #
Never entirely at ease as a sexy pin-up,
difficult questions were asked of the retiring pop star
when the Top 10 hits began to dry up.
How long is it since you had a big hit with a single?
Oooh! I guess two years.
Is that a long time or a short time in pop-star terms?
What do you think?
-I'd say it was a long time.
-Yes, of course.
As chart success continued to elude them, the cosy arrangement with Gordon Mills came to an end.
# As I miss the stars that shine above
# Telling me one day my love will come to me again. #
A lengthy high-court battle over the rights to his songs followed.
It took five years out of his life and a lot of things went on hold then,
but he came out in the end - he came out a winner.
Millions richer, but more reclusive than ever,
Gilbert moved the shed to Jersey, shut himself away and carried on composing.
It's a bit too far for us to keep nipping over to now.
"Put some water between us" is probably what he said.
One of the few to penetrate Gilbert's Jersey retreat
was journalist David Wigg.
It was very difficult to get an interview with Gilbert after all the court case
and everything because he literally did want to go away
and cut off from everything and just do his songwriting,
but Gilbert very much doesn't want to look back.
# You won't be lonely
# You'll make my day tonight. #
How far do you think we're going to get before I say,
"Er, what have you been doing for the last 20 years?"
You must get tired of people asking you about the early days, but I'm going to anyway...
-Is there a '70s revival or are we making it up?
-I've no idea. It's anathema to even think of that.
That was then. I'm not interested.
-You are very defensive.
-I mean, as an artist, I'm rock bottom...
-No, that's OK, but it's true.
-Where is it true?
-It's called credibility crap.
# I look like I want to look
# I wear what I like... #
Despite his apparent wish to do so,
Gilbert has never quite shaken off his '70s image.
I think there's a frustration that he's not respected more than he is,
because when you think of it, he did have five years of major hit songs which were very appealing.
In a way, he was damaged by the image he created for himself.
It would be nice if he had come and spoken to you himself,
but he has been misinterpreted so many times in the past.
He's very much the future and that to him, it's kind of great memories,
but he doesn't really want to kind of talk about it again,
so I'm happy to do it instead.
# Now looking back over the years
# And whatever else that appears... #
There's no doubt that his early work DOES rate with the people with whom he would like to be compared,
and no-one can tell me there couldn't have been more from the same.
And maybe in tomorrow's post there'll be the next one.
# Alone again
# Naturally. #
Our final singer was very much a king-sized king of '70s romance -
a heavyweight heart-throb with legions of female fans - Barry White.
# Eager and eager... #
With people like Gilbert O'Sullivan and Leo Sayer, it's very sentimental, it's very romantic.
Barry White, I think, is a great deal more direct.
# I'll take you just the way you are... #
He has the most gorgeous voice you can imagine.
I mean, it just conjures up so much romance, sex, everything.
# Can't get enough of your love, baby... #
It was that gruff, rough sound. He was just like a huge teddy bear.
# This girl's gonna drive me crazy... #
They were romantic songs but sung with such intensity,
as if he was singing to the one woman in the world he wanted to hold and touch.
# You're my first, my last, my everything... #
The ladies loved Barry because Barry loved the ladies so much.
If you stand back and study the lyrics, you realise
he was talking from - this big huge guy - from a woman's point of view.
The reason why women loved his music so much
is because in R & B, women are always the villain.
"You broke my heart, you ran off with this guy,
"you left me for another guy."
In Barry's music, women come off as goddesses.
Goddesses were hard to find on the tough streets of Los Angeles in the 1950s.
Barry grew up in South Central LA,
which was a very notorious section of Los Angeles.
Gang life was something that was obligatory.
You had to have something in that area
that would pull you away from the bad,
and for Barry, it was the music.
His love of music took him to Hollywood where he established himself as a producer,
transforming a trio called the Croonettes into Love Unlimited
proved to be Barry's big break.
Barry took them under his wing and became their father figure, their mentor, their teacher.
He had a vision. He knew what he wanted.
He could see it in his head and he somehow needed to bring it to fruition.
# Walking in the rain with the one I love
# Feels so fine. #
He was recording Walking In The Rain and he came up with a great idea -
to answer the phone himself.
He was going to let someone else do it, but he said, "Well, I'm going to try it myself,"
so he put that voice on - that deep, "HELLO," you know,
and it sounded pretty good.
'Baby, I've got something to tell you.
-I love you.
'I love you too.'
I listened to the record and four minutes later, I said,
"How much do you guys want?"
They said, "10,000," and I said, "You got it."
And then we put it out and it became a huge hit in America
and it was a big hit in England too.
The maestro of lurve had made his debut with a voice that left women hypnotised.
Usually with a deep, progressive voice like he had, men intimidate women,
but Barry came on with it.
It, like, relaxed them and I think he used that in his music too.
Russ Regan moved to 20th Century Records and signed up Barry as a solo artist.
# I'm gonna love you, love you, love you
# Just a little more, baby. #
Last thing at night when you're relaxing,
how wonderful to hear that voice,
The sort of voice that makes you go, "Thwrrrr!"
and slide off your chair.
Women loved the voice but would the love handles prove a turn-off?
When I signed him, Barry weighed about 350 pounds and I was wondering
about that sex-symbol area,
so I said, "Let's try him out. There's a Baptist church in Santiago.
"I know the preacher. We'll put on a free concert for them."
Barry White comes out and starts singing and the place went crazy.
Women were screaming and I said,
"Wow! He is a sex symbol. I mean, women love this guy."
# Eager and eager to feel your sweet lips on my face... #
All my friends were really into the Osmonds, the Jackson Five,
they couldn't understand how I could like this huge man with this deep voice
and they just thought I was crazy.
My mum gave me four pounds to go buy a ticket
and it was like having gold.
The minute that man strode out - my God, there was no words to describe it,
he just strode out -
it was God, he was there, he was real!
I'm going to do one for all the sweet, sweet ladies in the house tonight.
I'd never seen anything like it -
the reaction, these women leaping up,
this great big, 26-stone man coming on stage.
All right! All right! All right! All right!
They were totally seduced by the growl. You could only call it a growl of this man.
# Oh, oh, baby! # Wow!
# Oh, oh, baby!
# My darling, I...
# Can't get enough of your love, baby. #
All these people were running down the aisle to him
and then I just took off out of my seat - I flew to Barry -
and the tears were just pouring... This is my man.
This is the man I love. This is the man whose picture I have all over my room.
This is me and him.
And I'm just holding his hand and I'm just crying
and he smiled at me but he carried on singing
and then I tried to take the ring off his finger -
he had a ring on his little finger - and he just carried on singing.
He knew what I was doing and he bent his finger so I couldn't get it off.
# Oh, you're the first, my last, my everything... #
When I saw these people coming up to Barry White and kissing his ring
and holding onto his hand and shaking his hand
and trying to hug him and everything else,
I said, "This guy... It's like a reverend. Barry White is like a minister up there almost."
The minister of love, if you will.
God bless you.
God keep you.
Lurve certainly was unlimited when Barry married lead singer Glodean James
and his songs now left even less to the imagination.
# Oh, baby, sweet baby
# What am I gonna do? #
She inspired him to go further and to reach even further than he ever dreamed he could,
and he loved to write them sexual lyrics and sensual lyrics and stuff. He loved that.
# Been making love for hours
# And, baby, we're still going strong... #
The lyrics that he wrote, he believed in.
This is serious business. This is not just a silly little ditty that I'm singing for you.
If some guy put a Barry White song on for a girlfriend,
you knew he meant business - that was it.
Barry White was going to do the wooing, he was going to do the seducing,
he was actually going to get her bra off...for him.
Look, guys, this is how you have to talk to women.
You have to go get them some flowers.
You have to wine 'em and dine 'em.
And try saying this this way and if you don't know how, I'll show you how.
# Don't go changing trying to please me... #
One of the greatest moments of my life was reading the New York Times
and seeing that Barry White had raised the birth rate of America by 5%.
# We're gonna take our time... #
People would come up to him and tell him, "I conceived this baby when I was listening to I'm Gonna Love You,
"or Can't Get Enough Of Your Love."
That's some of the greatest, greatest compliments
of all the compliments I get -
that life has been created from my music.
He knew he had hit a home run. He knew it.
Wasn't a single, wasn't a double. He knew he hit a home run.
They told me he was coming over to do Jonathan Ross,
so soon as I knew he was coming, I was trying to get tickets for the show.
-Ladies and gentlemen...
..wait for it -
this is a man - please welcome the one, the only, Mr Barry White.
The door opened, Barry White - big, in this beautiful green suit - comes walking out,
and I just...shot out of my chair, ran past the cables, ran to him
and he just looked back and he opened his arms
and he just looked at me and he gave me the biggest hug
and I gave him the rose.
You know, Jonathan Ross was kind of shocked and kind of laughed.
I didn't know that Interflora worked this way.
Please welcome the bard of bedroom soul - Barry White.
Barry's love affair with his UK fans continued as his music played on until early 2003.
Some news in in the past hour -
the soul singer, Barry White - known worldwide for his deep voice and popular love songs - has died.
He was 58.
# Let the music play
# I just wanna dance the night away... #
Heard on the radio that Barry White had died. My phone started ringing,
and all the radio and TV shows wanted comments
and I really couldn't think of much to say except that
what he left behind would keep him alive for ever.
Physically Barry's gone, but spiritually Barry hasn't gone anywhere.
His music's there, his videos are there, his pictures are there.
Barry's still here, Barry hasn't gone anywhere. He hasn't gone anywhere.
# Let the music play. #
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd.
Lesley Joseph narrates a documentary about the unlikely pin-ups of the 1970s music scene, from Gilbert O'Sullivan and Barry White to Leo Sayer and Demis Roussos. These were men whose lyrics conjured up images of candle-lit dinners, red roses and cosy nights in with the man of your dreams. For millions of female fans their romantic music was the perfect soundtrack for dreams of escape from the day-to-day drudgery of life in 70s Britain.
Featuring comments from Gloria Hunniford and Martha Kearney.