I Saved The World Today, Eurythmics
The first time I met Annie Lennox she was sitting at a piano playing something new that she’d been working on – the chord progression to what turned out to be the song, ‘I Saved The World Today’.
That very first meeting has always stuck in my mind and I think of it whenever I hear the track now. Dave and I had known each other and worked together for some time, but it was my first encounter with Annie, also my first day working with Eurythmics – a dream gig for me.
For ten years, following the release of their previous album, ‘We Too Are One’, Dave and Annie had effectively split up and had pursued various solo projects in different parts of the world.
But the death of former Tourists band-mate, Pete Coombes, had brought them back together, and they decided, privately, despite the decade-long hiatus – that they were going to try working together again.
During Dave’s time away from Eurythmics I had become a regular part of his team, and we’d just finished working on a new Sinead O’Connor album when he asked me to come on board for his next project. When it turned out that he wanted me to start work with him on some new Eurythmics songs I was blown away.
We began work at The Church Studios in North London, Dave’s studio, a place I was very familiar with. Annie was sitting playing the piano in the upstairs studio which has a very big live room, and we began straight away. I Saved The World Today was the first thing we did. I put together a beat and some ideas, Annie recorded some piano, we put down a guide vocal, Dave came up with a great Rickenbacker 12-string guitar part, and the song just started to emerge.
It was a great experience and it allowed us to lay down a kind of template – from the start it felt very good between us – and really, we just moved on from strength to strength from there.
As the album developed, Annie and I found we were both interested in string arrangements and orchestration – so we worked on various ideas in the studio, and then decided we wanted to do live orchestra sessions for several of the tracks. I called in my old friend David Whitaker to do full arrangements for seven or eight of the songs, one of which was I Saved The World Today. The session took place at Air Studios in Hampstead.
David was wonderful, but being ‘old school’ he wrote his arrangements straight to manuscript, so you could never hear what he’d done in advance – you could see them, and if you were good enough, ‘hear’ them in your head – but it was always slightly nerve-wracking wondering in advance if it was really going to work.
Annie was cool about it, and Dave was always very gung-ho, not a worrier, but we’d committed a large chunk of budget to not only hire Air Studios, but of course to pay for an orchestra of thirty or forty people, without actually knowing what it was going to sound like!
Since it was my call to bring in David, I can remember really sweating over it, suffering an unusually high dose of anxiety before the session started.
As soon as the orchestra started to play it sounded totally wonderful – David had written a perfect, romantic arrangement that sounded beautiful, and everybody was bowled over. We left the session very, very happy.
There were a lot of stand-out tracks on the record by the time we had finished – but Simon Fuller, the band’s manager, insisted I Saved The World Today would be the first single – and so it went on to be.
The album ‘Peace’ was a top 5 hit in the UK and reached 25 in the US, going on to sell several million copies. Starting out so simply it grew into a rich and wonderful collection. But I’ll always have a place in my heart for that very first song we worked on together.