Sunrise, Simply Red

I look back on Sunrise as a pivotal track, maybe one of the most significant of my career – but it might just as easily have never happened. 

I had been briefly side-lined from the recording sessions Mick had begun with the band at his home studio in Surrey. A chance meeting with Ian Grenfell (the band’s manager) found me sitting in his car listening to the new recordings. I felt that Sunrise, with its strident chorus hook-line could make a great single and was asked by Ian to take a look.

Around that time I’d been working a lot with Mark Jaimes, Danny Saxon and Mark Jolley on some new projects and they had gone down to MVC in Chiswick  to purchase a stack of CD’s to assess for potential samples. At the end of my session that day, I dropped in to see them, (they had a studio at Metropolis, too), and as I opened the door to their room, at that exact moment, the intro of ‘I Can’t Go For That’ by Hall & Oates was playing on the speakers. 

A couple of weeks went by before Gota sent me the multi-track to Sunrise – I listened through to it with Mark and Danny and, recalling hearing I Can’t Go For That, I suggested we try it as a potential sample (‘mash ups’ being quite popular at the time). Miraculously it sounded like a hit straightaway, the key was the same, the tempo was the same to within a bpm or so, and where the sample finished, it broke naturally into Mick’s chorus and sounded as if it had been totally made for it. Mick Hucknall came on board and we worked on it together to completion. It went on to launch the album – the first on Simply Red’s own label – and helped it sell over three and a half million copies. Looking back, it also laid the foundations for the whole of the next chapter for my working relationship with Simply Red. The subsequent tour was sold out and the band’s trajectory took off once again. 

I still sometimes wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t walked in on Mark and Danny at the exact moment they were playing that sample. A random twist of fate, you could say. I suppose I’ll never know the answer. But sometimes it does feel like someone’s looking over you and I can definitely say I believe in miracles