I Was There - Teil 1

It is February 1977 and it looks like the success of the YOTC single is going to continue, which was either a complete surprise or entirely predictable, depending on who you listen to!

Luke –
“ But you know , you are not going to get anywhere if you just sit around and watch the song go up the charts and if that is what you do then you are basically crazy anyway, which we weren’t!”

Luke backstage in NYC

And so the decision was made to make a real effort to consolidate this new found success by visiting selected radio stations around the country whenever Al and Luke were in town for a show.

Al –
“ This may have all sounded a good plan to Luke but to me it was the last thing that I wanted to do! Everyone was telling me that I should do this and that and it always seemed to involve going somewhere at some unearthly hour in the morning, usually straight after I’d done a show the night before.”

In the spirit of being fair to everyone, I should say that at this point in his career an “unearthly hour” to Al was anything before 2pm in the afternoon and so there would invariably be ‘discussions’ between Artist and Manager about the merits of each radio station visit that was planned!

Luke will tell you that he could not make Al do anything that he didn’t want to but it appears that, ultimately,  Al would usually make these trips to radio stations in the end.
One station however that Al needed little persuasion to visit though was WPLJ in New York City. This was a big one.

JoEllen DeLuca -
“As I remember, one afternoon in February 1977, Al arrived at the WPLJ radio station in Manhattan to engage in some interview chatter about his huge hit, The Year of the Cat. My good friend, disc jockey, Jim Kerr would be interviewing him, and since I was an amateur photographer by day (and played  piano in a Japanese restaurant in the evenings), I happened to be in the studio that afternoon. So, Jim asked me to take photos of Al with now Hall of Fame disc jockeys, Carole Miller and Dan Ingram (and Jim Kerr, of course)”

Visiting WPLJ

Al had already met Carol Miller a number of times over the years and she had also known Luke for several years and so this was made for a relaxed and informal afternoon.
Carol Miller –
“ Al was always very good at this type of thing, in so far as he would go off on some wild tangent and the interview would end up being about almost anything other than his new record! But you know what……that is exactly what makes him so fascinating and that was why we wanted him on the show that day. By now it was clear that he was on the brink of being a very big star and so this was a big day for all of us.”

Visiting WPLJ

“ I do know that I don’t always stick to the script and the reason is simple. Who wants to listen to some singer talk about how they loved this girl and so they wrote a song about a cat set in Africa!
No , what they want to hear, although they don’t always know it, is a story about the background to the three bi planes are in Flying Sorcery or stuff like that…you know, all the things that most have my fans have by now heard a million times at shows but then, back in 1977 nobody knew me and suddenly I had a chance to talk to a far bigger audience than I had ever thought I would.
So boring interviews…no! History lessons or a chat about a fine Bordeaux…..well absolutely!”

Avery Fisher Hall Ticket

JoEllen DeLuca -
“As I recall, I went to all his New York shows that winter ( Avery Fisher Hall, the Palladium, etc.) and took more photos during the shows and backstage of  various group members including  Luke  and  Robin Lamble.  Al returned to New York City in the spring and we enjoyed looking at these photos together over brunch one lovely Sunday afternoon.”

Robin Lamble backstage at the NYC show

Happy days indeed. But nothing lasts for ever and within a couple of months Al would be leaving Janus for Arista but not before seeing his Spanish Civil War / Rhodesian Crisis / IRA epic On The Border storm the Billboard charts.

Al backstage at the show

JoEllen now has a family of her own and when she was recently looking for a way to use music as a means to make her daughter's French Revolution studies more interesting , who did she choose......?

© Neville Judd 2007

Alle Fotos wurden von JoEllen DeLuca aufgenommen.