I’ve just backed John Otway’s Kickstarter campaign to record a new album on the Caribbean Island of Montserrat. As befitting Rock and Roll’s Greatest Failure, it will be the first album to be recorded by an international recording artist on the island since the Rolling Stones in 1989.
I first saw Otway fall off a set of speakers on the Old Grey Whistle Test when I was at school, and I first saw him play live in Ireland when I was in college. Since then I’ve been indoctrinating decades of friends with Otway’s eclectic eccentricity, hilarious and sensitive lyrics, and cult marketing genius.
His 1977 hit Really Free was for a long time the peak of his career, until his fans united to get him a second hit, Bunsen Burner, for his fiftieth birthday in 2002. His “Beware of the flowers cause I’m sure they’re going to get you, yeah” was voted seventh best lyric ever in a BBC poll.
For his sixtieth birthday in 2012, Otway funded a movie about his career by selling tickets to the premiere before making it. Before that, he nearly crowd-funded a world tour, along with his fans, but he miscalculated the price of hiring the airplane. Now he’s off to Montserrat!
Cheryl’s Going Home, Old Grey Whistle Test
Poetry and Jazz
The Hit! Really Free, Top of the Pops
Middle of Winter
Beware of the Flowers
The Other Hit! Bunsen Burner, Top of the Pops
House of the Rising Sun