Tematiche: dj culture,ENGLISH,indiscrezioni,news,personaggi
Facebook and the Internet can be two amazing tools.
A few days ago – thanks to a lead posted in a Facebook forum (thanks Corrado!) – I was able to reach Anthony James, the vocalist that sung on the album “Lies” credited to Den Harrow, in 1988.
Anthony is still in the music business and now runs a “Production music” company called Music Candy, in the USA. His role is CEO and Creative Director.
He was surprised to receive my message asking him about the Den Harrow project, despite it wasn’t the first time that someone in recent years contacted him on that.
Here’s his part of the long lasting (and fascinating) Den Harrow saga.
Anthony’s adventure in the music industry began with UK radios, in mid ’80s at Chiltern Radio in Dunstable (England): “that was where I was working at the time producing promo’s and commercials. It was my first job out of school so I was doing very well at only 17 years old. I think it was around August 1986 that I moved from London to live in Milan, Italy“.
A friend who was from USA and lived in UK had just moved to Milan and – continues Anthony – he
got a job with Claudio Cecchetto at Radio Deejay working on the new station called “Radio Capital” alongside Albertino and other DJ’s. Radio Deejay was in the same building, in fact right next to the Radio Capital studio. The programme director of the two stations offered me a job to produced jingles and promos etc, so it was great that after only being in Milan for 3 days, I had a good job.
Radio Capital needed some sung jingles to say and sing various things and as I was a vocalist that always liked to do this, I thought well this is easy. I can use their studios which were very good as they were the same studios used to produce songs for Sandy Marton, Sabrina and many others for Cecchetto’s record label. However, I needed a girl vocalist that could sing well in English to sing the jingles with me and by accident one day, I met an American girl from Minnesota, who was living in Milan, in the hallway at Radio Deejay called Jane Hilleren, or Jane Hill as she was known. She told me she sang backing vocals for Baby Records which she was signed to and I asked her to audition for me, so she sang something to me right there and then in the hallway and I immediately knew she was perfect. Jane and I became very good friends and sang for many radio stations there including Network 105 and many others. I would also hire studios to sing jingles for a very big client of mine at BBC Radio One in the UK. Jane Hill had a couple of songs out on Baby Records (here is a link to one of them).
Moving on; about 2 years later, around 1988, Jane asked me if I was interested to audition for a project at Baby Records. She told me roughly what it was all about but I thought what the hell, I’ll go for it. I had to go to a studio in a different part of the city I wasn’t familiar with and met a producer called Roberto Turatti. They gave me some lyrics and played a melody to me and I had to sing a couple of verses and one chorus of a Den Harrow song. I have no idea which song it was, in fact I had never heard of Den Harrow. Anyway, two days later I was asked to go to the office of Baby Records and meet Freddy Naggiar. I met with him for about 10 minutes and then was asked to sign a contract for 3 albums I think. The whole purpose of this was to be the lead vocalist for Den Harrow’s forthcoming albums. I had heard at the time, I think from Jane Hill, that the previous vocalist, Tom Hooker was having problems and arguments so therefore he couldn’t continue to do it. There was one problem though. I had decided at the exact time of this happening to move back to England.
Baby Records were disappointed about this but said that they could fly me out to Milan from London to sing the songs for the first Album “Lies”. Angelica, Freddy’s assistant, would send me cassettes of the backing track with a rough vocal and I had to learn the songs before flying out there. The truth is that I really didn’t bother learn the songs until maybe 1 day before leaving for Milan as I had other things going on and I wasn’t that interested in the whole thing to be honest. On one occasion they flew me out there to sing two songs in one day and I flew back the next day. Den Harrow was usually always in the control room and that was the only creative input that I knew about that he had! Tom Hooker, as I understand was still writing the English lyrics which to me were very funny and didn’t make sense, but I did it anyway. Jane Hill sang backing vocals with me on most of the songs and we would laugh so much at the lyrics and sometimes I had to take a break from laughing so much. These were fun days and Roberto Turatti was always very nice to me as was everyone else, including Tom. I did get the impression at the time though that Tom was becoming unhappy with his situation with Baby Records.
I don’t remember the last song I sang for them and I think that Tom was to replace my vocals for a short while after that. One song I do remember well was ”Holiday Night” and I really enjoyed singing “My Time”.
(Thanks to Corrado Gant who provided info to get in touch with Anthony!).