|Our next task was to follow ‘Move In’ with
We had songs in mind, but ‘Good Thing’ was thought to be the one most
likely, catchy, written by the same writers as the first ‘hit’, great
harmonies and uptempo, perfect.
RCA scheduled it for release, and we were happy for that to be the
follow up, whilst still being ready to record anything that might
We never even thought of ‘My Little Girl’. There was a hit right under
our noses, as Autumn proved.
We were talked into recording a Howard and Blaikley song, called ‘First
Time Loving’, to see how it came out. I particularly didn’t like it at
the time, and now hate it. Someone, our manager I think, without our
knowledge or agreement, got RCA to release this song as the follow up.
From then on RCA kept coming up with different songs. They even released
a song of mine ‘Mrs. Ritchie’, for about two weeks, then they asked us
to cover ‘Cecilia’ the Simon and Garfunkel song, without success. We’d
missed our chance.
The gigs were still in abundance, although we’d started to go into
cabaret. The least said about that the better.
It was clear to me
that music had changed, I thought we’d better change too, or we’d be
left behind. So I started telling the boys that they should stop posing
around like ‘pop’ stars, and start writing songs, rehearsing new
material, and generally get back to being what we used to be. Too late,
lethargy had set in, nobody was bothered and they’d become lazy.
I decided to look for another way forward.
I’d had a great time, making records, singing great harmonies every
I’d met, and worked with the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Beach
Boys, been managed or produced by two or three of the most important men
in the music business at that time, Brian Epstein and Andrew Oldham,
(and Robert Stigwood) what more could I have done with those years?
‘Good Thing’ June 6th (not).
l-r. Tony Rivers, with Joey Long, Frankie Valli
and Bob Gaudio (of the 4 Seasons),
and Andrew Loog Oldham
and Tony MacCauley, backstage ‘party’,
Hammersmith Odeon, probably 1967/8.
While I was looking around for new directions to go, I’d had a
conversation with Dick Leahy who worked for Bell records, and who I used
to play football with. He offered me a solo recording deal with them,
and even gave me an advance, which was handy. At about the same time,
Mike Smith, who was a&r manager at CBS and had achieved ‘fame’ as,
the ‘legendary’ man who turned down ‘the Beatles’ in favour of ---------
‘the Tremelos’, offered me a job as house producer with him.
This appealed to me, and so I called Dick Leahy and told him sorry, but
I’d be joining CBS, as house producer.
He said I could keep the advance and wished me luck! He eventually
became the publisher for George Michaels’ songs, and probably became a
millionaire, but I don’t suppose he was any good at harmonies!
The Tremelos, and some Castaways.
playing ‘spot the ball’.
My last gig with Harmony Grass was at the Lyceum in London in about
July/August of 1970. I hadn’t planned this as my last gig, but fate
stepped in. A friend told me in our break, that the boys had been
rehearsing with Joe Williams, in readiness for my departure, the thing
was, I hadn’t told them I was departing yet!!! Saved me worrying about
letting them down, though didn’t it?
I went out for the second show, and proceeded to do all the great
harmony things that we’d done over the years, then at the end of the
evening I announced that I’d just done my last gig with Harmony Grass,
thank you and goodnight!!!! ‘Miss You Nights’ here I come
Flier for a club in Soho, Summer 2000,
Illustrious company we keep, eh?