The Greatest Put Down


“In the late summer of 1997, I was invited by Chris Difford to attend one of his legendary song writing retreats in a big old house in Huntsham, Devon. I’d finished recording “15 minutes” but was yet to unleash it (or even tell anyone it existed) and was pretty nervous about writing songs with random strangers.

There were some in attendance who weren’t such strangers (although still pretty random), Rick Astley, Marty Pellow, Brian Kennedy and Mark Nevin (Fairground Attraction) to name a few. So Mr Difford’s retreats go something like this.

You come down to breakfast in the morning and there, on the wall of the dining room is a list of who is writing with who that day (by order of Chris). Off you go to your appointed room with your appointed writing partners and just get on with it. In the evening, after dinner, you all gather to perform the fruits of the day to each other.

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On one particular day, I found myself in a room with Chris and Graeme Duffin, guitarist with Wet Wet Wet.

I’d tried writing with someone else’s lyrics before but failed miserably. I didn’t know Chris well at the time and was somewhat in awe of him.

I was unsure how things would progress. As it turns out, things progressed very quickly and easily.

Chris opened his laptop and showed us some lyrics he’d already finished. They just leapt off the screen. The words were so musical, they almost sung themselves. It was like the song had already been born and we just had to smack its arse and make it draw its first breath.

We wrote three songs that day,

“The Greatest Put Down” being the first.”

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