The Farm Don't Let Me Down Frankie Howerd

This was our 4th single release on Produce Records after Stepping Stone, Groovy Train, and All Together Now.  It was from the No 1 album Spartacus but there was a lot of debate and discussion over whether it should be released or not so soon after Spartacus.  I think the feeling from Produce was that it would keep the album in people’s minds.  Our manager, Kevin Sampson, was adamant that we should re- release Stepping Stone, as it was only ever available on 12in vinyl. He said we would be guaranteed another massive hit as it wasn’t on Spartacus.  Kevin had spent the previous year shaping our assault on the charts choosing pluggers, press officers, agents and so on.  Suggs had produced Stepping Stone and it had been a massive underground club hit.

But now the ‘group’ knew better and the discussions centered on us ‘selling out’ if we re-released Stepping Stone.  The general consensus was that Stepping Stone was an underground club classic in the Spring/Summer of 1990 and we didn’t want to be seen to be cashing in and upsetting the people who had bought it from dance/indie specialist shops when originally released.  In hindsight Kevin was right.  This was the tipping point in many ways.  Our maverick leader had been ignored and things were about to go wrong!

The video for the single was shot in London and we wanted to continue a tradition of having ‘personalities’ feature in it.  Groovy Train had featured Bill Dean (aka Harry Cross from Brookside) so we naturally thought of getting an actor.  Because the song was about defiance and standing up against authority like the historical figure Spartacus we thought of Frankie Howerd due to his role in Up Pompeii.  This was a nod towards The Beatles films and Madness videos and their tongue in cheek humour.  We didn’t want to be seen as too highbrow or pretentious so we hired Frankie Howerd for the video.

Frankie Howerd

Frankie Howerd with The Farm

The video didn’t really turn out the way we had wanted but at least we were able to meet the great Frankie Howerd. He wasn’t in great health but he was charming and witty and we had a great laugh recording it.

We also had to change the words for the video as it was during the 1st Gulf War and radio and television said they wouldn’t play a song with the word ‘fight’ in it.  So we had to change it from ‘Stand Up and Fight’ to ‘Stand Up Stand Up’.  At that point we should’ve binned the idea and taken the advice of Kevin Sampson and re-released Stepping Stone.  The gang of six had taken over the reigns and the infallibility of the management had been questioned.  Things would never be the same again!

One Response to Don’t Let Me Down 25 Years On – “things would never be the same again!”

  1. Davers says:

    I don’t think reissuing Stepping Stone at that point would’ve been such a hot idea. Spartacus was only two singles in. They had the right idea to release a Spratacus track as single #3. There were other songs that may have performed a bit better, but Hearts & Minds was a few years old by that point. If they were going to reissue Stepping Stone they should’ve held Mind back for a few months and did it after Don’t Let Me Down had run it’s course.

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