Okay it is 1988. It has been nearly three years since The Associates last LP “Perhaps”. The slightly techno friendly cover of Blondie’s “Heart Of Glass” has not set the charts alight despite a slew of formats (three 12″ versions, CD single, 7″ single, a 3D printed sleeve with some special glasses inside the sleeve etc). Billy has an album sitting in the can, Shirley Bassey has just covered one of his songs with Yello. In a quick series of moves Warners dropped Billy from their label and stopped the release of the already completed album “The Glamour Chase” dead in its tracks.
Three years of work on “The Glamour Chase” album and a decade of writing, recording and gigging. Now labell-less, deal-less and all his material in the can in a Warners basement and staying there. It is hard to comprehend that kind of blow. But a mighty blow it certainly was. After being dropped from the label over lunch in a Mayfair restaurant, Billy asked the record company executive given the task of dining and dropping him for a cab home on the record company account. The exec readily agreed and in a legendary move Billy took a cab home – all the way from London to Dundee.
“The Glamour Chase” did not surface in a proper release until 2002 when it was thrown in as a non-ironic freebie with the first CD release of 1985’s “Perhaps”. Some of it is fairly pedestrian lightweight, late 80’s funky standard pop stuff but there are some tremendous songs on it (particularly the Boris Blank produced Because You Love, Snowball, The Rhythm Divine and In Windows All) but perhaps the real standout track was a song Billy had been playing live for a few years called “Empires Of Your Heart” and everyone should hear it. Listen to this… can you believe a record company dropped this guy and left this kind of material in the can?
mp3 : Associates – Empires Of Your Heart
I also attach a track from a bootleg called “The Audience That Fell To Earth”. Billy MacKenzie with Paul Haig and some others performing “Empires Of Your Heart” at Wilkie House on 14 September 1986.
mp3 : Billy Mackenzie/Paul Haig – Empires Of Your Heart (live)