Paul Morley, of New Musical Express (NME) was one of the most influential opinion-formers of the early 80s.
He was, certainly at one point in time, a huge fan of Paul Haig, suggesting in July 1982 that he, Billy Mackenzie, Jim Kerr and Martin Fry were the potential saviours of pop music. There’s no doubt that Morley was prone to exaggeration but his words and thoughts didn’t do Paul any harm.
Paul had continued to work in Belgium, recording material which ended up being shelved for a while, but not for reasons that the label didn’t want to issue it. Things were moving fast around Paul, thanks in part to his name being mentioned by Morley and others, and Crépuscule elected to accept an offer from Island Records for a licensing deal which resulted in a change of plans that stopped the release of a new single and an album of swing tunes.
Instead, in late 1982, financed by Island, Paul Haig found himself in New York, working with producer Alex Sadkin whose track record had included Grace Jones but was now primarily involved with The Thompson Twins, which perhaps gives an indication of the market where the label was intending to push Paul towards.
There were big expectations from Island for the first single through the new arrangements. It was an update on a track dating back to the Josef K days, although such was the work in the studio that it proved to be unrecognisable:-
mp3 : Paul Haig – Heaven Sent
Released with an Island Records catalogue number (IS111), it was a huge favourite at Strathclyde Students Union, possibly because myself and a few mates consistently asked for it to get played and we always ensured we got up and danced to it, and as time went on, so did many other regulars. It got a fair bit of radio play, certainly in Scotland, but the record-buying public didn’t take to it and it stalled at a bitterly disappointing #74.
The b-side of the 7″ was a remix of the cover of Running Away. The 12″ version of Heaven Sent is soooooo 80s, with all sorts of production tricks thrown at it and it extended out to not far short of double its length.
As I’ve said before, I’m not actually all that fond of the 12″ cut as the extra three and a bit minutes veers to being a tad self-indulgent. The b-side was also extended with a segue into one of Paul’s own songs:-
mp3 : Paul Haig – Heaven Sent (12″ version)
mp3 : Paul Haig – Running Away/Back Home
If you want to learn how different it was to the Josef K days of not much more than 18 months previously:-
mp3 : Josef K – Heaven Sent