14 February 2014

Stay Home

Part of the enjoyment of sifting through boxes from storage is revisiting songs that you haven't heard in years. One such song is the single 'Stay Home', by Eg - otherwise known as Francis White. Released in 1995, the single failed to reach the UK top 40, and the album that followed in 1996, Turn Me On I'm A Rocket Man, similarly did not dent the charts. That's a pity, because Stay Home is a well-crafted slice of radio-friendly pop in the vein of late-period Sting or the Lighthouse Family, and boasting an engaging vocal performance from White. Presumably I either heard it played on Gideon Coe's morning show on BBC GLR, or just purchased it from the discount bins at Tower Records in Piccadilly Circus unheard - a bargain at 29 pence.

Rocket Man must have had reasonable industry backing because it was co-produced by Phil Ramone, the famous helmsman of albums by the likes of Paul Simon (Still Crazy After All These Years), Billy Joel (The Stranger) and Frank Sinatra (Duets). Most of the songs are written by Francis, but Stay Home is actually a cover of a single by San Francisco power-popsters Jellyfish. Written by Andy Sturmer, I Wanna Stay Home appeared on the band's first album Bellybutton in 1990 (which also contains the peerless That Is Why). The original is beautiful but perhaps a little more melancholy than White's version, which benefits from the warmth of its self-recorded backing vocals.

While Stay Home and Rocket Man didn't hit paydirt for White, it's pleasing to see that he went on to achieve considerable success in the music business as a songwriter and producer. He scored his first UK chart-topper with Will Young's Leave Right Now in 2003 and his second with Diana Vickers' Once in 2010, and wrote or co-wrote top 10 singles for Joss Stone, Charlotte Church, James Morrison, and Duffy (Warwick Avenue). But I'm guessing that his most rewarding effort has been in co-writing and producing Adele's Chasing Pavements from her enormously successful debut album 19.

See also:
Music: Jellyfish - Now She Knows She's Wrong (1990)
Music: Puffy AmiYumi - Teen Titans Theme (2003)*
Music: Chlöe Howl - No Strings (2013)**

* Written and produced by ex-Jellyfish Andy Sturmer
** (Co-?) written by Eg White (NSFW-L)
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