Limahl – Across The Ocean

Limahl

Totally 80s is almost upon us and about to work its way around the country.

Limahl-promo

One of the international superstars on the bill is Limahl who had two massive hits in 80s with Too Shy and the epic Never Ending Story. It was great talking to Limahl who reminisced about the 80s and said he is just as happy to be playing his hit singles just as much now as he did back in the day. Across The Ocean spoke to Limahl (aka Christopher Hamill).

Great that you’re a part of the Totally 80s line up, it has been far too long…

Good morning your time, it is, it has been thirty one years since I was there. I’ve still got hair, my voice is ok, and I’m good to go.

Wow, that was 1984 at the peak of your career wasn’t it?

I was a new kid on the block, I was young and popular and was very exciting actually. My manager at the time Billy Gaff who previously managed Rod Stewart came with me and introduced me to a top circle of music people in Sydney, went and did Count Down with Molly –did he name his book after me? The Never Ending Story or something, made me smile!

Do you enjoy playing bills like this with similar artists who were big in the 80s?

Well, do I enjoy it? Yeah, I enjoy it very much. It is great fun, sure I’m not an A-lister. People might look down on these tours but I remember ten years ago I did a tour in London called The Bestest Guy In Town Live which had a host of 70s acts that I grew up with because my era is the mid-70s where I started buying my records. I think your first records always stay with you. It was Javarus and Gloria Gaynor and people like that… I had the best night. It was a huge stadium and it was packed. Is nostalgia frowned upon? It shouldn’t be, it is a very valid emotion, it is a real emotion. Think of songs where you were growing up and sometimes you can literally be teary.

It is weird how a song can take you to a place and so that is my role now. I’m very happy with it, I love it. I see people smiling back at me when they hear the first bars of Too Shy or Never Ending Story. They throw their arms up in the air and I know what they are going through or for want of a better phrase I know what they are feeling. I have that feeling to when I listen to old songs I grew up with. I’m very happy to do this sort of tour and for someone who has only had a couple of hits it is the best way to tour. You get a promoter that puts it together and makes it a bit more interesting.

Frowned upon? Seriously?

The wonderful thing about hits that have been around a long time like mine they carry a certain weight. It is a bit like an old vase from the 60s sudden has got value, in a way I’m an antique. I’ve gained more value with age and I think that is wonderful because there was a period in the early 90s when I thought it was over and nobody cared, I was disappointed about that. I threw myself in to the role of trying to become a music producer and be behind the scenes for other artists cause at least then I was still doing what I knew, I was still doing what I was good at. It is a bit like the footballer that goes on to be the football manager or the actor that goes on to direct. That’s what I thought I would be doing and suddenly in 1997 there was all this interest again in the 80s in the UK. The first 80s compilation came out and included Too Shy and went to number one. The other record companies saw this and started doing their versions of the 80s and before you knew it there 80s nights of radio stations and 80s nights at nightclubs and here I am nineteen years later. The phone is still ringing and every year I think it’s over now and no one would be interested and I’m too old. Really, the opposite is true, no one is more surprised than me.

It is amazing that essentially what is old is new again.

Obviously we live in a very different world and you’ve got a plethora of radio stations and their playlists. I remember seeing an interview with a guy from The Eagles just as the band broke up, all these other stations came along and kept their music alive. In a sense that is what happening with Too Shy and Never Ending Story. Never Ending Story particularly in Europe is on some many play lists and radio stations that I get invitations to perform all the time whether that is shows or TV or whatever.

If the phone keeps ringing is it hard to say no?

I don’t think like that anymore! I just think of it as work, my job is what I set out to do and I’m doing it. I don’t have a record deal, I’m not recording, I’m not looking for another hit, I’m just enjoying the journey of where the two main hits takes me. That’s a nice thing to have!

Is that your secret to longevity, sit back and enjoy it?

Well, I like that, the secret to longevity! Is there a secret? I don’t know! It is a combination of factors and a lot of it is luck and it was two or three years ago where Too Shy was short listed for a global campaign for the drink Pepsi. That probably would have given a somewhat of a renaissance I think. There’s always new interest if one of the songs is used in a high profile way for example The Never Ending Story was used in a Swedish lottery for a couple of years. Too Shy was also in the film The Wedding Singer, the film did well, the soundtrack did well and if anything happens it will come that way in the same way You Sexy Thing by Hot Chocolate in the film Full Monty. Something like that I’ll embrace it if it comes along. I hope that I’m still around and healthy and I can do whatever is needed. I don’t have a manager, I don’t have a record deal and I’m not recording as I say and I’m just enjoying working with the old songs, that’s fine.

Do you get sick of singing Too Shy or Never Ending Story?

When I see people smiling and when they hear the intro for Too Shy and Never Ending Story it makes me feel good. How can you get fed up with that? I think Too Shy is close to my heart because I co-wrote and I can visualise the living room of the council flat when we were first writing the song. The whole era is quite nostalgic for me and Never Ending Story was a gift really. To receive a call from Giorgio Moroder to record the song was a bit like if you’re an actor and you get a call from Steven Speilberg. At the time, I don’t know how they viewed him in Australia, he was huge music producer in America and Europe. I just love being a part of those.

Does it frustrate you when you see how much the music industry has changed and not necessarily for the better?

It doesn’t frustrate me but in a way the progress excites me. The way that musicians can have more control, have their own profile on iTunes or whatever it is, can have their music streamed on Spotify… it is a different world and you have to just go with the flow.

Looking back at the eighties, what was the biggest highlight for you?

I’m from a little town in the north of the UK, my family were poor and certainly did not have any music business connections, nobody was going to be in the music business but somehow I ran away from home and made my way to London. So even beyond that, just being in London was exciting for me. There were so many things that I could say that were highlights but if I had to name a few it would be meeting Princess Dianna, I was standing in a line up at a charity show next to Boy George. She came along, it was very brief, after she died that meeting became very poignant. I was on the same record label as Queen and the record company invited me to the Queen concert at Wembley Stadium. After the show, of course, there was an after party and I was introduced to Freddie Mercury. That moment was very poignant too, things like where I have met some fantastic legends they really do stay with me.

 

Rob Lyon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rob Lyon has been writing about all things music for well over ten years in Adelaide clocking up more live shows each year seeing the best going round.

Whether it is rummaging through vinyl at record stores such as Clarity and Title finding hidden gems to scouring the internet to find that album by the next big thing or chasing bands to get that elusive autograph and photo his passion is music all the way.
Rob Lyon

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