Q – This is old news, of course, but reading this on wikipedia:
“Following a massive purge of the artist roster that came with Universal Music’s takeover of Polygram, he was dropped from the label with at least two full-length recordings locked in its vaults (later released in 2002 by One Little Indian).”
…I started wondering how much of that stuff is still in the vaults. Are there still recordings that you can’t (or haven’t) realeased from the Universal-debacle?
A – I was actually wanting an opportunity to respond to the Wikipedia article.
Now, don’t get me wrong here – I WAS dropped by Capitol records, and by RykoDisk. But my departure from Polygram (not Universal) was by mutual agreement. After I had made Love Story, all seemed well with Polygram and I, we had endured a couple of rough years (Bad Vibes) but this album had done better and things were looking up. My A&R man had concluded that after trying this, that and everything else on Love Story, my production seemed as good as anyone else’s, so, he said – off and make another record like that again… I did. In 1996 I recorded an album which was never released. We mixed it. A&R liked it. My publisher said he loved it. Then the A&R man was fired and my new go to person – the MD, Howard Berman, had different ideas. He didn’t want to release the new album, but wanted to release a Best Of compilation, and then when this record had set the world on fire, we would release the 1996 record. Well, foolishly I went along with this for a while, but by the time ‘The Collection’ was ready for release (on Polygram TV), the single ‘That Boy’ was pulled at the last minute. It had become apparent to me that Polygram were not excited by the idea of new material by me and it if I was to continue making records, it should be elsewhere. Howard and I spoke and he agreed that I could be released from my contract. Shortly afterwards Polygram was bought by Universal.
When I left that whole 1996 album was stuck in limbo and the recordings I had made with the Negatives (some of which was for the two new tracks for The Collection) were in the same place. I decided that I wanted to finish the Negatives album and so I did so with my own money and substantial help from my publisher – Chrysalis. This album ‘the negatives’ eventually included several tracks (some remixed) from the 1996 record. The remaining 1996 tracks made up the meat of the album ‘etc’.
There you have it.
All that remains in the Polygram, now Universal vaults are b-side recordings which were never compiled on an album and s few interesting out takes or false starts from album projects.