Q – The sleeve notes for Clean Out The Ashtrays have some great stories.
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read that the head of Mercury delayed the release of the album that became ‘Etc’ for a career-rejuvenating ‘best of’ album – only for ‘The Collection’ to come out a year and a half later and without a single to promote it!
Is there any other particularly bad career advice you’ve received or awful decisions made on your behalf by record companies?

A – I don’t know where to start, and isn’t there enough in that booklet? And let’s remember that I sold a lot of records and I still have a career – so it’s not a tragedy… many other artists have been dealt far worse hands.

My favourite misstep is of my own doing – Simply Red, via our publisher, asked me to write lyrics for them in 1984 (maybe ’85). I refused.