POP favourites Go West and Wet Wet Wet have united on tour for the first time, but both acts owe their incredible longevity to Hollywood soundtracks – they didn’t want to be on.
Scots group The Wets hadn’t had a No1 for three years when they topped the charts in 1994 for an astonishing 15 weeks withis All Around from the Hugh Grant movie Four and a .
While English duo Go West had endured an even longer barren spell with five years outside the top 40 before their song King of Wishful Thinking was snapped up for the 1990 romPretty Woman starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.
But both groups dragged their feet when Hollywood came calling with The Wets insisting they wanted to sing Barry Manilow’s 70s track Can’t Smile Without You instead of The Troggs 60s classic.
While Go West’s Peter Cox and Richard Drummie were appalled by the idea of Gere’s rich businessman character Edward Lewis paying Julia’s street prostitute Vivian Ward to spend the week with him.
Richard explains: “As soon as we wrote King of Wishful Thinking I said, ‘This is a big one.’
“I sent it to the head of ourcompany Ron Fair and he agreed we had a big song but said there’s this he’d like to put it forward for.
“I went, ‘No, no, no. Because if it goes in athen we will be off for six months touring America promoting that instead of us.’
“But he told me the working title was ‘3,000.’ I was like ‘Oh, it’s a sci-fi picture?’ And he was like, ‘No, it’s a romantic comedy,’ which I thought sounded even worse.
“I said,’ Well, who’s in it?’ And Ron said Julia Roberts, who I’d never heard of.
“He then told me Richard Gere was in it too and I’m thinking, ‘When did his An Officer and a Gentleman come out – the 18th century?’
“So I was being very rude about it all but it got worse when I asked what the premise was?
“Ron told me, ‘Well, the rich guy hires the prostitute for $3,000 for the week.’ I exploded, ‘And you call that a romantic comedy?’”
He adds: “Anyway, to cut a long story short, Peter fortunately didn’t agree.
“So we did end up flying all around America for six months promoting it, but of course it helped our single sell something like 12 million copies.”
Hampshire-born Troggs frontman Reg Presley – who wroteis All Around – earned £1.5million in royalties from The Wets cover version alone.
So Go West must have raked in a pretty penny from their Pretty Woman track?
Richard says: “I’m not going to say exactly how much we made, but during lockdown it was quite handy that I didn’t need to check down the back of the couch for loose change.
“Let’s just say that writing it was a good afternoon’s.”
Like Wet Wet Wet, Go West also formed in 1982, before theduo won the Best Breakthrough Act at the Brits in 1986 and raked up a string of hits including We Close Our Eyes, Call Me and Faithful.
However the pair were soon in the doldrums after their second albumOn The Couch flopped in 1987 – despite superstar Kate Bush performing on their track The King Is Dead.
Richard, 64, recalls: “It hadn’t gone very well as we had tried to change our style to sound a bit like Steely Dan.”
Despite the duo enjoying a “rebirth” in 1990 thanks to Pretty Woman, it didn’t last long when lead singer Peter Cox, now 67, decided to go solo.
Richard says: “King of Wishful Thinking gave us a foothold in The States but then Peter decided that he wanted to do his own thing.
“I could kind of see what he was thinking as we had been together for over 10 years by this point and it was always fairly head to head stuff when it came to writing together.
“Sometimes it was a joyous experience, but a lot of the time there were disagreements. And when there’s only two of you, it’s all about who shouts loudest.
“But you know, that’s how we managed to make the music that we did.”
Richard moved into producing after he got married and had two, but by the naughties 80s music was starting to grow in popularity again.
He explains: “We kept being asked to get Go West back again, although I was happy producing for other people at the time.
“Then one day a promoter asked us to joinwith other 80s at Wembley Stadium and I thought it would be great for my to actually see us in front of an audience.
ANT-MAN MICKEY TAKE HAD US IN STITCHES
GO West have seen their songs used in everything from Rocky IV to Family Guy – but it was a Paul Rudd spoof that really saw their phones light up.
Ant-Man star Paul, 54, performed a near perfect mickey take of the duo’s King of Wishing Thinking video with US talk show star Jimmy Fallon, 48.
And Richard admits he was amazed at the pair’s attention to detail with Paul imitating Go West frontman Peter Cox while US talk show star Jimmy portrayed Richard in the skit from five years ago.
He says: “Basically what they did was recreate our King of Wishful Thinking video frame by frame. It must have taken them ages.
“I woke up on Saturday morning and my phone had blown up with all these people going, ‘Wow, look at this – did you know about it?’
“We didn’t know anything about it but both Jimmy and Paul got us down to a tee, especially Paul doing Peter from the way he dances, sings, and even his shoulder shake.
“It all helps us because it gets people who have never heard of you looking you up and we even had another Hollywood production recently asking if they could use one of our tracks.
“So our songs seem to have a life of their own.”
The same track was also used in a 2015 episode of Family Guy called Chris and Brian’s Excellent Adventure.
Richard adds: “In Family Guy they do the same dance to King of Wishful Thinking and afterwards Stewie says, ‘So that was the nineties?’
“I thought, ‘Yeah – we were the nineties’.”
“Once we’d tooled up to do that, then anothercame up and another after that and we’ve been doing that ever since.”
He adds: “I don’t know the reason but a lot of people believe the 80swere better than the 90s ones.
“I’m not knocking the 90s because that’s when things really happened for us in The States, but I’ve noticed whenever we do a, the 80s crowds are certainly busier than the 90s ones.”
Eventually Wet Wet Wet pulledis All Around from the shelves after then frontman Marti Pellow claimed the track was “doing everybody’s head in”.
But Richard firmly believes bothowe their extended careers to soundtracks.
He says: “The Wets cancelled their song because they said everyone was sick of hearing it.
“But I guess the simple truth is we wouldn’t be doing this tour together now if it wasn’t for those.”
*Go West & Wet Wet Wet’s Best of Both Worlds tour comes to Edinburgh’sHall on February 6 and Glasgow’s Hall on February 7, 2024. available from Ticketmaster.co.