Listen: Stereo MCs / Connected StereoMCsConnected.mp3
Has there been a better funk/rock single since this? Probably not. I’ll never forget hearing it for the first time. It was at an Island A&R retreat in New Orleans during Jazz Fest in ’92. Jon Baker, who ran Gee Street, brought it straight in from the studio. Everyone’s mouth dropped.
Jon had invited me two years prior to see the band practice/showcase at a space in south London, just near Waterloo Bridge. They’d put one single out in the UK, and were about to be dropped. The rehearsal was spectacular. Just the three piece, with their live drummer Owen. It was slamming as they say.
Island did a deal for Jon’s Gee Street label, but it took a minute. After some dicking around, Jon was getting fed up and had planned to sign with Virgin, but came into my office for one last shot. He played me a new single by his other act, PM Dawn. Their ‘Set Adrift On Memory Bliss’ was a no brainer. Later that day, I went round the Gramercy Park Hotel to hook up with Jon, and meet the P. M. Dawn guys. I kept them there until around 2AM, insuring they’d miss their dinner with Virgin which was supposedly happening. I must ask Jon if that dinner date was really true. Whatever, Jon and I schemed to get Island’s committal quickly. I suggested Jon demand a substantial check within twenty four hours, and that if the label didn’t conclude the deal within one week he could keep the money. Island agreed to it the next day, once Chris heard ‘Set Adrift’. Bingo, two acts signed in one swoop, not to mention getting Jon Baker as part of the deal.
So we proceeded to deliver Stereo MC’s their first hit, in The States instead of England no less, with ‘Elevate My Mind’. Howard Thompson played Happy Mondays the single, and got Stereo MC’s the opening slot on their upcoming red hot US tour. A perfect storm.
Even better, ‘Connected’ was to follow.