Sting/After The Rain Has Fallen (2)
20 years ago, I spent 10 days in London working on a business plan for Beyond Radio. I had started corresponding with a DJ from Cape Town, South Africa in October of 1999. His name is Kieno Kammies and he was looking for a partner in developing an international countdown show. After 6 months with lots of back and forth emails, instant messaging and phone calls we met to finalize plans.
He came to the States later in the year and we went on a number of meetings (so much of it is a blur to me now) but the end result was a non-starter. It was a genuinely exciting period that I would not give up for anything. In reading some of the emails there was lots of energy and enthusiasm. There was also maybe an aspect of naivety. This was a time when the internet business boom was in full swing and we felt we could ride that wave.
Kieno has gone on to a successful talk radio career in South Africa and I had a great second half of my restaurant career, running events at a number of locations for a local New England company and eventually for celebrity chef, Ming Tsai. Never did I give up my work on Beyond Radio, though certainly it was back burner and more sporadic in nature.
Our time In London was mostly dank. Rainy, chilly weather for the most part. I do remember at least one nice day where we went to a woman’s cottage that we had met. Of course, I don’t remember the circumstances of that but I’m confident it was orchestrated by Kieno (he was definitely more outgoing than me). I do recall eating a lot of Aubergine and meat from a small restaurant that was delicious. Neither of us had a lot of disposable money but we decided to treat ourselves to a pub crawl by hiring a livery who gave us a nice tour of the city. That was a great day.
The other part that was memorable was the new music I discovered while there. The first of these was a song I already knew. I had the Sting album “Brand New Day” and this song was the third single release, though it wasn’t released until the end of April. I heard it in a store in London and it sounded like they had done a more pop radio version. It was a radio edit of the Tin Tin Out remix. Back then when a song that I knew hit radio it evoked a certain change, one of excitement. The song hit my chart on April 8, the first week we were in London and moved up quickly, 41-16-4-2 in 4 weeks. I do not recall what kind of airplay it got in the States. It reached #31 in the UK (but only on the chart for 1 week) and did not make the Hot 100 in Billboard.
The song starts with a Middle Eastern flavor and ends in an anthemic “there’ll still be love in the world” repeated lyric. The loose subject of the song is about freeing a Saharan princess. There were a lot of world beat sounds on the album which won a Grammy for best Pop Vocal album. The title track was the first single and did marginally well and featured Stevie Wonder on harmonica. The album sold 3.5 million copies, propelled in large part by the second single “Desert Rose” (43), which features Algerian vocalist Cheb Mami. The song was not looking as if it would be a hit until it was featured in a Jaguar commercial in March 2000. While older songs had been used in commercials prior to this, ‘Rose’ was the first new song to be used like that. Since then there have been a myriad of songs that have risen in popularity because of commercial placement.
There were other songs that I heard in London that did not get airplay in the States. The song “Pure Shores” (7) by British/Canadian girl group All Saints has had lasting endurance for me. It had a similar trajectory to Sting’s song, moving 43-18-7-7 over those first 4 weeks, ultimately peaking at #4 on my chart. In total they charted 9 top 10’s in the UK but only 1 song, 1998’s “Never Ever” (the spoken intro is cringe-worthy) was a hit in the States, peaking at #5. ‘Shores’ was featured in the Leonardo DeCaprio movie “The Beach” (there is a line “take me to the beach” in the song), so it did get some exposure here.