In 1983, Kajagoogoo stormed their strategy to the highest of the charts with an enormous debut single and even greater hair. However the band unceremoniously kicked out their talisman singer, Limahl, simply as they have been getting warmed up. He would take pleasure in even higher worldwide solo success with a monitor that retains on giving. In 2020 we spoke to him about his endless story…
It’s becoming that Limahl loved his greatest solo hit with The NeverEnding Story. Ever because it topped charts all over the world, it continues to resonate with new audiences.
Its inclusion within the collection three finale of the Netflix smash Stranger Issues is one in every of a number of outstanding TV syncs which have opened one other, largely surprising chapter in Limahl’s vibrant profession. As he responds with a brand new single, Traditional Pop tracked him down to debate the most recent twist within the plot.
Now 61, the person born Christopher Hamill is candid however content material – though there have been loads of cliffhangers to get so far. Rising up in Wigan with little cash, by his personal admission he was one thing of an underdog.
“I felt like I had lots to show,” he tells us. “I used to be bullied in school for being homosexual, I didn’t bond with my dad. I feel I did come down with a chip on my shoulder. Though I’ll not have put it in these phrases, it was simply there in my psyche.”
He discovered an escape in music. “I used to be the child with the radio caught to his ear behind the category after I ought to’ve been finding out. I used to be obsessive about music – it simply represented extra enjoyable.”
Spurred on by profitable a singing competitors, he fled the home drudgery. “I ran away from house at 16, as a result of my dad was a little bit of a bully, a little bit of an alcoholic. I didn’t have any specific talent, so I received a job serving behind the bar, as you do if you’re a young person.”
Musical theatre roles in Godspell and Joseph And The Superb Technicolor Dreamcoat gave him a style of the stage, alongside a couple of bit elements as an actor: The Light Contact, a Clarks sneakers industrial, and Adam And The Ants’ Stand And Ship video.
After singing in a couple of short-lived bands, he replied to an advert posted in Melody Maker. The group, Artwork Nouveau, would quickly develop into Kajagoogoo.
“They have been nice musicians,” he remembers. “Stuart [Croxford Neale] went to Leeds Royal School Of Music, Steve Askew, nice guitarist, Nick Beggs everyone is aware of. Everybody nonetheless talks about that bassline on Too Shy. It was great assembly them.
“I took the prepare as much as Leighton Buzzard they usually auditioned me within the birthday card manufacturing facility the place Jez, the drummer, labored. I checked out all of them and listened and thought, ‘There’s one thing right here.’”
By now, Limahl’s bar work discovered him at London’s swanky Embassy Membership, serving drinks for the glitterati he aspired to hitch.
“I used to see Lemmy from Motörhead in there kicking the fruit machine as a result of he was dropping cash, Elton John’s supervisor getting drunk on the bar. I noticed Gary Numan in there hanging out. I bear in mind there was a celebration for an act that had been very huge from America, referred to as Rose Royce, who have been on the town selling a brand new report and I used to be serving non-public drinks.
“Oddly sufficient, 20 years later I didn’t know I’d be working with the lead singer, Gwen Dickey – however that’s one other story!”
Nevertheless it was an opportunity encounter with Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes that gave the band the break they have been on the lookout for. “It was like a ’moist Wednesday’ or one thing. However Wednesdays by no means felt moist on Previous Bond Road, it was simply glamour all the way in which! I used to be serving drinks to Nick Rhodes and advised him all in regards to the band. I used to be gobsmacked when he stated, ‘Ship me your tape.’
“I received a name per week later and he was very matter of truth. ‘Limahl, I just like the songs, I’m going to take them into EMI and inform them I wish to produce you.’ We’d been turned down by a number of labels, we have been doing the rounds with the demos and it was even exhausting to get conferences. As quickly as Nick stated he needed to become involved, EMI received .”
Rhodes’ patronage helped Kajagoogoo accomplish one thing that even his personal band hadn’t but – a No.1 single, with Too Shy.
“What’s actually odd is that Too Shy wasn’t on the demo tape, so far as I bear in mind. It got here later. I’ve nonetheless received a cassette the place we’re writing the track.
“Stuart, the keyboard participant, writing the melody line of the bridge within the background, and the telephone rings and somebody’s making tea. It’s an actual second in time!”
Nonetheless, the band had no concept they’d a success on their arms. “Worse than that, I bear in mind a advertising and marketing man at EMI pulled me apart earlier than it was launched. He stated, ‘Look, your first single, it’s not going to be a success nevertheless it’s gonna get you seen and we’re wanting on the band long run, so blah blah blah…’
“I bear in mind spending that Christmas fairly disenchanted as a result of he stated it prefer it was the regulation. And, after all, he couldn’t have been extra improper!”
The mane attraction
Kajagoogoo’s arrival was aided by a daring visible picture – a truth usually held towards them in jest, for instance of the overt decadence and extra of the period. Limahl, who sported a very exuberant mane of hair, takes all of it on the chin.
“Oh, I cherished it! Look, we got here out of punk, late-70s, miners’ strikes, energy cuts… When new wave arrived I feel everyone simply needed extra color. So it was loopy names, you recognize, Bananarama, Eurythmics, Kajagoogoo.
“We have been all embracing the optimism that the brand new decade introduced. And, after all, within the aggressive world of music you attempt to stand out from the gang. Everyone was doing that visually.”
Whereas many synth-poppers have been closely influenced by sci-fi comics of their aesthetic, Limahl’s coiffure really impressed the Marvel Comics and X-Males character, Longshot.
“Properly, I’ve by no means seen X-Males, I don’t know the comedian however I’ve heard these rumours.” He inform us that the genesis of his distinctive type started throughout his stint in Godspell, going blond to assist him stand out on stage. Steadily, it morphed into his signature look in Kajagoogoo.
“I’ll always remember the primary tour, the primary gig, I walked out on stage and the primary 10 rows or so had my haircut. I used to be completely gobsmacked – and a bit scared as a result of I all of the sudden felt this sense of duty. I’ve been strongly related to that look nevertheless it was actually an accident, there have been no picture gurus within the background.
“If I used to be strolling round like that now I feel it’d look fairly unhappy. On the time, I had a ball. I loved fucking round with my hair mainly!”
Simply as the longer term was opening up for the group, Limahl was kicked out – apparently by phone – amid pressure over the course they have been heading.
“I used to be fairly gutted. I didn’t perceive. I felt that I used to be so integral to the band’s success. We have been all younger and terribly naive, and I feel with hindsight they most likely regretted it. We may actually have gone on to do two or three albums after which all gone off and crawled up our arses doing solo initiatives!
“It’s a uncommon place to be in if you’ve received the would possibly of somebody like EMI behind you, urgent all of the buttons.”
Dream a dream
Their subsequent singles Ooh To Be Ah and Cling On Now had charted respectably at No.7 and 13. However following a No.1, Limahl says, “It felt just a little bit like we have been dropping momentum, and also you suppose, ‘Oh God, all of it appears to be really fizzling out!’
“I don’t know, I’m wondering if that had an impact on the band. They’ve stated many occasions that they didn’t like being teeny idols. They thought it was distracting from the music.
“However with hindsight they’ve most likely realised – as I’ve – that your followers develop up with you. The Beatles have been teen idols, so have been Duran Duran and Wham! All these artists went on to have nice careers. It’s an enormous ‘what if?’ that we’ll by no means know the reply to.”
The band carried on with bassist Beggs assuming lead vocal duties for 2 extra albums, later repositioning themselves as ‘Kaja’. In the meantime, the newly-solo Limahl loved enormous success with the Giorgio Moroder-penned theme to the 1984 fantasy movie The NeverEnding Story. Did he really feel vindicated by that?
“I actually don’t give it some thought in these phrases. I’ll be actually trustworthy with you, felt it was like I’d misplaced my sound. You already know, we had a sound. Whenever you’re with a bunch of musicians, they’ve a sure type.
“With out the band I used to be all of the sudden simply one other singer on the market with actually no musical id of my very own, and I needed to swim alongside to attempt to discover one thing. The nice aspect of it’s that I discovered my strategy to Giorgio Moroder, however I might positively say that I misplaced out in dropping the musicians of Kajagoogoo.”
The session with Moroder didn’t get off to the very best begin. “I used to be up all evening partying the evening earlier than, smoking cigarettes and ingesting alcohol. I used to be late for the flight, nearly missed it, arrived in Munich drained, couldn’t sing very a lot. Not shocking actually.
“I’ve no excuse for my dangerous behaviour! And he was cool. He goes [affects Italian accent] ‘Hey Leem, don’t fear! We’ve got some meals, some wine, and we come again to the studio.’ That’s what occurred after which we nailed the vocal, thank God!”
Each the movie and track linked with audiences worldwide. “I used to be actually going from nation to nation doing their model of Prime Of The Pops. It was actually like a whirlwind for some time as a result of every part occurs so quick.”
Whereas commercially Limahl would by no means match the success of these early highs, he has loved an unexpected enhance because of outstanding placements in a number of on-trend TV exhibits.
In addition to Stranger Issues, current options in Black Mirror and American Horror Story have seen Limahl’s streaming stats rocket and a brand new technology being turned on to his music.
“An actual Christmas current that you simply’re not anticipating. I simply got here again from Denmark the place I did The X Issue.
I positively really feel that there’s an actual pleasure related to The NeverEnding Story once more and I’m positive it’s due to these exhibits. That’s type of what spurred me on to report and launch one thing now, simply to see if anybody’s !”
With new single Nonetheless In Love out now and the promise of extra music on the way in which, the story continues. So what about that unfinished enterprise with Kajagoogoo?
For years swamped in animosity, the group buried the hatchet in 2003 for VH1’s Bands Reunited, adopted a couple of years later with excursions and a single.
At the moment, there are not any plans, though Limahl stays open to the thought.
“I’ve received nothing however good reminiscences. They’re like my first lover, you recognize. There’ll at all times be one thing distinctive and particular in regards to the relationship I had with Kajagoogoo and all these great issues that we went by means of collectively.”