The big break that never was

By 1975 I had a record deal with Atlantic Records to make an album in the Beatles private Apple Studios, with Mick Taylor producing and Nicky Hopkins sharing piano duty with me. I think I was a true original, not like anyone else around at the time. I had waist-long Bardot blonde hair, wore make-up and dressed like a Parisian woman. My songs were strange, left field and rootsey.

Just as the record was about to be released Mick announced, three days before a gig, that he was leaving The Stones. Atlantic, also the Stones distributors and very narked with mick binned the album on a whim, something I have seen happen a hundred times to friends since. Once a record company has dropped an artist in that way, no other company is going to want to pick up the pieces. My burgeoning British career had vanished before it even started.

Mick told us he was leaving the Stones because he couldn’t justify, in his own mind, being given so much adulation and money to basically play three cords. Rose, and I sat up all night trying to dissuade him, but failed.

Disillusioned by the British scene which, at the time, was full of tripe like Abba, the Nolan Sisters and the Bay City Rollers, I returned to Paris, thinking that perhaps at twenty fourI was too old and had missed my chance.

I worked as a subway busker and session musician in Paris, lived off the Place Pigale in a house full of whores, wrote articles for the music press and did whatever I could to make a living, treading water.