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Tennant said in 1000 UK #1 Hits
by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh, "We arrived in the studio and Bobby O had programmed Michael Jackson's Billie Jean
drum pattern. Chris started to play along and I started playing chords. In terms of the lyrics, the inspiration for West End Girls came from The Message by Grandmaster Flash. I remember once staying at my cousin's house in Nottingham and we were watching some kind of gangster film with James Cagney, and just as I was dropping off to sleep, the lines 'sometimes you're better off dead, there's a gun in your hand and it's pointing to your head' came into my head and I thought 'that's quite good' so I went off to find a pen."
Another influence was TS Eliot's poem The Wasteland. Said Tennant: "What I like about it is, it's the different voices, almost a sort of collage. All the different voices and languages coming in and I've always found that very powerful. So on West End Girls it's different voices. The line 'Just you wait till I get you home' is a direct quotation."
Recorded in one take, this originally missed the UK Top 40 in 1984, though it made #1 in Belgium. The song was re-recorded with producer Stephen Hague. As Stephen explained, "I heard the Bobby O version and thought it had potential. I felt it should be slowed down and the story told a little clearer. Neil and Chris agreed once they'd heard it." The above 2 quotes are also from 1000 UK #1 Hits.
This won the 1987 BRIT Award for Best Single. (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for all above)
On Glen's résumé: hit songwriter, Facebook dominator, and member of Styx.
Don Brewer of Grand Funk
The drummer and one of the primary songwriters in Grand Funk talks rock stardom and Todd Rundgren.