Written by Pmachine 23 Apr 2006, 23:3323 Views
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?? Back in 1984 funksters Feelabeelia were signed to an off-shoot of Island Records. Singer Mark Price, drummer Nick Murphy and keyboardist Andy Povall were was recording their second single, Feel It, at a state-of-the-art studio down south. Then the Motown legend's manager rang, asking if Wonder could borrow the studio for the day, as they were using the only mixing desk in the country compatible with the great man's studio back at home. Feelabeelia graciously made way and waited for Wonder to arrive after a gig at the NEC.
Nick, 37, said: "We thought he would come down in a car with a couple of mates, but he pulled up in a coach with 60 people on it. It was absolutely fantastic. It turned into a massive party. "He did the vocals on I Just Called To Say I Love You. We kept nipping in and out to listen. It was unbelievable. He finished early on the Monday morning and said 'what are you doing?' So the producers put the tape up and said 'it's really good but you could use this, that and the other'. Being a cheeky Leicester chap I said 'well you do it then'. He just got Wonderlove in on the backing vocals, put some harmonica on and in half an hour he was gone."
Wonder's record label immediately cracked down on Feelabeelia crediting him on the track. But there was no rule about keeping people guessing. And the band turned the mystery into a virtue, teasing inquisitive reporters with clues like "errr, it's not Larry Adler". Although Simon Bates A-listed Feel It, and played it to death, it peaked at 75 in the charts and Island soon dropped them. But it was a different matter overseas. Feel It reached number four in the charts in Italy and was in the German top 10. Nick said: "We were stars abroad, and on the dole here. It was quite weird." Quincy Jones stepped in and signed them to his Qwest label and the band jetted out to Los Angeles to finish their album East to West.??Feelabeelia's career ended in bitter court wrangles with Qwest after they refused to release the follow-up album. Nick left to form Ska-Boom, Andy ran a studio in Leicester and is now in El Pussy Cat Ska and Mark is pumping gas in between writing children's books.