'Goodbye Suzie' was John Howard's first single release in October 1974, and the lead-off track on his 1975 debut L.P. 'Kid In A Big World'.
"I wrote Goodbye Suzie at my manager's office in Hanover Square, London, one autumn evening in 1973. As soon as I played it to him the next day he flipped over it and thought it could be a hit record. We tried a few different approaches with the song in the recording studios, one of them with composer Les Reed, who did a big orchestral arrangement with backing singers including Tony Burrows, legendary session man who had sung lead on hits like Love Grows, Let's Go To San Francisco and United We Stand.
"But none of the approaches sounded quite right, and it wasn't until Tony Meehan got to work on the song when he was commissioned to produce my first album, Kid In A Big World, at Abbey Road in the Spring of '74 that it all came together. Tony treated the song as an out-and-out dramatic pop ballad, got in drummer Bob Henrit to keep it grounded and did a fabulous brass and string arrangement. He built the structure of the song beautifully with his treatment.
"The head of CBS UK, the label which had signed me at the end of '73, Dick Asher, fell in love with the track, declaring it 'a smash!'. My A & R manager, Paul Phillips, thought it needed a remix to lift the vocals and piano and make it a little crisper for radio, and in October 1974 Goodbye Suzie was released as my first single. It was very exciting.
"However, we hadn't expected the instantly negative reaction to the track from BBC Radio 1, which more or less meant the single was bound to flop. I wasn't doing any public appearances so radio was all we had back then. Fab 208 Radio Luxembourg did play it, and in fact it got into their airplay chart, but without BBC radio backing it, we were stymied.
"Fast forward thirty years to 2004, RPM Records re-released my debut album and from the outset Goodbye Suzie was lauded with praise by music journalists, picked out in all the reviews and quickly became 'the standout track', since when the momentum around it has grown and has never stopped growing. It's the nearest thing to my 'classic hit record', topping all John Howard download and streaming sites regularly, mentioned in Tweets and shared on Twitter and on several other Social Media sites. It seems to strike a chord with all who hear it.
"Whenever I perform on stage Goodbye Suzie is the one people ask for, time and again.
"This new video for the track features shots from the August 1974 photo session for the Kid In A Big World album sleeve. They were taken in a derelict house in Shepherds Bush, and while at the time it felt very odd being dressed up to the nines surrounded by dirt and dereliction, the pictures work really well. Only one was ever used at the time, for the L.P. sleeve, and RPM chose another similar shot for their CD release. The photos bring back memories of my life back then, only recently moved to London from Lancashire, with a new record deal and all those hopes and dreams ahead.
"It was a long time coming, but finally, Goodbye Suzie is getting its day in the sun." - JH
Goodbye Suzie, like the album it comes from, Kid In A Big World, can be downloaded from iTunes and all other good download sites. The CD of the album can be purchased from Cherry Red, Amazon and all good music shops.