Richard Hawley has revealed he has Shirley Bassey to thank for his forthcoming appearance on one of the new albums from the Manic Street Preachers.
The former member of Pulp and The Longpigs, now a successful solo musician, met Manics’ frontman James Dean Bradfield after they both contributed songs to Dame Shirley Bassey’s 2009 album, The Performance.
“James just rang me,” said Hawley. “I’ve respected him for a long time.
“I love that they stand for something and that they’ve stood by it, unlike a lot of bands and politicians.
“I met James at that Shirley Bassey concert because we both wrote songs for her. I was sat at the side of the stage just watching her and completely in awe, then James just came up and tapped me on the shoulder and we just sat together completely enthralled by Ms Bassey.
“We got chatting afterwards and it turns out that both of our fathers were first-wave teddy boy bikers. You don’t meet many other people like that.
“It was a shared experience we had of growing up with people who were fairly wild.”
The Manics previously revealed that they have been working on two new records simultaneously – one acoustic-based, the other spikier and angrier.
“They’ve recorded new material at their own studio in Cardiff and in Hansa studios in Berlin – where David Bowie recorded Heroes,” said Hawley.
“We got chatting, swapped phone numbers and texted each other occasionally, but he was off having a family and a break while I was away on the road, then he just phoned me and said, ‘We’ve written this song and all decided that you have to sing it or it won’t go on the album.’
“So I just said, ‘I can’t let you down.’, and it was a great honour I drove down to Cardiff in a day and it’s a really beautiful song.
“I play a bit of Hawaiian guitar on it and it’s me and James doing a duet. He sings one part and I sing another.
“Nick wrote the words I sing and James wrote his bit, so it’s a very personal song and I was surprised that Nicky wanted me to sing it, but now that I’ve done it I can see why. It’s quite dramatic and acoustic.”
Manic Street Preachers will headline Festival No.6 at Portmeirion in September.
Details from www.festivalnumber6.com