THIS WILL BRING A TEAR TO YOUR EYE

Peo­ple get the chance to record the song that means most to them in a heart­warm­ing new show

Daily Mail Weekend Magazine - - NEWS - Jenny John­ston This Is My Song be­gins on Thurs­day at 8pm on BBC1.

The 60s were in their in­fancy when Ge­orge ‘Joey’ Spruce led his band off-stage at The Cav­ern Club in Liver­pool and ex­changed a few words with the ner­vous singer pre­par­ing to go on. ‘We’d done a few songs I’d writ­ten my­self, and he said how good they were. I said, “Have you writ­ten any your­self?” And he said, “We have, but they’re not that good,”’ re­calls Joey, laugh­ing.

Lit­tle won­der, given that the young man was Paul McCart­ney. Yes, that Paul McCart­ney. ‘I mean, those songs then went on to be­come some of the most fa­mous in the world,’ says Joey, now 75. ‘But at the time none of us had any idea.’

The Bea­tles be­came le­gends of course, Joey’s band less so. Earl Pre­ston And The TTs are still fondly re­mem­bered by a cer­tain gen­er­a­tion in their na­tive Liver­pool, but world­wide fame eluded them. Joey and the sur­viv­ing mem­bers of his band got an un­ex­pected chance to re­live their glory days, how­ever, when they were asked to take part in a new TV show that sees un­likely singers cut their very own record in a record­ing stu­dio.

This Is My Song, a heart­warm­ing two-parter, gives mem­bers of the pub­lic a chance to make a record that is spe­cial to them, for what­ever rea­son. All sorts of sto­ries – some tear­jerk­ers – are told in the process. One of the most up­lift­ing ones comes from Charles Michael Duke, 23. He was born with cys­tic fi­bro­sis, and had just had a dou­ble lung trans­plant af­ter three years on the wait­ing list. See­ing him sing Ella Hen­der­son’s Yours, backed by a full choir, will have you reach­ing for the tis­sues.

Then there’s Matt Bond, 26, who plays bass gui­tar in the in­die band Blue River. He takes the lead spot as a singer for the first time with a ren­di­tion of Bas­ket Case by Green Day. And what’s his mo­ti­va­tion? He has a pro­nounced stam­mer when speak­ing – but not when singing, and he wanted to raise aware­ness of the prob­lem.

For Joey Spruce though, the ap­pear­ance was a trip down mem­ory lane. ‘I hadn’t been in a record­ing stu­dio for years – and never one like this,’ he says. ‘At first the other lads were a bit Charles in the vo­cal booth, record­ing his spe­cial track funny about do­ing it, but I said to them, “When are we, at our age, likely to be in­vited on TV again?”’

Joey was pretty ner­vous though. He’s been through the mill health-wise re­cently, fight­ing prostate cancer, and hadn’t sung for five years un­til tak­ing part in this pro­ject. ‘My con­fi­dence took a real hit be­cause of my ill­ness,’ he ad­mits. ‘I was a bag of nerves, but I’m glad I did it. It was fan­tas­tic to be back with the guys, with that mic in front of me. And to have an ac­tual copy of the record we cut too. It’s a lovely thing to have.’

The show is touch­ing , with the sur­viv­ing band mem­bers lay­ing down in­stru­men­tal tracks and vo­cals for Will You Still Love Me To­mor­row. All their wives are al­lowed into the stu­dio for the fi­nal per­for­mance – and the tears flow all round. ‘It was magic,’ says Joey. ‘What a thing for the grand­chil­dren to watch.’

Joey (cen­tre) record­ing vo­cals, with three of his band­mates from Earl Pre­ston And The TTs. Right: the band in 1963

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