It had taken 25 years, but a quarter of a century after his first Hit, Cor Baby That´s Really Free, John Otway was in the Top Ten again in 2002 with Bunsen Burner.

Over the years Otway´s fans had clubbed together to buy him a birthday present. When asked what he would like for his special 50th present, John decided that what he would like, most of all, was another Hit. He was very keen to loose his One Hit Wonder label and was aware that his fans were just as tired of the hitless years as he was.

John had not been very good at picking successful singles, so it was decided that the fans themselves should pick his present and choose the song they felt had the most potential to soar to the higher reaches of the UK charts. An 11 track CD was produced, and, to ensure that Otway could not cheat and pick his favourite, the Electoral Reform Society conducted a ballot to decide which one was to be the Hit.

The track they chose was Bunsen Burner, it was inspired by John´s daughter's science homework and produced by Barry Upton. Barry, who had written and produced 5678 for Steps, had e-mailed Otway "just knocked Kylie Minogue off the number one album spot, want a hand with the Hit!".

The b-side of the single was recorded at Abbey Road. The studio that was famous for the fab four was booked to capture the 1,000 piece choir of Otway fans who are credited, along with the other musicians, as backing singers on the CD.

So confident were John and his following that he would cease to be a micro-star by the time he reached 50, that they booked the London Palladium for the night the chart was announced, to celebrate their success, even before they knew what the hit song was going to be. Five days after this sell out show Otway had achieved his goal and was back on Top Of The Pops.

John first became notorious back in 1977, after an appearance on the Old Grey Whistle Test with his occasional partner Wild Willy Barrett.


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