The Welbeck Group; a History: 5. Success, and Coping with Success

As Danny recalls

“From the Glastonbury gig onwards we were on a mad roller-coaster ride. It all seemed to happen so quickly. There was no time to breathe or think. We were on our way!”

The only one less than euphoric was Robby Welbeck, who had split from his (relatively) long-term girlfriend and was pessimistic about the future. He recalls:

“I viewed the future with trepidation- decisions were being made so quickly, and with money as the seemingly most important thing. I thought we would lose our identity, our roots, and I still consider I was right!”

Although Rick Stein, the Welbeck Group manager, had not managed any big-name Groups, he opened the door wide to Lady Opportunity’s knocking, asked her, in, sat her down, gave her a brandy and then unveiled his plans to her. These included an album, a single, a UK and Europe tour, and the prospect of a US tour.

There was no doubt that Rick was quick off the mark, and had an eye for good business, but he was a hard taskmaster. Despite the fact that the boys were grown men (Colin Cornell, the keyboard player, and the drummer, Alex Cooper were married and/or had children) he persuaded them that he always knew best, and that they should concentrate on being pop stars and leave the business side to him.

A Welbeck band pre-tour warm-up gig was played here in Vauxhall, London

The European Tour was put on hold because Colin Cornell had a drugs conviction, and had “lost” his passport (he had actually sold it a few years earlier to an agent who brought illegal immigrants into the country, and had never bothered to apply for a new one, lest his activities be found out)!

The tour was therefore confined to the UK, but thanks to some good publicity and Rick’s aggressive marketing of the Welbeck Group, they had some very high profile gigs around the country, even acting as support to The Stranglers at one gig (that didn’t go well), and to a reformed Marillion, where they got loud plaudits from audience and Marillion alike.

There was a break from touring for a month in the Summer, for the Welbeck Group to record their first single and album. It was at this point that Danny Welbeck realised that most of the pressure was on him. As leader, the Group’s creator and so far the only songwriter, it was for him to make up the arrangements for the songs, and write a new one, not to be on the album, as a single.  Colin Cornell helped Danny Welbeck a lot in this regard; as a keyboard man he was used to trying different arrangements, keys, scales and hooks, and together he and Danny came up with the plans for the recording.

Robby Welbeck, despite his pessimistic and more recently depressive tendencies, turned up for all the recording sessions and played well, even playing bass synth on one track when Colin was indisposed (more of this later!).

The single was, of course, a great success. “Time is not a Healer” got to the number two spot, and did equally well in Europe- even becoming a number one for two weeks in Germany.

The Album, which although in truth a loose collection of unconnected songs, was themed as a kind of wish for some of the spirits and ideals of Valhalla as extolled by the Norse Gods, to come and guide politics and relationships today. Despite the rather Prog Rock theme and Viking Sleeve art, the album got good reviews and sold well. Another rung on the ladder of success had been climbed!

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