One of my proudest career signings that grew to become world famous with over 15 Million sales of the CD's and still selling in this digital age on iTunes, Amazon and Ebay.
Originally released on CD and vinyl by React for the UK. I picked up the series after #3 and took it for the World with the template set by James Horrocks and Tom Foley after the 3 amazing earlier React releases. The timing was ripe to take it universal and an entire music genre was born out of the Café Del Mar series.
Although it took a lot of arm twisting in Mercury to make them sign the project - a few red faces later who said it would never work - a common theme in my career and something that makes me smile, because then I know its going to be a success.
Oddly enough, almost as a sign of the future to come, in 1988, whilst working for MCA Records, I compiled and named an album on vinyl and CD called "The Sunset Sound Of LA" so I was on the right track years before, without even knowing and guess where I have lived the last 9 years watching the Sunset? Yes in LA. Life is strange how it circles back to the beginning.
My only daughter Olivia was brought into the world with a Café Del Mar CD playing in the hospital delivery room which I put on with candles in the room to help her Mum relax - it must have worked because she was out into this world within 45 minutes. Later, whenever Olivia used to cry on a long journey in the car I'd put that Café Del Mar CD in the music player, she'd look at me, nod her head and immediately relax to the music. She's now 16 and still has to have her music on in the car no matter how far the journey.
Here's a video from 1997 featuring Jose Padilla, Tong, Rampling, Tony De Vit, Jason Bye and yours truly talking about the Ibiza season '97.
The Café Del Mar project was largely thanks to DJ Jose Padilla the Picasso of his time, his deep melancholy music orchestrated to the daily Sunset in Ibiza with his free cassettes recorded live from the decks. I still have Cassettes No:1 and No:2 from Jose DJ'ing at the Cafe to the sunset from 1993.
The 15 Million CD sales helped Manifesto Records become one of the most profitable dance label's in the history of the UK music business, quite possibly even the World, because they are still all selling and will probably never be surpassed. Lucian Grange the CEO of Universal Worldwide once congratulated me in 2002 on the signing of Café Del Mar saying that it was "like signing a mini U2 and saved Mercury Records in the 90's".
Funny, my girlfriend at the time, lovely Liz and I go join Mercury to start the Manifesto dance label and actually end up saving the company with the compilation album they didn't want us to sign - that's life folks !!
However, it wasn't all Jose Padilla and myself, there are a lot of people in the mix who need be acknowledged here including the contributing artists, producers, labels and writers. At Mercury - Howard Berman, Liz Walton, Ann Marie Bigby, Bruno Morelli, Jonathan Green, Jo Weinberg, Luke Neville, Ben Cherrill, Clare Woodcock, Gina Spencer and Ramon at the Cafe itself.
James Horrocks and Thomas Foley of React thank you too for being such complete gentlemen although I'm sure we helped you sell lots more of albums 1, 2 and 3 too :-). Un beso.
This next song always reminds me of Eric Clapton's "You Look Wonderful Tonight" - eh Paco :-)