GREG LAMBERT speaks to DAVID WOOD whose shop Promenade Music is marking its 25th birthday and has been nominated for our Sunshine Business Award
There can’t be too many people from Morecambe who have had a number one record.
But when a dance music remake of Gene Kelly’s ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ shot to the top of the charts in June 2008, David Wood had an unlikely hit on his hands.
Released on David’s Faith and Hope record label and recorded by Mint Royale, the track was used for the winning routine in Britain’s Got Talent by dancer George Sampson and was the best selling single in the UK for two weeks’ running.
It was a crazy time for David, who runs the label out of his music instrument shop on Morecambe seafront.
“We were working 15-16 hour days, just doing stuff for the song,” he said.
“We didn’t set up the label with the intention of having a number one, we just wanted to put out music we liked. But it’s a nice feeling.”
A keen trombonist and keyboard player in his youth, David gained broad experience in the music industry after studying at Huddersfield and Manchester, writing and arranging for publishers and working in studios where he created music for adverts, TV and radio.
He also helped edit the first Stone Roses single in an early claim to fame.
David also taught music and one of his earliest pupils was Neil Claxton, who went on to work in the shop and later formed Mint Royale. The two remain close friends.
David opened Promenade Music in 1989. The store is in a stunning location overlooking the bay and has a stellar reputation in the music world.
Customers have included Oasis and Franz Ferdinand, and the shop sells Brian May’s guitars.
“We’ve really embraced the internet and we sell all over the world,” said David.
“We’ve worked hard to get into specialist areas, like church organs and classical guitars, and have become the UK home of many top brands, like RainSong guitars from Seattle, GFI pedal steel guitars from Missouri and Maestro from Singapore.
“We were also Gibson Guitars’ first UK dealer.
“We’ve also had great staff. Steven Wren, Gary Thistlethwaite and Denise Clark have been with me for over 20 years.”
In 1997 David set up the record label and had instant success with Terrorvision’s number two hit ‘Tequila’ in 1999.
Mint Royale then enjoyed a string of Top 40 hits including ‘Don’t Falter’ with Lauren Laverne, ‘Sexiest Man in Jamaica’ with Prince Buster and ‘Blue Song’, featuring the vocals of Steven Wren. Their music has been used on TV adverts and in Hollywood films.
David’s children are also making waves in the music world. Son Harrison plays with some of the top jazz and big bands in the country. And this Friday (April 25) his daughter Jess will compete in the final of the BBC Young Musician of the Year for percussion, to be shown on BBC4.
The St Aubyn’s Academy of Music is also based at Promenade Music and has seen many of Morecambe’s finest young musicians through its doors over the years. Pupils at the school have included Matthew Whitehouse and Ryan Wallace of The Heartbreaks.
“I’d love a Morecambe band to have really big success and The Heartbreaks are such lovely lads,” said David.
Perhaps they will follow in his footsteps and be the next Morecambe act to have a number one?
ALSO nominated for the Sunshine Business Award 2014 are Battersbys Coaches and Gerry’s Fishing Tackle. The short list was picked by a panel including The Visitor editor Nicola Adam, The Visitor content editor Greg Lambert, Vicky Lofthouse of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce, Sue Byers, manager of the Arndale Centre and Lynne Lord, from our main Sunshine Ball sponsors Wright and Lord solicitors. The winner will be announced at the Sunshine Ball at the Midland Hotel on Friday, May 2.