Steve Piggot was something of a talisman and knew most of the local recording talent both in and around Sheffield and further afield around Manchester too. One individual had always attracted his attention and that person, again by coincidence, was visiting Sheffield to record in Piggot’s studio right after the current Marcus/Tich session.
The story goes, that Richard Darbyshire, overheard the backing track, and Marcus’s wailings over the top, while waiting to start his session. Marcus asked Richard if he would stick a ‘guide’ vocal on the track so they could punt it to the record companies. Richard, was reticent because he had his own project going and didn’t want any confusion with different tapes floating around the industry, but eventually agreed to vocal the track after Marcus poured a few pints down him. The result, was phenomenal. Richard’s massive soul voice on top of that pounding track with the catchy synth hook was pure magic. “We all new, pretty much right there and then, that we had a worldwide hit on our hands”, recalls Marcus.
Living In A Box, the track, was born, but unless a record label signed it, of course, it would collect dust on the shelf of Steve Piggot’s studio and never be heard of again. Richard gave the track his blessing and by mid ’86 Marcus and Tich were heading south to London to start knocking on the doors of the record companies.
Despite having contacts with a lot of London agents that Marcus had been using to book live acts, they found those contacts were pretty useless when it came to getting recording contract offers, so they started by the most logical route... the Yellow Pages. Huddled in a phone box on Holland Park Avenue in West London, Marcus and Tich went through the list of record companies starting at ‘A’ for A and M. “We went to see some idiot in A and R who heard three tracks, Living In A Box was sandwiched in the middle, and the nerd picked a ballad called ‘Can’t Stop The Wheel’! He didn’t even notice the big one. Although we were happy to have got the meeting and that all in all he’d liked what we’d done, we were a bit down that he wasn’t running round his office screaming SMASH”. So, off they went, undeterred, to the next meeting which was ‘C’ for China Records, a small independent in Notting Hill who were having hits with Art Of Noise at the time. Bob Grace of China and Empire Music Publishers recalls, “It was the end of a long, tiring day and my secretary said there were two guys from Sheffield waiting down stairs to see me. I thought, do I really need to hear another crap demo today? And, thankfully, as they’d come all that way, I thought I’d give them 5 minutes.... I’m not sure if they were on something but they rushed in to my office 10 feet off the ground and stuck the tape in the machine, selected the track they wanted to play me, as I’d said I’d only listen to one, and hit play. It is very rare that you get the hairs on the back of your neck standing on end but I can honestly say that that was one of those moments. They’d done it! They’d written an absolute out of the box smash. We had to get that track Living In A Box out.”