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Stop! Story
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With the renewed interest in Sam's best-known and much-loved song Stop! we asked the American co-writer Gregg Sutton to offer his perspective on the writing, recording and success of this terrific song. We also coaxed a few words out of Sam herself about the origins of Stop!

It was 1986: Sam was only 22 and had been flown to Los Angeles to write some songs. Nice! "I was driving on the Pacific Coast Highway heading south and the idea for Stop! came into my head. I kept it there until I got back to my hotel room where I probably jotted down some thoughts. I didn't really realise that it was a blues song - I'd had no blues experience then." She felt she had most of the song when she later met up with two New York musicians, Gregg Sutton and Bruce Brody.

Stop Sign

Sam and Gregg had enjoyed writing Walking Back to Me together in Los Angeles at the suggestion of their mutual publisher Stuart Hornall, so they decided to do it again. The only available time was the afternoon before Gregg's group Lone Justice were playing an evening gig at the Sports Centre in downtown LA, so they all met in Bruce's hotel room. Gregg remembers "Sam came in with the concept pretty well in hand and sang us the chorus, plus I believe she had most of verse one done too. She was saying she was unsure and I was saying don't be unsure, this is cool! We just went along with it, wrote another verse and I came up with a middle eight in the major key."

"After half an hour we had Stop! sorted which was good because that left us just enough time for a wee beverage before the Lone Justice sound check!" recalls Gregg. "Although I thought the song was good I forgot about it entirely until Stuart played it for me months later after which I visited Sam in London at the Power Plant studio and heard what was going on with their record: At the time I loved it but didn't think she had the proverbial snowball's chance because she and her brother Pete were producing after growing tired of waiting for a record company that obviously considered her low down the list of priorities."

The sibling team proved to be an enduring musical success and in 1988 when Stop! was becoming a hit country by country across Europe, Gregg went to Amsterdam with Sam and her crew to celebrate it going to No.1 in Holland "which was considered to be like Cleveland, a test market for Europe." explains Gregg. "The music biz insiders said if a record did well there it would do well everywhere in Europe." They were right.

For Sam the success of Stop! was unexpected and she found the fame and public adulation somewhat strange. For Gregg it was also strange but for the opposite reasons: It got no higher than No.56 in the USA because Sam was unable to promote it in America. "So I had a big hit but no bragging rights or girls asking me to autograph intimate parts of their anatomy!"

Last Updated: 4th November 2004 |
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