How We Made: Love Is All Around
Marti Pellow, singer
Related: Four Weddings and a Funeral 20 years on: Richard Curtis remembers
Richard Curtis approached us about being on the Four Weddings and a Funeral soundtrack and gave us three options: the Troggs’ Love Is All Around, Barry Manilow’s Can’t Smile Without You and Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive. It was a no-brainer – not just because it was the coolest song, but because we knew we could make it our own. I remember saying to Richard: “Four Weddings and a Funeral? Are you sure about that title?”
We recorded it in just one day in 1993. We sent a copy of it to Reg Presley, the Troggs’ frontman. Thankfully, he loved it – imagine if he’d thought we’d assassinated it.
Its success was phenomenal: No 1 for almost five months. The song played out Top of the Pops so many times, it basically became the theme tune. As the weeks turned to months, though, we could see moods changing. I remember going to a cinema in Glasgow when we’d been No 1 for three months. The trailer for Four Weddings started running and Love Is All Around came on. I heard the guy behind go: “God, not that song again!” I turned round and said: “Hey, imagine how I feel!”‘Full guns blazing’ … Marti Pellow of Wet Wet Wet at Wembley Stadium, London, in 1995. Photograph: Brian Rasic/Rex Shutterstock
In the last week before we withdrew it from production, it was still selling 120,000 copies a week. We were thinking: “Who is even buying it now?” Withdrawing it from sale wasn’t some cunning plan to make it sell more – we’re not that smart. It was just time to put the song to bed.
My life was full guns blazing then. I’d think nothing of jumping on a plane and doing a couple of countries in a day. Looking back, I wish I’d taken the time to enjoy it more. But I don’t see the success of Love Is All Around as being a catalyst for the horrible chapter in my life afterwards. The alcohol and drugs came later. I’ve been sober for 15 years now.
There are freaky records everyone seems to have: Dire Straits, Sade – and Love Is All Around. It’s incredible how far it spread. A Spanish friend once told me that they learned it in school during English lessons.Graeme Clark, bassist
We had this fancy keyboard but could never fit anything we played on it into our songs. When we recorded Love Is All Around, though, it just worked. So that’s the very first note you hear.
As soon as the song was released, I knew something big was happening. Emma Freud, who was married to Richard Curtis, was a Radio 1 DJ at the time and played it nonstop. Obviously it was an amazing time, but if any record gets played nonstop, people are going to get sick of it. I read about people taking it out of jukeboxes. And then Jarvis Cocker went on Top of the Pops and opened his jacket to reveal a sign saying: “I hate Wet Wet Wet.” I took that stuff personally then. But now I’m glad it all happened – put it this way, it bought my house. And hey, it could have been worse. It could have been The Birdie Song. Even now, when I hear it, I think it’s a good bit of work.
Maybe pulling it was an arrogant thing to do. Even Reg Presley of the Troggs had a pop at us
We were already a successful band, but this kicked us to a different level. We would do things like fly curries from Glasgow out to Denmark (they don’t travel well). We came from a poor background in Clydebank near Glasgow, and we found ourselves in a mad party world. We were ordinary people an extraordinary thing happened to.
We eventually realised that if it stayed at No 1 any longer, it was going to take over our lives. So we stopped new copies of the record being made. Looking back, maybe it was an arrogant thing to do. Reg Presley even had a pop at us. But that was the bloody mindedness of four Scots.
When it first went to No 1, we were recording on the Italian island of Capri, not an easy place to get to. The record company wanted us to keep going on Top of the Pops, so we’d sell more records. In the end, we said we wouldn’t unless they got us a private plane. We couldn’t believe it when they did.Wet Wet Wet’s Picture This: The Big Picture box set is out later this year. The band play Waterfront festival, Portsmouth, 25 July and tour from February 2016.