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“This was the second one I’d done with Al, the first being Modern Times . For reasons best known to myself, I think Modern Times is a superior record – it’s got better songs, in my opinion – but Year Of The Cat was a bit hit, and it’s the one that most people know. Actually, it has great songs, too.
“Year Of The Cat, the track, is quite lovely. I probably surprised Al greatly when I suggested putting a saxophone solo on it. He always enjoyed lengthy, soaring guitar solos, but I think if we had lengthy, soaring guitar solos on Year Of The Cat it would’ve been quite monotonous. So we decided, by careful choice and structuring, to do an acoustic guitar solo, an electric guitar solo and a sax solo. I brought in a chum of mine, Phil Kensey, to see what he could achieve on the track, and of course it was magic. It formed the whole of the song quite brilliantly.
“Al was somewhat doubtful whether a sax solo would work; he’d considered himself as coming from a folk-rock background, so it felt out of place to him. Funnily enough, after the success of the song, he took on Phil to join his band, so it was clearly the right decision on my part. [Laughs]
“As for whether I knew it would be a hit, my first reaction to the song was something like, ‘It’s very long, and it’ll never get on the radio.’ But sometimes longer is better.”