To The End

Written by Mike Peters
Notes :
Original Version of the song “History Repeating”. Written for 2001 Special Olympics for a TV show named “Tune Teams”.


To The End

Through the darkness
On to morning
As the sun defeats the night
Over Rivers
Troubled waters
Down the deep and endless mile
There’s a soft voice
Calling out to me
Gives me strength
To carry on
To The End
To the greater glory
To defeat or victory
No Surrender
Now or never
To The End

Through the burning
Heat of desire
A bird will fly in skies above
Cool cool water
Kills the fire
Freedom comes on wings of love
Every whisper
Every word I hear
Gives me strength
To carry on
To The End
To the greater glory
To defeat or victory
No Surrender
Now or never
To The End

MPO Story About The song (August 13, 2001)

To the End’ unfolded dramatically last week in the BBC Studios, Cardiff, South Wales. A glorious ballad, this song represents the spirit of the Special Olympics which took place last week in Cardiff. Mike Peters was joined by Glen Matlock, Pete Wylie and Kirk Brandon of Dead Men Walking who assisted Mike in the recording of the song during a three day session at the BBC studios in Cardiff.

This whole process came about after MPO Manager, Jules Jones, received a phone call at MPO HQ from BBC Producer, Ailsa Jenkins who initially made an enquiry for Mike to screen test for the role of Presenter in a new 6 part programme called ‘Tune Teams’. Due to Mike’s busy schedule it was impossible for Mike to commit and so the BBC called up the MPO a few days later to ask if Mike would take on the challenge of ‘Tune Teams’ instead.

“” To be honest, I almost said ‘No’ on the spot”” confessed Jules, “”I mean, we were just heading back out to America for the fifth time since October and this meant Mike would land in Manchester from Chicago and be thrown straight into recording in a pressurised environment, just as he was supposed to be taking things a little easier!”” By chance however, Mike had popped by the MPO office and intercepted the conversation. “”I’ll do it!”” shouted Mike; “”I’ve got just the song…””

…. and so ‘To the End’ was born. The song had been knocking around in Mike’s head for a few years and he had actually played it once before ‘demo style’ on a BBC Radio programme produced by Mike’s friend, Gary Price. “” I had the idea for the song initially, after thinking it would be interesting to write something for the Rugby World Cup. When ‘Tune Teams’ challenged me to write a song for the Special Olympics, I thought with a bit of tinkering that this would be the perfect song for the job!”” explained Mike.

Mike duly landed in Manchester Airport after a short American Tour in the Chicago area with the band and the day after he was met by a BBC crew who shadowed Mike in the studio in North Wales and documented the whole process of Mike demoing the song and introducing other people to help with the production process.

It was at this stage that director Andrew Miller realised that this was turning out to be extra special and consequently the BBC began pulling out all the stops. It was decided that Mike would record the song the following week in Cardiff and perform the song at the Special Olympics Closing Ceremony at Cardiff Castle on Friday August 3rd. At this point Mike realised that he was supposed to be playing with Dead Men Walking in Stockton. Many phone calls later it was decided that all of Dead Men Walking would join Mike in Cardiff as this was such a special occasion and the Stockton show would be deferred until the future Oct/Nov Tour. Ironically, the Stockton show of all places had sold hundreds of tickets and therefore frantic efforts were made to reschedule the show for the following week.

At this point Mike phoned up Pete Wylie and asked him to co-produce ‘To the End’. Pete accepted enthusiastically and so Mike and the BBC crew set off to Pete’s abode, ‘Disgracelands’ in Liverpool to film Mike and Pete at work. Pete sensed that this song was going to be really special and he set with gusto to write a fanfare and string arrangements for the song .

Next stop was Gill Edwards (Gill was introduced to Mike by Eddie Macdonald a couple of years ago and had magnificently scored the strings for ‘Flesh and Blood’). Gill liased with Mike and Pete to score all the parts for the string quartet and french horns. Gill was based in South Wales and so this communication was made mostly by email and snatched phone calls as the project of ‘To the End’ unfolded.

On Wednesday, Mike , Pete, Glen Matlock, Kirk Brandon and Steve Grantley (Alarm 2001/Stiff Little Fingers) assembled at Studio 1, BBC Cardiff. Steve, Glen and Kirk hadn’t even heard the song and so Steve busied himself with drum ideas and very quickly laid down a drum track that night, followed by bass from Glen and guitar by Kirk.

At this stage, Mike was joined by Josie D’arby of Top of the Pops fame who was the co-presenter of ‘Tune Teams’. Josie had been present with Mike in North Wales and now here in South Wales to chart the progress of the song.

The next morning began bright and early and the recording of the song sped by remarkably fast and seemingly without hitches, layer by layer. Mike Jones was in charge of recording the song together with House Engineer, Martin Stephens. The BBC had forgotten to inform Mike thaat the control room had been ripped out and consequently a makeshift control area was set up within the Studio. Both guys worked tirelessly from early morning until late at night until the job had been done.

Mark Taylor, former pianist and keyboard player of The Alarm joined the proceedings on Thursday afternoon as did the string quartet and french horn players. There were a few last minute changes made by Gill, Pete and Mike to the string and horn arrangement whilst Mark Taylor listened to the song for the first time and masterfully created a beautiful piano part reminiscent of ‘A New South Wales’ which Mark had recorded in the very same studio over 10 years ago with Record Producer Tony Visconti, Mike and The Alarm

By Thursday night everybody had worked tirelessly and the whole cast of musicians, engineers, assistants, producers and onlookers were eager to hear the finished product. At 8pm the male voice choir arrived. After initial enquiries to the Morriston Orpheus Male Voice Choir (whom Mike had worked with previously on ‘A New South Wales’ and ‘Flesh and Blood’) proved fruitless due to many members being on holiday, BBC Production Manager Sue Perry did a masterful job in gathering together a group of assorted choir members who were keen to participate. Once again as with the string and horn arrangements, a few minor changes were made and after a few takes the choir parts were recorded.

About 10pm all that was left to do was for Mike to lay down his vocals. Everbody agreed that Mike’s first take earlier that morning had been terrific but Mike felt that he wanted to do it for real again. Mike, who is known for recording his vocals in one take, delivered a fantastic vocal performance, hyped no doubt by the excitement of the day. Unfortunately, technical problems had ensued and it wasn’t until Mike had reached the end of the song that he was informed by Mike Jones that they had been unable to capture the ‘take’. This was a moment of high frustration for Mike. Not one to lose his temper easily, Mike was visibly distressed that this take had not been captured. A few moments to recover and with the Studio in complete darkness at Mike’s request, Mr. M.L. Peters delivered a copycat perfect performance. All was not lost.The time was almost midnight and in the space of a very short time, a unique song had been delivered.

Friday was taken up with moving the equipment to the Castle in Cardiff and by 4pm, Mike and the boys were ready to soundcheck the song. It was fantastic to hear the song soaring out beneath the backdrop of the Castle and many an onlooker stood moved by the passion of the song. It was already clear to see that this song was capable of stopping people in their tracks.

After the soundcheck, Mike was joined by Rhodri Williams , the co-presenter of ‘Tune Teams’. Rhodri, a fellow Welshman had worked with Mike before on Children in Need and is now seen presenting Sky Sports News and Animal Hospital. Rhodri was very excited by the song, so much so that he decided to join the ranks of the male voice choir for the performance.

At 7pm, it was ready to perform the song for real in front of an assembled cast of Special Olympics competitors and volunteers. The atmosphere was electrifying and Mike and Pete in particular were very moved by the response. Mike and Dead Men Walking also performed ’68 Guns’ and ‘Come Back’ followed by a second sitting of ‘To the End’ at which point the crowd were on their feet and spectacular fireworks were exploding out of the Castle!

The whole week had been an intense and moving experience for all. The BBC were delighted as the programme had turned out better than they could have hoped for. “” Everyone was delighted and I
must say, I don’t think I’ve worked with a more efficient and professional group of musicians…”” commented BBC Tune Team producer, Andrew Miller. A champagne reception was held inside the Castle and Mike and the boys reflected on the last two whirlwind weeks which had culminated so successfully, all thanks to a host of like-minded people with positive thinking to the very end !

  • Tune Teams is a programme whereby a group or individual is set a challenge to write a song for a particular occasion. Please stay in touch for news of transmission dates.”

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