""Rather than make a traditional covers record, I thought it would be much more fun to create a new type of project in which artists communicated with each other and swapped a song for a song, i.e. you do one of mine and I'll do one of yours, hence the title - Scratch My Back - And I'll Scratch Yours." Peter Gabriel
While numerous new wave artists in the early '80s tried to imitate David Bowie, Peter Schilling went a step further. In 1983, Schilling released "Major Tom (Coming Home)," a synth pop retelling of Bowie's 1969 classic "Space Oddity." It became Schilling's first and only entry in the U.S. charts, a song that eventually stigmatized him as a one-hit wonder in America. Schilling was born in Stuttgart, Germany, on January 28, 1956. As a teen, Schilling couldn't decide on whether to be a soccer player or a singer. He chose music and his debut album, Error in the System, appeared in 1983. The single "Major Tom (Coming Home)" wasn't just popular in the U.S., it was a worldwide smash.
Magna Carta's third album was the first with guitarist Davey Johnstone on board, one reason for its subsequent immortality in collecting circles. Another is the extravagant packaging that accompanied the original Vertigo release – the gatefold sleeve was designed to open up like a box, with a layer of apples (from Wasties Orchard, of course) within. Add a crystalline Gus Dudgeon production and, of course, the popularity among collectors of the original swirly Vertigo label design, and Songs from Wasties Orchard emerges a seldom seen but much sought-after gem. For anybody familiar with the group's first two albums, Magna Carta's own style remained constant, a collection of beautifully stylized folk ballads sung and gently strummed with a warmth and versatility that saw the group endure (and, presumably, enjoy) constant comparisons to mid-period Simon & Garfunkel. The addition of Johnstone to the original duo does little to derail those remarks – indeed, his own musical versatility puts one firmly in mind of the Americans' more ambitious moments, as mandolins, sitars, and harpsichords dance behind Glen Stewart and Chris Simpson's magically melded vocal harmonies.