Today Rick Wilde is a successful songwriter, producer and musician: the son of British rock ‘n’ roll star Marty Wilde and the brother of national institution Kim. But 40 years ago, as Ricky Wilde he had a nascent pop career all of his own.
Richard James Reginald Steven Smith (to use his given name) was marketed as Britain’s answer to Donny Osmond, yet Ricky’s half-dozen singles for Jonathan King’s UK Records failed to make much impact. Shame, because his first, I Am An Astronaut (which was later covered by Snow Patrol), is a belter; recorded when Ricky was just 11 years old it’s a fun little pop record that deserved to be a hit. Unfortunately the rest of his releases were not in the same league - as you'll soon hear.
A couple of sides did minor business in Europe, but although he was groomed for stardom, featured in teen magazines and on television (in the Man Alive documentary film Twinkle Twinkle Little Star) Ricky failed to take off with the teenyboppers. Mind you, when you’re given material as paper-thin as this it’s no surprise: round and round like a spherical ball indeed!
Apparently it was while he was trying to resurrect his own career in 1980 that label bosses switched their attention to his sister, then just his backing singer. Kim – the oldest of the Wilde children - had always wanted to be a singer, and since then Ricky has been happy to take a back seat, continuing to work with Kim as well as being a successful producer in his own right. “I was never jealous of Kim taking the limelight,” he told an interviewer for the Daily Mail in 1998. “I was much happier in the background, writing and producing I can honestly say mat I have never wished, once, that it was me up there.”
Here are both sides of Ricky’s single April Love/Round and Round plus the A-side of his first release I Am An Astronaut.
April Love was, of course, previously recorded by WWR favourite Pat Boone.