Melbourne band Little Heroes evolved out of Carlton pub rock band Secret Police and were founded by sometime tram conductor, artist, philosopher, and singer-songwriter Roger Hart (aka Roger Wells/Roger Hart-Wells and Roger Galtier Wells).
In 1982 the classic Little Heroes line up (above) of Roger Hart (vocals/guitarist), John Taylor (bass), David Crosbie (keyboards) and Alan Robertson (drums) signed with EMI and entered the 301 Studios in Sydney to record their second album, Play By Numbers with ex-pat Kiwi producer Dave Marrett, who had already produced for Ignatius Jones, Mi-Sex, Jo-Jo Zep and the Falcons, Dragon and Sharon O’Neil.
One Perfect Day was the first single lifted off the album, it is an engaging and wistful slice of 80’s pop, synth-inflected keyboards and guitars intro the song and sustain the melody to the infectious chorus, the song still resonates with those who feel the separation, alienation and melancholy of the tyranny of distance, and the absence of loved ones.
The inspiration for Roger Hart to compose the song has varied over time, initially he recounted how he was struggling to move on from the death of a girlfriend, Christine, there had been no sense of closure for him and he still felt her spiritual presence. He was responding to a letter from Carrie Hall, a friend who was then living in the UK, whilst watching the evening news when a report indicated that the incumbent Labour government of James Callaghan was likely to lose the 1979 general election to Margaret Thatcher’s resurgent Conservative Party.
“And tell me if it’s still raining there in England/ And did the Government fall last night/ … Adventures so hard to come by/ If you ever come back, just drop by/ One Perfect Day.”
The book This Perfect Day by Ira Levin was on the couch beside him, as he penned a letter to another friend, also living in the UK at the time, one of Roger Hart’s former lovers, Sandra Aranha, an actor/comedienne who was better known as Sandy Ghandi, who also spent time in the UK in the 1980’s, and had an on-again, off-again relationship with Hart over many years.
The creative process was ignited by these seemingly random and commonplace events and moments, as recalled by Hart “ So I’m sitting there noodling on my guitar, gazing blankly at the British election on the little black and white screen, thinking of Carrie, having just finished reading this book, and I began singing, and as often happens, the song just happened – very quickly. I recorded the song on an old cassette, then played it back. It seemed oddly complete, though there wasn’t much to it. I thought maybe it needed more, because after all, it was just two verses and a chorus. But still, there was a strange symmetry to it that seemed to work.”
He played the song to his then girlfriend, Carol, who deemed it to be hit-worthy, and it was – “One Perfect Day, I’ll get your telegram/And you’ll be calling me – whoa oh/This Perfect Day I can’t stop thinking/Are you over there, are you happy there …”
Hart recalled a conversation he had with Sandra Aranha when interviewed more recently “I first met Sandra when she was a seventeen -year-old in Melbourne, riding a motorbike. She used to turn up at my house and sort of moved in and claimed me and all my friends and moved into our little community. In 2000 Sandra and I were living in Byron Bay and she asked me if I wrote One Perfect Day about her, and I said it was half and half, and she replied ‘ah well, it’s my song…” “I said ‘OK It’s your song, and that was that” (laughs) – Sandra sadly passed away in 2017.
There was a video produced by the now-famous Scott Hicks that was filmed in Adelaide and featured Roger Hart performing the song, David Crosbie on keyboards, and Taylor and Robinson building a house of cards in a comfy lounge setting, model planes, snowcones are arty features and Roger Hart’s shoulder pads were very 80’s, but it was not a very engaging version of the song, the mimed Countdown performance was preferred.
The song hit #12 locally, and the album Play By Numbers charted at #37, after four more singles, three albums and numerous lineup changes, Little Heroes disbanded in 1985.
One Perfect Day was covered by John Farnham in 2005, and by country music star Sara Storer in 2010, Roger Wells later became a meditation trainer and author, with a keen interest in travel, art and photography, he still writes songs, but does not regularly perform professionally