When you’re a young boy growing up in Manchester, England, it’s tough not to dream of one day becoming a world-class soccer player.
Tony Michaelides, a 61-year-old bubbly bloke with an alarmingly pleasant disposition and a thick British accent who now lives in Pass-a-Grille, dreamed of just that during his childhood in northern England. He spent hours and hours every day kicking around a soccer ball.
But he always managed to save some time for his other passion. Tony listened to music. Lots of music.
He looked forward to Saturdays, when the new releases on vinyl hit the record stores. He would climb aboard a train and head to his favorite shop to listen to the new music and buy what he could.
When he grew up and realized he was never going to make it as a soccer player — or a musician either; “I played bass in a band . . . badly,” he said — he took a humdrum job in a humdrum office. But that lad with broken dreams never gave up hope he’d one day find something better.
In a twist of fate, something better found him.
One day, on the train home from his job, he was reading the classified ads in the Manchester Evening News. Transatlantic Records, a label representing mostly jazz and blues musicians, was looking for a salesperson. He decided to apply, he said: “Don’t have a job in the music business now; if I don’t get it, I still won’t have a job in the music business.” He would later find out it was only because of a clerical error at Transatlantic — the ad was supposed to be placed in a trade publication, not the daily paper — that the opportunity presented itself to him.