BIG DEALS: About this time last year...

BIG DEALS: About this time last year we wrote that MCA Records had swung a blockbuster sound-track deal with film maker John Hughes. It committed MCA to releasing five Hughes film sound tracks--and added that MCA would distribute Hughes' own record label, which would sign at least one new artist each year.

The first group Hughes Music chief Tarquin Gotch recruited was Flesh for Lulu, an adventuresome young English band originally featured in the MCA sound track of "Some Kind of Wonderful." Now Flesh for Lulu's debut album is out and guess what--it's on Capitol Records, not MCA. In fact, according to Gotch, he's signed a second act--a singer named Hugh Harris--who is also signed through Hughes Music to Capitol.

Is the much-ballyhooed deal with MCA still on? And if so, why is Capitol grabbing all these artists? In other words--what gives?

According to Gotch, the deal with MCA still stands--but the label merely has the right of first refusal. (MCA chief Irving Azoff confirmed that his label "passed" on Flesh for Lulu, saying "the deal got more expensive than we wanted.")

"Having been a manager, I've always believed in going with the company that wants the group the most," Gotch said. "Capitol seemed to have the most interest and enthusiasm in Flesh for Lulu, spurred considerably by Tim Devine, one of their top A&R; execs. Since MCA wasn't offended, we went somewhere where everyone seemed keen on having the group."

It's no surprise that Gotch was once a savvy manager. He said he's been negotiating a deal for a third Hughes-signed band--at Epic Records. "We believe in horses for courses," he said. "But I suspect we'll bring bands to MCA eventually as well."

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