But memories fade and the Geordie maestro must be grateful these days for any recognition he can get. Or so you would think.
To Tyne Metropolitan college, where he dropped in this week to see some of its music students doing their stuff.
His agreement to "take time out from his latest sell-out tour" was announced in a blaze of publicity by the college's public relations firm.
Except he wouldn't have his picture taken by anyone other than the college photographer.
It's what the PR industry calls a "photo opportunity". Well, almost.