Thursday, 28 March 2013

The Music in Coronation Street

(This post was originally posted by Sunny Jim on the Coronation Street Blog in February 2013.)

I'm not talking about the theme tune, enough has been said about it in the past  nor about music produced by members of the cast, much of which is best left unmentioned anyway. What I'm interested in today is the use of music within the programme.

Most dramas today use music to establish a mood, reflect the action on screen or to signal some sort of change in emotional content. But drama serials want to convey as realistic a scenario as possible and as most of us do not conduct our lives with any sort of background soundtrack, music in Coronation Street is almost exclusively naturally sourced. Indeed, I can only remember one occasion when this was not the case: the conclusion of Sarah-Lou's internet stalker story, which was played out to the dark sounds of 'Teardrop' by Massive Attack.

In all other cases (that I can think of, feel free to correct me) the soundtrack is always sourced within the context of the drama. So we have Richard Hillman driving his family to their destruction, so he intends, with The Wannadie's 'You and Me Song' (working on two levels here) with its chorus of 'You and me - always - and forever' playing over the car's music system. And when Roy and Hayley cemented their love for each other, there was the poignancy of '(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman' playing in the background. Such occasions where there has been an obvious use of music to enhance the mood are however quite rare (can you think of any more?) and what I really like are the far more subtle uses of background music.

It happens mostly in the Rovers and I'm always trying to work out what's playing on the juke box especially during those tedious scenes when we're being subjected to more of St. Ella. I don't know if there's any direction given to the editting crew on what to put on in the background but it's regularly relevant to the scene. Here are a few recent incidences:

Lewis Archer convincing Gail to run away to Italy with him to the sound of Lulu's version of 'The Man Who Sold The World'.

Gail telling Sally about her impending move to Italy to the sound of 'Walk Out To Winter' by Aztec Camera.

And when it had all finally fallen to pieces, Gail sitting at home with her head in her hands while Adele's 'Skyfall' plays on the radio.

There are loads more, please add your own recollections. It's a very strange juke box they've got there in the pub, not the usual selection of popular hits and golden oldies. Twice recently we've had a track from the latest Madness album and only the other week we had 'Northern Skies' by Nick Drake, which is certainly not normal pub fare. We do occasionally see a member of the cast or a background artist putting money in the jukebox but who on the Street is it who has such eclectic tastes? I don't think it's Fat Brenda because we never hear any Cliff.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No, but Norris played "Summer Holiday" on the piano at a wedding, but I can't remember whose.

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