Agnes de Mille - The Sound of TV with Neil Brand TV - Reclaiming Amy TV - Amy Winehouse & Me: Dionne’s Story TV - Amy Winehouse: In Her Own Words TV - Amy Whitehouse: A Life in Ten Pictures TV - Billie: In Search of Billie Holiday TV - Kate Bush: Running Up that Hill TV -
The truest expression of a people is in its dance and in its music. Bodies never lie. Agnes de Mille
Television: nothing brings us together more than the small screen in the corner of the living room. It’s entertained us, made us smarter, and to my mind brought us some of the most potent music of our times. It’s given us a lifetime of golden tunes … TV composers are unsung heroes. The Sound of TV with Neil Brand I, BBC 2020
The Persuaders : instantly draws you into a playboy world of glamour and suspense … plucked harps and futuristic synthesizers. ibid.
The Prisoner  … Doctor Who  … Game of Thrones  … Blue Planet II  … The Grove Family  … Coronation Street  … Eastenders  … The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe  … Robin Hood  … Magic Roundabout  … The Heck Harper Show [1964 US] … Bagpuss [1974 UK] … Dixon of Dock Green  … Z Cars  … Danger Man  … Department S  … The Saint  … Screen Test  … Farmhouse Kitchen  … Thunderbirds  … The Young Ones  … The Simpsons  … The Jetsons [US 1962] … ibid.
Musical scores brought musical scale to TV dramas and documentaries. ibid.
Music written for television is a very particular art form: it needs to grab you, be immediate, stop you from switching over or switching off, and none more so than the musical high-cues that have ushered in the programmes were treasure so deeply and planted themselves indelibly in our heads – the theme tune. ibid.
Biographic memory: it’s the same for all of us. ibid.
Particularly in the 1960s and ’70s the themes of the day would often be plucked from the sleeves of one of these – Themes – It’s a library record, stock music, sent speculatively to radio and TV stations, the product of an entire industry … Library music is incredibly collectable. ibid.
We collect TV themes like family photographs throughout our lives, they become part of our memories defining who we are and who we once were. ibid.
‘I’d like to buy the world a home and furnish it with love’ … That in the early 1970s was one of the best-known pieces of music on television, not just here in Britain but on screens all around the world. To a certain generation it immediately conjures up memories of the young, collective, young appeal and a certain sugary drink. The Sound of TV with Neil Brand II: Advertising & Jingles, Coca-Cola Hilltop song, 1971
Shake n Vac 1981 … Cadbury’s Smash & the Martians 1973 … Channel 4 theme tune … ibid.
BBC: Most programmes were shot live in a studio on big Emitron cameras that cost £10,000 each … The BBC could only afford four of them … To ensure audiences weren’t subjected to blank silent screens, they were instead treated to Interludes: comfortingly sedate short films made simply to fill time, accompanied by quintessentially English divertimenti, which swishing harps and cascading violins that recalled the pastoral warmth of Vaughan Williams. Top of the Interlude charts was The Potter’s Wheel. ibid.
Test card tunes have become a potent memory for a whole new generation. ibid.
Allowing commercials to be shown on television for the first time: but the Act’s passing was not without controversy: both parliament and the press hotly debated whether adverts would have a detrimental affect on British culture. ibid.
US: The Chiquita Banana Song hit the airwaves in 1944 and aimed to teach consumers how to eat and store bananas which hadn’t been imported into America during the war. ibid.
Meow Mix 1984 US … Sugar Puffs 1976 UK … R White’s Lemonade 1973 … Hamlet cigars 1974 … Hoover’s bike ride 1973 … Channel 4 ident 1982 … ibid.
But when it came to the score, the music that drives the narrative of drama and documentary, it took a while to get there … Music escaped the confines of the box in the living-room corner to take us deeper and with greater scale and impact into the fictional and real-life dramas that played out on our screens. The Sound of TV with Neil Brand III
The Forsythe Saga 1967 … Game of Thrones 2011-2019 … The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau 1968-76 … The World at War 1973 … Brideshead Revisited 1981 … Life on Earth 1979 … Trials of Life 1990 … Blue Planet 2001 … Real Housewives of Beverly Hills 2019 … Rock Follies 1976 … Gold Diggers 1933 … The Singing Detective 1986 … The Sopranos 1999-2007 … ibid.
A brilliant score can add emotion and tension to documentary story-telling. ibid.
Have we entered an era where perhaps music is doing too much on TV, manipulating rather than gently guiding us? ibid.
I’m Amy. I write lyrics. I write songs. And I sing. Reclaiming Amy, interview, BBC 2021
My daughter Amy died when she was just 27 years old. ibid. mum
But there was so much more. She resonated at a different frequency to everyone else. ibid.
After she died her dad and I were accused of failing Amy. ibid.
The incredible woman that she was. ibid.
She was 19 when she wrote her first album Frank. ibid.
She was bulimic. She had that struggle the whole time. ibid. Friend
My name is Dionne Bromfield and Amy Winehouse was my godmother. We had a special bond and our relationship was unique. Amy’s support inspired my to follow my dream of becoming a singer. And she signed me to her label Lioness when I was just 13 years old. Amy Winehouse & Me: Dionne’s Story, MTV 2021
Amy was born in North London in 1983, her Dad Mitch a taxi driver and mum Janice a pharmacist. Amy Winehouse: A Life in Ten Pictures, BBC 2021
When this photo was taken, 14-year-old Amy had left mainstream education and was now attending the Sylvia Young Theatre School. ibid.
Now a global superstar, Amy spent most of 2007 touring and performing to sell-out audiences across the world. ibid.
‘Five Grammys, wow. What a night. ibid. dad
After Amy’s death her family and friends set up the Amy Whitehouse Foundation. Much of its focus is helping young women overcome addiction. ibid.
In the weeks after Amy’s death Back to Black became the UK’s best-selling album of the 21st century. ibid.
Soul is heart, is guts, I guess … It’s something that controls you … To sing soul, I think you have to have grit. Amy Winehouse in Her Own Words, caption, BBC 2021
The music that speaks to me the most has always been jazz … and that emotional connection to it to you know that so many great singers had. ibid.
In the early hours of February 6th 1978, the body of a young journalist was discovered on a street in Washington DC. Her name was Linda Lipnack Kuehl. For the past decade, she’d devoted her life to uncovering the true story of legendary singer Billie Holiday. Billie: In Search of Billie Holiday, BBC 2021
She was the queen bee. Without even trying, she was the most sensuous of all the lady singers. ibid. Sylvia Syms, friend & singer
It was her voice allowed her to escape. ibid.
‘It was Billie’s interpretation of Strange Fruit not the song itself that changed the direction of American music. But not everyone stood to applaud her primal howl against the bloody history of white America.’ ibid. critic
‘She has made her performances into something of an art form mingling dance and mime and all kinds of theatre.’ The Kate Bush Story: Running Up that Hill, Paula Yates, BBC 2022
Wuthering Heights reaches number one on the British singles chart in March 1978. ibid. caption
Kate Bush becomes the first female artist to have a self-penned number one. ibid.
Kate was 16 when she signed a deal with EMI and received an advance of £3,000. ibid.
Kate’s duet with Peter Gabriel Don’t’ Give Up is released in October 1986. ibid.
‘She consumed more stimulants … she was an extremist.’ ibid. observer