Gritty sagas by Corrie blog editor Glenda Young, published by Headline. Click pic below!

Monday, 4 March 2013

The Music in Coronation Street

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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17 comments:

Llifon said...

There Goes my Everything by Engelbert was played in the salon when Lewis left the first time and left a heartbroken Audrey.

And when Audrey did find out about Lewis' scam, Elvis' 'Suspicious Minds' was played with 'We're caught in a trap, I can't walk out' being heard.

Mary Prankster said...

The other location for music on a regular basis is Nick's Bistro. I find it amusing that they attempt to create the effect of the restaurant being a little more upmarket and sophisticated by playing jazz, and so-called "smooth jazz" in the background. They don't seem to use it particularly to emphasize situations and events, like they do in the Rovers, partly because it's not as much "pop" music as the other types, like those selections on the jukebox, and also because much of jazz doesn't have lyrics, being more an instrumental form, so any relevance would be much more subtle. I'm sure someone at that show is in charge of choosing music, and I'd love to learn more about how it's decided.

Anonymous said...

I love the music used on the programme:

- When Ken decided against joining Martha on the barge, Beautiful south's 'I'll Sail This Ship Alone' played in the Rovers.

- When Faye's mum died of a heroin overdose, 'There She Goes' played in the background (widely believed to be about heroin)

Rachel said...

When Becky was still around, there was an awful lot of Love Is A Losing Game by Amy Winehouse.

Defrost Indoors said...

"The Drugs Don't Work" by the Verve was sort of the unofficial song of Liam and Carla (see http://coronationstreetupdates.blogspot.ca/2008/05/faq-what-song-was-carla-connor.html). Later when Maria was desperately trying to conceive a baby with Liam, this song came on and he made her turn it off.

Dolly Tubb said...

And there was a lot of 'Back to Black' by the wonderful Amy Winehouse when Carla and Liam were having an affair. And there was 'the first time ever I saw your face' (Roberta Flack version?) playing every time Ry-yurn and Katy were getting up close and personal in the kebab shop. I always like to listen to the music in the Rovers whenever anything is going on - there are some great ironic touches sometimes!

Conversation Street said...

I never really pay attention to the background music, unless it's a song I really like. Most memorable use I can think of is the 'You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman' one, already mentioned in the article. Beautiful moment!

Tvor said...

In one of the Flash the Tortoise episodes, something by Queen was playing in the pub in a later scene, though not the theme from Flash Gordon, which would have been too obvious. I like listening for songs too though i don't know a lot of the top 40 that's out on the charts these days so it's lost on me a lot of the time.

Anonymous said...

The musical tags are as subtle as a bag of anvils.
I do remember years ago a scene with Steve and Vicky in which Vicky was trying on clothes with music video style fast editing cuts. Very, very bad idea!
Music that should be played? How about The Jam's "Town called Malice"?

Anonymous said...

Mari Wilson's "Just what I always wanted" was played on the Rovers jukebox not long after StElla turned up. Strange choice for a 2012 jukebox, but Michelle C was a backing singer on the track, so that had to have been no random song choice.
AmandaB

Anonymous said...

Was eye of the tiger playing in the background on corrie tonight

Unknown said...

Help! What was the song that played in the gay bar that the groomsmen were in during episode #1.8643 it goes "come back ♫♫"

Unknown said...

On the night that Tracy killed Charlie (or attacked him with a metal ornament which lead to his death) Charlie was listening, and singing along to "whatever" by Oasis

Unknown said...

Does anyone know what that song is that keeps playing over and over and over. The lyrics are "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger." It played when Tracy kicked Todd out her pawn shop when she was depressed and sniffing Rob jacket when he got arrested. It is constantly playing in her store. Also it played in the Rovers when Mary was meeting her date and Dev accidentally crashed.

Anonymous said...

It's a Kelly Clarkson song. She was the first American Idol.

Unknown said...

As an avid Corrie watcher I cannot recount the amount of times Steely Dans. " Reeling in the years "plays in the Rovers....
Is it the only record in the jukebox, or is it that the director loves the band.

sarah103 said...

Please can someone tell me what song it was that Ryan Connor was playing in Speed Daal in Corrie, 8th May 2019, that upset Alya?

GRITTY SAGAS BY CORRIE BLOG EDITOR GLENDA YOUNG, PUBLISHED BY HEADLINE. CLICK PIC BELOW!

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