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Popular Music in Series Two

The Christmas Invasion (tx: 25/12/05)

In Fiction: it's Christmas Eve on the Brandon estate, and Mickey is working (in his very fetching overalls) at the garage when, over the sounds of Slade's Merry Xmas Everybody on the radio, another noise begins to grow: a wheezing, groaning sound. Who had curry for lunch?

In Fact: is this the biggest British Christmas song written in the twentieth century? Recorded in the summer of 1973 (in New York's legendary Record Planet studios, no less), the song became the third Slade single to go straight to number one in the UK chart, with an advanced order of well over 300,000; it stayed top of the charts for 6 consequtive weeks and has gone on to become their biggest seller with sales topping one million.



Cuts: less than 20 seconds are heard during the first minute of the episode, playing from the radio seen on-screen at the front of the garage.

Releases (select releases): 7" 45rpm single (Polydor 2058 422), released 7th December 1973. It was re-issued in November 1985 (Polydor POSP 780) with a different picture sleeve, alongside two different 12" singles that boasted an extended remix by Jim Lea & Peter Hammond (POSPX 780 & PZ 112); these and the 7" were re-pressed (with the same release codes and sleeves) in December 1986. The song was re-launched on 7" and CD-single in November 1989 (Receiver BOYZ 4), with its third picture sleeve, and a remix by Slade vs. Flush was released in December 1998 (Polydor SLADEX25 563353-1) on 12" and CD.

The original track was also featured on the the Slade compilation 'Slade Smashes' (Polydor POLTV-13), released in November 1980, and on the B-side of 'Universe' in December 1991 (Polydor 189) on 7", 12" and CD-single. (Various live recordings were also released, including one that fronted a 7" EP entitled 'Xmas Ear Bender' in November 1980.) Finally, as well as appearing on many 'Best of' and 'Greatest Hits' Slade releases, the song has been a staple on most Christmas compilation LPs since 1974.

Availability (select releases): currently available on pretty much every Christmas album released in the last 20 years, including 'The Best Christmas Album in the World... Ever!' double-CD (Virgin TV VTDCD648), released in November 2004; and on 'The Very Best of Slade' CD (UMTV 9800715), released in November 2005.

Attack of the Graske (tx: 25/12/05)

In Fiction: a Welsh family are enjoying a traditional Christmas evening - slouching in front of the telly, eating too many chocolates and putting up with hyperactive kids. Somewhere in the background, a stereo is playing Christmas rock classics.

In Fact: these splendid Christmas hits are playing in the background of the house-bound scenes, where the viewer must choose whether Mum, Gran, Grandad, Dad, Boy or Girl is an alien duplicate controlled by the Graske, and, later, as we see Mum and Dad return from the Graske's planet and rescue Christmas from turning into a right old bore.

The Christmas carols ‘Ding Dong Merrily on High’ and ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ are also sung, 6 minutes into the episode, during the Victorian London scene; with 'Ding Dong Merrily' repeating in the final, house-bound scene if the viewer selects the suspended-animation option (or makes no selection at all): Gary Glitter can only be heard if you have opted to use the teleport. This suggests that you can spot whether your Mum and Dad have been replaced by Graske-replicas judging simply by their musical tastes: if they play rock 'n' roll they're fine, but if they get out the traditional carols CD, look out - they're evil and will ruin your Christmas!

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree was penned by Johnny Marks, the American popular music composer who also wrote 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' and a host of other successful Christmas rock 'n' roll singles released during the 60s, and made young Brenda Lee - whose recording career had only started two years previously - an international star. Flamboyant glam-rocker Gary Glitter's over-the-top performances made him one of the most successful UK acts of the 1970s. His single 'Rock 'n' Roll' in 1971 reached the top ten in both the UK and USA, and became the first of many simple but rockin' hits - one of which, of course, was sampled by The KLF in 1988 for Doctorin' the Tardis!

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee

Cuts: approx 1’20” is heard, 1 minute into the episode, as the family spend their Christmas Day together. The song plays uncut, from the entry of the vocals, right through the sequence where the viewer must spot Mum's glowing green eyes.

Releases (select releases): recorded by Brenda Lee on 19th October, 1958,
the original record (Decca 30776, released 17th November) failed to make the American charts, but was re-released to great success over the three subsequent Decembers: 1960 (#14), 1961 (#50) and 1962 (#59).

Availability (select releases): the song has been re-released many a-time, mostly on Christmas compilations (where it can fit happily both as a modern and a romantically old-fashioned song), most recently on the triple-CD compilation 'Christmas Hits' (Global 82876650602), November 2005.

Another Rock and Roll Christmas - Gary Glitter

Cuts: approx 0’30” is heard, 13 minutes into the episode, as Mum and Dad are returned to their home and the family gather for a Christmas video shot… although this scene only plays if you are successful in the final quest! The song plays from the beginning of the first chorus and ends just before the second verse.

Releases (select releases): the song was first released as a single in 1984, as a standard 7" (Arista ARIST586), picture-sleeve 7" (ARIST592) or a shaped picture disc (ARISD592).

Availability (select releases): the song was traditionally plonked onto any and every Christmas compilation, right up until Glitter's child-abuse scandel, when it suddenly became rather scarce. It was most recently released on the 2CD compilation 'The Ultimate Gary Glitter - 25 Years of Hits' (Snapper SMDCD284), June 2000.

Tooth and Claw (tx: 22/04/06)

ROSE: What do you think of this? Will it do?
DOCTOR: The late 1970s? You'd be better off in a binbag. Hold on, listen to this:

He flicks a switch on the console, and music springs, mid-chorus, from the walls.

DOCTOR: Ian Drury and the Blockheads, number one in 1979.
ROSE: You're a punk!
DOCTOR: (sings) ... 'it's nice to be a lunatic'...
ROSE: That's what you are, a big old punk with a bit of... rockabilly thrown in!
DOCTOR: D'you wanna go and see him?
ROSE: How'd you mean? In concert?
DOCTOR: What else is the TARDIS for? I can take you to the battle of Trafalgar; the first Anti-Gravity Olympics; Caesar crossing the rubicon; or Ian Drury and the Blockheads at the Top Rank, Sheffield, England, Earth, 21st November 1979?
ROSE: Sheffield it is!
In Fiction: the TARDIS' memory banks appear to have been updated with more than Glenn Miller's 78s; new-new Doctor David Tennant shows his punk side by playing Rose a classic slice of 70s punk: Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick, activated at the mere flick of a switch! What else has he got on there?

In Fact: judging by Rose's surprised reaction to the suggestion of visiting a vintage pop concert, this episode takes place before the events of Attack of the Graske (in which Rose is said to have been dropped-off at an Abba gig). The scene was originally written, according to David Tennant's recollections on the BBCi commentary, around a Lene Lovich song and concert date; clearance for the American musician's track could not be obtained on Doctor Who's budget, however, and so an English alternative was chosen instead... perhaps an alternate scene exists somewhere in the vaults...?

Cuts: 0'44" seconds are played from the second chorus through to the instrumental section, with an edit made to shorten the instrumental and jump to the following chorus (as the TARDIS spins through time and the Doctor and Rose are thrown to the floor).

Releases (select releases): 7" and 12" single (Stiff Records BUY 38), November 1978; the song also appeared as a B-side on 'Reasons to be Cheerful Part 3' in 1979. A 12" single of Paul Hardcastle remixes was released (BUY IT 214) around 1985, with a 1991 remix released on 12" and CD single. The song appeared as a bonus track on the 2004 CD reissue of Ian Drury and the Blockhead's 1979 album 'Do It Yourself'

Availability (select releases): currently available on a heck of a lot of Best-of-the-70s and Best-of-British pop compilations, the track can reliably be found on 'Reasons to be Cheerful: The Best of Ian Drury' (Music Club MCDLX016), a double-CD released in September 2005.

School Reunion (tx: 29/04/06)

In Fiction: another instance where, if only our heroes listened to the background music, they'd be spared much heartache. Love Will Tear Us Apart plays faintly on the radio in a late-night cafe, where Rose has to come to terms with being only the latest in a long line of companions. It's a morbid little song, but that doesn't stop Mickey divising his 'I Knew I Was Right' dance.

In Fact: recorded a mere two months before lead singer Ian Curtis committed suicide but released a month after his death, “Love Will Tear Us Apart” is the sound of despair in musical form. At the time of writing the song, Curtis’s marriage was under considerable strain, due in part to his ongoing affair with a Belgian woman. And whether autobiographical or not, the lyrics are clearly the work of a troubled soul.

Backed by a spectral keyboard refrain, Stephen Morris’s robotic drumming and Peter Hook’s trademark mournful bassline - all enhanced by Martin Hannet’s glacial production - Curtis pretty much croons the lyrics, which are among the most painfully intimate you’ll ever hear: “Why is the bedroom so cold?/ You’ve turned away on your side/ Is my timing that flawed - our respect run so dry?”

Cuts: 0'27" seconds are heard, playing from the entry of the chorus, 16 minutes into the episode.

Releases (select releases): first recorded in November 1979 for a John Peel session (later released on assorted Peel compilations), then recorded live in Paris in January 1980 (eventually issued live as the B-side to Atmosphere - FACD231, 1988), before being recorded in studio in March 1980 for an A-side produced by Martin Hannett. (Factory FAC23, June 1980 - 7" and FAC23.12 - 12" b/w These Days and faster version of the title track; American version: FACTUS23 (7" and 12"), with B-sides playing at 33rpm) Reissued as a single in 1995 (London/Polygram: 850 129-2, with 12" and cassette alternatives) with remixes by Don Gehman and Arthur Baker.

Availability (select releases): The studio version was then included on the compilation albums Sustance (1988, pictured right, currently available on a 1999 CD re-issue) and Heart and Soul (1997).

Rise of the Cybermen (tx: 13/05/06)

In Fiction: Mr Crane is herding the first batch of (surprisingly uniform) homeless bums into the transplant machine, hidden away within the parallel-Earth's Battersea Power Station. "Woah, woah," he says, "cover up that noise; give us track 19", and the noise is replaced with The Lion Sleeps Tonight. Incidentally, after extensive Tight Fit research, we can reveal must be a parallel-Earth version of a Tight Fit album, 'cos this song ain't ever been a track 19!

In Fact: the song was first recorded by its writer, Solomon Linda, and his group The Evening Birds, in 1939 under the title "Mbube" (Zulu for "lion"). The song became a worldwide hit during the 1940s, and in 1952 American folk group The Weavers recorded their own version, Wimoweh, a mishearing of the original song's chorus of 'uyimbube' (meaning "you're a lion"). George Weiss, Luigi Creatore and Hugo Peretti wrote new lyrics for their 1961 version, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, based very loosely on the meaning of the original song, and their recording (as The Tokens) went to number 1 in the US before being mirriored in countless re-recordings around the world.

The song appeared in headlines in 2003 when the copyright was exposed as belonging not to the writer's family but to the record company who first bought it from him in 1939 for a small lump sum. Having received no royalties for over 60 years, despite over 170 cover versions, Linda's daughter - who was found to be living in extreme poverty - hoped to redress the unfair balance. Could the song's use in Rise of the Cybermen have been inspired by this disgraceful situation, mirrored only by the Cybermen's nasty emergence from Lumic's madness...?

Cuts: 0'32" seconds are heard, playing from the beginning of the track, 27 minutes into the episode.

Releases (select releases): Tight Fit's 1982 re-recording (Jive 9, and CNR Music 144.929, produced by Tim Friese-Greene - b/w Rhythm, Movement And Throbbing or I'm Dancing in the Street) was the UK's answer to the American chart-topper, recorded by a novelty group who also treated us to electric renditions of Dancing in the Street and Do Wah Diddy Diddy.

Availability (select releases): this recording of the song is arguably the most iconic and recognisable version to English ears, and has been issued dozens of times on compilation records. It is currently readibly available on The Best of Tight Fit (Emporio, January 1996), pictured right.

Love & Monsters (tx: 17/06/2006)

In Fiction: Elton loves Elton. LINDA loves the ELO. And Jackie loves Il Divo. Let’s all get our guitars out!

In Fact: probably about as close as Doctor Who will ever get to being a musical (not counting The Ultimate Adventure, of course), this madcap Russell T Davies season-filler was jam-packed with pop music. Some of it (see ‘Doctor Who’s Own Cover-Versions’) was performed by the characters themselves, but an unprecedented amount was also lifted from vinyl and disc to brighten up the Doctor-less episode - with the ELO, in particular, providing a memorable soundtrack.

Daniel – Elton John

Cuts: around 1 second of this song is played during Elton’s video diary, 5 minutes into the episode. “My mother’s favourite song was 'Daniel' by Elton John,” he said in a deleted scene. “Although, why she didn’t call me Daniel, I’ll never know”. In the episode as-broadcast, this dialogue was replaced with a rapid cut to a bespectacled Elton, sat a piano, singing “…must be the clouds…”

Releases (select releases): this song was the opening track on Elton John's January 1973 LP, Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player (MCA 2100), and it was released internationally as a 7" vinyl single in March 1973 (DJM DJS275, pictured left). The clip used in Love & Monsters was lifted from a Christmas Eve 1973 'Old Grey Whistle Test' broadcast, performed at Hammersmith Odeon; the programme was one of the world's foremost television shows for live contemporary music between 1971-1987.

Availability: the original studio version is readily obtainable on the 1995 CD re-issue of Don't Shoot Me..., as well as the 2004 compilation Greatest Hits: 1970-2002. The live version has never been released, although the on-going series of 'Old Grey Whistle Test' DVD compilations may yet include it.

Mr Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra

Cuts: 25 seconds of the intro/first verse was played, 7 minutes into the episode, as Elton admits to his love of Jeff Lynne and the ELO; we see him “…having a little dance to himself,” noted the script directions, “Like you do. Not silly, just fun”. A further 23 seconds fade up from the middle of the first verse, 19 minutes in, as Elton gets easy directions to Jackie Tyler. 38 seconds of the first chorus are played, 27 minutes in, as Elton goes for pizza and realises how he feels about Ursula. And 39 seconds of the orchestral finale to the song are used, 40 minutes in, as Elton finally remembers his mother.

This song was a hit single for Jeff Lynne’s rock/orchestra band, who at the time Love & Monsters was made had come sweeping back into fashion following this track's use in the cinematic trailer for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), leading to renewed radio airtime, high-profile use in TV adverts and their songs' re-appearances on compilations after years of seeming a bit naff. Russell T Davies clearly felt that the renewed wave of affection for the ELO mirrored the return in prominence and popularity of Doctor Who itself.

Releases (select releases): this song first appeared on the double-album Out of the Blue (JETDP 400), released on blue vinyl, black vinyl, 8-track, 4-track reel-tape and cassette in November 1977. The 7" single followed in January 1978 (UP 36342).

Turn to Stone – Electric Light Orchestra

Cuts: 23 seconds are used, 23 minutes into the episode, during the montage-sequence of Elton making 'infiltration'... as well as assorted repairs to the Tyler flat.

Releases (select releases): 'Turn to Stone' was the first tie-in single from the Out of the Blue album (see above), released on 7" vinyl in November 1977 (UP 36313) and reaching #18 in the singles charts; the album made it to #4.

Don't Bring Me Down – Electric Light Orchestra

Cuts: although LINDA are heard singing their own rendition of this song earlier in the episode, performed in reality by incidental musician Murray Gold (with vocals dubbed later by the cast), an unmistakeable 3-second snippet of the ELO version is heard, 41 minutes into the episode, as Elton remembers the fun he had with the band.

Releases (select releases): this song was recorded for the ELO album Discovery (JETLX500), released in June 1979 on vinyl LP, 8-track, cassette and CD. 'Don't Bring Me Down' 7" and 12" vinyl singles were released that July (JET 153), reaching #3 in the UK charts; the album climbed to #1.

Availability: all the ELO songs featured in the episode are considered among the band's greatest hits, and can be readily found on any of their compilations, as well as the CD reissues of the aforementioned 1970s albums. The most recent release would be All Over the World - The Very Best of ELO (CD, 2006).
Unbreak My Heart (Regresa A Mi) – Il Divo

Cuts: over 3 minutes of this song is heard playing in Jackie’s flat, 24 minutes into the episode, whilst she hopelessly flirts with Elton. Il Divo (acknowledged by Jackie during the scene) were the "opera boyband" put together by the king of manufactured pop, Simon Cowell; admitting to liking them was about as tasteful as watching Pop Idol. This track was a Spanish, orchestral version of Toni Braxton’s 80s hit, ‘Unbreak My Heart’.

Releases: the song was the opening track on the group's eponymous album (BMG 82876651952), released on CD and CD+DVD in November 2004. A DVD single was released in December (BMG 82876668269), featuring a video for the song, a 'director's cut' version and a 'making of'. The Il Divo album is still widely available.