Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 9°C

Search

The pigs have arrived. See the latest

Pigs Gone Wild

news here.

Unmissable: A lot of fanfare, but where’s the new music on the Beeb? God only Knows...

04 November, 2014 - 13:02
Stevie Wonder who features in the BBC

Stevie Wonder who features in the BBC's 'God Only Knows' a reworking of The Beach Boys song uniting 27 artists Pic: Steve Brown/BBC/PA Wire

You must have seen it: a collection of (mostly) current pop stars giving a collective rendition of The Beach Boys’ classic God Only Knows on behalf of the BBC and Children in Need.

All backed by the BBC Concert Orchestra and with the support of cool choirmaster Gareth Malone, there’s Brian Wilson, of course, Stevie Wonder, Sam Smith, Chris Martin, One Direction and, if you look at the group shot, Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters hiding right on the side, almost trying to edge out of shot.

He probably heard the final mix and wanted to slip away quietly.

It’s not the fact that you cannot improve or expand on what is one of pop’s genuine masterpieces, a beautiful and uplifting song brilliantly performed by the Beach Boys and recorded by a visionary producer.

This new version isn’t awful, and the whole enterprise has its heart in the right place (just, I think). But it all feels far too self-congratulatory. There’s Zane Lowe and Lauren Laverne in the line-up, busy doing a whole lotta nothing. Pharrell Williams is happily doing that sockless thing that he does, Kylie’s floating around in a bubble and (lord help us) Paloma Faith is having a lovely time on a swing. Well at least she’s having a lovely time, eh?

The thing is, the Beeb in recent years has hardly provided much of a primetime platform for live or new music on its screens (despite the good work done across its radio network). The most you’re going to get is Later... on BBC2 – which becomes less and less essential viewing with every year.

Of course, Top of the Pops got the chop years ago and BBC4 still has plenty of archive stuff on, and a few new documentaries, but where does this self-proclaimed “love” of music rear its head on BBC1 or even BBC2? One live performance on Graham Norton every seven days?

Look at iPlayer this week and what is there under “music”? There’s Sounds of the 80s, Mr Blue Sky: The story of Jeff Lynne and ELO, the Radio 1 Teen Awards and Never Mind the Buzzcocks. Oh, and a live Jeff Lynne concert.

I think the Impossible Orchestra project, as it is called, has good intentions but is a bit of a smokescreen for a corporation that fails to deliver on that promise – a promise that it really cares about its musical output.

The whole project brings back memories of the last time the Beeb behaved in such a way – the Perfect Day abomination from 1997 (yes, it really was 17 years ago).

That time around such stellar names as Boyzone, Gabrielle, Ian Broudie of the Lightning Seeds and memorably (if that’s the right word) Heather Small of M People.

Of course, there were some big names back then too. Just like we have original writer Brian Wilson as part of the Impossible Orchestra, back in 1997 we had Lou Reed leading us through the rather unlikely rendition of his David Bowie-produced track, along with Bono, Tom Jones, Shane MacGowan and Bowie himself.

Unsurprisingly, Sir Elton John is the only star to have made the cut from last time around. For God Only Knows there’s no sign of Bowie or, of course, the late Reed – instead we’ve got Jake Bugg and Jamie Cullum.

Last time around the idea helped raise more than £2million for Children in Need - this time it looks like the video alone cost £2million to make. Maybe not, and maybe it’ll do a lot of good. I just wish it carried a more 
sincere message.

1 comment

  • Not surprising that Elton has stood the test of time. We must be due a half decent music show, we have been surviving on Jools Holland for too long now.

    Report this comment

    Hoglet

    Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Ben Hayford will be appearing on Alan Titchamrsh's Love Your Garden on Tuesday, July 5. Ben is pictured at his home in Stowmarket.

A Suffolk tree surgeon may become something of a TV personality after being invited back on to a primetime series.

Spectators enjoying a rainy Ipswich Music Day in 2015.

Thousands of people are expected to flock to Christchurch Park this weekend for one of the most celebrated events in Ipswich’s summer calendar.

Matilda Howe, Rosalind Steele, Joel Sams and Christopher Buckley in We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea, by Arthur Ransome, Eastern Angles summer production which is being staged at The Hush House

This classic nautical adventure, written by Arthur Ransome, set on the River Orwell and off the coast of Felixstowe, is pure summer fun.

Miss Teen Suffolk Emma Collingridge who volunteered at last year's Framlingham SausageFest with organisers Jenny Stockman and Richard Harrison.

A Suffolk town’s annual celebration of the Great British banger is shaping up to be the biggest and best yet.

Christina Johnston performs in Prague with Boni Pueri for the Czech President and Chinese television

A soprano singer from Suffolk has completed another of her globe-trotting adventures, performing for presidents and appreciative audiences in Asia, Europe and South America.

Matilda Howe, Rosalind Steele, Joel Sams and Christopher Buckley in We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea, by Arthur Ransome, Eastern Angles summer production which is being staged at The Hush House

A new Eastern Angles production has been an eye-opener for the cast in terms of how much freedom children used to have in the days of Arthur Ransome. Arts Editor Andrew Clarke visits them on set at The Hush House aircraft hanger at Bentwaters.

Nitro Circus Live at Foxhall Stadium.

Fans have been left upset and out of pocket after they claim they were turned away from a stunt show because of bad weather - only to find the event went ahead slightly later than scheduled.

Parade to mark the opening of the Southwold Arts Festival

The circus rolled up to a Suffolk seaside town for the launch of an annual festival featuring some ‘big top’ names from the world of art, literature, music and dance.

The Pigs Gone Wild trail covers key Ipswich landmarks

There were shrieks of delightthis morning as children scrambled over concrete plinths holding some exciting new additions to Ipswich town centre.

Will Young at Newmarket Nights - photos by Simon Traylen

Evergreen pop star Will Young showed he remains a hit with fans as crowds flocked to see him perform at Newmarket racecourse.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24