Picard Of The Pops - Diane Warren

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Chris Morley goes pop!


Given that the overall titling of this series is lovingly ripped off from Alan Freeman's Pick Of The Pops, now seems as good a time as any to examine a pop songwriter who worked on the spin-off Enterprise, contributing its theme song Where My Heart Will Take Me, as sung by Russell Watson.



If you've seen Patch Adams, you'll most likely recognise elements of it as Diane Warren's handiwork was the result of a revisit to Faith Of The Heart, penned for Rod Stewart to croon on its soundtrack!



Warren's first chart hit came in 1983 as Solitaire gave Laura Branigan a Number Seven placing in the US hit parade. She would continue to enjoy a fruitful relationship with the American charts, and within two years of Solitaire, Rhythm Of The Night by Debarge became the second of to date well over a hundred of her compositions which have graced the ears of listeners to this most important of pop listings...




Warren's mother was opposed to young Diane pursuing a career in music, but after encouragement from her father to this day Warren remains the only writer to have seven songs by seven different artists in the listings at the same time! David Warren's dedication to helping her achieve her dream earned lasting tribute in Because You Loved Me, given over to Celine Dion.



The song served as the theme tune to 1996's Up Close And Personal. No stranger to the movies Warren's first real recognisable film work being 1987's Nothing Gonna Stop Us Now by Starship, which appeared in Mannequin.



But how did the Queen of Pop come to provide the theme to Star Trek: Enterprise?

The series was to serve as a prequel to the original Star Trek, and executive producer Rick Berman intended for it to be a complete stylistic departure from what had gone before...
"Well, you know, if you think about it, since The Next Generation, we've had so many Star Trek entities that were called "Star Trek"-colon-something... Our feeling was, in trying to make this show dramatically different, which we are trying to do, that it might be fun not to have a divided main title like that. And I think that if there's any one word that says Star Trek without actually saying Star Trek, it's the word "Enterprise"."
Perhaps the decision to embrace pop was part of that, too? Not that it went down too well with fans, who created petitions against the theme as well as protesting outside Paramount Studios! Series co-creator Brannon Braga defended it, though, saying,
"There are some people who love the song and there are people who think it's cheesy. They came with a petition with 1,000 signatures. But plenty of people find the song very uplifting."
And unsurprisingly the man chosen to sing it also took kindly to it.
"Something new happens, and people aren't quite sure of it. But they'll get used to it. By the time they've watched the 20th episode, they'll be thinking, 'Well, it's not that bad after all.'"
Watson would also wheel it out for the opening ceremony of 2002's Commonwealth Games held in his home city of Manchester.



The Warren/Watson theme tune was used on four occasions as wake-up calls onboard Space Shuttle missions, and Watson also recorded a special version of the song to be played for the final wake up of the New Horizons exploration spacecraft on December 6, 2014.

Before that, in 2008, Warren came back down to Earth for a taste of Eurovision, co-writing the United Kingdom's entry Its My Time with Andrew Lloyd-Webber.



As Lloyd-Webber recounted to the Daily Mail....
"The Americans wrote the Russian entry last year. There's no rule to say I can't use a lyricist from anywhere I want. I did approach a couple of British people and both were unavailable. One was a very famous name and Tim Rice didn't want to do it. He said he didn't have the turn of phrase for something like this. Then I thought of Diane. I was staggered when she agreed."
And within just two hours of sitting down to work it was complete.
"I'd had an idea for it and I played Diane what I thought was the chorus. She said, "No, I don't think you've got a chorus, I think it's a verse." I thought, "Oh dear, this is a bad start." But once I got over that we had pretty much done it. So the whole thing took about two hours."
She is of course no stranger to big musical centrepieces, having given I Don't Want To Miss A Thing to Aerosmith for the Aprmageddon soundtrack.



Bringing things bang up to date, this year's Academy Awards included a nomination for work with Lady Gaga! Put together for The Hunting Ground, a documentary dealing with the troubling issue of campus rape. Till It Happens To You is the song in question, and Dianne is a fan of her collaborator.
"I heard about [the film] and it just really touched me, and she had stuff in her life that she could relate to.

Gaga is one of the most talented artists I have worked with in my life and I'm excited about doing more with her... There are a lot of levels to the song. There's something very vulnerable about it and something very defiant about it, especially the way [Gaga] sings it.

The first verse is vulnerable—'You tell me it's going to get better?'—and the second verse comes in and it builds. Really? It gets better? No. You don't know until it happens to you..."



Poptastic!

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