Play list for commercial radio stations on the occasion of a royal/nationally important death?

(40 Posts)
WeBuiltThisBuffetOnSausageRoll Mon 11-Jan-21 19:24:35

Apologies if this is a bit morbid. My interest is in the actual songs than the occasion itself.

Apparently, every commercial radio station in the country has a blue 'obit light' (that's tested every week), which will be suddenly lit when a royal death occurs. This is their signal to immediately switch to a playlist of songs that are sombre and considered befitting of such an occasion. Reportedly, there are two centrally approved lists referred to as 'Mood 2' (very sad songs) and 'Mood 1' (the saddest songs of all).

Only one of the songs on one of the lists has been publicly named - Haunted Dancehall (Nursery Remix) by Sabres of Paradise - and I'm bizarrely curious about which other songs are on those lists.

Are there any DJs/presenters out there, or anybody else in the know, who can shed any light on which songs actually make the list? And for the majority of us who have no insider knowledge whatsoever, which songs would others put on the lists, if it were up to them?

Again, this isn't a 'do you like the royals or not' thread, nor am I after speculation about the next royal death. I just really want to know what songs are on those lists or, otherwise, which songs MN would deem worthy of the lists!

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WeBuiltThisBuffetOnSausageRoll Thu 14-Jan-21 00:40:36

Shameless bump/call to ask if I'm the only one really fascinated in finding out what's in these lists?!

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JamieLeesCurtains Thu 14-Jan-21 00:44:33

Haunted Dancehall (Nursery Remix) by Sabres of Paradise

I've never heard of this.

ElizaLaLa Thu 14-Jan-21 00:48:38

I think I've vaguely heard of this before. No idea what the songs are though, sorry!

OnceUponAMidnightBeery Thu 14-Jan-21 00:49:12

Never knew this was a thing, and now I’m fascinated too blush

I remember there being just continual music on the radio with no DJ chat at all when Diana died, but couldn’t tell you any of the songs.

OnceUponAMidnightBeery Thu 14-Jan-21 00:49:55

I wish I’d paid more attention now blush

MenaiMna Thu 14-Jan-21 01:00:45

There was a long guardian feature about the protocol in 2017. I can't link on app but Google for "London bridge is down" media response to royal death


WeBuiltThisBuffetOnSausageRoll Thu 14-Jan-21 01:03:02

I've never heard of this.

No, neither had I until I read the article and headed to YouTube. I think that's what's so intriguing. If they'd chosen well-known 'standard' sombre songs to be played and/or told DJs to avoid 'Happy', 'Zip-a-dee-doo-dah' and 'The Marrow Song' - or if they'd just gone straight down the classical route and directed towards Dido's Lament or Moonlight Sonata - it wouldn't be nearly as remarkable.

It's just the fact that somebody has specifically thought long and hard about these lists, pondering the entire gamut of deeply sad songs, and has come up with a little-known 90s British Electronic group! Who else is on there: Carter USM and Jimmy The Hoover?!

Actually, now I think again, if they're already looking at this genre and vintage, I wouldn't be surprised if Portishead or Massive Attack are on there too. Maybe even The Verve. Blue Monday has to be a strong contender. I'm just imagining Jeremy Paxman introducing them in the gravest of tones, pretending like he has the first clue about who they actually are!

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KenAdams Thu 14-Jan-21 01:17:22

Haunted Dancehall fills me with dread but I don't know why. I hate it.

WeBuiltThisBuffetOnSausageRoll Thu 14-Jan-21 01:18:53

I remember there being just continual music on the radio with no DJ chat at all when Diana died, but couldn’t tell you any of the songs.

I remember that too (although, annoyingly, none of the actual songs). I listened to Virgin Radio at the time and it was beyond weird to hear them suddenly sounding like a far more serious version of Radio 3.

Maybe that's the whole idea: that they're after generally unknown sad-sounding instrumentals just to put you in the general ambience of 'mournful', without something familiar that everybody will be singing along to with gusto? For all we know, Sabres Of Paradise could even have been deliberately set up and specifically 'commissioned' for this task. Wouldn't surprise me if Underworld make it on there as well.

I wonder if there will be a big specially written/reworked popular song, like with Elton and the new version of Candle In The Wind for Diana. Maybe that's the missing link between why some people seem to get knighthoods and damehoods in an instant for one relatively ephemeral act and then others who've been working tirelessly for the good of the public for 60 years never scrape an OBE - they're all lined up for the big tribute single, with Bob Geldof on lead vocals, and the clearly decades-long overlooked ones have declined to be involved or cannot sing like Bob or play any instruments for toffee.

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OnceUponAMidnightBeery Thu 14-Jan-21 01:23:19


Haunted Dancehall fills me with dread but I don't know why. I hate it.

Making a mental note to listen to this tomorrow, if it’s that depressing I’ll play it in work to stop people from being so bloody cheerful at 6am gits

WeBuiltThisBuffetOnSausageRoll Thu 14-Jan-21 01:25:02

It could even have been a big publicity stunt by SOP, to get tens of thousands more views once people read the article. Maybe they thought: if the KLF can do it, so can we!

It could backfire, though: surely you'd want people to hear your tune and be thinking how sublime and beautiful it was rather than instantly assuming that the Queen has just made her exit and panicking that they won't be showing Eastenders or Pointless now!

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WeBuiltThisBuffetOnSausageRoll Thu 14-Jan-21 01:28:37

Haunted Dancehall fills me with dread but I don't know why. I hate it.

I know what you mean - it has a real sense of dark foreboding. Like Katie Hopkins has heard the sad news too, has identified her big once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and is about to stage a coup to wrest control of the nation from Charles!

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WeBuiltThisBuffetOnSausageRoll Thu 14-Jan-21 01:36:45

Clannad and Enya have got to be in there somewhere too.

I wonder what the purpose of 'Mood 2' - sad, but not saddest is? Maybe that's for if it's announced she's taken very seriously ill but is still with us, before they switch to 'Mood 1' when the time comes?

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tinselandlights Thu 14-Jan-21 01:41:06

The only thing I remember on the radio from when princess Diana died was them playing Vincent by Don McLean, it was bizarre!

Scarby9 Thu 14-Jan-21 01:46:15

Like @OnceUponAMidnightBeery, I remember this when Diana died.

I had stayed the night at a friend's house as we had just got back from a camping holiday. I set off for home the following morning without waking my friend. This is in the days before widespread mobile phones and rolling news etc. I just got up, had breakfast and got in my car.

I remember changing the channel on the radio - and again - and again - looking for something cheerful to listen to, but there were just these solemn tunes and no speech.

I was almost home (15 minutes?) before a serious voice came on to tell us Diana had died. I turned straight round and drove back to my friend's house to tell her.

We spent the rest of the day watching the TV and crying. Diana was our age and it just hit home every time they showed her dates.

The week after her death was such a weird week in the UK. My parents were on holiday in France and missed it all. They never unferstood he kind of collective hysteria that gripped the press and large swathes of the population.

BarbaraofSeville Thu 14-Jan-21 07:09:28

I remember when 9/11 happened, I and a colleague were at our company head office a 4 hour drive away and we had the radio on for the drive home and some of the time, we had Radio 1 on and instead of lively nonsense that they usually did, it was minimal chat and music. I don't remember the music, but they probably did something like this then.

BBC News also have appropriately sombre clothing ready for the main presenters, which is tried on annually, in case of similar circumstances.

Gliblet Thu 14-Jan-21 07:19:49

Some of the tracks the BBC used on the day of Diana's funeral are listed in a post on this old thread

I do wonder what smaller commercial stations will do. A lot more pressure on DJs to keep talking i suspect. Theres not much point putting together a playlist of stuff like that if the local construction firm's jaunty jingle about pourable concrete pops up inbetween...

JamieLeesCurtains Thu 14-Jan-21 07:42:22

I've listened to Haunted Dancehall now. It goes on a bit, I'll give it that. No other redeeming features.

I'd prefer a nice bit of Elgar's Nimrod. Or Elbow.

Minaun Thu 14-Jan-21 07:46:18

Just looked up that Haunted Dancehall song on Spotify as I had never heard of it - it's fucking horrific! What a terrible song, sounds like something out of a horror movie soundtrack. Why on earth someone chose THAT to be on the list is beyond me!

SomewhatBored Thu 14-Jan-21 07:54:06

And for the majority of us who have no insider knowledge whatsoever, which songs would others put on the lists

For the death of a Royal, politician or celebrity I would prefer the stations just played their usual music. The death might be sad for some but it's up to the individuals who are upset to avoid anything too cheerful if they don't want to hear it. I wasn't at all upset when Diana died, for instance. It was sad for her young sons, but she was a vain, extravagant individual so I couldn't feel she was much loss to anyone else.

Talk - well, I can't stand the inane gab about nothing that you get on commercial stations and Radio 1 so if I were in charge I'd cut that out permanently - have one intelligent presenter only, not two idiots talking about what they ate for breakfast and what their horoscopes said that morning.

National/world tragedy involving multiple deaths - I would probably go for instrumental or mainly instrumental music with a neutral feel rather than overtly sombre music - something that would make a soothing background, without making people feel even sadder than they already felt.

Lurkingforawhile Thu 14-Jan-21 07:57:41 This is a good read if you're interested in the process and timescales

Lurkingforawhile Thu 14-Jan-21 07:58:32

It also explains (IIRC) about why the death of the Queen might affect the nation more strongly as she's all we've ever known.

TheLisbonSisters Thu 14-Jan-21 08:10:27

Assume Classic FM would play sombre classical music rather than those playlists?

Blowingagale Thu 14-Jan-21 08:11:45

I expect that almost all stations will have contracts with advertisers that adverts are pulled completely- not good for either the company of the station in the early stages.

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