Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Mad World at No 1 Makes Perfect Sense

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Mad World at No 1 Makes Perfect Sense

Article excerpt

Byline: By Wil Marlow

The dark horse for the Christmas number one, declared first past the post last night, is a re-working of a 21-year-old hit. Wil Marlow tells the story of Mad World.

In the run-up to Christmas, talk had been fervent about who would nab the top spot in the Christmas chart, with The Darkness, the finalists from Pop Idol and seasonal stalwart Cliff Richard all touted for success.

But a slow-burning outsider, recorded three years ago, crept from the shadows last night to pull the rug from under them all.

Gary Jules' and Michael Andrews' delicate and atmospheric retread of Tears For Fears' first major hit, Mad World, taken from cult film Donnie Darko, created an enormous buzz in the music industry and among the record-buying public.

And the reward was welcomed last night as Andrews described the chart-topping news as "incredible".

"My first reaction was just that it was unbelievable," he said.

"This was so unexpected. It just took off. It's an incredible thing for me to be able to enter into the mainstream like this with one of my best friends. It's a testament to the fact that people do like honest, simple music. You break something down to its most basic parts and people just react."

Jules added: "When I go into radio stations and meet people, I've found that many of them feel the song belongs to them. It's had a slow, organic build and people have carried it round for so long, before it ever got on the radio."

The song declared top of the Christmas pops came about more by accident than design.

Andrews was commissioned by first-time director Richard Kelly to write the music for an independent film he was making called Donnie Darko, but was stumped when Kelly told him he didn't want any guitar or drums on the soundtrack.

Then he decided to incorporate the Tears for Fears track (which scored a number three hit in 1982) into the score and asked Jules if he wanted to sing it.

"It was a very daunting task for him," said Jules. "He'd just moved to LA, where I was living, from San Diego where we grew up, so I went over to his house every day to lend my support and watch him do it. …

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