of the week

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By the mid-seventies, Sci-Fi had arrived in the UK from America and is still here. Star Wars landed like a meteorite and grabbed the nation by its ears and naturally the music followed suit.

Meco beamed into the top ten in 1977 with the Theme from Star Wars. A year later Mankind had a top 30 hit with a disco version of the Dr Who Theme, the same year we were subjected to Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. Steve Rowland, a producer in the 1960s who had worked with Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich and the Pretty Things before becoming a member of Family Dogg, wanted to further his career into the 70s. He explained his passion, “Being a sci-fi fan I wanted that as a record. I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper was written by Typically Tropical’s Jeff Calvert and Geraint Hughes (Max West’s real name). It was round the time of Star Wars and I liked it. I said, ‘Let’s make it so you can see it, rather than hear it.’ I worked on a storyboard and tried to match that on record.” Continuing, he explained the inspiration, “I borrowed from Jonathan Richman’s ‘Egyptian Reggae.’ That was my groove and the basis of Starship Trooper – listen to them back-to-back and you’ll see what I mean.” Just for added effect the song included lines like ‘And evil Darth Vader has been banished to Mars’ and ‘Or are you like a droid, devoid of emotion’ just to cash in on the film’s success.

Sarah Brightman began her career as a member of the dance troupe Hot Gossip which was assembled by choreographer Arlene Philips. They were spotted by television producer David Mallet who invited them to become a regular feature on the Kenny Everett Television show which ran until 1981. They were noted for their risque costumes and the dance routines which were all designed and choreographed by Phillips.

Brightman is a classically trained soprano and possesses a three and a-half octave range voice and can sing in English, French, Russian, Spanish, Latin, Chinese, German, Italian, Hindi and Japanese.

I Lost My Heart to A Starship Trooper made number six in the UK chart and was followed-up with The Adventures Of A Love Crusader but that failed to make the Top 50 and so Brightman decided to put her voice to better use than the novelty disco scene. In 1981 she made her West End debut in Cats where she met the show’s  composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, and later married him three years later.

Five years later she landed her most famous roll as Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera. That musical is still running (albeit without Brightman) and this year celebrated its 25th anniversary. In 1987 the soundtrack was released and has since sold over 40 million copies making it one of the biggest selling soundtracks in the world.

In March 1985 she was back in the chart with her biggest hit single when Pie Jesu, from the show Requiem and written by her husband, peaked at number three. The title track of The Phantom of the Opera, a duet with 70s veteran, Steve Harley made number seven.

In 1992 she was invited to perform at the Barcelona Olympic Games on which she duetted with the Spanish tenor Jose Carreras on Amigos Para Siempre. In 2008 she performed at the Beijing Games with Chinese singer Liu Huan as by doing so made her the only singer to perform at the Olympics twice.

In 1990, the same year she divorced Lloyd Webber, she began a West End run as Rose Vibert in Aspects Of Love. In 1997 she recorded her most popular album, Time To Say Goodbye which saw her teamed with Argentinean singer Jose Cura and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli. Their duet Time To Say Goodbye (Con Te Partiro) made number two in the UK chart and went on to become the biggest selling single of all time in Germany.