Love Actually, the cornball ensemble comedy about a bunch of British people falling into and out of love with one another, is now 20 years old. It endures as meme fodder, if nothing else. As it turns out, the British pop balladeers Keane, who were unsigned at the time, wrote a song called “Love Actually” for the Love Actually soundtrack, but it wasn’t included in the movie. Today, after all these years, the band has released the song, and it sounds exactly like a Keane song written for the Love Actually soundtrack.
Keane have actually been together since the mid-’90s, bu they struggled to find any purchase for a while. They released their debut album Hope And Fears about six months after the movie came out, and it was a huge British success. Here’s what Keane’s Tim Rice-Oxley says about the song:
In 2002, we were an unsigned band, and our friend and manager Adam was working for the producer of Love Actually. While they were making the film, Adam suggested we should quickly write a song and he’d see if he could get it into Richard Curtis’ hands, and maybe we could sneak onto the soundtrack and get our big break! Needless to say, it didn’t turn out that way, but Richard always very graciously said he loved the song and wished he’d put it in the film. We all loved the song too, but having called it “Love Actually,” it was very hard to do anything with it! In fact, for 20 years, whenever I’ve played a new demo to my mum, her response has usually been, “Hmm…when are you going to record ‘Love Actually’?” Well, the film Love Actually is 20 years old now, which at last gives us a perfect reason to record our song properly.
And here’s what Love Actually director Richard Curtis says about his decision not to include the song in the movie:
Everyone makes mistakes, even if they’re understandable ones. When I first listened to “Love Actually” by this totally unknown combo called Keane, I thought it was beautiful. I tried really hard to put it in the film, but in the end it was a little melancholy and, dare I say, a bit DEEP for the film I’d made. Of course, I realized what a dreadful mistake that had been when six months later Hopes And Fears was #1 in the charts. It is SO wonderful that the song is now being released for everyone to hear. I’ve listened to it a lot over the years and love it even more now than I did then. And this time, myself and my son Spike have made a little edit of the whole film to go with the song. I think I actually prefer that three minute version of “Love Actually” to the long, chaotic film that’s been doing the rounds now for 20 years.
Listen to Keane’s “Love Actually” below.