Garth Jennings

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Director Garth Jennings (and his partner Nick Goldsmith, as Hammer & Tongs) is behind some of the most creative music videos of all time, including Blur’s Coffee and TV and Supergrass’ Pumping on Your Stereo.” He stopped in before the release of his latest feature film, Son of Rambow, to chat with DJ Jason Eldredge about the music that inspires him, including a very personal story about a TV show theme, the perfect party scene soundtrack, and a children’s chant turned into a song that sounds like it is “from another planet.”


For More:

Hear an interview with Garth Jennings on The Treatment


 Show Playlist

1. Betty Wright-"Shoorah, Shoorah", The Best of Betty Wright (Rhino)
2. Rogers & Hammerstein-"Something Wonderful", The King and I (Decca)
3. Siouxsie & The Banshees-"Peek-a-Boo", Peepshow (Geffen)
4. Radiohead-"There, There", Hail to the Chief (Capitol)
5. Morecambe and Wise-"Bring Me Sunshine" Songs & Sketches (Import) 

Jason Eldredge: This is Jason Eldredge from KCRW and I am here with Garth Jennings who you might know from such features as "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" or the new "Son of Rambow." He's also directed some music videos including videos by Vampire Weekend and Hot Chip and REM, and we're going to talk about some of the music that has inspired him over the years. Garth, why don't we just jump right in?

 Garth Jennings: Okay.

 Jason Eldredge: What songs do you have that you want to share with us today?

 Garth Jennings: The first song I want to share with you good people is by Betty Wright and it is called “Shoorah, Shoorah.” I think it was one of the most perfect records I've ever heard. Whenever I listen to it, I can't believe how good the band is and the vocal obviously. I always want to have it in the movie somewhere, or play it all the time at home. I think I first used it in college films, it would always be playing in a party sequence or somewhere, and I managed to get it into "Hitchhiker's" in the back ground. It's just one of those perfect records that I can play over and over again.

 Jason Eldredge: Well, let's go ahead and take a listen to it. This is "Shoorah, Shoorah" by Betty Wright.

 Song, Betty Wright - Shoorah Shoorah

 Jason Eldredge: So, you know, we've talked about sort of the party vibe of Betty Wright in that song "Shoorah Shoorah." Now this next selection goes into sort of different territory.

 Garth Jennings: Well, it is weird. When you told me to write down a list of songs that I've been inspired by, I think like most people it's almost impossible to get it right in five tracks, so I thought, alright, I've got to do this as fast as I possibly can, and let the first ones that come to my head be the ones I choose. But I thought that after "Shoorah, Shoorah," that's very poppy and I love that song for that reason, but I was trying to think of a song that I could remember that had the opposite effect, the one that would really make me want to burst into tears. I remember the first song that I remember hearing that did that was from "The King and I" and it's called "Something Wonderful." It really is over the top, completely, but there is something about it that just… I dare your listeners not to, right at the end, crack a little bit and just get a little tissue ready because it's quite an emotional thing. I love a bit of emotion.

 Jason Eldredge: Yeah, absolutely, and a little bit of drama? There's nothing wrong with a little Rogers & Hammerstein.

 Garth Jennings: No, they knew what they were doing.

 Song, Rogers & Hammerstien - Something Wonderful

 Jason Eldredge: That was music from the original soundtrack to "The King and I," "Something Wonderful," on KCRW. I'm Jason Eldredge sitting here with director Garth Jennings who is sharing a few of his musical selections with us. Garth, what do you have for us next?

 Garth Jennings: This next one, this was a really easy choice. It's by Siouxsie & The Banshees. I grew up loving bands like this, but this one in particular. I love all of her records, but this was the one that just sounded like it was from another planet when I first heard it. What's going on here? It sounds like it's going half backwards, half forwards, and it's got this hook… who would ever have this hook that goes "Peeeek-a-boo!" It's so bizarre, but absolutely works. I thought only Siouxsie & The Banshees could pull this record off. It was the first track I knew we had to use in our film "Son of Rambow." It goes in a sequence that is pretty much choreographed to it; it's the only time we do that in the film, and it's something I was so pleased when they gave us permission to use it. I'm really proud of that sequence because it works so well to this song.

 Song Siouxsie & The Banshees - Peek-a-boo

 Jason Eldredge: The next song that you have chosen is from one of my favorite bands.

 Garth Jennings: Yeah, they're doing really well, aren't they? They're on the up-and-up. Someday I think they're going to make it.

 Jason Eldredge: Well, it's fun because not many people know about them I don't think.

 Garth Jennings: Well, I must admit that this wasn't so much of an inspiration. It wasn’t one of those songs that I feel made me think differently or anything like that, although it is a master piece. It just happens to be one of those songs… one of the best days that Nick and I ever had was when we were green-lit to make "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." It was an overwhelming, emotional experience, and as we were driving away from the studio lot, sort of in a daze, we got a phone call from the management of Radiohead, whom we'd worked with when we worked with Supergrass. We had never worked with Radiohead at this point, and they said that Supergrass was supporting Radiohead tonight at the Hollywood Bowl, would you like to come? We had already had the best thing happen, and then we get offered these two tickets. We sit there and the band, you know Supergrass is incredible, but Radiohead came out and they put those drums on either side of the stage, and they played this track, and it was just one of those moments, and I thought, "I'm never ever going to forget this. This is just as good as it gets," and it really was. It was probably the best day of all time.

 Song, Radiohead - There, There

 Jason Eldredge: Garth, what do you have for us next?

 Garth Jennings: This is a bit of a weird one to explain. This is a song by two comedians called  Morecambe and Wise, and it's called "Bring Me Sunshine." When I was growing up, Morecambe and Wise were huge. They were sort of all-around entertainers and no one loved them more than my grandfather. My grandfather had a very big laugh; he had the best laugh you ever heard in your life, and he would almost collapse on the floor with laughter at these two because they were so funny. I remember him literally crawling across the floor, unable to breathe with laughter, and that would cause us to do so… it was infectious. Sadly, my grandpa died eight years ago, and it was awful. He was a marvelous man and it was hard to see him go, and my mother was in charge of the funeral proceedings. We had no idea what she was doing, so we, of course, everyone was in tears; it was a very emotional day, and they said, "We're going to play a song now as the coffin goes away and the curtain closes," and as it did this, suddenly, this song kicked in, and when you hear this song… We're going to play this now. I just want you to imagine us all standing there, all suddenly just bursting into laughter, a complete mess, all as the coffin went a way. I don't want you to think of it in a morbid way. I want you to think of the perfect thing to do for a perfect man.

Jason Eldredge: Well, this is one that I'm not familiar with, so let's listen to this. It's called "Bring Me Sunshine" by Morecambe and Wise, and I do, I do want to listen to this because… I can't wait to hear it.

Song, Morecambe and Wise - Bring Me Sunshine

Jason Eldredge: You are listening to KCRW, and I'm Jason Eldredge. Garth, thank you so much for coming in and you can listen to this on

Garth Jennings: Absolutely, it's been a pleasure.

Jason Eldredge: Thank you.