The Scriptspecial guest Calum Scott
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In early 2020, The Script were flying high. The band’s sixth album Sunsets and Full Moons, released the previous November, had been their fifth album to hit Number One in the UK. Frontman Danny O’Donoghue called it straight, describing it as "the most poignant album we’ve ever made”, written and recorded in the aftermath of the singer losing his mother.
That loss rocket-powered songs like "Run Through Walls," and also gave other tracks like "The Last Time" (“we said that it would last, but how come it’s the last time?”) added emotional heft. And the fans responded in kind, sending the album to the top of the charts. It added to the remarkable tally of the Irish trio’s achievements of the preceding 11 years: five previous platinum-selling albums, 6 billion streams, 30 million single sales, 11 million album sales, 13 million monthly Spotify listeners and 2 million tickets sold across headline shows globally.
So, come the beginning of last year, there was more where that came from in the shape of a sold-out UK arena tour. But then, of course, history came knocking.
“We were just coming towards the end of a tour,” begins Glen Power (drums, vocals). First, he remembers things being scaled back. “Part of our thing is to get up close and personal with our fans – in fact, part of our show then was to go into the audience for a b-stage moment. We’re a really tactile band – we like to meet people, and suddenly our meet & greets starting getting cancelled. Then, we were in Aberdeen and we were due to go to Newcastle – and we had some big shows in Dublin, arena shows at Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam. And then everything got cancelled. It was terrible all round, of course. But for us as a band it was devastating.”
Remembering the dark days of last March, O’Donoghue still sounds shocked, “I walked offstage at what turned out to be the last show – we decided to end about a week before the government made it mandatory – with 16,000 people’s voices ringing in my ears, singing For The First Time. And I jumped in my car, went to my house in London – and there I was for 18 months. It was such a shock to the system! Then there were just the four of us in the house – me, my missus, and then our reflections staring at us in the mirror!” he laughs.
Like all of us, the singer/songwriter turned inwards. “And then I got to meet a lot of versions of myself: Confused Me, Optimistic Me, Working Out Me and Fat Me! Like there was four of us, there were all these different scenarios, hanging out together.”
As guitarist Mark Sheehan notes, “it’s been a redefining time for us, like it has for everyone. If we can’t play live, who are we?"
It was time for the group to regroup – but if they couldn’t physically do that, how best to do that, for their own sake as musicians but also for the fans’ sake?
Cue a greatest hits. Cue Tales From The Script, the first ever best of from a band with enough hits and fan-favourites to make that a blockbuster 18-track double album.