Brian Cox reunites with D:Ream for Things Can Only Get Better at Glastonbury | Ents & Arts News


Professor Brian Cox has joined his former D:Ream bandmates on stage at Glastonbury to perform the track that became a defining political anthem of the 1990s – and seemingly again this year after its re-emergence ahead of the general election.

The TV physicist received rapturous applause from the crowd at the festival’s Glade Stage as he was brought on by frontman Peter Cunnah, providing his musical expertise on keyboards once again for sleeper hit Things Can Only Get Better.

Following its release in 1993, the song topped the charts after a remix the following year. But it was in 1997 that it really took off once again, as the official anthem of Tony Blair’s landslide victory for Labour.

Brian Cox joined his former D:Ream bandmate Peter Cunnah to perform Things Can Only Get Better on stage at Glastonbury
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Cox played keyboard once again for their final song, Things Can Only Get Better, at the Glade Stage

Earlier this year, as a rain-soaked Rishi Sunak called the general election now taking place next week, the song was unmissable as it was blared out close to No 10.

Just ahead of their performance, Cox joined Cunnah and fellow D:Ream bandmate and co-founder Al Mackenzie to speak to Sky News about the reunion.

The TV scientist said he cleared his diary as soon as he heard they would play Glastonbury for the first time.

It’s a long time ago, but I’ve tremendously happy memories of the early ’90s,” Cox said, adding that Things Can Only Get Better is a “joyous song about change”.

“It is a song of hope and joy, and where it comes from is to entertain people, make people happy, regardless of their political persuasions,” said Cunnah. “It’s time to forget that and just enjoy yourselves, you know?”

However, there’s no escaping its association with politics. While D:Ream had other hits with singles including Shoot Me With Your Love and U R The Best Thing, thanks to Blair’s adoption it is Things Can Only Get Better that remains their most famous hit.

Labour leader Tony Blair waves as he arrives at No.10 Downing Street.
Pic Reuters
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Things Can Only Get Better was adopted by Labour’s Tony Blair ahead of his landslide victory in the 1997 election

“It was a remarkable moment,” said Cox. “I remember it so vividly, 1997, because we did Top Of The Pops and it’d gone back into the charts on election day. Because Top Of The Pops was going to be broadcast after the polls had closed, we were allowed to do it.”

So how do they feel about it being brought back ahead of another general election almost 30 years later, with Labour ahead of the Conservatives in the polls.

Speaking about Mr Sunak’s speech, Cunnah said: “The first time I saw it on TV, I did laugh. And then, I didn’t say the exact words, but it was, ‘oh god, not again’.

“The next thing I know, the phone’s ringing off the hook and we’re getting offers – we had an offer to get on a van and sing Things Can Only Get Better at the bottom of Downing Street from some advertising company, and we made that go away by asking for a hundred grand. It’s just funny. And apparently a whole load of new kids have found us on TikTok, so that’s no bad thing.”

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Cunnah and Mackenzie were actually in the studio working on a new D:Ream album when the speech aired.

“People were phoning us, ‘you need to put the TV on’,” said Mackenzie.

Among those getting in touch was Cox. “I text them straight away. Something like, ‘oh no, not again’.”

So how do they feel about the song coming to prominence politically once more?

“I’m very pleased that twice it’s come to prominence and the Tories are going to be taken out of power, so I’m very happy,” said Mackenzie.

“I blow hot and cold on it,” said Cunnah. “I’m kind of gutted that our song’s tied to those moments in time, because I was just getting to the point where I thought, after 30 years, we’d lost the association and the song was just breathing life as itself again… but you just have to kind of get on with your life.”



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