No surprise here. After breaking Tunefind records last week, Netflix series Sex Education has our top TV song of the week with a hit from the legendary Billy Ocean.
Acting on some intentionally bad advice from Otis, Jackson orchestrates an orchestra–or a few instruments from swing band and some backup singers–to stage a grand gesture to woo Maeve. Jackson sings the 1976 hit ‘Love Really Hurts Without You’ from on top of a table in the middle of the school cafeteria, with a crowd of students looking on.
The choir and instruments continue as Jackson walks to Maeve, asking her to be his girlfriend. She calls him a “dickhead” and the original recording by Ocean rolls in as they kiss, continuing through the end credits. To Otis’ horror, his attempt to sabotage Jackson has backfired.
The music supervision by Matt Biffa and Ciara Elwis pulls viewers into the series by playfully mixing songs spanning several decades (see full list on our Sex Education Soundtrack). The music is a key element – along with costumes, set design, even cars – of how the show plays with time period, giving the series a nostalgic feel while addressing modern day topics.
Creator Laurie Nunn told Thrillest, “It was a very conscious decision from myself and the producers and director Ben Taylor who is also an executive producer on the project. We all absolutely love the teen genre, particularly the John Hughes films of the 1980s so we really wanted to make the show have the feeling that it’s an homage or that it has this nostalgic backdrop, but that we are talking about very contemporary, modern themes and storylines for the characters.”
‘Love Really Hurts Without You’ was released on Billy Ocean’s self-titled album in January of 1976. The single charted No. 2 in the UK Singles Chart and No. 22 in the US Billboard Hot 100.
Ocean wrote the song while working as a pattern cutter at a fashion house on Savile Row. Several years later, he was pursuing his music career in London while working on the assembly line at the Ford plant in Dagenham.
According to Ocean, “I would do sessions during the day and after I had finished a session I would go work at Ford all through the night. It half killed me, but while I was doing that I met this producer who gave me [the] opportunity [to record ‘Love Really Hurts…’].”
Ocean recalls, “I was on the [Ford assembly line] when I heard that song on Radio Luxembourg. I felt so good, because I knew I was free to leave. So I left.”
A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Billy Ocean–born Leslie Sebastian Charles on January 21, 1950–moved to England with his family when he was ten years old. He got turned on to soul singers like Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, as well as pop groups like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Learning to love soul and rock, Ocean started playing clubs when he was a teenager.
Billy Ocean is the biggest black recording star Britain has ever produced. With a string of R&B international hits in the 1970s and 1980s, he was the most popular British R&B singer-songwriter of the early to mid-1980s. Ocean has sold over 30 million records in his lifetime and is still touring in the UK this March.
Sex Education continues to generate huge activity on Tunefind. We’ve been working with Biffa, Elwis, and series composer Oli Julian to list full details for the music featured in Sex Education, including Julian’s score cues and the many unreleased tracks by Ezra Furman featured in the series.
〉Listen now: Love Really Hurts Without You by Billy Ocean
〉Full list of songs in Sex Education
〉More music by Billy Ocean