The unmistakable pop-rock sounds of Train will open NBC’s weight-loss competition show “The Biggest Loser” on a weekly basis, beginning Sept. 27.
A 22-second portion of a new song “Brand New Book” will play during the opening credits, which features the show’s trainers shouting instructions and encouragement to contestants. A full-minute version of the show’s new theme song is on tap for use later this season.
Discussions about a theme song for the show began in June when Daryl Berg, executive director of music for Reveille, the company that produces the show, reached out to EMI Music Publishing for potential songwriters. Reveille wanted to add music to help freshen up the show, the Sept. 20 season premiere of which was watched by 6.1 million people, according to Nielsen.
“EMI pitched me a bunch of artists,” Berg says. “We narrowed it to three and we got our No. 1 choice.”
Seeking to capture the uplifting nature of the show, Berg says he saw Train as a perfect fit. The band’s mainstream appeal certainly didn’t hurt, either. Its ubiquitous 2009 single “Hey, Soul Sister” has sold 5.6 million digital tracks in the United States, making it the eighth-biggest-selling digital song of all time, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Train’s Pat Monahan and Jerry Becker wrote two songs for submission, an uptempo number that wasn’t used and “Brand New Book,” which is still energetic, but a bit slower.
“Pat has a different work ethic than many artists,” says the band’s manager, Jonathan Daniels of Crush Management. “He’s like an Olympic athlete and if I say there’s an assignment, he gets really focused on hitting the goal.” EMI, Reveille and the band went back and forth as demos were turned in and Train shaped the song to fit the show’s needs. “They were interested in something dramatic,” Daniels says, “and they really didn’t have much to change.”
Monahan was writing extensively over the summer and has about half an album’s worth of new songs. The band will go into the studio in November to start recording its next album, tour China and Southeast Asia in December and finish the album in January.
At the time Monahan was writing songs for “The Biggest Loser,” he was also penning with David Hodges a track for the new John Singleton film, “Abduction.” “To Be Loved,” the leadoff Train track on the Sony Music soundtrack for the Lionsgate film, was recorded, mixed and mastered in the four days that preceded the band’s two-month tour with Maroon 5 that wraps Sept. 24.
Daniels says it’s too early in the process to determine whether “Brand New Book” or “To Be Loved” will be released as singles or included on the next Train album. “My hope is that ‘The Biggest Loser’ has them on to play the song — it would be good closure,” he says.
“Train was a perfect match for the show,” Berg says. “And with EMI and Sony, this could not have gone smoother.”
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