ROLLING STONE: ‘DREADFUL MISTAKE’ Keane Unearth 20-Year-Old Song They Wrote for ‘Love Actually’ But Was Turned Down

"The film Love Actually is 20 years old now, which at last gives us a perfect reason to record our song properly," band says


DECEMBER 1, 2023

British rockers Keane have unearthed their previously unreleased song “Love Actually,” which, as the title suggests, was written for the beloved 2003 rom-com of the same name but ultimately unused by the film’s director.

In defense of Love Actually director Richard Curtis, Keane wrote the song before the then-unknown band even released their debut album, 2004’s Hopes and Fears. With Love Actually the film celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and ahead of the 20th anniversary of Hopes and Fears, Keane dug out their “Love Actually” and recorded a proper version for the first time.

“In 2002 we were an unsigned band, and our friend and manager Adam was working for the producer of Love Actually,” keyboardist Tim Rice-Oxley said in a statement. “While they were making the film, Adam suggested we should quickly write a song, and he’d see if he could get it into Richard Curtis’ hands…and maybe we could sneak onto the soundtrack and get our big break! Needless to say it didn’t turn out that way, but Richard always very graciously said he loved the song and wished he’d put it in the film.”


Rice-Oxley continued, “We all loved the song too, but having called it ‘Love Actually’, it was very hard to do anything with it! In fact, for 20 years whenever I’ve played a new demo to my mum, her response has usually been, ‘Hmm…when are you going to record ‘Love Actually’?’ Well, the film Love Actually is 20 years old now, which at last gives us a perfect reason to record our song properly.”

Curtis admitted in his own statement that he regretted not putting Keane’s “Love Actually” in the film, especially considering that the band would soon become near-overnight sensations in the U.K.

“Everyone makes mistakes—even if they’re understandable ones. When I first listened to ‘Love Actually’ by this totally unknown combo called Keane, I thought it was beautiful. I tried really hard to put it in the film—but in the end it was a little melancholy and, dare I say, a bit DEEP for the film I’d made,” Curtis said.

“Of course, I realized what a dreadful mistake that had been when six months later, Hopes and Fears was No.1 in the charts. It is SO wonderful that the song is now being released for everyone to hear. I’ve listened to it a lot over the years and love it even more now than I did then. And this time, myself and my son Spike have made a little edit of the whole film to go with the song. I think I actually prefer that three minute version of ‘Love Actually’ to the long, chaotic film that’s been doing the rounds now for 20 years.”

Keane will reissue Hopes and Fears in May 2024; presumably, “Love Actually” will be included.