2014102120200117 (BBC7)
20200118 (BBC7)

Richard Coles delves into the 1990's when a recording of Benedictine monks singing became so popular it sold in the millions around the world.

If an album of classical music sold anywhere near one million copies at that time, it was considered unusual. For one to sell more than that was unprecedented. Adding further to this phenomenon was the fact that this was unfamiliar music at the time, Gregorian Chant, performed not by celebrity artists who might attract a large following, but by monks from a remote corner of Northern Spain. EMI marketed this album Canto Gregoriano, or Chant as it was named in Amercia, as a unique antidote to stress.

Richard Coles with former EMI employees Kick Klimbie and Jane McCann, retrace EMI's marketing tactics in the promotion of Canto Gregoriano. Professor Adrian North will also be providing insights throughout the programme into the psychology of marketing, exploring what drives people to buy certain things, and how music can impact upon us physically and emotionally.

Richard Coles also takes a trip to the Isle of Wight, where Gregorian Chant is still an important aspect of life at both St Cecilia's Abbey and Quarr Abbey, and questions whether such music is still capable of having any meaning or impact upon our lives in the twenty-first century.

Producer: Luke Whitlock.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in October 2014.

Richard Coles journeys in the footsteps of superstar monks.