Song of the Day: Vinnie Bell, “‘Airport’ Love Theme”

Author Arthur Hailey, who wrote some of my favorite books, would be 101 today. I’ve read several of his books, including Hotel (1965), Airport (1968), The Moneychangers (1975), and The Evening News (1990). Airport was adapted for the screen by George Seaton in 1970; the movie starred Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Jean Seburg, and a host of other actors and actresses. It’s considered the first of the so-called "disaster film" genre, and at the time outperformed Spartacus for Universal Studios. Session guitarist Vinnie Bell, one of the pioneers in electronic effects, recorded Alfred Newman’s "Airport Love Theme" and issued it as a single in 1970; it reached #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart and #31 on the Hot 100.

On a personal note, if you’ve never read Airport or seen the movie, do both.

14 thoughts on “Song of the Day: Vinnie Bell, “‘Airport’ Love Theme”

  1. I love disaster movies for some reason…I did like this one. I get the title confused for some reason with the opposite kind of movie…Airplane.


    1. “Airplane” was hilarious, especially the two heretofore dramatic actors Lloyd Bridges and Leslie Nielsen. They had some great talent in that movie: Peter Graves, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Barbara Billingsley…

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      1. The Barbara Billingsley bit I can watch over and over….well along with the complete movie.


  2. Airport (where is the italics button for comments?) was what kindled my lifelong interest in aviation. I’d probably be a professional pilot today if my vision was up to the task. Wonderful book and movie.

    I prefer the theme to The High And The Mighty over any of the music in Airport.


    1. Since the italics are showing up in the comments, you either went to the trouble of putting “em” tags around what you wanted to italicize or used Markdown and put an asterisk at the beginning and end of what you wanted to italicize. 😉

      I read Airport when I was still coming back from the stroke, and when I realized it was based on O’Hare I really got into it, because by then I had spent many hours in the terminal and had a mental image of where all the airport scenes were, and I knew the area around the airport and knew how close some of those houses were built. I’d probably have to go through the Tribune morgue and look at news reports of whatever protests went on as the airport expanded and the noise of jumbo jets disturbed their sleep. There had been complaints about the noise at Midway when air traffic picked up there (again, after it had been practically dead and people started building houses around it).


      1. I took a chance on the Markdown for italics (an underscore), and it worked. 🙂

        I might have mentioned this at some point — my Dad’s best friend lived in Park Ridge. When we’d visit them in the summer and sit outside, the conversations would have to stop every few minutes as another jet thundered over. This was in the late 60s and early 70s, before the advent of the “quieter” jets. I loved it, but I could tell it got on the adults’ nerves. When they bought the place, it was all props, and I don’t think they had the same noise problem they had once the JT3s and JT8s appeared, So I can understand folks in that time period being a bit upset, but they did buy near a busy airport. I have no sympathy for such residents today.


        1. Midway was practically a ghost town in the late ’70’s. I think Northwest ran two flights a day in and out of there, and there was some general aviation. Builders probably thought it was safe to build there, and people figured it was safe to buy. Then Midway Airlines started flying in and out of there, and they were flying in and out of there 20-30 times a day, then Southwest started up service from Love Field in Dallas, and pretty soon it was a real airport again. Which is what it always was, anyway, at one time the busiest in the country. They keep suggesting that they’ll build a new and much larger airport near Peotone (“when you can’t hum a tone…”), which makes no sense: that’s out where God left His sandals…

          Markdown has been a real lifesaver for me. Otherwise I have to type all the angle brackets and remember to close all the tags. 90% of what I use it for is boldface, italicize, and links. There are other things it can do, and someone came up with MultiMarkdown that added support for tables and writing out to TeX documents (so you could use it for turning plain text into formatted documents. All you need to know about Markdown is at


  3. I prefer the main theme of Airport to this song. I do t like that main ins5rument which sounds like a guitar under water. Great movie and love Airport 75 and Airport 77.


    1. The bubbly guitar was Vinnie Bell’s “gimmick.” He recorded an entire album of songs like that that I think Mom had, but she passed it on…


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