Five For Friday: Movie Theme Covers

Some of the most popular instrumentals are movie themes, and musicians (particularly jazz musicians) frequently cover those themes. I have five examples of these today. Enjoy!

  1. Maynard Ferguson, "Invitation": From the 1952 movie starring Van Johnson and Dorothy McGuire. Written by Bronislau Kaper originally for the 1950 movie A Life Of Her Own starring Lana Turner and Ray Milland, jazz musicians such as Joe Henderson started playing it, and it’s become a jazz standard. Maynard Ferguson recorded this for his 1976 album Primal Scream, and you can hear the disco influence. WFLD used this as the background music for its "community calendar" interstitial.

  2. Vince Guaraldi, "On Green Dolphin Street": From the 1947 movie starring Van Heflin and Lana Turner, this song was also written by Bronislau Kaper. The song was published as "Green Dolphin Street" with lyrics by Ned Washington and also became a jazz standard, with such artists as Ella Fitzgerald, Bill Evands, and Miles Davis covering it. Vince’s version here is from his 1962 album In Person.

  3. Booker T & The MG’s, "Hang ‘Em High": From the 1968 movie starring Clint Eastwood, Inger Stevens, and Pat Hingle, written by Dominic Frontiere. Booker T. & The MG’s covered it in October 1968, and their recording reached #9 in the US. I like it better than the original from the movie.

  4. Chet Atkins, "Lara’s Theme": From the 1965 movie Dr. Zhivago starring Omar Sharif and Julie Christie. Written by Maurice Jarre, it became the basis for the song "Somewhere, My Love" with lyrics by Paul Webster. Connie Francis was one of the first to record it, and it’s been covered many times since. Chet Atkins gives it a somewhat country flavor.

  5. Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, "Zorba The Greek": From the 1964 movie starring Anthony Quinn and Alan Bates. Written by Mikos Theodorakis with the name "Zorba’s Dance," Herb Alpert and the TJB recorded it for their 1965 album Going Places. It reached #11 in the US.

And that’s Five For Friday for July 2, 2021.

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