Five For Friday: Some More TV-Related Instrumentals

I have five TV-related insrumentals I wanted to share with you today. One is a theme song from a show, the other four were used in commercials in the ’60’s.

  1. Alan Hawkshaw, "Blarney’s Stoned": This was used as the theme song for the BBC program Dave Allen At Large. Allen was an Irish comedian who insisted that his shows not be issued on DVD after his death. Can’t imagine why: they were hilarious.

  2. The Brass Ring, "The Disadvantages of You": I had forgotten about this one. This was used as the song that played during ads for Benson & Hedges cigarettes. The disadvantage was that the cigarettes were so long they were frequently broken by the smoker. The Brass Ring was a group of studio musicians led by saxophonist Phil Bodner, similar to bands such as The Tijuana Brass and other "Now Sound" instrumental pop groups from the ’60’s.

  3. The T-Bones, "No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach’s In)": This was the music for commercials for Alka-Seltzer in the early-to-mid ’60’s. The studio recordings were done by The Wrecking Crew, the elite studio musicians, including Glen Campbell, Tommy Tedesco, Hal Blaine, Carol Kaye, and Plas Johnson. Eventually permanent members were chosen for the group, and three members, Danny Hamilton, Joe Frank Carollo, and Tommy Reynolds, eventually formed a group that had a couple of hits during the ’70’s.

  4. Bob Crewe Generation, "Music To Watch Girls By": This was originally composed by Sid Ramin for a series of Diet Pepsi commercials in the mid-’60’s. Crewe, who had worked with Bob Gaudio of The Four Seasons, had his own record label, DynoGroove Records, and worked with artists such as Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels, ? & The Mysterians, and Lesley Gore.

  5. Rossini: William Tell Overture, Final: A very familiar tune, this was used as the theme for both the TV and radio versions of The Lone Ranger, but was also used in the ’60’s in advertisements for Lark cigarettes and Jeno’s Pizza Rolls.

The "New Sound"… hmmm…

That’s Five For Friday for July 30, 2021.

Five For Friday: More Instrumental TV Themes

Here are some more instrumental TV themes. Six, to be exact, just like last week.

  1. Nelson Riddle, "Route 66 Theme": After last week, Fandango pointed out that I had omitted this one. Actually, I left it out because I thought I played it a little too often, but apparently not. Which is good, because this is a great TV theme. CBS didn’t want to pay royalties to Bobby Troup for his song "(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66" and commissioned Nelson Riddle to write a new theme for the 1960-1964 TV series that starred Martin Milner and George Maharias. This was one of the TV themes that made it to the Billboard Top 30, along with Ray Anthony’s "Dragnet" and "Peter Gunn" and Henry Mancini’s "Mr. Lucky." It also received two Grammy nominations in 1962.

  2. The Charles Randolph Grean Sounde, "Quentin’s Theme": From the 1966-1971 soap opera Dark Shadows. Bob Cobert wrote the theme and it was nominated for a Grammy for Best Instrumental Theme, but it lost to John Barry’s theme from Midnight Cowboy. This version was released as a single in 1969 and it reached #13 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the Easy Listening chart.

  3. The Marketts, "Batman Theme": Neal Hefti composed the theme for the 1966-1968 TV series Batman, and Nelson Riddle conducted it. The Marketts, who had a million-seller in 1963 with the song "Out Of Limits," covered the song in 1966 and took it to #17.

  4. Barry DeVorzon and Perry Botkin Jr., "Nadia’s Theme": Originally titled "Cotton’s Dream" and written for the 1971 movie Bless The Beasts And The Children, it became the theme music for the soap opera The Young & The Restless when that show began in 1973. ABC’s Wide World of Sports used it as the background music for a montage of clips of gymnast Nadia Comaneci taken during the 1976 Summer Olympics, which is why the song was associated with her and was renamed "Nadia’s Theme." (She never used the song in the Olympics, however; she used a piano arrangement of "Yes Sir, That’s My Baby" and "Jump In The Line.") The song reached #7 on the Canadian Adult Contemporary chart and #8 on the Canadian singles chart, and #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary chart in the US.

  5. Rhythm Heritage, "Theme From S.W.A.T.": Barry DeVorzon also wrote the theme song for the 1975-1976 TV series S.W.A.T. Rhythm Nation’s single reached #1 in the US and Canada, one of the few TV themes to top the charts.

  6. Grant Geissman, "Theme From Monk": I wanted to include this original theme from the 2002-2009 TV series Monk lest it become lost to the ages. It was written by Jeff Beal and performed by jazz guitarist Grant Geissman. It won the 2003 Emmy Award for Best Main Title Music. So, of course, it was replaced. Starting with Season 2, Randy Newman’s "It’s A Jungle Out There" became the theme song for the show starring Tony Shalhoub, and judging from the comments on this video, more than a few fans of the show (myself included) were disappointed, not because Newman’s song is bad, but because this was just so perfect.

And that’s Five For Friday for July 24, 2021.

Five For Friday: Instrumental TV Themes

Here are six (you get a bonus today) instrumental TV themes that became charted hits, from the ’50’s and ’60’s.

  1. Ray Anthony, "Dragnet": Released in 1953, it reached #3 on the Hot 100 and sold 500,000 records.

  2. Ray Anthony, "Peter Gunn": Written by Henry Mancini, it reached #8 on the Hot 100 in 1959.

  3. The Ventures, "Hawaii Five-O": While it wasn’t used on the actual show, their cover reached #4 on the Hot 100 in 1968.

  4. Billy Vaughn, "A Swingin’ Safari": Written by Bert Kaempfert, this was used as the theme for the NBC version of The Match Game.

  5. Henry Mancini, "Mr. Lucky": Written by Henry Mancini for the 1959 TV series. The theme reached #21.

And that’s Five For Friday, July 16, 2021.

Five For Friday: ’70’s Jazz Crossovers

A number of jazz artists crossed over to the pop charts with instrumentals in the ’70’s. Here are five examples, for your Friday afternoon listening pleasure.

  1. Herbie Hancock, "Chameleon": From his 1973 album Head Hunters, "Chameleon" reached #18 on the R&B chart and just missed the Top 40, coming in at #42, in 1974.

  2. Deodato, Rhapsody In Blue": The follow-up to "Also Spracht Zarathustra" this just missed the Top 40, peaking at #41.

  3. Ramsey Lewis with Earth Wind & Fire, "Hot Dawgit": The second single from 1974’s Sun Goddess album, it was the follow-up single to "Sun Goddess," and reached #50.

  4. The Crusaders, "Put It Where You Want It": They started out in the ’60’s as the Jazz Crusaders and were known as The Crusaders in the ’70’s. "Put It Where You Want It" is from their 1972 album Crusaders 1 and features Larry Carlton on guitar. It reached #39 on the R&B chart and #52 on the Hot 100.

  5. Grover Washington Jr., "Mister Magic": Title track from his 1975 album, it reached #16 on the R&B chart and #54 on the Hot 100.

And that’s Five For Friday, July 9, 2021.

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.