American Bandstand’s Theme By Charles Albertine; A Living, Breathing TV Theme

Little did Charles Albertine know that when he wrote Bandstand Boogie, it would become the theme song for the longest running musical show in television history. He played tenor saxophone with the Sammy Kaye band in the late 1940s, and was the lead arranger for the new Les Elgart band.

 

th

Apparently, Charles Albertine Earned His Greatest Notoriety As An Arranger, Taking Full Advantage Of Stereo Technology To Create Some Of the Boldest & Most Dynamic Orchestrations Of The Period

What an unlikely choice; I know we had just come out of the big band era but the target audience was really not into that kind of sound. We are talking a swinging, monster big band arrangement here.

From the time American Bandstand went national (*1964) until 1969 Les Elgart‘s big band version of Bandstand Boogie is the one I remember in my music mind.

Let’s go back to about 1964; if you watched American Bandstand as much as I did, maybe you will recognize somebody…

Personnel as determined: Les Elgart’s Big Band.

Dick Clark, The World’s Oldest Teenager & Barry Manillow

Now, get into Barry Manilow‘s Bandstand Boogie version with lyrics he wrote…

Personnel as determined: Barry Manillow vocals.

*The TV themes that stay with me reflect every character, every episode, the times the series took place in AND the genre of theatre applicable; fresh forever in my music mind.

Advertisements

Al Hirt’s Java; When Instrumentals Were Fun!

Al Hirt: AKA The Round Mound Of Sound.

Al Hirt‘s Java (composed by Allen Toussaint) sold over one million copies. When you mix a catchy melody with virtuosity, the appeal isn’t a surprise. This tune was everywhere! Game show themes, news lead ins, commercials; it was in my ear constantly and I still get it looping in my music mind at the weirdest times.


Al Hirt
was quoted as saying, “I’m not a jazz trumpeter and never was a jazz trumpeter”. Be that as it may, he had monster chops and gave us a real good time whenever we heard his music. Ooo come on now, let’s do that again as we click our way back to 1964 and listen to Java and that honey horn…

Personnel as determined: Al Hirt trumpet.

We were, of course, THE garageband generation.* We started the whole three chord, bass guitar, rhythm guitar, lead guitar and drum thing. Looking back to the music of those times, things seemed to be less complicated but, our desire to get proficient was insatiable. Those of us who couldn’t keep up with the skill needed for the evolving music, simply dropped off the radar. Me? Well, I just couldn’t get enough! Things haven’t changed!

*When a doctor checks out my ears with his scope, this is a HUGE part of what he sees.

Acker Bilk’s Stranger On The Shore; When Instrumentals Were Fun!

Mr. Acker Bilk Back In The Day.


Talk about moody; Acker Bilk‘s Stranger On The Shore (composed by Acker Bilk) enters your ear like he’s using an immense down comforter as q-tip! That trademark low register tone warms and tingles the senses implying all colours of the rainbow. Surrounding that gorgeous melody is a very lush string arrangement that puts the whole vibe into the velvet stratosphere! Dig the rubato cadenza/coda at the end which definitely leaves you pondering…

Originally composed for his 9 year old daughter, Strangers On The Shore has been featured many times on British television, films etc.. I grew up listening to it lead into the news on Top 40 radio stations.

Come back with me now to 1962, and immerse yourself in Acker Bilk‘s Stranger On The Shore; perhaps the most soulful pop tune you will ever hear…


Personnel as determined: Acker Bilk clarinet; Leon Young String Chorale strings.

We were, of course, THE garageband generation.* We started the whole three chord, bass guitar, rhythm guitar, lead guitar and drum thing. Looking back to the music of those times, things seemed to be less complicated but, our desire to get proficient was insatiable. Those of us who couldn’t keep up with the skill needed for the evolving music, simply dropped off the radar. Me? Well, I just couldn’t get enough! Things haven’t changed!

*When a doctor checks out my ears with his scope, this is a HUGE part of what he sees.

The Village Stompers’ Washington Square; When Instrumentals Were Fun!

Washington Square (composed by Bobb Goldsteinn/David Shire) is for me an era absorbing, musical slice of time. Whenever I hear it, I kind of remember where I was in life and it gives me that sentiment. Although beyond genre definition, the instrumentation hints at dixieland, folk, pop… YOU NAME IT!

This blend of colours evokes moods, attitudes and energies of the day and was used frequently as a lead in to the news on Top 40 radio. All those key modulations definitely did what the arranger intended them to do…

It’s 1963 once again. Let the Village Stompers play Washington Square for YOUR memories of that time and YOUR space…


Personnel not determined.

We were, of course, THE garageband generation.* We started the whole three chord, bass guitar, rhythm guitar, lead guitar and drum thing. Looking back to the music of those times, things seemed to be less complicated but, our desire to get proficient was insatiable. Those of us who couldn’t keep up with the skill needed for the evolving music, simply dropped off the radar. Me? Well, I just couldn’t get enough! Things haven’t changed!

*When a doctor checks out my ears with his scope, this is a HUGE part of what he sees.

Sounds Orchestral’s Cast Your Fate To The Wind; When Instrumentals Were Fun!

Sounds Orchestral‘s version of Cast Your Fate To The Wind used to send shivers down my neck in the wee hours of the morning after I had been listening to my transistor radio all night. Usually it was played as a lead in to the news. I really think it was one of the first tunes that got me thinking in colours.

If You Are A Fan Of Vince Guaraldi, You Can Really Hear Him In The Written Piano Part.

Cast Your Fate To The Wind was a jazz piece composed by Vince Guaraldi. The back and forth latin to swing never gets old to me; the jazz flavour of this performance makes it special not only contrasting sections but in propelling the arrangement away from any monotony as well.

Let’s go back to 1965 and listen to Sounds Orchestral‘s version of Cast Your Fate To The Wind, perhaps the hippest elevator music ever

Personnel as determined: Johnny Pearson piano; Tony Reeves bass; Tony Gilbert violin; Kenny Clare drums.

We were, of course, THE garageband generation.* We started the whole three chord, bass guitar, rhythm guitar, lead guitar and drum thing. Looking back to the music of those times, things seemed to be less complicated but, our desire to get proficient was insatiable. Those of us who couldn’t keep up with the skill needed for the evolving music, simply dropped off the radar. Me? Well, I just couldn’t get enough! Things haven’t changed!

*When a doctor checks out my ears with his scope, this is a HUGE part of what he sees.

Kenny Ball & His Jazzmens’ Midnight In Moscow; When Instrumentals Were Fun!

Midnight In Moscow (aka Moscow Nights; composer Vasily Solovyov-Sedoi) is one of those things that just works. I don’t think it really has any genre. I can’t put my finger on any particular emotion that it stirs. For me, it is music that has actually absorbed an era; it will always pick me up and drop me back there.

Beside the fact that Midnight In Moscow really swings, the lines making it what it is, are played with such intent; I really believe that those musicians really believe! Add that sincerity factor to the fact that it is a Russian (circa 1957!) piece of music and you’ve got one very interesting gumbo combo!

So, where were you in ’62 when Kenny Ball & His Jazzmen‘s Midnight In Moscow came on your radio…


Personnel as determined: Kenny Ball trumpet; John Bennett trombone; Dave Jones clarinet; Ron Weatherburn piano; Paddy Lightfoot banjo; Vic Pitt bass; Ron Bowden drums.

We were, of course, THE garageband generation.* We started the whole three chord, bass guitar, rhythm guitar, lead guitar and drum thing. Looking back to the music of those times, things seemed to be less complicated but, our desire to get proficient was insatiable. Those of us who couldn’t keep up with the skill needed for the evolving music, simply dropped off the radar. Me? Well, I just couldn’t get enough! Things haven’t changed!

*When a doctor checks out my ears with his scope, this is a HUGE part of what he sees.

The Tornados’ Telstar; When Instrumentals Were Fun!

Joe Meek: Ill-fated Genius & Innovator.

The Tornados’ Telstar was the first British hit to reach #1 in the USA. The tune composed and produced by Joe Meek, seemed to be playing everywhere when I was 9 years old in 1961. It brings on so many memories and evokes so many sentiments. Although I never tried to play it, the melody is such a part of me in a way different from my other memory music. After all, Telstar helped to usher in a new political era, a new communication technology era and was innovative in the popular use of analogue electronics.

The Telstar melody was played on a Clavioline similar to this; a very distinctive sound, almost eerie when in unison with the voice.

Telstar was quite sophisticated and really, well ahead of most pop offerings of this period with its arrangement, production and performance. It still sounds unique and well-deserves its place in music history.

Let’s go into orbit, back to 1961, a time of Sputnik, AT&T’s Communication Satellite Telstar (for which the tune was named) and the beginning of the Kennedy era…

Personnel as determined: Geoff Goddard clavioline, vocal; Alan Caddy lead guitar; George Bellamy rhythm guitar; Heinz Burt bass; Clem Cattini drums; Roger LaVern additional keyboards.

We were, of course, THE garageband generation.* We started the whole three chord, bass guitar, rhythm guitar, lead guitar and drum thing. Looking back to the music of those times, things seemed to be less complicated but, our desire to get proficient was insatiable. Those of us who couldn’t keep up with the skill needed for the evolving music, simply dropped off the radar. Me? Well, I just couldn’t get enough! Things haven’t changed!

*When a doctor checks out my ears with his scope, this is a HUGE part of what he sees.