Longer versions of signature tunes

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Brock
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Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by Brock »

One of Jack Dee's choices on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs yesterday was the signature tune to Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?, Whatever Happened to You by Mike Hugg and Ian La Frenais. As it was played I realized it was the first time I'd ever heard the verse, which was never used in the TV series.

It's not the first time I've had that feeling of "ooh, there's another bit I didn't know about" - for instance the first time I heard the two lines from Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr Hitler that were never used in Dad's Army: "So watch out Mr Hitler you have met your match in us, If you think you can push us we're afraid you've missed the bus".

Any other examples that have struck you?

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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by ctraynor »

The original Dr Who theme was released in a longer version than on TV. I first heard it on Radio 2 in the early 1970s, I think on Junior Choice, and it had the Tardis sound in the middle of the track.

The theme song for Cheers "Where Everybody Knows your Name" is a favourite of mine, not least for its sweet harmonising. I checked it out a while ago and there was a longer version than the one at the start of the show.

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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by mikew »

My earliest example of this is that I had the theme from Rainbow on a 7" single and there's a lovely sad bit in the middle which I never heard on TV. After that the main interest of finding full versions of TV themes was to hear the extra bit which is always left out. I rather like the one on the original theme for Blake's & for instance - Dudley Simpson havig fun with a lovely swishy organ sound.

Then there are the ones which add nothing new but are basically just a rather hastily written bit to bridge the gap between what the opening and closing theme tune. There's an example of this in the Peter Howell version of Doctor Who - a short crescendo of rather bland syth chords before going back to the main theme.

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Bob Richardson
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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by Bob Richardson »

ctraynor wrote:The original Dr Who theme was released in a longer version than on TV. I first heard it on Radio 2 in the early 1970s, I think on Junior Choice, and it had the Tardis sound in the middle of the track.
That's quite a late version. The original Delia Derbyshire version was released on Decca F11 837 (b/w This Can't Be Love by Brenda & Johnny) in late 1963 or early 1964. It was one of the earliest pieces of merchandising for the series.

Of course the "best" long versions are the originals where a short sequence from a longer piece of library music eventually became a TV or radio sig tune, such as "News Scoop" (Grandstand), "Approaching Menace" (Mastermind), "Non-Stop" (ITN News), "March from a Little Suite" (Dr Finlay's Casebook) and "Devil's Gallop" (Dick Barton). The biggest disappointments are often the re-recorded versions issued as full-length themes in response to the popularity of a series which uses a very short piece of library music. The extended versions often sound quite different or have a slightly different tempo. The CD versions of "Sportsnight" and "Cagney and Lacey" are good examples of these disappointing extended versions, re-recorded for commercial release. A few re-records are surprisingly good and the Johnny Dankworth "Tomorrow's World" theme springs to mind as a nice example of a re-record which retains the sound of the original.
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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by Brock »

Bob Richardson wrote: Of course the "best" long versions are the originals where a short sequence from a longer piece of library music eventually became a TV or radio sig tune, such as "News Scoop" (Grandstand), "Approaching Menace" (Mastermind), "Non-Stop" (ITN News), "March from a Little Suite" (Dr Finlay's Casebook) and "Devil's Gallop" (Dick Barton).
Not library music in this case, but I remember the surprised reaction I had when I first heard Fleetwood Mac's The Chain - "what's the Grand Prix music doing in there?" It fitted the programme so well that it seemed totally out of place as an instrumental interlude in a song.

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Billy Smart
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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by Billy Smart »

The full-length version of 'Going Straight' by Ronnie Barker on the 1980 'BBC Comedy Themes' LP, goes on forever - four minutes! Its like a 1979 BBC1 'Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands'.

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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by ray lomas »

The vocal sections of Mountain's "Nantucket Sleighride" are completely different to the instrumental bit used as the theme to Weekend World.

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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by ctraynor »

The full version of Teenage Carnival for Freewheelers, although I'm not sure it was ever released as a single?

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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by GarethR »

Bob Richardson wrote:The biggest disappointments are often the re-recorded versions issued as full-length themes
I've always felt the Blake's 7 theme is the worst in that regard. The terribly dull time-padding organ bit in the middle aside, it's inferior to the TV version in every way, sounding like it's been recorded by a completely different orchestra and conductor who'd never actually heard the original and were working solely from the dots.

And almost as if to add insult to injury, the B-side - The Federation March - is bang-on. It actually sounds like the original as-used-on-TV recording.

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Mickey
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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by Mickey »

The full length theme to "Adam Adamant Lives!" was released as a single, and is rather splendid. It's easily discoverable on YouTube, and worth a listen. Echoes of a Bond theme (and, inevitably, the Python's theme to "Life Of Brian").

It must be quite common for longer versions of TV themes to be available, for when a show underruns - at least in America. A few episodes of "The A-Team" aired with a much longer version of the end theme than usual - lots of extra drums, and an extended middle bit. The "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" pilot had a much longer theme than the series itself, too, and had lyrics as well. And then there's the infamous end sequence of "Sunset Beach", which could run for a full five minutes if necessary. Long enough for the Channel 5 continuity announcers to practically turn it into their own little TV show, complete with interviews with the stars, and letters from the viewers.

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Simon36
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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by Simon36 »

The theme to Rainbow has a very odd middle section. On the other hard, the Mastermind theme (Approaching Menace?) has a fantastically creepy middle bit.

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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by wittoner »

The full length version of Jessica by The Allman Brothers Band (Top Gear) is fantastic- all seven minutes of it - if you can block the image of Clarkson from your minds eye.

The Full length Z Cars theme by Johnny Keating which was a minor hit in the early 60s has a jazzy interlude which is completely different from the bit used in the show.

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Jezza
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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by Jezza »

Does anyone remember those cassettes you could get with Geoff Love and his Orchastra, i used to collect loads of theme tune albums, but lost them all!

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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by GarethR »

Jezza wrote:Does anyone remember those cassettes you could get with Geoff Love and his Orchastra
I hated them as a child, because they were so clearly not the proper TV versions. As an adult, there's a certain amount of comedy value in the disco arrangements of old sci-fi themes.

One of those 70s children's TV themes albums had a version of the Magic Roundabout that started quietly before suddenly exploding into a big band swing kind of deal. I'm sure there was another that added vocals - "You will discover/everything you've wished for/there on the Magic Roundabout..."

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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by Simon Mclean »

GarethR wrote:
Jezza wrote: One of those 70s children's TV themes albums had a version of the Magic Roundabout that started quietly before suddenly exploding into a big band swing kind of deal.
That's the Cy Payne Orchestra version - I really like it, it's a very nice big band arrangement and a good way of extending a tune that barely lasts thirty seconds, though what the children the LP was aimed at made of it is anyone's guess.

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Tilt Araiza
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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by Tilt Araiza »

GarethR wrote:
Jezza wrote:Does anyone remember those cassettes you could get with Geoff Love and his Orchastra
I'm sure there was another that added vocals - "You will discover/everything you've wished for/there on the Magic Roundabout..."
Possibly the Mr Pickwick version from this EP http://www.45cat.com/record/mp9015 It's on Spotify if you do that kind of thing.

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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by spflog1 »

ray lomas wrote:The vocal sections of Mountain's "Nantucket Sleighride" are completely different to the instrumental bit used as the theme to Weekend World.
Wonderful track. A couple of years back I sat fuming in the car as I listened to a DJ claiming the track was used for World In Action and to add insult to injury he was arrogantly telling all the people who were contacting the station to tell him he was wrong, that they themselves were!

Anyway a tune that immediately springs to mind is the other-worldly 'Manège' by Structures Sonores, an edited version of which was used as the theme for Picture Box. I wish I could get hold of this on CD.

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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by Simon36 »

spflog1 wrote:
ray lomas wrote:The vocal sections of Mountain's "Nantucket Sleighride" are completely different to the instrumental bit used as the theme to Weekend World.
Wonderful track. A couple of years back I sat fuming in the car as I listened to a DJ claiming the track was used for World In Action and to add insult to injury he was arrogantly telling all the people who were contacting the station to tell him he was wrong, that they themselves were!

Anyway a tune that immediately springs to mind is the other-worldly 'Manège' by Structures Sonores, an edited version of which was used as the theme for Picture Box. I wish I could get hold of this on CD.
Yes, and the full version of that is especially eerie: I always think it sounds like something you'd play at a funeral of a clown.

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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by Beaker »

spflog1 wrote:
ray lomas wrote:The vocal sections of Mountain's "Nantucket Sleighride" are completely different to the instrumental bit used as the theme to Weekend World.
Wonderful track. A couple of years back I sat fuming in the car as I listened to a DJ claiming the track was used for World In Action and to add insult to injury he was arrogantly telling all the people who were contacting the station to tell him he was wrong, that they themselves were!
I'd have swore black was white that it was on World in Action too.

Great tune but sadly does remind me of my childhood and says 'there's nothing good on telly' to me, which makes me sad. (See also the theme from Panorama.)

What was the World in Action theme then? Can someone here hum it for me? :o)
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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by GarethR »

Beaker wrote: What was the World in Action theme then? Can someone here hum it for me? :o)
That was "Jam for World in Action", which does indeed sound like a piece of Hammond-heavy 70s prog-rock. It's on YouTube, natch. There's probably never been a better piece of music written to accompany grainy 1970s colour 16mm film of unrest.

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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by JWG »

There's an extended version of the 'Bertha' theme which can be heard online.

The themes to 'The Paper Lads' and 'Take Three Girls' were pop songs.I think the latter was done for the show and then issued on vinyl.

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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

Jezza wrote:Does anyone remember those cassettes you could get with Geoff Love and his Orchastra, i used to collect loads of theme tune albums, but lost them all!
Cassette?! Pah! I've still got the (now very badly scratched) vinyl! They're a real mixed bag, though, and can usually be categorised thus:

1) Bang on (e.g. Things to Come)
2) Different, but strangely works (e.g. UFO)
3) Virtually unrecognisable (e.g. Dr Who)

The orginal "similar but mangled enough to avoid trademark infringement" cover artwork is a joy to behold, while you have to admire the sheer audacity of naming one album "Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Other Disco Galactic Themes." Man.
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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by Brock »

Beaker wrote:
spflog1 wrote:
ray lomas wrote:The vocal sections of Mountain's "Nantucket Sleighride" are completely different to the instrumental bit used as the theme to Weekend World.
Wonderful track. A couple of years back I sat fuming in the car as I listened to a DJ claiming the track was used for World In Action and to add insult to injury he was arrogantly telling all the people who were contacting the station to tell him he was wrong, that they themselves were!
I'd have swore black was white that it was on World in Action too.
There's certainly a family resemblance between the two, now you come to mention it; similar synthesizer sound, and both in a minor key, although I'd say that the punchy Weekend World theme was rather more aggressive than the understated World in Action theme, which meandered and never really came to much of a conclusion. I suppose the similarity of genre and programme title might have helped to add to the confusion as well.

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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by GarethR »

Brock wrote:the punchy Weekend World theme was rather more aggressive than the understated World in Action theme, which meandered and never really came to much of a conclusion
It was the closing version of Jam for World in Action that meandered (and just faded out IIRC). The opening version was faster and stronger and had a more decisive ending.

Looking at the 1970 opening titles on YouTube - that doesn't half look like Eric Morecambe at 0'11".

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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by Nigel Stapley »

JWG wrote: The themes to 'The Paper Lads' and 'Take Three Girls' were pop songs.I think the latter was done for the show and then issued on vinyl.
Theme from The Paper Lads: Back Home Once Again

Theme from Take Three Girls: under its original title; re-issued with the same catalogue number, but with title changed to reflect its use for the TV series

(Declaration of interest: I'm a mod. at 45cat and 45worlds)

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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by JWG »

Nigel Stapley wrote:
JWG wrote: The themes to 'The Paper Lads' and 'Take Three Girls' were pop songs.I think the latter was done for the show and then issued on vinyl.
Theme from The Paper Lads: Back Home Once Again

Theme from Take Three Girls: under its original title; re-issued with the same catalogue number, but with title changed to reflect its use for the TV series

(Declaration of interest: I'm a mod. at 45cat and 45worlds)

Thanks,Nigel!

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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by JWG »

GarethR wrote:
Brock wrote:the punchy Weekend World theme was rather more aggressive than the understated World in Action theme, which meandered and never really came to much of a conclusion
It was the closing version of Jam for World in Action that meandered (and just faded out IIRC). The opening version was faster and stronger and had a more decisive ending.

Looking at the 1970 opening titles on YouTube - that doesn't half look like Eric Morecambe at 0'11".
At the risk of being sent to stand in Pseud's Corner,I sometimes like music which is inconclusive; in this case,suggesting that we haven't heard the 'final word' on a subject which continues even though the programme's ended.Or something like that.

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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by GarethR »

The version of Light Flight used on Take Three Girls was, IIRC, a re-recording with revised lyrics. To the best of my knowledge the TV version has never been commercially released. If it has, please direct me to it...

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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by gran not nan »

Fruity Flute, the theme from Farmhouse Kitchen, can be found on You Tube. The jazzy middle section(nice!) was never used when the programme was broadcast as far as I know.

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Re: Longer versions of signature tunes

Post by Richard Bignell »

With many released themes, it often felt that someone had gone back to the composer and asked them to expand their original 45 seconds worth to fill 2-3 minutes of a 7" single and as a result, something really inappropriate had to be crowbarred into the middle in order to pad it out.

I wonder if any later composers twigged that television themes could actually be popular with the public and so specifically wrote them as potential single releases in the first place?

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