Theme music is a musical composition that is often written specifically for radio programming, television shows, video games, or films and is usually played during the title sequence, opening credits, closing credits, and in some instances at some point during the program. The soundtrack to the 1937 Walt Disney animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8o0rvYOGGvVgxs5cD9n3Ue–7aVj2dg9) (RQ 10) was the first commercially issued film soundtrack.
There are 8 links to Theme music within this blog:
Harold was a lyricist that included songs such as “The Theme from I Love Lucy” (https://youtu.be/VSvpFv0e_W4) which was popular from 1951-1957 and “ Around the World in 80 Days (https://youtu.be/UOKVH4TZS_I).” He wrote more than 50 theme songs in his career. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972.
Freddy Picariello (stage name: Freddy Cannon) was born in Revere, Massachusetts, moving to the neighboring city of Lynn as a child. His father worked as a truck driver and also played trumpet and sang in local bands. Freddy grew up listening to the rhythm and blues music of Big Joe Turner, Buddy Johnson and others on the radio, and he learned to play guitar. After attending Lynn Vocation High School, he made his recording debut as a singer in 1958, singing and playing rhythm guitar on a single, “Cha-Cha-Do” by the Spindrifts, which became a local hit. He had also played lead guitar on a session for an R&B vocal group, the G-Clefs, whose record “Ka-Ding Dong” made No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1956. At a young age he joined the National Guard, took a job driving a truck, married, and became a father. Inspired musically by Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Little Richard, he formed his own group, Freddy Karmon & the Hurricanes, which became increasingly popular in the Boston area, and began to develop a trademark strained singing style. He also became a regular on a local TV dance show, Boston Ballroom, and, in 1958, signed up to a management contract with Boston disc jockey Jack McDermott. With lyrics written by his mother, he prepared a new song which he called “Rock and Roll Baby”, and he produced a demo which McDermott took to the writing and production team of Bob Crewe and Frank Slay. They rearranged the song, rewrote the lyrics, and offered to produce a recording in return for two-thirds of the composing credits. The first recording of the song, now titled “Tallahassee Lassie” (https://youtu.be/wNc0YOTkIOY) (RQ 7) with a guitar solo by session musician Kenny Paulson, was rejected by several record companies, but was then heard by TV presenter Dick Clark who part-owned Swan Records in Philadelphia. Clark suggested that the song be re-edited and overdubbed to add excitement, by highlighting the pounding bass drum sound and adding hand claps and Freddy’s cries of “whoo!”, which later became one of his trademarks. The single was finally released by Swan Records, with the company president, Bernie Binnick, suggesting Freddy’s new stage name of “Freddy Cannon”. After being promoted and becoming successful in Boston and Philadelphia, the single gradually received national airplay. In 1959, it peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the first of his 22 songs to appear on the Billboard chart, and also reached No. 13 on the R&B singles chart. In the UK, where his early records were issued on the Top Rank label, it reached No. 17. “Tallahassee Lassie” sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA. His second single “Okefenokee” (https://youtu.be/Buh90ETiMaM) (RQ 7). Credited to Freddie Cannon, as were several of his other records. It only made No. 43 on the charts, but the next record, “Way Down Yonder In New Orleans”, a rocked-up version of a 1922 song, became a gold record and reached No. 3 in the pop charts in both the US and the UK, where it was the biggest of his hits. It also sold over one million copies. However, one of his biggest hits came in May 1962 with “Palisades Park” (https://youtu.be/OXz0L7K4Fo4) (RQ 10), written by future TV Gong Show host Chuck Barris. Today, this song is used by the Chicago White Sox whenever they cause a pitcher to be removed from a game (singing Na Na Na Hey Hey, Goodbye). Produced by Slay with overdubbed rollercoaster sound effects, it reached No. 3 on the Hot 100, No. 15 on the R&B chart, and No. 20 in the UK. This release also sold over one million copies, gaining gold disc status.
Norman, Monte. “The Bond Theme” Post 49 (https://youtu.be/zcVqJh0qEMc) (RQ 6).
Elgart, Les. “Bandstand Boogie” Post 1 (from 1954: https://youtu.be/yR1WPkLnnZo) (RQ 9).
Evans, Ray (& Jay Livingston). “Bonanza” Post 56 (https://youtu.be/k9JGDq2jp5c) (RQ 9).
Hefti, Neal. “Batman Theme.” Theme Songs. 23 of 23. (https://youtube.com/shorts/J5kuCbzh2HE?feature=share).
Mandel, Johnny. “M.A.S.H. (Suicide is Painless)” Post 56 (https://youtu.be/ODV6mxVVRZk) (RQ 10).
The Ventures. “Hawaii-5-O” Post 21 (https://youtu.be/0pZrxxvB66k) (RQ 8).