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 Posted:   Jun 23, 2014 - 5:53 AM   
 By:   paulhickling   (Member)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1SZs4xudf8#t=79


Apparently this is how dear old Ron Grainer would have arranged the theme we all know and love if he'd have had his way. Much closer to what he had in mind than Delia Derbyshire and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. BLOODY HIDEOUS! LOL!

Just goes to show that the composer doesn't always know best.

Come back Dom and Keff all is forgiven!

Paul

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 23, 2014 - 6:03 AM   
 By:   jkannry   (Member)

Not that bad but would have become very dated very quickly

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 23, 2014 - 6:16 AM   
 By:   paulhickling   (Member)

Not that bad but would have become very dated very quickly

Personally I think it's dreadful! There have been a great many covers of this iconic theme, both on the show itself and naturally enough, on many compilations of tv themes.

I always say Keff and Dom's official broadcast versions in the latter half of the eighties series starring Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy are two of the worst, but the otherwise wonderful Ron Grainer surpassed both of them in this track from a compilation he released.

It could be argued that if we'd all grown up with a version like the one above for the last fifty years, it wouldn't be quite the shock it is. However I still maintain that it really does prove that the incredible work of Delia and the Workshop are really responsible for taking something humdrum and creating something unique. And fortunately the basic arrangement has been kept to by all those who followed.

It is, though, a very interesting find.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 23, 2014 - 6:54 AM   
 By:   Graham Watt   (Member)

Interesting find, thanks! Yeah, it's hellish, but it's history!

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 23, 2014 - 7:52 AM   
 By:   Nick Haysom   (Member)

Actually this is how Grainer arranged the theme in 1979. How he might have arranged it in 1963 is pure speculation. However, you only need to listen to other themes he scored in the '60s to realise that he would not have arranged it like this. He was not alone in falling prey to the all-conquering craze that was disco; many distinguished composers - including John Barry - did. frown

 
 Posted:   Jun 23, 2014 - 8:21 AM   
 By:   Sean Nethery   (Member)

I think it's probably more fair to say that composers like Barry were, shall we say, persuaded to embrace disco as the pop music du jour.

I can't believe that Jerry Goldsmith, for example, wanted the disco version of his love theme from Coma to be featured on the soundtrack album. And I always felt Barry's disco numbers were just the composer-for-hire bowing to the pressures of the day. (Unlike his clear love of trad jazz, which he embraces repeatedly, even in The Man with the Golden Gun, for crying out loud).

Grainer was a savvy commercial composer, arranger and bandleader - so of course Doctor Who went disco. If it was good enough for Star Wars....

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 24, 2014 - 2:36 AM   
 By:   paulhickling   (Member)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfsIKPs7whs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Adk1ujjmguo

Yes, I understand all the above well made points. Personally I love much of Grainer's work. The Prisoner (series and all it's music) is a firm favourite of mine, and there can't be a more cracking theme anywhere than his Man in a Suitcase, possibly one of the catchiest ever. It is merely believed the one from the Grainer compilation is more like his own original arrangement than the definite article.

I dare say if he'd arranged his theme for the BBC series itself, instead of Delia and the Workshop, it would have sounded somewhere between the likes of Barry Gray's kid stuff for Gerry Anderson (Thunderbirds etc), and the other aforementioned 60s Grainer examples.

However, if anyone cares to look at the two examples above, they will see superior disco versions. Mankind reached into the top twenty around the same time as the Meco Star Wars hit in the UK ('77? just two years before the Grainer compilation monstrosity!), while the second by 'The Time Lords' (aka later as The K.L.F) got to number 1. The latter succeeds more because they appear to sample the original. Love the shots from 70s Top of the Pops show 'getting on down' to the Who theme.

And neither are as bad as Ron's own!

 
 Posted:   Jun 24, 2014 - 3:35 AM   
 By:   Stephen Woolston   (Member)

Yes, but this wasn't recorded in 1963 was it? This sounds like it was created in the 1980s.

In other words, I'm not entirely sure it's accurate to say "it's what Grainer originally intended" since the arrangement seems to be of a time much later than 1963.

 
 Posted:   Jun 24, 2014 - 3:37 AM   
 By:   Stephen Woolston   (Member)

I think it's probably more fair to say that composers like Barry were, shall we say, persuaded to embrace disco as the pop music du jour.

I can't believe that Jerry Goldsmith, for example, wanted the disco version of his love theme from Coma to be featured on the soundtrack album. And I always felt Barry's disco numbers were just the composer-for-hire bowing to the pressures of the day. (Unlike his clear love of trad jazz, which he embraces repeatedly, even in The Man with the Golden Gun, for crying out loud).

Grainer was a savvy commercial composer, arranger and bandleader - so of course Doctor Who went disco. If it was good enough for Star Wars....


We're talking as if disco was a hated thing even back in its day.

Look, back then Disco was the 'in' thing and any composer interested in experimenting with new movements in music would be doing so.

I don't think Barry or Goldsmith wrote their disco material reluctantly. Yes, studios may have said, "Can I have something Disco to sell on record?", i.e. commercial drivers, but that doesn't mean they were reluctant. Maybe they saw this as a well-paid opportunity to experiment with the new form and prove their versatility.

And composers don't hate good record sales!

The only 'pressure' (i.e. pre-given condition) for Barry was probably to do something with/for Donna Summer on "THE DEEP". But I doubt he was all that reluctant to work with such a big star, whose name would multiply the sales of the single and soundtrack LP by probably a factor of a hundred.

Of course, then there's A-Ha.

It was a phase. It passed. Some composers participated in the form while it was around. Some made some good money out of it, even if they wouldn't point to the products of this period as their greatest works.

Cheers

 
 Posted:   Jun 24, 2014 - 4:09 AM   
 By:   pete   (Member)

That's so terrible I can't stop listening to it.

 
 Posted:   Jun 24, 2014 - 4:36 AM   
 By:   Thomas   (Member)

The only 'pressure' (i.e. pre-given condition) for Barry was probably to do something with/for Donna Summer on "THE DEEP". But I doubt he was all that reluctant to work with such a big star, whose name would multiply the sales of the single and soundtrack LP by probably a factor of a hundred.

Of course, then there's A-Ha.

It was a phase. It passed. Some composers participated in the form while it was around. Some made some good money out of it, even if they wouldn't point to the products of this period as their greatest works.

Cheers


"The new meeting the old", as a-ha once said. Barry did score a big European hit with that song, as you say I'm sure he wasn't that disappointed with the effect on his bank account.

 
 Posted:   Jun 24, 2014 - 4:53 AM   
 By:   Jehannum   (Member)

This is more like a late 70s re-imagining. Definitely not how Grainer would have envisaged this in the early 60s.

 
 Posted:   Jun 24, 2014 - 5:01 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

It always helps to read the notes on a YouTube vid. The poster made it clear that this is NOT Grainer's original, just a jokey title. Those particular synths and instruments didn't even exist in the '60s. It's a silly disco cash-in, and no doubt Grainer was asked by his publishers and agent to comply.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 24, 2014 - 12:59 PM   
 By:   paulhickling   (Member)

Yes indeed. It is from a compilation called The Exciting Television Music of Ron Grainer released in 1980. I actually remember this album in the record shops. I didn't buy it because I already had by then three different recordings of the tv versions. I know I assumed the one on the compilation would simply be the original.

So yes, I know that it is a non-too serious cover by the man himself, but there is a belief that while a version by him wouldn't be 80s disco as on this LP, the arrangement is more like what he WOULD have recorded, so maybe not as 'jokey' as all that. I supplied links to actual disco versions that made the UK singles charts, which to my ears are superior (based of course on a lifetime of the BBC RW version/s).

Believe me I have heard some horrendous covers of this iconic theme. I have at least one myself on a children's tv themes compilation where it's played on electric guitar!, but so far this one takes the prize for worst one so far! The thing that amuses me is that it's the composer himself, thus my thread title.

He once said, and one of the comments on the YT entry bares this out, that Delia deserved half the royalties. Meaning that it was heavily re-arranged (almost rewritten), so it's quite possible that to Ron's ears the original Radiophonic Workshop version (on which all subsequent tv versions have been based) sounded very little like the tune he wrote and handed over to the BBC.

And my point here is simply: thank heaven for small mercies!

As for which Doctor this was 'timed' for as someone on YT asks, it's Tom Baker – the Fourth Doctor. It would be his final season, which was the very first time a truly new arrangement was created for the first half of the 80s. Until Baker's penultimate season it was still basically the Delia version with a slight change. From 1980 it would still be the Radiophonic Workshop, but newer member Peter Howell's updated arrangement.

 
 Posted:   Jun 24, 2014 - 2:37 PM   
 By:   Sean Nethery   (Member)

We're talking as if disco was a hated thing even back in its day.

Yes, yes it was. By me, anyway!

My point is that a number of strands of pop music continued through the works of Goldsmith, Barry, Mancini and so on, years after their popular appeal had worn off.

But not disco. Not for anyone who had to work in the idiom at the time and then kept working after it passed.

 
 Posted:   Jun 24, 2014 - 9:37 PM   
 By:   Adm Naismith   (Member)

1979? Yes, I get that now.

I immediately thought of 'The Prisoner' when I heard it.
The 70's were simply unkind to everyone and everything artistic.

 
 Posted:   Jun 25, 2014 - 2:33 AM   
 By:   Jehannum   (Member)

We're talking as if disco was a hated thing even back in its day.

I hated disco and most other chart music at the time. Still do.

 
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