Terry Wogan's theme tune and a very productive recording session

2012 09 08 Proms In The Park-074

What’s that? Terry Wogan had a theme tune?

…I hear you not ask.

Well, yes he did in the old days when wirelesses had lots of wires.

It was called “Just like that” by Brass Incorporated. You can hear it here or in the middle of this YouTube recording of Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) Associated Television (ATV) testcard music. To save you dying of boredom, it’s at 8’39”. (No, of course I am not a nerd! Don’t be silly!)

Our Tel used to play bits of that tune at the start and end of his radio show. All the hip deejays used to have their own theme tunes in those days. Pete Murray. Tony Brandon. Jimmy Young. All seriously hip!

Anyway, this Terry Wogan theme tune is seriously good. It has some superb drumming in it. And Our Tel, ever the exquisite “Look mum, no hands” seemingly effortless broadcaster, used to mix it in with his banter with meticulous panache.

But, there’s more.

This track, “Just like that”, was recorded on the same day, by the same musicians in the same recording session as “At the sign of the swinging cymbal”!!!!!!! (You can recognise the same excellent drummer on both tracks) How about that??????!!!!

And what on earth is “At the sign of the swinging cymbal” by this Brass Incorporated mob? – I hear you not scream?

Well, it’s only the most heard rendition of one of the most recognised tunes in the UK that almost nobody, apart from seriously dedicated nerds like me, knows the correct name of…..

You can listen to that famous tune below. Both “At the sign of the swinging cymbal” and it’s B-side “Just like that” (Terry Wogan’s theme tune) were arranged and conducted by Barbara Moore, the legendary composer and arranger. Indeed, I gleaned most of the information for this post from her interview with Tim Rice for the Radio 2 programme he did to celebrate an anniversary of “Pick of the Pops”.

I’d love to know the name of the drummer for these two tracks. She or he are bloody brilliant!

“At the sign of the swinging cymbal” was written by veteran Big band and orchestra leader and composer, Brian Fahey. He conducted the BBC Scottish Radio orchestra for nine years, worked with Shirley Bassey and was a close friend of Ella Fitzgerald. Brian Fahey had an extraordinary history in the Second World War. In May 1940 he was herded into a barn with fellow prisoners of war. The SS proceeded to throw in hand grenades, then individually shot prisoners including Brian Fahey, then machine gunned them all until there was no movement. Fahey managed to survive with five others. The full story is told in his obituary here.

Update 17th June:

Jazz drumming afficianado Tim Walter, my brother, has come up with answer as to the drummer’s identity:

I have done some light research and could find almost nothing about Brass Incorporated or the composer except that they were all connected with the British modern jazz movement of the 60’s and 70’s. The drummer is certainly a top jazz drummer and is comfortable in a big band setting. Having just bought, and listened to 24/7, the complete recorded works of Phil Seaman (My Hero) I believe that this is the gentleman occupying the drum stool. Phil was active in the 50’s,60’s and 70’s (he died in 1972 aged 46), was considered to be the top European jazz drummer of the time, for years played in the house band at Ronnie Scotts, was a side man to many people and did a lot of big band and session work. He also taught Ginger Baker and played in Ginger Baker’s Airforce a couple of times.

Taught Ginger Baker? Crikey. That’s a claim to drumming fame, if ever there was one….


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