Scorpio songs

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Just a thought really. Listening to my iPod yesterday, I was working through the ‘Songs’ list in alphabetical fashion. This is a fun thing to do, as you can have ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’ by Soft Cell followed by ‘Say My Name’ by Destinys Child. A little further along in the ‘S’ list of songs, came the following 3 beauties;

Scorpio – Dennis Coffey
Scorpios Theme – Lalo Schifrin
Scorpio Rising – Death In Vegas feat. Liam Gallagher

They are all wonderful for very different reasons – the Dennis Coffey track is a staple of hip hop breaks and beats, being sampled numerous times, and has Coffeys fantastic guitar all over it. Coffey was a member of the legendary Motown studio band ‘The Funk Brothers’ and also played on Soul classics such as the Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing” and the sublime “Band Of Gold” by Freda Payne.

‘Scorpios Theme’ is one of the best of Lalo Schifrins’ numerous contributions to film scoring. Considering the guy contributed music to ‘Mission Impossible’, ‘Bullitt’ and ‘Enter The Dragon’, this makes ‘Scorpios Theme’ one of the tighest, funkiest riffs EVER. Schifrin also released an impossibly funker version of the ‘Jaws’ theme that got into the top 40 in Britain sometime in the 70’s. His scoring of the Dirty Harry movies, particularly ‘Dirty Harry’ and ‘Magnum Force’ evoke the gritty, tough, murderous paranoia of the films, and are highly recommended. ‘Scorpios Theme’ is the signature tune for the main protaganist in the first Dirty Harry film. ‘Scorpio’ is played with menacing ease due to a career defining performance from Andrew Robinson (see the photo at the top of the post for Scorpio in all his glory). The character was loosely based on the Zodiac killer, who terrorised San Francisco (as does Scorpio) in the late 60′ and early 70’s without ever being caught.

Wiki entry on the Zodiac Killer

Probably Death In Vegas’ finest moment, ‘Scorpio Rising’ also features one of Liam Gallaghers best vocal perfomances, a rasping, drawling paen to Kenneth Angers legendary underground film of the same name. It is a lysergic rock performance without much equal in the last 10 years, and has a superb video. That video is right here;

and it reminds me of the ‘Lone Wolf & Cub’ manga series and the ‘Babycart’ films. I intend to write something about both of them at some point in the future.

I think, as a Scorpio myself, that I can be pretty proud of the fact that there are at least 3 marvellous tracks dedicated to my star sign. I don’t think the Leos, Capricorns or Librans can boast an as impressive tracklisting….

Canadian animation from NFB – ‘Hunger / la faim’ 1974 Part I

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A nightmarish Sunday afternoon treat from the Seventies. I remember this coming on one sunny afternoon as a kid, and my perspective on everything slightly changing after watching it. Disturbing stuff. They wouldnt get away with showing it nowadays at that time slot, because there’s too many game shows, reality programmes and the like *rambles on incoherently, faces the fact he is becoming like his grandad day by day*

They used to show a fair few of these when I was a kid. I think they used to be on ITV? Anyway, this one still stands up today, because it has an eerie unsettling quality due to its music (which is exemplary) and the computer generated graphics (yup, CGI in the 70’s. The morphing effects are probably an innovation in animation, but maybe someone out there knows different. It makes a political point we all know, but its interesting, creepy and sticks in your mind for a while after – it has stuck with me for 30 years.

Here is part I (of II) – the full version can be seen in one go at the NFB site;

NFB site

Police Woman Intro – 1974

A groundbreaking television show – a 40-something female cop (played by the brilliant Angie Dickinson) in a very male environment, probably paved the way for the likes of late seventies shows such as Charlies Angels.

Wiki entry for Police Woman

For me, it’s all about that theme tune, which is up there with the best. A track thats been used several times over the years (RZA used it on Masta Killas brilliant ‘No Said Date’ album).

There’s a nice blog out there by a guy in Macedonia, and it’s called Lazars Lounge. On it, he has a few Henry Mancini theme tunes as mp3’s. Well worth a look;

Lazars Lounge – mp3 of Police Woman

One of the sites I link to , Diddy Wah, has the theme in a ‘disco’ mix, though I don’t think its neccesarily very disco (although it (Police Woman Theme) seems to get labelled as lounge as well, which I don’t think is appropriate.

Diddy Wahs disco mix (with Police Woman Theme)

As an aside, there’s a review of some of Mancinis work, and a whole glut of excellent soundtrack archiving (with some mp3’s to check out), here;

scorebaby.com

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Six Million Dollar Man Intro – 1974

A fantastic intro to a fantastic show of the 70’s.

Did you know?

1) One shot of the control panel depicted for the crashing aircraft in the opening sequence is actually stock footage of the controls for a musical synthesizer, and the settings for ADSR envelope can be clearly seen.
2)The aircraft seen crashing in the opening sequence of the show is real and the dialogue spoken by actor Lee Majors during the opening credits is reportedly based upon communication prior to a crash that occurred on May 10, 1967: (“I can’t hold her; she’s breaking up! She’s breaking—”). Test pilot Bruce Peterson lost an eye due to infection following the crash, but likewise also miraculously survived what appeared to be a fatal accident even though his lifting body aircraft hit the ground at approximately 250 mph (400 km/h) and tumbled six times.
3)The show was based on a novel by Paul Caidin, entitled ‘Cyborg’. The opening sequence of the television show closely follows the Paul Caidin story of how Steve Austin became the Six Million Dollar Man.

(Source – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Million_Dollar_Man)

The Time Tunnel Tv series intro & clips 1966

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More 60’s television. I have fond memories of all these shows (Batman, Green Hornet, Time Tunnel) from the 70’s, when they were Saturday morning or tea-time viewing. The Time Tunnel was really visually arresting, and the effects still stand up today. This post is a bit clip heavy, but as I have stated, ‘The Time Tunnel’ was a very visual show, with some nice pop-art & psychedelic stylings. Very much a period piece, but unlike some other 60’s sci-fi, this still looks great.

Clip 1 – The Time Tunnel intro

The wiki entry for ‘The Time Tunnel’

The Green Hornet TV series intro 1966

The visuals are not as dynamic as the Batman introduction, but you cannot fault the theme music. Composed by Billy May, with a trumpet solo by Al Hirt, its a variation on Rimsky-Korsakovs ‘Flight Of The Bumblebee’, with a theremin providing the sound of the hornet. The theme tune was later used by Tarantino for the major fight scene in ‘Kill Bill Volume 1’.

The Green Hornet TV show ran for one season in 1966-67, as opposed to the 3 seasons that Batman had. It starred Van Williams as the ‘Green Hornet’, and more famously, Bruce Lee, in his breakthrough role in the west, as ‘Kato’.

Wiki entry on The Green Hornet

Batman TV series intro 1966

When is this coming onto DVD? There is still no word on it, and there must be thousands of people wanting it made available. The only way you can get to watch this classic series now is on digital TV or if you look carefully into the ether of the web, there are torrents available *cough*

A couple of links here well worth checking out;

A great UK Batman TV series tribute site

Batman TV series info at TV Heaven

Post Apocalypse III – Mad Max on the NES

In 1990, ‘Mad Max The Videogame’ was released by Mindscape for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It’s based on Mad Max II, though is generally considered poor quality. We have the joy of NES emulators and rom files for games like ‘Mad Max’ to hunt down to enjoy the dubious pleasure of these games from way back.

If you do have a NES emulator, then you might find the Mad Max rom files here;

Nes Mad Max rom files location

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Wiki entry for the Mad Max videogame

Mad Max videogame feature, with some screenshots

Review of Mad Max for the NES