16 April 2014

Reupload - Ron Grainer Orchestra - Tales of the Unexpected/ Simon Templar





















Label: RK
Year of Release: 1979

The always entertaining, never predictable blog "Out on Blue Six" mentioned a perplexing phenomenon in a recent entry, that being the tendency of record labels to release bizarrely souped up versions of TV theme tunes. Whilst this didn't always apply with every release, and as such we were thankfully denied the novelty disco version of the "Minder" theme by the Dennis Waterman Band, people still frequently meddled with perfectly good work where there was no need.

Take the "Tales of the Unexpected" theme tune as an example. Admittedly it would make for a rather short single kept as it stands, but what already exists is a classic atmospheric burst of eeriness which is immediately recognisable to everybody of a certain age. Whereas this, on the other hand... is a slightly chirpy version, replete with early synthesiser noises and funky guitar soundz. I don't know what the majority of people purchasing the theme tune from their local Woolworths were expecting, but by Christ, I'll be betting it wasn't this (which may help to explain why it didn't chart).

The only possible bonus I can see from this arrangement is that some of the synth noises sound slightly like "Separations" era Pulp, so you could, if you so desired, amuse yourself by doing a Jarvis Cocker monologue over the top of the record, softly waffling on about an unexpected night time visit by a shadowy lady, who was probably Martha up the road who worked with Denise at the local outlet of Threshers, and you know because you observed her body under her tight black dress whilst she was walking Joe to school the other day... something like that, probably.

(This pithy blog entry was originally uploaded in November 2008. I did tons of really snappy entries back in those early days… I have nothing new to add about this record, apart from to say that somewhat confusingly, a single on the same label featuring the original theme tune is out there as well. This particular version is like the booby prize for crate diggers everywhere. Oh, and "Out on Blue Six" is no more, unfortunately, but Tim Worthington's Newsround is a perfectly good substitute). 

6 comments:

Peter Gough said...

They really turned this into a stinker. Shame.

23 Daves said...

It's not even laughably bad, is it? I don't know what else to say! They should have stamped the label of this version with a consumer warning.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I was one of those who purchased this single at the time. I bought it on the strength of the TV series, thinking it was the original theme music and was gutted when I got it home and listened to it.

I have since picked up an MP3 of the version I was expecting, but whenever I come across this in my collection I wonder why I never turned it into an ashtray.

Arthur Nibble said...

The proper version of the theme tune on RK Records almost had as many coloured label variations as copies sold. Fully agree about this 'disco' version - beyond belief. I wonder why RK Records never had a chart single?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, Ron Grainer has form for this. He released a terrible version of the theme from The Prisoner TV series in 1967, nothing like the iconic theme from the series which also caused much disappointment amongst record buyers.

23 Daves said...

I don't find the alternate version of "The Prisoner" theme as bad as this, actually. True, it's not the original version everyone wanted, but it at least had a certain dramatic twang about it. Difficult to get hold of at a reasonable price as well (as I've found).