25 June 2017

Reupload - Brian Bennett - Chase Side Shoot Up/ Pegasus

Label: Fontana
Year of Release: 1974

The sheer versatility and experience in the line-up of The Shadows isn't really commented on often enough, people being more keen to focus on their most well-known and stylistically consistent work.  Sadly, ploughing through a bog-standard Shads hits list would ignore Marvin and Farrar's brilliant stabs at Crosby Stills and Nash styled pop in the seventies, Tony Meehan's endless production work, and drummer Brian Bennett's mind-bogglingly varied array of library music work which you'll almost certainly have heard before, whether you think you have or not.

Here is perhaps the most famous and immediately recognisable example.  "Chase Side Shoot Up" is best known as being the theme to the BBC golf coverage in Britain, where it's acted as the introduction to the swish and thwack of badly dressed men with golf clubs since 1980.  Its strange but effective mix of laidback beats combined with dramatic melodic flourishes probably made it a dead cert for the coverage as soon as the BBC Executives wrapped their ears around it, and its been stuck in people's brains in the UK ever since - another classic example of a record very few people bought enjoying a greater recognition factor (and probably more royalty pay-outs) than many hits.

As you'll gather from the date on the label, however, "Chase Side Shoot Up" had a history prior to the BBC taking a shine to it, and in fact its synthetic flourishes were originally enjoyed in nightclubs - and even apparently some Northern Soul nights [citation needed - ed] - in the mid-seventies.  It might seem absurd to imagine those "thumpa-thumpa-thumpa" drum noises being accompanied by genuine dancing rather than the gentle thud of the palm of your hand against the arm of the sofa, but that apparently was the case.  How widespread its club plays were is a difficult thing to ascertain, and any attempts to play it now (in Britain at least) would surely be greeted with bafflement and derision, but there was a time when the squealing synths on this seemed futuristic and dancefloor orientated rather than accepted as a background noise.  Viewed objectively as a piece of music rather than an iconic theme, it's perfectly good but stubbornly sticks to its central riff despite threatening to spin off into other interesting ambient areas at points - there's a vague whiff of missed opportunities here across the full three minutes. 

The flip "Pegasus" would perhaps go down better these days, being a beautifully drama-filled piece of electronic funk which brings to mind men rolling under cars, pistols at the ready for that inevitable high action crime scene in a seventies flick.  In fact, the Moog and tropical funk action here is so notable that numerous websites recommend this as a lost groove, and the demand for the record on ebay is possibly more driven by the B-side than the famous A-side these days. Not surprising - this is a marvellous bit of work which really deserved better than to sit on the back side of this single.  

Brian Bennett continues to produce library music and soundtracks, and has won three Ivor Novello awards for his work, which has included sophisticated and considered orchestral arrangements as well as catchy jingles.  Even his under-exposed library music work is highly sought after by collectors, with prices shooting up (if you'll pardon the pun) all the time.  


Mark G said...


We knew this tune slightly before the BBC using it for Golf coverage, as it was used on the "Anagrams" round for "Pop Quest 1975", the Yorkshire TV pop quiz show that I was on as part of the Thames TV Region team. They had about six anagrams per show and they would play the intro each time while the two teams would ponder what "Was Shod" was an anagram of - then we'd sit back in our chairs and go "argh" as the other team buzzed in, then we'd sit forward and ponder some more when they had suggested "Showaddywaddy?"

23 Daves said...

Thanks for that, Mark G - I had no idea it had previously been used in any other programme.

Having said that, it's not uncommon for pieces of library music to have two uses. I seem to remember the theme from "Paul Merton - The Series" (with the hacking and coughing samples) turning up in a television advert ten years or so later, presumably because the ad company assumed most people had either forgotten about or never witnessed its original use.

Arthur Nibble said...

Probably the classic double use is "Chicken Man" by Alan Hawkshaw, originally theme tune to "Grange Hill" then nicked wholesale (same version, not even a re-recording) for at least the first series of ITV's "Give Us A Clue". A lesser but more mindboggling combination was the theme tune to Vic Reeves' "House Of Fools" which had previously been the tune for Anglia TV's football programme "Match Of The Week". Finally, "Gurney Slade" by Max Harris, theme tune to a surreal Anthony Newley comedy, was redeployed for the cuckoo clock cartoon segment of "Vision On".