Saturday, December 19, 2015

RICHARD SHORES "HATE" (lost gem from the "Man from UNCLE" soundtracker)

Henry Mancini captured the Pink Panther's prowl. Lalo Schifrin provided the tense soundtrack for "Mission Impossible." Martin Denny instantly transported us to a "Quiet Village" in the jungle. And Richard Shores?

He created literal mood music, like..."Hate." It's your download below.

You might recognize his two minute instrumental as the soundtrack to violent chases through dark alleys on vintage TV cop shows. It was a generic piece of background music that could be licensed for any cheap movie scene of some psycho killer getting violent. I'm pretty sure it was also used by low-budget local TV stations in the 60's when they ran a weekly low-budge "Saturday Morning Horror Movie" or "The Late Night Thriller" and needed a theme to play behind the cheaply done art work for the show.

If Richard Shores' name seems familiar at all, it's probably because it flickered on your TV screen during the end credits for many TV episodes, including "The Man from UNCLE." Yeah, while Johnny Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Henry Mancini and others wrote TV theme songs, they usually didn't waste their time writing all the background music for every single episode. Those chores were handled by unsung veterans like Shores.

Shores concocted mood music for key scenes of love, hate and violence in episodes of "Richard Diamond" and "Johnny Midnight," vintage late 50's TV shows starring David Janssen and Edmund O'Brien. As a staffer at Universal/Revue, he supplied music for "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" "Dick Powell Theater" and "Checkmate" (the jagged theme song on the latter was done by Johnny Williams).

Many masters of schlock and drang issued MOR albums which competed with original TV soundtrack recordings. You could find a lot of exotica from everyone from Les Baxter to Martin Denny. But Richard Shores? Richard did manage to get signed to Mercury for an album. It was titled "Emotions" and also, to get the attention of the prurient, issued as "Music to Read Lady Chatterley's Lover By."

Oddly, I think Mercury figured the words "LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER" were so strong, any kind of illustration would've had record stores hiding the vinyl under the counter.

The album has separate tracks for: Love, Hate, Sorrow, Gay, Blues, Surprise, Frustration, Nostalgia, Fear and Hysteria.

Being a music-seeker ever since I could work a turntable, I haunted record stores and thrift shops for anything within my budget, in most any musical genre. If it was recorded, I figured I might like it or learn from it. I didn't know who Shores was when I came across the vinyl, in just its inner sleeve, for 39 cents. Though I often held out for items in the "three for a dollar" bin, 39 cents was ok.

It was decades later that I learned why that record was dumped in the bargain bin without a jacket. "Emotions" had a lady on the cover who wasn't wearing a jacket! Some pervert had ditched the record but saved the cover! The nudity used to sell obscure artists peddling instrumental music wasn't all that rude back in the day, and is pretty mild by today's standards. But it's the album cover, sought after by nudie-cutie "record cover lovers" that makes this thing still pricey in surviving record stores.

Shores stayed busy in the TV field long after the "mood music" era of the late 50's and early 60's mellowed out. His late 60's soundtrack work included vivid "stings" and romantic ballad moments for many episodes of "The Wild Wild West" and "Hawaii 5-0" among others. Welcome to the formerly distant Shores, and I hope you love "Hate."

HATE Richard Shores

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