Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Cocking up a tribute...

... never a good idea!
I've just been listening via BBC iPlayer to the tribute on Radio 4's Broadcasting House to Johnny Dankworth who died on 6 January. They correctly said that he wrote the theme tune to Tomorrow's World and The Avengers, which is true, but then they went on to play at length Laurie Johnson's later theme for The Avengers that replaced Johnny Dankworth's tune when Diana Rigg joined the cast. Sloppy research, not excused by the fact they added the tribute to their programme at very short notice: I managed to find the correct version in about 30 seconds. I've sent them an e-mail.

The original theme tune is a good, atmospheric piece of jazz, well suited to the espionage/thriller style of the early episodes; you can listen to it here. And as for Johnny, who did so much to popularise jazz, we've lost another of the greats.

P.S. Since writing this, I have learned that in 1959 he became chair of Stars Campaign for Inter-Racial Friendship, set up to oppose the the nazi White Defence League, and which was a forerunner of the 1970's Rock Against Racism and the current Love Music Hate Racism and Folk Against Fascism. He found racism incomprehensible as well as abhorrent. A fascinating (but still completely relevant) tribute to this is in a TV documentary item from that time which shows not only Johnny but also Lonnie Donegan and Cleo Laine talking about the formation of this anti-racist group ~ you can see it here on YouTube. The organisation was founded by Anti-Fascist folk singer Karl Dallas, and included musicians as diverse Tommy Steele and Humphrey Lyttelton.

P.P.S. I've just received the following reply from the BBC:
Well spotted, and sorry for this schoolboy error which I think was broadcast during the news bulletin, and in our programme we raised other great compositions and performances. I think you sum it up well by saying "oh dear!" and thank you for taking time to put us right.  Best wishes.

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