M-Squad (police, starring Lee Marvin)

    (NBC Primetime, 1957 - 1960)

Theme 1 (first season only): "M-Squad (M & ET)"

     Composer: Stanley J. Wilson (ASCAP/BMI)

     1978 Publisher: Gordon Music Company, Inc. (ASCAP)
     2000 Publisher: Gordon Music Company, Inc. (ASCAP),
                        of Canoga Park, CA
     Copyright Date: 
     Renewal   Date:


Theme 2 (from 2nd season on): "M-Squad Theme"

    [aka: "M-Squad Theme Tune"]

    [This Basie theme may sound like just a simple "blues in C Major",
     because that's just what it is. In fact, it was what musicians call
    "a head chart" -- a tune made up on the spot -- based upon the standard
     12-bar blues chord progression, to satisfy an insultingly low commission
     offered for composing and producing the THEME. 

     In 1958 Henry Mancini's Peter Gunn jazz-influenced THEME and score was 
     becoming a national craze, so the producers of M-Squad wanted something
     similar. They offered Count Basie $1000 (plus royalties) to produce
     a THEME. Perhaps the producers music budget had already been allocated,
     and they had nothing left for a new theme. Or perhaps they thought the 
     honor (and ASCAP royalties) would justify the low fee up front. 
     Whatever the producers were thinking, the rationale was wrong-headed
     given Basie's reputation of several decades as a bandleader and artist.
     But TV producers of the 1950s were not known for treating name artists
     any better than the composers they routinely abused by low fees.

     In the memoir "Reminiscing In Tempo" (1990) jointly published by
     Scarecrow Press and the Institute of Jazz Studioes, Rutgers University,
     Basie's record producer Teddy Reig described the session:

    "This was to be the first black orchestra to do a theme for television. 
     The press came out in full force, along with all the wheels from the 
     [musician's] union. Are the big shots are standing around shaking hands
     in the studio and wanting to hear the music. The truth was we had 
     nothing. After about an hour and forty-five minutes all the executives 
     started looking at each other [dubiously.] So I took Bill [Basie] into 
     the men's room and said, 'We're f**king up.' He said, 'It's O.K., don't 
     worry about it...'

     He went back to the piano, gave one of his signals, and all the guys
     start running over to their chairs. Then he motioned to Thad Jones to
     come over. Basie played a couple of chords, mumbled something, and sent
     Thad back to the trumpet section. Then he conferred with Marshall Royal,
     and he delivered the message to the saxes. The next thing you know, we
     had [the THEME from] 'M-Squad.' And Basie was the sole writer."]

     Composer: Count Basie (ASCAP)
              [professional name of William James ("Bill") Basie]

     1978 Publisher: Northern Music Company (ASCAP)
     2000 Publisher: MCA/Northern Music Company, Inc. (ASCAP),
                        of Los Angeles, CA
     Copyright Date: Sep. 15, 1958; Eu 542 017.
     Renewal   Date: Dec. 30, 1986; RE-317-786.


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