Saturday, December 30, 2017

Unknown Song #18

Song - Unknown Song #18
Primetime Usage - 1989
Featured Highlight - Bengals @ Bears, 1989


OK, I am finally through 1988 on this unknown-song run.  That means I can actually post some highlights with decent video & audio quality.  Unknown Song #18 is a piece that may have only been used once on NFL Primetime.  The only highlight I have with it is from Week 1 of 1989, and Week 1s seem to be popular receptacles for single-use Primetime tracks.  It's a pretty good song, too, assuming you're looking for accompaniment that is laid back and not real dramatic.  Tagging along with US #18 is a comeback win for Chicago in a battle between the previous season's #1-seeds.  This high-profile result wouldn't amount to much, however, as both the Bengals & Bears would miss the playoffs in '89.



Sunday, December 24, 2017

Unknown Song #17 (Pedal to the Metal?)

Song - Unknown Song #17
Primetime Usage - 1988
Featured Highlight - Week 12 Sum-Up, 1988


It's a little repetitive, but this song has the perfect energy for sports.  To make sure you could hear it, I had to go with an end-of-episode sum-up instead of a regular game highlight because the one game highlight I have is even worse in terms of sound quality.  Chris, Tom, and Pete are entertaining, though, so I'm confident you won't feel too jipped.

There's a track called "Pedal to the Metal (a)" on Dave Volsky's youtube account that sounds like the exact same song, but with different instrumentation.  I'm guessing the NFL Primetime version is either b or c, but I haven't been able to confirm that because—again—NFL Music Library LPs don't appear to be streamable or downloadable anywhere.  According to discogs, Pedal to the Metal is on NFL 122.

*Update* - Dave Volsky sent me (b) & (c) and they are actually just 60-second & 30-second cuts of (a).  I guess somebody could have ripped off William Soden, or he could have another, similar track that sounds similar.



Friday, December 15, 2017

Unknown Song #16

Song - Unknown Song #16
Primetime Usage - 1988
Featured Highlight - Chargers @ Rams, 1988


If you like a healthy, even mix of synth, brass, & hard rock, then this track's for you.  I don't have much else to say about the song, but the highlight is kinda fun to watch.  Well, it's not so fun if you're a Rams fan.  The Rams were a pretty good team overall in 1988 and the Chargers weren't (Al Saunders would be fired at the end of the season), but San Diego caught L.A. here in the middle of a 4-game losing streak.  Charger QB Mark "The Pickle" Vlasic got hurt part way through and Mark Malone—of all people—came in and shredded the defense while Ram defenders couldn't stop running into each other.



Saturday, December 9, 2017

Unknown Song #15 Identified

Finally, an Unknown Song has been fully identified for the first time since early October.  US #15 is "Wheels in Motion" by David Chesky.  Special thanks to "Noah S" on youtube for showing me Dave Volsky's post of this song.  The only album I can find with this song is Victory Fever:  Fanfares for Sports and Sporting Event, which seems to be a recent compilation of Chesky's sports stuff along with some songs by other artists.  All of Chesky's tracks from this album are included in the youtube channel/account that's linked above (they are not all together, annoyingly).  I have no idea what production music label originally housed them.  My guess is that it's either the NFL Music Library LPs or perhaps Manhattan Music since Chesky is credited on a couple of their albums on Discogs.


Revised Link

Friday, December 8, 2017

Unknown Song #15 - Wheels in Motion

Song - Wheels in Motion
Artist(s) - David Chesky
Released - 1987
Primetime Usage - 1988
Featured Highlight - Patriots @ Packers, 1988


*SONG IDENTIFIED* - 12/9/17

Here's another classical-ish piece from 1988.  Unknown Song #15 isn't as punchy as US #14, but instead opts for a quasi-comedy motif.  This track would probably fit best with bloopers, but—to be honest—it's just a mediocre fit for everything.  As a result, it ironically fits this particular highlight clip well because late-'80s New England & Green Bay weren't the franchises they are now.



Friday, December 1, 2017

Unknown Song #14

Song - Unknown Song #14
Primetime Usage - 1988
Featured Highlight - Colts @ Vikings, 1988


This isn't the best NFL Primetime track, but I do know the show used at it least twice.  It's a classical-rock fusion piece—a popular genre in late-'80s/early-'90s production music—but it's too awkwardly repetitive to work well with football highlights.  Oh well, at least the song wasn't as awkward as the Colts offense was in this highlight.



Friday, November 24, 2017

Unknown Song #13

Song - Unknown Song #13
Primetime Usage - 1988
Featured Highlight - Falcons @ Raiders, 1988


Here's another 1988 special.  Unknown Song #13 is a little moody, a little repetitive, and a bit edgy.  In other words, it's a perfect fit with all the other 1987-88 NFL Primetime tracks.  To go with this song, here are the Raiders hosting the Falcons.  Los Angeles was going through the tumultuous tenure of head coach Mike Shanahan, while the 1988 Falcons were a team that probably overachieved to end up 5-11.  Enjoy!



Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Unknown Song #12 Partially Identified

Immediately after posting the video for US #12, I got a copyright notice on youtube for the accompanying song.  The notice lists the song title as "The Right Stuff 2," but unfortunately provides no other info besides the usual AdRev, etc. royalty company names.  The copyright notice for The Far Turn at least listed the album code so I was eventually able to find the track, but no such luck for this one.  I've searched for "The Right Stuff" over the last several days but none of the library tracks I've found with the name (including one that's by Richard Myhill) are the correct one.  If any of you are aware of this song or can find it, please let me know.  Thanks!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Unknown Song #12 - The Right Stuff (alt mix)

Song - The Right Stuff (alt mix)
Artist(s) - Tom Jenkins, Barry Schleifer
Released - 1984 (original version), ???? (alt mix)
Primetime Usage - 1988
Contained on - EA 2015 (Broadcast), PML-CD 1055 (Leadership)
Featured Highlight - Lions @ Packers, 1988


*SONG IDENTIFIED* - 8/19/18

After a few weeks of light, laid-back material, it's time for a change.  Unknown Song #12 is mostly dark, brooding, and wintry.  That's a perfect mood for both the atmosphere of the featured game, as well as the atmosphere of November & December football in general.  There is a bit of a happy, trumpet fanfare in the middle, though, which gives the track some nice contrast.

In 1988, the Detroit Lions fired Darryl Rogers after 11 weeks and made Wayne Fontes the interim coach.  His first game, against the Packers back when they occasionally played in Milwaukee, went a long way toward his earning the job long-term.  It's not a memorable game otherwise, but there wasn't much to choose from that featured this particular song.  Oh, and don't forget to buy Seagram's Coolers, assuming they still exist.  Do they still exist?



Friday, November 10, 2017

Unknown Song #11 - Spring Training

Song - Spring Training
Artist(s) - (unknown)
Released - No later than 1988
Primetime Usage - 1988
Contained on - Musikos MS3 (Sports 3)
Featured Highlight - Seahawks @ Chiefs, 1988



*SONG IDENTIFIED* - 2/9/21

Unknown Song #11 is basically US#10 with no melody at all.  It's mostly a repeating synth-funk riff that never really changes.  It works great if you're not paying close attention to the music, I guess.  The game highlight is pretty entertaining, however.  It features the Chiefs edging out the Seahawks back in the era when Arrowhead Stadium still had astroturf.



Saturday, November 4, 2017

Unknown Song #10

Song - Unknown Song #10
Primetime Usage - 1988
Featured Highlight - Bills @ Bengals, 1988


Yet another unidentified song from 1988 that's pretty repetitive.  Unknown Song #10 is a bit lighter & cheerier than the last two, though.  It's a kinda like Unknown Song #7, but funkier & less melodic.  It's football-game accompaniment is a preview of the 1988 AFC Championship game.  If you liked the Ickey Shuffle, you'll love this highlight.



Friday, October 27, 2017

Unknown Song #9

Song - Unknown Song #9
Primetime Usage - 1988
Featured Highlight - Colts @ Bills, 1988


Unknown Song #9 is even more repetitive than #8.  It sets a similar mood to Communique, but has more of an energetic, "cool rock" feel.  This Colts/Bills highlight is the only one to use this track that I'm aware of.

*NOTE* - Unknown Song #9 is the first song on this highlight.  The clip switches to Unknown Song #8 near the end.



Friday, October 20, 2017

Unknown Song #8

Song - Unknown Song #8
Primetime Usage - 1988
Featured Highlight - Steelers @ Browns, 1988


It's kinda repetitive, but Unknown Song #8 is definitely more intense than #7.  Actually, it's a pretty good highlight track.  The instrumentation does sound similar to John Colby's The Far Turn & Fast Man.  If it is by Colby, however, it didn't make it onto those Valentino compilation albums and may be near impossible to find.  As for the game:  the Browns make a lousy Pittsburgh offense look even worse in a monsoon.



Thursday, October 12, 2017

Unknown Song #7

Song - Unknown Song #7
Primetime Usage - 1988
Featured Highlight - Bills @ Patriots, 1988


Another one of the many unidentified songs from 1988.  Unlike most of them, I do have multiple clips of this one.  The volume & quality weren't the best on any of them, but I do think this Buffalo @ New England highlight was the least bad.  Make sure you turn the volume up.  Anyway, as for the song:  it's quite synth heavy, and it's the NFL Primetime track most worthy of the "party song" label.  Have fun, and please comment or whatever if you can identify the piece.


Friday, October 6, 2017

Unknown Song #4 Identified

The only recent unknown song to go more than a week without being identified now has a name.  Unknown Song #4 is "Showcase" by William Soden.  It's actually an NFL Films song, but it unfortunately does not seem to be available in the NFL Films library contained on APM's website.  I guess it may only be on LP and not on CD.  You can easily find it on Dave Volsky's channel on youtube, though.  Special thanks to PYLclark on youtube for letting me know this track's identity.


Revised Link

Showcase

Unknown Song #6 - Like the Wind

Song - Like the Wind
Artist(s) - Walter Murphy
Released - 1983
Primetime Usage - 1988
Contained on - Valentino 6145 (LP), V-CD 33 (Sports), VT040 (Sports Vol. 2, Electronic & Rock 2)
Featured Highlight - Falcons @ Lions, 1988


*SONG IDENTIFIED* - 7/23/20

Even though this was 1988, Unknown Song #6 sounds very 1970s-ish.  I guess that's true for some of the other '80s tracks (e.g., Solar Winds), as well, but I don't have much else to say to describe this one.  Unfortunately, I have only one low-quality Primetime clip of this track.  It's an unusually short clip, too, and it features two teams that both sucked throughout the entire 1980s.



Monday, October 2, 2017

Unknown Song #5 Identified

Another quick turnaround here.  Unknown Song #5 is "The Heat" by Richard Myhill.  Myhill is best known for working with Duran Duran in the early '80s, and for charting two singles in 1978.  Special thanks to George Dickson on youtube for ID'ing this.


Revised Link

The Heat

Friday, September 29, 2017

Unknown Song #5 - The Heat (Birdland?)

Song - The Heat
Artist(s) - Richard Myhill
Released - 1985
Primetime Usage - 1988
Contained on - KPMLP 1339 (Out Front)
Featured Highlight - Seahawks @ Broncos, 1988


 *SONG IDENTIFIED* - 10/2/17

At this point, the 1988 NFL Primetime season has easily the highest number of unidentified songs.  Unfortunately, I only have one clip of many of these songs.  As a result, combined with the fact the highlights are relatively old, the audio/visual quality of these clips will tend to suffer.  I apologize in advance.

The most notable thing about Unknown Song #5 is that it sounds like an intentional knockoff of "Birdland," the 1977 jazz-fusion hit by Weather Report.  It's a bit more synthy, as one would expect from a 1980s production song, but the similarities are still obvious.  Accompanying this track is a season-opening matchup between the Seahawks & Broncos that was played in the middle of a ticker-tape parade for some reason.



Friday, September 22, 2017

Unknown Songs #2 & #3 Identified

Thanks to the magic of overzealous youtube copyright claims, I have now identified the unknown songs I posted last week & the week before.  I'd actually expected this to happen at some point for an unidentified track, but I didn't think it would happen this fast.  More surprising was who the songwriter turned out to be, however…

The copyright claim info for Unknown Song #2 listed an album code of "VT013" and "The Far Turn."  It took me a while to find the source because the real album code was actually "STVT013."  Anyway, that code was for the portion of the Valentino library that's contained on Universal's website and the "1980s Vol. 2" album.  After scrolling down to find the right song, it turned out the artist was none other than John Colby!  So Colby did in fact produce more NFL Primetime songs than just those listed on his website.  Searching Colby's credits led me to Unknown Song #3 ("Fast Man"), as well.  It was not on the same album as I figured it would be, but it was on the related "1980s Vol. 1" disc.  Unfortunately, the entire Universal website only contains about 20 songs credited to Colby.  I also suspect the "1980s" albums are compilations and not the original sources of Colby's tracks because they both have release dates in 2014.  I don't know the identity of the original source library, though I do suspect it's related to Valentino (I suspect it's Major Records, just because some random library-music forum has a list crediting albums on there to Colby).  I wouldn't be surprised if there's more John Colby NFL Primetime stuff out there yet to be found.


Revised Links

The Far Turn
Fast Man

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Unknown Song #4 - Showcase

Song - Showcase
Artist(s) - William Soden
Released - 1985
Primetime Usage - 1987-88
Contained on - NFL 128 (LP) (Major Force)
Featured Highlight - Oilers @ Colts, 1988


*SONG IDENTIFIED* - 10/7/17

Unknown Song #4, the last song from NFL Primetime's first year (AFAIK) that I haven't posted, is a mixed bag.  It has good energy, but some of the high-pitched instrument choices really don't fit football highlights.  It's still a decent track, though, and I hope to find a good-quality cut of it at some point.

Unfortunately, the highlight choices I had all were from episodes that were uploaded with all the sound coming through only the left audio channel.  I converted it to mono, but that means the volume isn't too high.  The sound & video on this particular clip are also out of synch, but it's only noticeable on the part where you can see Chris Berman talking.  Anyway, I think you'll still find this video enjoyable.



Friday, September 15, 2017

Unknown Song #3 - Fast Man

Song - Fast Man
Artist(s) - John Colby
Released - 1987
Primetime Usage - 1987-88
Contained on - Valentino 6162 (Sports Themes), V-CD 13 (Sports Themes), Valentino STVT012 (1980s Vol. 1 - Rock & Pop Vol. 1)
Featured Highlight - Browns @ Saints, 1987


*SONG IDENTIFIED* - 9/22/17

Unknown Song #3 sounds very similar to Unknown Song #2.  It's so similar, in fact, that I bet it's on the same album.  I have no idea which album that is or what production-music label would house it, but I'd be surprised if they weren't close together.  Accompanying US#3 is yet another (should be the last) highlight from NFL Primetime's first episode.  The once-and-future AFC-champion Browns get a surprisingly tough test from a New Orleans squad seeking their first-ever winning season…



Friday, September 8, 2017

Driving Force, Unknown Songs (The Far Turn), & Primetime's 30th. Anniversary

Song 1 - The Far Turn (+ Underscore/Rhythm Only)
Artist(s) - John Colby
Released - 1987
Primetime Usage - 1987-88
Contained on - Valentino 6162 (Sports Themes), V-CD 13 (Sports Themes), Valentino STVT013 (1980s Vol. 2 - Rock & Pop Vol. 2)
Featured Highlight - Regular version:  Dolphins @ Patriots, 1987 (first part); Underscore/Rhythm Only:  Seahawks @ Broncos, 1987

Song 2 - Driving Force (+ underscore)
Artist(s) - Hal Brown, Donald Bradley Kelley (Brad Kelley)
Released - 1985
Primetime Usage - 1987
Contained on - FirstCom UT102 (Wheels of Commerce)
Featured Highlight - Regular Version:  Dolphins @ Patriots, 1987 (latter part); Underscore:  Falcons @ Buccaneers, 1987


*SONG IDENTIFIED* - 9/22/17

Welcome to the 2017 NFL season!  This post will be more convoluted than most on here, so bear with me.

As I mentioned on the previous post, the last song I've fully identified shares a highlight with a song I haven't identified.  The first track on this clip (the Dolphins/Patriots one) is the unknown song.  It's good for accompaniment, but it could've used another instrument or two.  I refer to it as "Unknown Song #2" because US#1—identified a couple months ago as Powergate—was posted in January '16. The other piece is one I found a while ago.  "Driving Force," by Hal Brown & Brad Kelley—the artists behind Drive Away and (probably) Marathon—is a sleepy song by NFL Primetime standards, but I suppose it's great if you like simple solo trumpet.  The underscore doesn't have the trumpet, however, so that version is just repetitive.

There are three highlight videos posted below, tying the primetimemusic.net record along with the Powerhouse writeup.  NFL Primetime debuted 30 years ago next Wednesday (9/13), so the fact that all three of these clips happen to come from the very first episode makes the timing of this blog entry perfect.  The regular versions of Unknown Song #2 and Driving Force share the Dolphins/Patriots highlight, the very first highlight in NFL Primetime history.  It's also one of the oddest highlights in the show's history because of both the weather and Miami backup quarterback Don Strock having to fill in at both QB & punter!  He did a pretty damn good job, too.  The other two highlights feature the respective underscores.  The video for the US#2 underscore shows the Broncos blowing out the Seahawks, while the Driving Force underscore clip displays the Bucs & Falcons debuting new head coaches that wouldn't accomplish much.  Enjoy these, and make sure to comment here or on youtube if you can identify any of the Unknown Songs I post.




Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Scheduling Update

I'm now at the point where I only have one fully identified song left.  The tricky part, however, is that the only highlight with this song (the non-underscore version, anyway) is a long one that has both this track and another I haven't yet ID'd.  This means I also have to kick off the unidentified-song run with that post, so I'm going to wait until the first week of the NFL season to do that one.  In the meantime, I've been listening through both the Match library & the Atmosphere library in the hope of identifying more.  If I find one, I'll go ahead and post it immediately.  Otherwise, stay tuned for the Unknown Song extravaganza starting in September.

As an aside, I'm going to deviate somewhat from the promised posting order in my introductory post.  Instead of separating the partially ID'd and not-at-all ID'd, I'm just going to lump those all together and post entirely in chronological order (starting with the unknown songs that debuted in 1987, then 1988, etc.).  If a song gets ID'd, it will interrupt the order regardless of whether it had been previously posted as an Unknown Song.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Unknown Song #1 Identified

Josh Ochs came up big again, as he found the lone unidentified song I've posted thus far.  It's called "Powergate," by Steve Martin, and you can check out the revised post here.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Total News

Song - Total News
Artist(s) - Tom Blades
Released - 1996
Primetime Usage - 1997-05
Featured Highlight - Rams @ Eagles, 2002


I finally found one of the missing staples from the later years of NFL Primetime.  "Total News" created a good balance of laid-back fun & energetic tension that saved a lot of otherwise unimpressive game highlights—it's no wonder they used it a lot over the final 9 seasons of the show.  Following Leading Edge, Total News is both the second Primetime track discovered in the Atmosphere library and the second one composed by Tom Blades.  I am currently searching this library to hear if there's more.

Oh, and special thanks to Josh Ochs on youtube.  There's a 1998 Washington Capitals broadcast video posted by Dan Conroy that periodically uses this song.  I asked if anyone knew the song in the comments, and Josh Ochs ID'd it for me.

As for Total News's highlight, here's one of the worst played games of all time…

*SIDE NOTE* - Universal Production Music revamped their whole website a few days ago and all of the album URLs have changed.  It's now universalproductionmusic.com instead of unippm.com and I have fixed all the links on this website to reflect the change.  The "UNIPPM" blog label has also been replaced by "Universal."



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Marathon

Song - Marathon
Artist(s) - Hal Brown, Donald Bradley Kelley (Brad Kelley) (?)
Released - 1985
Primetime Usage - 1987-88
Contained on - FirstCom UT103 (Lightning)
Featured Highlight - Packers @ Saints, 1987


Perhaps the most used song in the the first two years of NFL Primetime, "Marathon"—though enjoyable—is an unusual one.  It's a track that doesn't seem to fit football highlights at first, but works surprisingly well after a few listens.  I guess Marathon would be classified as fusion, though it's a bit more driving-rockish and edgy than a stereotypical fusion piece like Solar Winds.  Speaking of Solar Winds, Marathon is contained on the same hard-to-find FirstCom Up Tempo album.

As with Communique, I'm not certain I have the artist credits correct.  There is a song named "Marathon" credited to Hal Brown & Donald Bradley Kelley in the ASCAP database, though, and they were frequent FirstCom composers during this era.  They also composed Drive Away, which is similar in many ways to Marathon.

The highlight this time shows the New Orleans Saints coronating their first-ever playoff appearance against the Green Bay Packers.  As you'll see in the video, the Saints would be far more jubilant at the end of this one than they would be a week later after a humiliating loss to the 8-7 Vikings.  This was also Forrest Gregg's final game as an NFL head coach.



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Not Power Cutter

Song - Hit Drive
Artist(s) - Robin Gurin (composer credit only), Georgia Shapiro, Alec Williams (performer credit only)
Released - 1994
Primetime Usage - 1994-96
Contained on - FirstCom A29 (Power Net)
Featured Highlight - Falcons @ Panthers, 1995


If you've been following this blog or are otherwise familiar with NFL Primetime music, you've probably noticed there's another song from the mid-'90s that sounds a lot like Power Cutter but isn't Power Cutter.  Hit Drive is a little darker & edgier, but it still has the same repetitiveness and lack of real melody.  It's often difficult to tell them apart if the Primetime clip you're watching has weak sound quality, too.  It turns out this similarity is not a coincidence.  Not only is Hit Drive on the same album as Power Cutter, it's actually the very next track!

A couple months ago, around the time I was doing the New Day post, I stumbled upon a website called "musiqneed.com".  It seemed like it was at least partially foreign and also legally dubious, but it did have nearly every album from the FirstCom Action series available for streaming (along with a lot more music of all kinds).  Most importantly, though, it had the FirstCom A-series albums that are missing from the FirstCom website.  I was finally able to listen to these (except FC-A19, which was also missing on musiqneed) after searching for them for years.  Unfortunately, Hit Drive is the only NFL Primetime song contained on the missing albums that I hadn't already identified.  Double unfortunately, the musiqneed site has been down since early April.  So the rest of you are out of luck as to listening to Hit Drive yourselves, at least for now.

This track has a lot of mid-'90s highlights to choose from, most of them lame.  You could probably call Hit Drive "The Bill Pidto Special."  Anyway, here are the Falcons (temporarily) choking away a playoff spot against the expansion Panthers.



Friday, April 28, 2017

Sonoton Finale

Song - Never Give Up
Artist(s) - "John Epping" (Gerhard Narholz)
Released - 1988
Primetime Usage - 1989
Contained on - SON 295/Sonoton SCD 17 (Robot Couture)
Featured Highlight - Dolphins @ Chiefs, 1989

I'm gonna make this one brief, but "Never Give Up" is—to my knowledge—the only NFL Primetime track from Sonoton I haven't yet posted.  The song, by Sonoton founder Gerhard Narholz (under one of his more common aliases), sounds like a lighter & happier version of Xenon.  It has similar instrumentation, anyway.  It's accompanying highlight features Dan Marino's Dolphins getting run over by "The Nigerian Nightmare,"  so it should be quite enjoyable if you're a Chiefs fan.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

New Day

Song - New Day
Released - 1985
Primetime Usage - 1989
Contained on - FirstCom UT107 (Heavy), FirstCom A5 (Motivation)
Featured Highlight - Eagles @ Broncos, 1989


For the handful of you watching something other than college basketball right now, here's some NFL Primetime music!   "New Day" isn't the best or most memorable track from the show, but it was used quite frequently in 1989.  This high volume is especially odd because the song's awkward & relatively unusual structure just doesn't work for highlight clips or accompaniment in general.  It fits much better as a stand-alone piece.  Two of New Day's composers, Geoff Levin & Chris Many, showed up a lot on early FirstCom stuff.  They also wrote a lot of other compositions (e.g., "Big Gains," "Reel Action") that I've seen listed on the web alongside actual Primetime tracks, but were not used on the show themselves (they might've been used on other ESPN shows, I suppose).  Levin is probably the most well known of the three, having been a member of '60s one-hit-wonder group People!, but Many and Ian Seeberg are quite accomplished as well.  Seeberg also appears to be quite multitalented, as he's seen a bit of success in many other entertainment fields beyond music.

The highlight this time features two good teams playing a good, entertaining game in what appears to be the aftermath of a massive ticker-tape parade.  Enjoy!


Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Original Epic… Sort of

Song - Raw Energy
Released - 1985
Primetime Usage - 1987-88
Featured Highlight - Bills @ Seahawks, 1988


I've already covered the previous epic-sounding songs from NFL Primetime—Olympic Action (1989-90), Crush (1991-95), and International Statement (1997-05)—as well as the "epic track that wasn't"—Performance (1990).  Now comes the original.  "Raw Energy," composed by the supergroup-esque combination of John Devereaux & David Reilly, sounds exactly like how one would expect a dramatic rock/orchestral fusion piece from the late '80s to sound.  That means it's a perfect accompaniment to high-profile football highlights.  Unfortunately, despite this truth, ESPN didn't really use the song that way.  It was played frequently in 1987 and especially in 1988, but it often accented games that just weren't that interesting or important.  In other words:  Raw Energy could've been a true "epic track," but its questionable implementation prevented it from quite getting to that level.

This week's highlight doesn't need much setup.  It's just the 1988 Bills winning one of many low-scoring games on their way to a surprisingly easy division title.  You will get to see the long-dead Seattle Kingdome, though.

Since this is the final week of the NFL season, my Primetime Music posts will get less frequent for a while.  One interesting note, however, is that I only have a handful of fully documented tracks left to post.  That means that, sometime during the offseason, I will begin posting unidentified songs (starting with the songs that have some sort of partial identification or unofficial names).  Keep an eye out for that, and feel free to let me and/or the public know a song's ID if you happen to know it.  Thanks for reading!



Friday, January 27, 2017

Higher and Higher

Song - Higher and Higher
Artist(s) - Orange Power
Released - 1987
Primetime Usage - 1990
Contained on - SON 273 (Sound Giants - Industrial Prestige & Scenic Magnificence, Vol. 2), Sonoton SCD 6 (Sound Giants 1&2)
Featured Highlight - Oilers @ Chiefs, 1990

It's Pro Bowl week!  Are you all excited!?  No?  Well, anyway…  here's the other NFL Primetime track composed by Orange Power.  It's moodier than Future Champs, but has almost identical instrumentation.  I guess me choosing a song called "Higher and Higher" is ironic for the week of the Pro Bowl.  You could maybe think of it as, "you have to be high on drugs to enjoy the Pro Bowl."  That makes it fit.  Right?

Higher and Higher's clip features something a bit more exciting than the Pro Bowl.  In the video, Warren Moon put on a show by throwing for 527 yards in Arrowhead Stadium.  There's also a little bit of Mechatronics thrown in when Chris Berman discusses a replay review after the main highlight reel is done.  Enjoy!



Friday, January 20, 2017

Title Holder

Song - Title Holder
Artist(s) - David Reilly
Released - 1988
Primetime Usage - 1989
Featured Highlight - Packers @ Rams, 1989


The AFC Championship is this Sunday, and whoever wins that contest between the Steelers and the Patriots will set a new record for all-time Super Bowl appearances.   New England & Pittsburgh—along with Denver & Dallas—are currently tied with 8 trips to the big game, so the victor will be the lone NFL team with 9.  With that info in mind, it seems appropriate to post a song with the name "Title Holder."  Title Holder is the fourth & final NFL Primetime piece from David Reilly's Success album.  It has a more laid-back tempo than most, but that doesn't cause its intensity to suffer.  Also, like several tracks from this period, the slow intro & bridge sections were edited out by ESPN.  It fits well for games that involve good teams doing what they do best.

This week's highlight features the 1989 "Cardiac Pack" doing what they did best:  falling behind big and then surging back to make things close.  This clip also has what might be the worst line of Tom Jackson's stellar analyst career.  When describing notorious bust Tony Mandarich playing his first NFL game, Jackson says "He looks to be everything that's been advertised."  Even TJ can't get it right all the time.



Friday, January 13, 2017

Solar Winds

Song - Solar Winds
Artist(s) - Larry Lee Cansler
Released - 1985
Primetime Usage - 1988
Contained on - FirstCom UT103 (Lightning)
Featured Highlight - Eagles @ Buccaneers, 1988


We're going back to the Primetime rarities this week.  "Solar Winds," by Larry Lee Cansler (or just Larry Cansler for short), is an odd duck.  Most of NFL Primetime's songs are either rock (synth or otherwise) or edgy orchestral stuff.  Solar Winds, on the other hand, is a textbook-sounding '70s/'80s jazz-fusion number that one might expect to hear from an artist like Chick Corea.  I suppose, given that truth, that it's not surprising I've only seen one highlight with this piece.  It's not even a good highlight, either, unless you like watching guys in creamsicle uniforms play like garbage.  I did at least leave in the Pete-Axthelm-led postgame commentary to shore up the football side, though.

Solar Winds is contained on one of those hard-to-find Up Tempo albums from FirstCom, so you've got your work cut out for you if you want to find it.  A low-quality mp3 of the extra-long version of this song (over 7 minutes!) was housed on Cansler's website (larrycansler.com), but that site has been dead for a few years now.  That means, as of today, Solar Winds does not exist online in any form that I'm aware of.



Friday, January 6, 2017

Playoff Showdown

Song - Showdown
Artist(s) - Robert J. Walsh
Released - 1996
Primetime Usage - 1997-05
Contained on - Hollywood Film Music HFML 15.04 (Reel Adventure)
Featured Highlight - Texans @ Titans, 2005


Whereas last week's highlight celebrated the awkwardness of Week 17 with a truly obscure NFL Primetime song, this week's highlight—the first of the 2016 playoff season—will showcase an instantly recognizable one.  "Showdown," the second featured track by Robert J. Walsh, is probably the most action-movie-esque piece in Primetime's history.  It doesn't work as a stand-alone piece on the level of a lot of of the more electronic or pop-sounding songs, but it fits as a mood-setter or accompaniment accent better than perhaps any other track on the show.  That's why it's surprising to me, after looking through a bunch of episodes with Showdown, that it wasn't used for very many good games.  The one I picked—a bout between two bad teams from late in NFL Primetime's final season—is more notable for its humorous, bumbling ending than anything else.  Well, I guess it would also be the late Steve McNair's last win as a Titan, but it's not like his career was anywhere near over at this point.  Anyway, enjoy the video.

As for obtaining this song in (legal) clean form…  good luck.  I have no idea where music from the Hollywood Film Music Library (founded by Walsh himself) can be accessed.  I touched on this in my Bad Company post, but it seems to be separate from the "Hollywood Music" library currently contained on FirstCom's website.  Showdown can easily be found on a some of the bootleg rips/youtube posts online, though.