Classic horror themes are ominous and generally dread-inspiring for a reason: They are written in minor keys. Find a nifty melody, go minor, and watch the goosebumps pile up. For composers, sometimes it’s almost too easy.
To prove that it’s the minor key and not the melody that is eerily accenting the work of cinema’s most murderous villains, musician/writer/filmmaker Ian Gordon re-recorded five iconic themes in major keys. What comes next will definitely not frighten you.
A quick rundown:
The X-Files theme sounds like the beginning of an inspirational journey across side-scrolling Nintendo worlds. (One where you’re searching for a magic flute.)
Halloween sounds like the side A, track one of an indie-pop outfit’s meadow-frolicking breakout record.
Saw recalls the music that scores when the football game is getting out of hand and only the underdog protagonist can bring you back.
• 1881 ~ Georges Enesco, Rumanian composer, violinist and conductor
• 1918 ~ Sgt. Irving Berlin’s musical about army life in World War I opened at the Century Theatre in New York City. Yip Yip Yaphank included songs, such as Mandy and Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning.
• 1939 ~ Ginger (Peter) Baker, Trumpeter, drummer with Cream
• 1939 ~ The Dick Jurgens Orchestra recorded Day Dreams Come True at Night on Okeh Records. Eddy Howard was the vocalist on the piece. It became Jurgens’ theme song.
• 1940 ~ Johnny Nash, American pop-reggae singer, songwriter and guitarist
• 1943 ~ Billy J. Kramer (William Ashton), Singer with The Dakotas
• 1945 ~ Ian Gillan, Singer with Deep Purple
• 1947 ~ Gerard Schwarz, American trumpeter and conductor
• 1951 ~ John Deacon, Bass with Queen, score of Flash Gordon
• 1964 ~ The Beatles began their first North American concert tour. They would visit 26 cities.
• 1972 ~ NBC-TV presented The Midnight Special for the first time. John Denver was the host for the first show. Wolfman Jack was the show’s announcer. The Midnight Special proved to be a ratings success.
• 1991 ~ Richard Maltby passed away. He was an American musician, conductor, arranger and bandleader.
• 2001 ~ Singer Betty Everett, whose recording of The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss) made Billboard’s Top 10 in 1964, died Sunday. She was 61.
Everett is remembered primarily for one huge hit song in the 1960s, but she also recorded many other songs and was recognized as one of the top soul singers of her time.
Starting at age 9, Everett played the piano and sang in church. She continued to sing in gospel choirs before moving to Chicago in 1957, where she recorded a string of hits on local record labels such as C.J. Cobra and OneDerful that included I’ll Be There and I’ve Got a Claim On You.
Everett signed a contract in the early 1960s with VeeJay, a record label that was then issuing recordings by The Beatles.
Everett recorded The Shoop Shoop Song in the spring of 1964, and it soared to Billboard’s Top 10.
The song was later recorded by Cher in the soundtrack for the 1990 movie Mermaids and more recently by Vonda Shepard of the Fox television show Ally McBeal.