Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mike Post: Rockford Files Theme

Every week between September 1974 and January 1980, Americans were treated to the antics of the financially overextended private investigator Jim Rockford on NBC’s “Rockford Files.” In addition to the show’s opening that included a humorous answering machine message, the recognizable theme song opened up this classic 70s TV show. TV Thursday's feature this week is Mike Post's "Rockford Files Theme."

Composed by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter, the Rockford theme was released on MGM under Mike Post’s name. This Grammy winning best instrumental also topped the Billboard Top 100 chart at #10. I always thought that the album version was longer than the single; however, they were the same length. As the practice was with some radio stations in the US, some programers splice edited songs to shorten their length. The guitar bridge was often chopped out of "Rockford Files Theme." While somewhat shady in that regard, the idea was to play more songs in an hour than their competitors who were playing the single versions as is. The gimmick often worked.

In 1981 when the TV show “Hill Street Blues” debuted, MCA Records had difficulty getting airplay for the theme song on contemporary hit radio stations. One of the gimmicks MCA employed was to get Mike Post to personally call radio stations to beg us to play his single. I received a phone call from Post and he was not the most congenial fellow – when I turned the conversation to the Rockford theme and hinted that the station could really use a copy of the out-of-print copy of the LP, the conversation turned south. Post basically told me that he was not calling me to talk about an older record but rather “Hill Street Blues.” Not only was he a little gruff, he never got the hint about sending us a copy of the album, pity.

Rockford Answering Gags

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