Author Topic: The 1978 Dawn of the Dead Score: Finding the Music  (Read 965 times)

Retronic

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The 1978 Dawn of the Dead Score: Finding the Music
« on: February 20, 2020, 02:02:22 PM »
I have a day off work so re-arranged all my LPs (I am seriously knackered by the way).  I found some old print outs that map the history of how the music used in 'Dawn of the Dead' was discovered and shared.  Here's some of the stuff I can remember in a rough chronology.
In 1996-97 I bought a pile of library records (a big pile of 800).   It included a very good run of De Wolfe LPs from around 1976 / DWS/LP 3300-ish. At that time I was looking for funky stuff, breaks, etc. as well as any cues from Prisoner Cell Block H that I was a huge fan of at the time.
It took months to go through these records as I was working full time and young so out a lot with friends.   I moved from my Mum's house to a flat in this period and can remember which location I was in when finding different cues.  I found 'Fugarock' pretty quickly which I loved and recognised 'Telex' on the same LP (Sounds Unusual- DWS/LP 3304).   I remember a year or three later (now in another flat so must have been 2000) trying to convince some dude on an online forum that the DOTD track was Derek Scott's 'Fugarock' and he was having none of it and telling me it was something else.   I had moved from cassettes to Mini Discs by now but didn't know how to record stuff on to my PC so I couldn't prove it to him.The 'Sun High' LP stuff I found pretty quickly.  You can still see on the sleeve that I circled it and wrote 'P?' (meaning 'Might have been used in 'Prisoner').  I was flicking through these records at such a rate I knew I recognised it but didn't know where from at the time.  It seems ridiculous now because other tracks on the same LP were used by Romero but I wasn't thinking about it in that way and still didn't know that much about how LPs were catalogued. I must have found 'Spinechiller' a bit later because I was in the flat.   I picked out a random LP and started to run a bath.  From the bathroom I heard the intro to 'Mask of Death' and was deliriously excited legging it into the front room to see what it was!
In this first batch I found nine LPs with Dawn cues on; those above and also the 'Cosmogony' LP, 'Empty Horizons', 'World Power'...  I can't remember what else off hand.  I know that when the Trunk compilation came out there was only 'Dank Earth' that I hadn't found yet.
I had offers of lots of money to sell them (£1000 Canadian Dollars so about £70 per LP) but never did I'm glad to say.
In March 2001 Chris Stavrakis posted up a cue list on his website.  It had been transcribed from hand written notes so included multiple errors (LPs were written down as 8056 instead of 3056, names were incorrect or incomplete, 'Spinechiller' was listed as 3309, not 3300, etc).   I didn't see it until October 2001 when I emailed him and said I had these nine records so could correct some of the errors and add some of the tracks that were missing- 'Fugarock', 'Queka', 'Flossie', etc  weren't on the original list along with some other really big titles.
 
 Chris lived in Pittsburgh I think so had access to the source materials.  I was in the UK where you could find the records so we made a pretty good team.    Now I had a list of the records I started finding and buying them.  Check out this fax to Warren De Wolfe:
 And a follow on one to order the records- note me correcting him that it is 8056 I want NOT 3056!!:
 As the records arrived I realised that the list was full of errors.  There were a substantial number of tracks that were on the list but not actually used which was annoying at the time as I didn't have a lot of money!  The list must have gone through multiple updates and at this time I hadn't met anyone else who had found or had any of the cues.  They were still extremely elusive.

After I emailed Chris he posted the list again with some corrections:


Here's the list with my handwritten additions, etc:

  
I was swapping Mini Discs with a guy called Alan H in Australia.  He had some of the Sylvester ones so I was able to verify or cross off more cues from his rips.   This is how we did it in 2001- no online sharing and buying LPs from mailing lists before eBay really kicked in.



I sent Chris the tracks by mail and here's an email from him on November 28th 2001, with more detail for the 'Spinechiller' LP:
I also faxed Warren De Wolfe about them releasing the tracks on CD before I moved in to my second flat so it would have been the late 90's.  He suggested |I find a publisher and get back to them.  I didn't have a clue where to start so forgot about it until the Trunk comp came out in 2004.
Finally some more handwritten stuff I found with me starting to list chronologically:
Sometime between 2001 and 2004  the Complete Soundtrack started selling on eBay, and this was the first time the tracks were 'out there' and readily available to a lot of people.


What's particularly interesting is these incorrect lists.  It would appear George Romero changed his mind and tried out various cues before the final cut.  I don't doubt that at some point 'Once', 'Non Vibrato', 'Trumpet Requiem', 'Synchropulse' etc were all used in some cut of the film and replaced with Goblin music or other library cues.   It gives an unseen snapshot into the history of a film loved by so many, not least me who as a young teen rented the Intervision video of DOTD from Radio Rentals (complete with Alpha Films logo and it's 'Telex' cue from Derek Scott and the same LP that 'Fugarock', 'Scarey I' and 'Scarey II' are on) so many times and that soundtrack became emblazoned on my memory forever.

This is why we love this shit so much  :)
« Last Edit: February 22, 2020, 09:12:07 AM by Retronic »

stackjackson

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Re: The 1978 Dawn of the Dead Score: Finding the Music
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2020, 03:26:55 AM »
What a great historical accounting of the DOTD saga, Retro, and your role in all of this.
Serves also as a fascinating early record of the growing awareness among collectors of the 'mysterious' world of library music. Priceless

I had not been aware of all this DOTD cue hunting back in that period, even though as a kid back in 1978 I was a HUGE fan of the movie...

For me, it was around 1994 or 1995 when I was first introduced to library records. I had purchased a handful of De Wolfe 10' LPs from a large estate sale in Virginia, owned originally by an old RCA executive in New York City... I was clueless about what these peculiar records were at the time, and wouldn't learn about them, and library music generally, until a couple years later when the Sound Gallery comps, etc. started coming out...
« Last Edit: February 21, 2020, 02:23:12 PM by stackjackson »
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Retronic

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Re: The 1978 Dawn of the Dead Score: Finding the Music
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2020, 09:22:45 AM »
You were on to the records really early then just by chance- what were those De Wolfe 10"s you found?
I'm at the stage with De Wolfe where I'm tinkering with going for a full run!  I have a bad completist attitude.  It happened with KPM; never considered it as they were too expensive and then I got that haul with quite a lot of the big hitters I couldn't resist going for the run. 

I still need nearly all the mega bucks De Wolfe though so don't think it'll happen.  Maybe as an old man when the mortgage is all paid off.

I was really clueless about what library music was all about.  It took me a while to figure the link between the CD releases like the Tension; Suspense and the original BRM LPs.  I remember nearly leaving BRM 11 for £4 which when I got it  home I realised almost every track was on my wants list (used in 'Prisoner' again).   Even though I could see track names that I knew were used in the show I didn't twig that an editor is likley to use other tracks off the same LP.  Once I started thinking like a music editor it made finding tracks alot easier!

As for Dawn I think every track is known except, for me, one- the timpani drums in between the two Scarey tracks as Flyboy gets zombie jumped. Probably on some De Wolfe I have already but hard to spot.  If anyone knows what this is plesae shout out :-)

I also found in my 'clear up' some faxes I'd sent to Amphonic and a couple of letters from Erica Dale advising me what they still had left and what had totally sold out.

This also reminds me of a copnversation I had with KPM around the mid 90's.  My heard crumpled when he told me they had 'skipped several tons of LPs' not that long ago.......  Imagine strolling by and finding that lot.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2020, 09:25:25 AM by Retronic »

stackjackson

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Re: The 1978 Dawn of the Dead Score: Finding the Music
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2020, 02:37:59 PM »
Here's the list of my first batch of De Wolfe 10s I bought:
  • 2856 – American Neutral Backgrounds no. 1 (1965)
  • 2920 – American Neutral Backgrounds no. 2 (1965)
  • 2970 – Living Power (1966)
  • 2978 – American Neutral Backgrounds no. 3 (1966
  • 2979 – American Neutral Backgrounds no. 4 (1966)
  • 2980 – Modern Transport (1966)
  • 3020 – Music For Wind Quintet no. 2 (1967)
  • 3029 – Polaris – The Music of Peter Reno (1967)
  • 3034 – Captains Of Industry (1967)
  • 3039 – There’s A World Going On (1967)
  • 3050 – American Neutral Backgrounds no. 5 (1967)
  • 3059 – Panorama (1967)
  • 3090 – American Neutral Backgrounds no. 6 (1968)
But the most unusual items that I found at this estate sale were these self-made home recordings (both 78 and 33 speed) on 4' "Presto" vinyl from Jan. 1948-Feb. 1949. This stuff is absolutely fascinating glimpse of life at home in NYC in the late 1940s, complete with live radio in the background! Here are a few label images:

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Retronic

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Re: The 1978 Dawn of the Dead Score: Finding the Music
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2020, 02:45:27 PM »
Wow, what an amazing snapshot of family life!
Also nice bunch of 10"s as well.  I still need a 'Polaris' now.

stackjackson

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Re: The 1978 Dawn of the Dead Score: Finding the Music
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2020, 02:50:54 PM »
I still need a 'Polaris' now.

Wish I had two of them! ;)
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Retronic

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Re: The 1978 Dawn of the Dead Score: Finding the Music
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2020, 03:09:43 PM »
Me too :-)

stackjackson

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Re: The 1978 Dawn of the Dead Score: Finding the Music
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2020, 03:16:07 PM »
Just found the obituary notice for the original owner of these De Wolfes and homemade recordings on Presto vinyl:

Quote
Herman 'Hy' Badler, CBS executive
Herman “Hy” Badler, 91, an engineer and vice president of CBS News who directed engineering and planning for coverage of such special events as NASA space missions and national political conventions, died Jan.  2 [2018] at a hospital in Silver Spring, Md. The cause was pneumonia, said a daughter, Danielle Badler.
Mr. Badler, a Silver Spring resident, was born in New York City. He moved to Washington in 1977 and retired from CBS in 1988 after 37 years with the network. He later was a consultant with the U.S. Information Agency, PBS and the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

And a history of Presto Recording Corp:

http://www.prestohistory.com/Presto.htm
« Last Edit: February 22, 2020, 06:22:33 PM by stackjackson »
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niknak

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Re: The 1978 Dawn of the Dead Score: Finding the Music
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2020, 08:00:24 PM »
Thanks for this Retronic, superb to read up on your history with this. I'm sure you'll already know being a fan but the Limited Edition contents might be of interest...


Retronic

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Re: The 1978 Dawn of the Dead Score: Finding the Music
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2020, 08:18:30 PM »
Yes saw that and interested t hear what makes the second disc.