In my teens I was briefly very interested in cricket. As with all things sport-related in my life, this quickly passed, though not before the iconic theme for Channel 9’s cricket broadcasts was firmly imprinted on my consciousness. Here it is now, in its original form – a KPM Music Library recording by Brian Bennett named “New Horizons”.
Behold the wondrous travel music that begins at 0:54, followed by a contemplative middle 8 at 1:38.
“New Horizons” began pop culture life in Australia as the theme to Bluey, a Crawford Productions cop show for Channel 7, but it wasn’t until Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket was broadcast on Channel 9 that it really took hold as an Australian icon.
Of course, we are at an exciting cultural turning point here in 2018. This is the first time in 40 years anyone has had to consider a summer of cricket anywhere but Channel 9, and so the question on many minds is what Channel 7 and Foxtel will uses as a theme for their broadcasts now that they have dual ownership of the rights for televising cricket in Australia. In keeping with the 1970s library music feel, here are some of my suggestions:
1. “Power Drive” – Johnny Pearson
The goodness really kicks off at 0:36.
This one was the theme to popular Channel 9 cop show Division 4 (“A CRAWFORD PRODUCTION!” announces the voiceover on the opening titles) in the 1970s so it would be fitting that 7 return the favour to 9 and pinch one of their popular theme tunes. It’s punchy, thrilling, and wholly fitting for a sports competition, as displayed in the American football montage above.
2. “Light and Tuneful” – Keith Mansfield
I wish more of this music was already used in cricket – I can’t stand having all this NFL stuff on my blog!
The king of library music Keith Mansfield wrote this piece which is still used today as the theme for the BBC’s broadcast of Wimbledon. In the early 90s it was used on the ABC’s “The Late Show” as the theme to parody sports panel show ‘Graham and the Colonel’. With its sporting pedigree how could we go wrong with this one?
3. “The Big One” – Alan Tew
It may be four minutes long, but you will appreciate every second.
This funky, bongo-filled, punchy brass epic is inexplicably used for the theme for The People’s Court, a reality-courtroom show in the US. It would be much more appropriate attached to the beginning of a real adversarial drama – that of jerk Australian cricketers harassing international visitors before an audience of thousands.
4. “Young Scene” – Keith Mansfield
Not the last appearance by Keith Mansfield in this list – he really is the king of light music.
Wait for the organ solo and picture yourself kicking back with a beer and cooking a barbecue with a few mates on a balmy Australian afternoon. For similar vibes, see Mansfield’s other top-notch chillout work, “Funky Fanfare”.
5. “Prestige Production” – Neil Richardson
Neil Richardson’s work specialises in broad, lush strings and chill flute vibes – listen also to the fun “Rio Magic”. The minor key drama of “Prestige Production” brings home the seriousness of the cricket competition.
6. “Technicolor” – Alan Hawkshaw
All this needs is a hand-drawn montage of a cricketing robot done up in neon colours so it looks like CGI.
Alan Hawkshaw is one of Keith Mansfield’s contemporaries and is another KPM luminary, in spite of this recording being for the Bruton library. Often referred to as a master of the Hammond organ, here the Hawk turns his eyes to a capable synth. I’d never heard this one until today, and I am convinced that to give cricket broadcasting the kick in the pants it needs, we should turn to the 80s, not the 70s, for a solid new theme tune. You heard it here first, folks.