An interview with the composer of the
music & themes on Tour of Duty.
HUM90: Hello Joseph Conlan, its very kind for you to take the time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions.
HUM90: I think I said before that some of the most frequently asked questions here at HUM90.com are about with the music, Who wrote it? What's it called? , How long is it, things like that.
JC: I wrote a main title theme for the show, but just before the pilot episode was about to air, it was suggested that popular 60's tune might help sell the show to the audience, anything to improve the odds that the show would become a hit. The producers picked "Paint it Black by the Rolling Stones", that was used for the network run, three years. When the show went into syndication they used my theme. That is what you hear on TNT. The end credit theme that I wrote played on the network run and plays in syndication. As far as what it's called is concerned, these pieces were written specifically for Tour Of Duty, so they were just referred to as the 'Tour of Duty main and end titles'. They were around 45 seconds to a minute long.
Hum90: How did you go about creating the various pieces of music, what influenced did you?
JC: I had a meeting with a number of the producers, writers and the editor, Zev Braun, Bill Norton, Vahan Moosekian, John Duffy and a few others, and basically they all threw out concepts/ideas to which the music should relate.
HUM90: How did you get the job to write the music for Tour Of Duty? , Was it through your previous works?
HUM90: Did you watch the pilot episode to get a feel for the show?
HUM90: How long is the actual ending theme music?
HUM90: Does it have a name, other than End credit theme music tour of duty?
HUM90: Was it ever released in a format the general public could buy, such as a single, or an LP/CD?
HUM90: Is it available in sheet music form?
JC: Around 80 bpm.
HUM90: What instruments did you use?
HUM90: I have found 23 different listed, copyrighted versions most with the title "end credit theme "Tour of Duty" and something you wrote , called "Ladybird Blues", and a French alternative version "Zeke's Blues", are these the same piece of music or different pieces?
HUM90: From watching the show I think that the end theme is replayed sometimes in part at different speeds/tempo and with a variation of the instrument used is that correct?
HUM90: Also listed are BG-Cues, which I believe are background cues. Could you tell me a little about these pieces of music, Are these the incidental snippets often in episodes to add drama to scenes?
HUM90: Did you have to write each piece for each episode or was it a one off job were you were asked to compose X amount of music in the same style to fit the show were directors/producers wanted to insert it?
This is generally how it is done with hour dramatics. Sitcoms, soaps and game shows have libraries created from which they draw music to "fit" into a scene.
These spotting sessions were where it was also discussed what songs from the period would be licensed for that episode. Art Fein did that the first season, and John McCullough did it for the second and third seasons.
It was a great time for me. All the people on the show that I dealt with were very creative and hard working people. And I've had the pleasure of working with a number of them on subsequent projects.
HUM90: Again many thanks for taking the time and trouble to talk to me about your time on the show,
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