‘SNL’ Musical Director Shares Why There’s No ‘Traditional’ Theme Song For The Show

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Saturday Night Live has always showcased a background theme song which serves as an opening credit just before its start. However, this isn’t “traditional” and different from other TV shows that feature the same familiar tune.

The musical director for SNL, Howard Shore, shared in James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales’ book, Live From New York, why the variety show never recorded any of its audience singing along to its signature tune. “I wanted the theme music for the show to have an improvisational feel, like the show itself, and I wanted it to grow and change from year to year,” Shore revealed. “And that’s why when I listen to the show now after 25, 26 years, it still sounds fresh to me and sort of classic, and it wouldn’t have if you kept hearing the same hummable melody over and over.”

Howard Shore worked as Saturday Night Live music director for five years

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING, Howard Shore, 2003, (c) New Line/courtesy Everett Collection

Howard Shore began his career in musical composition as the first musical director of Saturday Night Live, a job he maintained for five years from 1975 to 1980. His creative musical talents later fetched him three Oscars in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

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The SNL signature tune and the rest of the music produced by the band were mostly influenced by Jazz and R&B. Shore also ensured that there was a perfect synchronization of the theme song with the show as the sound features in the opening and closing tune and during commercial breaks.

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, (from left): Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, Molly Shannon, ‘The Lawrence Welk Show’, (Season 35, aired May 8, 2010), 1975-. photo: Dana Edelson / © NBC / Courtesy: Everett Collection

Howard Shore wanted the ‘SNL theme song to be distinct

During Shore’s tenure as the musical director of SNL, he made sure to differentiate the show’s signature opening tune from the “big band.” He claimed that he wanted to do things a bit differently from the “formalized arrangements” of other programs, where they stick to playing only the sound they are told.

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, (from left): Andy Samberg (as Rahm Emanuel), Fred Armisen (as Pres. Barack Obama), Bobby Moynihan (as Pete Rouse), ‘Press Conference’, (Season 36, aired Oct. 2, 2010), 1975-. photo: Dana Edelson / © NBC / Courtesy: Everett Collection

Being a saxophonist, Shore understands rhythm, so he created a setting where viewers could enjoy the instrument played on the show. He also stated that he wanted the song to be distinct from the type of music expected by the audience and allow it to synchronize with the cast, who had the freedom to perform independently.

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The post ‘SNL’ Musical Director Shares Why There’s No ‘Traditional’ Theme Song For The Show appeared first on DoYouRemember? – The Home of Nostalgia. Author, Peace A

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