Theme from ‘A Summer Place’

Theme from ‘ A Summer Place’ is a piece of music that you will know even if you don’t know the name of the track. A Summer Place is a film made by Warner Brothers now lost in the history of cinema. It is not the main theme of the film but used as a thematic element to show the love between two of the characters.  The song was originally by Austrian composer Max Steiner and performed by arranger Hugo Winterhalter – and no I don’t expect either name to ring a bell. It was rerecorded and became a hit for Percy Faith. Faith rearranged and recorded the melody in a disco style called Summer Place’76 which is a lounge music classic.

Ok enough of the trivia, why am I fascinated by this piece of music? If am honest about it, I didn’t even know the name of the track until I put the Shazam application on my iPhone, but I already had it in my iTunes collection and knew the song all my life.

  • It accompanied the test card on television when there was technical difficulties with the programme on screen
  • It was played in lifts
  • It was played as hold music when I phoned up call centres
  • When I was a child it was played as muzak in the local Tesco where my parents did their local shop
  • In films it is played to give an atmosphere of normalcy or stupefying boredom in a scene, I noticed this most recently in Tim Burton’s film adaption of Dark Shadows

In some ways the Theme from ‘A Summer Place‘ is a microcosm of the media industry, we are supersaturated with content; we mould it to our whims like putty but it had sufficiently little value that I didn’t know much about it at all. And that’s the problem that media companies haven’t been able to deal with; their pricing model is for valued experiences when most of the time they are selling the audio visual equivalent of paper clips. No matter how they dress this up, that’s their problem.

The problem is the tracks that have the highest perceived values are the ones that we emote to:

  • My first time at Notting Hill Carnival involved myself and my friend Ian pogoing along with the rest of a crowd near a float to The Freestylers Ruffneck. The Swedish DJ who played the track did a rewind three times because fo the audience reaction. Everytime I hear this song it puts a spring in my step
  • I spent the new years countdown to the millennium rather tired and emotional listening to the dub mix of All Join Hands by Ce Ce Rogers that was issued on vinyl by Atlantic Records. All Join Hands never fails to put a smile on my face. A quick check of iTunes UK catalogue shows that the track isn’t available
  • Contrast this with Shanks and Bigfoot’s Sweet Like Chocolate that drilled into my brain whilst I slaved away marketing dot.coms to consumers and business audiences earlier that summer. Its saccharine sweet sound makes me want to hit someone close very hard

Three music tracks, both with very different values to me yet if all three were available they would be priced at 99p or 79p respectively.

More information
Theme from A Summer Place – Percy Faith Orchestra | iTunes