Forty-five years ago this fall, a radio show called As It Happens debuted. Which might mean we're due for a mid-life crisis. I'll let you know if we go shopping for a convertible, or hair plugs.
If you're a longtime listener, you know that the show hasn't always sounded like it does now. For example, back in the early days, here's how we used to kick things off. And then we updated our music -- from the sound of robots vacuuming to the sound of a robot on a trampoline next to a band of human beings: But, like many things created in the heady days of the late 60s, the sound of the future became the sound of the past. And in 1972, a musician named Moe Koffman saved us from having to listen to that over and over again each weeknight for four-and-a-half decades.
In its place, of course, he gave us this.Before long, those opening bars of Moe's song, "Curried Soul," became an instantly-recognizable part of our show. Regular listeners cannot think our As It Happens and not think of that "da-dah-da-da-dah-da-dah-dah."
We love our theme -- and that's why we're celebrating it tonight. And we're not the only ones who are deeply attached to it. Every couple of days we get fan mail raving about it. They want to know where they can get a copy. They beg us to never, ever change it.But taste is subjective. Not everyone likes the various music flavours of "Curried Soul".
For instance, a few years back, a listener named Rusty Darbonne from Los Angeles wrote us this email:
"You have the worst -- and I mean the worst -- theme music of any program that has ever been broadcast on any medium, at any time, in the history of any intelligent civilization in any dimension, galaxy, or country."
I'm assuming here that Rusty has never watched an episode of "Three's Company." But in any case, he then added, "P.S. I mean, really! It's awful."
Or take, for example, Jaypetee Akeeagok. He's a narwhal hunter from Grise Fiord, Nunavut. And when Carol was interviewing him in February about the expansion of the hunt, he also proved to be a harsh music critic. Depressing?!? Ouch. But it got worse.
Mr. Akeeagok's remarks prompted Eric St-Laurent in Toronto to email us saying, "Like the guy said: the music theme is horrible -- in fact, it's totally depressing. In fact, it is as bad as Carol's interviews are great."And Katharine in Brennan's Hill, Quebec chimed in to say: "Think of him all the way up there in the far North listening to your show. The least you could do for him would be to change your theme music."Obviously, not everyone feels that way about our theme. Actually, it makes some people feel so good they want to take off their clothes. That's right: back in 2002, a burlesque dancer named Sasha Van Bon Bon performed in Toronto to "Curried Soul."
Here's Ms. Van Bon Bon speaking to former host Mary Lou Finlay about the musical selection.Now to most of you the As It Happens theme is a familiar sound. But to some of you it sounds eerily familiar.Over the years, some of you have written in to say that "Curried Soul" reminds you of this:That would be, of course, "Satisfaction," by the Rolling Stones.
It also makes some people think of this:Wilson Pickett back in 1967 singing "Mojo Mama."Now I ask you, "Do those tunes sound anything at all like this?"That was a rhetorical question.
Well, "Curried Soul" is a playful song. And that's inspired some of you to play around with it.
In February, after we told you about the narwhal hunter's theme-induced depression, we got this suggestion on Talkback:So we took up Mr. Rice's challenge. And this is what the backward, reverbed, double-speed theme sounded like:But perhaps the best twist on "Curried Soul" we've heard is when it was served up with some Pickles on the side.
Pickles is a poodle. And in 2005, her handlers got in touch with us to tell us about the daily duet she performed along with our theme. Here's former host Mary Lou Finlay speaking with Pickles' owner, Nancy LoPresti.Now, don't howl. But, to mark our 45th anniversary, we're making some changes to the As It Happens opening theme. It'll still be Moe Koffman's "Curried Soul." But it'll sound a bit different. I hope you'll like it. And I hope it'll perk up our narwhal hunter. Tune in tomorrow night, when all will be revealed.