© Crossroads Fan Club
Tony   Hatch   as   part   of   the   40th   celebrations   in   2004   told   the   Crossroads   Fan   Club   about   his   first   major   television   theme   tune   which   would   be   just   one   of many. Hatch went on to devise the theme music for Emmerdale Farm, Neighbours, Sportsnight and New Faces to name only a few. "It's   forty   years   since   Crossroads   hit   our TV   screens   and   I'm   really   sorry   that   forty   years   on   it   doesn't   have   a   place   in our   lives   right   now.   I   especially   miss   it   because,   as   the   composer   of   the   theme   music   and   thinking   quite   selfishly,   it was a nice little earner for much of that time. 1964   was   a   particularly   'golden'   year   for   me.   I   wrote,   arranged   and   produced   Petula   Clark's   hit   record   'Downtown', came   second   in   the   Eurovision   Song   Contest   with   'I   love   the   little   things'   sung   by   Matt   Monro   and   wrote   and recorded 'Crossroads' for ATV, my first major TV theme. I will never forget how it all happened. I   had   previously   written   one   piece   of   music   for   ATV,   a   little   song   called   'Over   the   ricketty   bridge'   which   was featured   in   a   kids   TV   series   called   'Tingha   and   Tucker'.   Tingha   and   Tucker   were   koalas.   (Don't   say   'bears'   -   in Australia, they are 'koalas'.) The   series   was   devised   by   Reg   Watson,   an Australian   TV   producer   working   for ATV   in   Birmingham.   He   then   devised a   drama   series   about   two   families   who   lived   and   worked   on   opposite   sides   of   a   crossroads.   One   family   ran   a general store and the other the Crossroads Motel. He called me and asked if I would write a theme for the show. The   budget   for   the   music   was   low   and   it   would   have   to   be   recorded   in   a TV   studio   in   Birmingham   -   not   the   perfect acoustic conditions in comparison with the dedicated music recording studios I was used to. The   original   theme   was   actually   two   tunes.   Each   one   represented   one   of   the   families   and   these   tunes   could   be   played   separately   or,   because   they   shared the   same   chord   sequence,   together   in   counterpoint   with   each   other.   (Don't   ask   me   now   which   was   which.)   Reg's   idea   was   that   if   the   first   scene   of   an episode   featured   the   motel   then   he   would   use   their   theme   and   vice   versa.   On   the   closing   credits   both   themes   could   be   played   together.   (I   think   this   was forgotten   when   others   took   over   from   Reg.) As   the   budget   was   small   I   decided   to   use   a   small   rhythm   section   plus   a   harp   and   feature   the   first   theme   on   a 12-string   guitar   with   the   second   theme   played   on   the   oboe.   Right   at   the   beginning   I   put   the   famous   9-note   motif   -   the   call-sign   which   gets   the   family   in front of the TV set. Anyone   who   has   a   copy   of   'The   Essential   Tony   Hatch'   (Castle   Pulse   PBXCD354   -   available   at   HMV,   Virgin   Stores   or   the   internet)   can   hear   the   original   theme on   the   'TV   Themes'   album   arranged   exactly   as   the   original   except   I   added   some   background   strings   for   the   commercial   record   version.   Vic   Flick   played   12- string on both versions. Like many others, I loved the original series despite the way it 'wobbled' and always loved hearing my music. In   1988   (or   thereabouts) ATV   decided   on   a   complete   revamp   of   the   series   and,   amongst   other   major   changes   my   theme   was   dropped   and   a   new   and   quite forgettable   tune   (my   opinion)   was   written   by   Johnny   Patrick,   Head   of   Music   at ATV.   I   wasn't   happy   -   neither   were   the   viewers.   In   1988   'Crossroads'   departed from our screens altogether. (Questions were probably asked in parliament!) In   2000,   I   learned   from   Russ   Abbott   (during   a   game   of   golf   which   I'd   rather   forget)   that   'Crossroads'   would   be coming   back   the   following   year.   I   made   my   own   enquiries.   The   information   was   correct   but   I   worried   when   I   was told that no decision had been made about the theme music and a new tune might be commissioned.    I   submitted   some   new   ideas,   even   re-arranged   the   original   theme   and   waited   patiently.   Eventually,   it   was   decided to   use   a   re-arranged   version   of   the   original   theme.   I'm   told   that   when   Carlton   presented   the   new   'Crossroads'   to the media a huge cheer went up when the familiar opening 9-note motif of the original theme was played. I   was   happy   with   the   arrangement   even   though   it   wasn't   mine   and   it   boldly   reflected   the   good   old   days   of   the series. I even visited the set in Nottingham as a guest of Carlton. Once   more   I   had   three   soap   themes   running   each   week   with   'Neighbours',   'Emmerdale'   and   'Crossroads'.   Ratings   for the   new   series   disappointed   the   'powers   that   be',   however,   and   very   soon   there   was   another   revamp   of   both   story lines   and   cast.   My   theme   was   re-arranged   yet   again   but   it   was   so   'wishy-washy'   and   played   so   softly   I   hardly recognised it. Those bold and positive opening notes had disappeared. Sadly,   no   amount   of   re-vamping   of   the   series   was   going   to   make   any   difference.   Despite   fairly   good   viewing figures,   they   weren't   good   enough   for   the   ITV   Network   and   the   show   was   finally   axed   -   probably   forever!   Thankfully,   (to   paraphrase   a   great   song)   the   show may have ended but the melody lingers on." - Tony Hatch, 2004 Theme Tune Facts It   is   said   that   Tony   Hatch   created   the   Crossroads   theme   within   20   minutes   of   being   asked   by   Reg   Watson   to   devise   the   music   for   ATV's   new   soap.   It   might have   been   one   of   the   fasted   theme   tunes   created,   but   its   also   according   to   many   polls   one   of   the   best.   TV   Cream   voted   it   in   at   number   8   in   their   top   50 best-ever theme tunes. The original television version was recorded at the Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire. This   was   due   to   ATV   not   having   a   music-recording   studio   in   the   Midlands   at   that   time.   The   Birmingham   Aston studios   were   not   even   'proper'   studios   -   having   been   converted   from   an   old   ABC   Cinema   -   so   were   totally   useless for   music   recording. The   theme   and   the   soaps   various   incidental   music   inserts   were   recorded   in   one   long   session   at ATV Elstree in the studio which the BBC now use to record their own soap Holby City in. The   popular   theme   music   was   released   as   a   Pye   single   in   1965.   This   record   was   credited   to   the   Tony   Hatch Orchestra,   but,   curiously,   an   identical   version   was   released   two   years   later   as   the   Tony   Hatch   Sound.   The   theme can   only   be   described   as   'thumping'   and   very   1960s   sounding,   yet   it   proved   so   popular   it   remained   in   use   until March 1985. In   1973   Tony   Hatch   made   another   recording   of   the   theme,   it   was   a   complete   reworking   of   the   classic   sound,   the orchestral   theme,   was   as   far   as   we   are   aware   never   used   in   the   programme.   In   the   same   year,   Geoff   Love   and   his orchestra   made   a   waltz   version   and   Ray   Martin   also   tried   his   hand   at   giving   the   theme   his   own   treatment.   Various other recordings appeared on vinyl during the 1970s. For   Paul   McCartney   and   Wings'   album   Venus   and   Mars,   the   Crossroads   theme   was   added   as   the   final   track,   Noele Gordon   was   said   to   be   "thrilled"   at   the   Wings   version,   and   it   was   used   at   the   end   of   the   programme   on   dramatic storylines.   Fans   however   have   mixed   views   on   this   version   and   a   fan   club   poll   revealed   out   of   3000   asked   the majority "hated" McCartney's version. Crossroads   also   had   various   incidental   music   created   by   Tony   Hatch   in   1964,   such   as   comedy,   suspense   and   the   famous   sad   theme.   Where   the   original audiotapes   are   we're   not   sure,   but   Greg   Taylor   removed   copies   of   the   mood   themes   in   1998   from   the   former   Central   studios   in   Broad   Street,   Birmingham. Although   common   in   Australian   soaps,   very   few   UK   dramas   use   incidental   versions   of   the   theme   tune.   Crossroads   was   one   of   the   rare   few   that   did,   and usually to great emotive effect. The   tape   Greg   saved   also   has   copies   of   the   regular   opening   and   closing   theme   tune.   The   opening   music   is   around   22   seconds   long   and   as   Tony   said,   there are   two   versions,   which   end   without   the   harp.   The   closing   music   also   doesn't   actually   start   with   the   famous 'pings',   although   the   start   of   the   closing   theme   was   rarely   heard   on   the   programme   as   it   was   almost   always   faded in. A   much   slower   simple   piano   arrangement   was   made   by   Johnny   Patrick   in   1984   to   compliment   the   new   45-second opening   titles. This   version   debuted   on   the   show   on   March   6th,   1985.   It   was   a   rather   nice   version,   but   more   of   an "incidental"   theme   rather   than   the   main   opening   and   closing   music.   In   April   1987   this   version   was   slightly rearranged,   but   in   September   of   the   same   year   things   were   to   take   a   dramatic   change;   in   the   series   and musically! In   1987   it   was   decided   to   ditch   the   name   Crossroads   and   call   the   series   Kings   Oak.   With   this   change,   a   new   theme was   performed   by   Max   Early   and   Raf   Ravenscroft. This   theme   is   generally   disliked,   the   simple   fact   being   that   it   is nowhere as good as the original Crossroads tune. Tony   Flynn   was   behind   the   new   arrangement   of   the   theme   tune   of   2001-2002,   he   kept   the   guitar   element,   but modernised   the   entire   feel.   A   rather   good   version,   and   proved   very   popular   with   new   Crossroads   fans   -   and surprisingly - also with die-hard fans of the original series. For   the   2003   run   of   Crossroads,   the   previous   Tony   Flynn   version   was   ditched   when the   series   took   a   new   direction.   Patrick   Dineen   was   asked   to   create   yet   another version   of   the   original   tune   to   compliment   Crossroads'   umpteenth   revamp   and   the   third   series;   as Tony   Hatch   said   this   theme was   practically   unrecognisable   and   very   weak.   It   did   the   score   a   great   injustice   and   isn't   popular   with   very   many   fans   of   the soap. For   the   majority   of   Crossroads   viewers,   and   indeed   just   music   lovers   in   general,   the   original   arrangement   by   Tony   Hatch   with   its   familiar   guitar   sound   - played by former John Barry Seven leader Vic Flick - will always be the definitive Crossroads sound.
Theme Tune with Tony Hatch
Related Page: Singles & Albums