Brian May trained at the Adelaide Elder Conservatorium as a pianist, violinist and conductor. He joined the ABC Adelaide in 1957 and was asked to form and conduct the ABC Adelaide Big Band, a full-blown ensemble that was rated as the best of the ABC state-based bands.
He moved to Melbourne when he was 35 to arrange and conduct the ABC’s Melbourne Show band. The Show Band made its radio debut on the First Network on 13 March 1969.
Background music for Australian television had previously been taken from records. Brian May changed this by writing and arranging the themes for television programmes, including Bellbird, Return to Eden, The Last Frontier, A Dangerous Life and Darling of the Gods.
A breakthrough for Brian May was the drama series Rush, set on the 19th-century Victorian goldfields. The theme was composed by Australian George Dreyfus, but May’s arrangement of the theme was recorded by the Show Band and quickly reached the top of the Australian charts, selling more than 100,000 copies. This type of success was usually reserved for pop groups such as Sherbet and Skyhooks.
Brian May also composed the Countdown theme and the Melbourne Show Band launched the highly successful Countdown television series.
Brian May left the ABC in 1984 and his interests turned to film music. He composed more than 30 feature film scores, including Gallipoli, the Mad Max series (Mad Max won the Australian Film Award for Best Original Score), Tales from the Crypt, Nightmare on Elm Street, Freddy’s Dead, The Final Nightmare and Dr Giggles. Brian May preferred to orchestrate his scores himself.
Brian May won many other awards, including the Golden Award from the Australian Performing Rights Association.
Brian May loved writing music and spent many years in America working on film scores. He was unquestionably as the finest of Australia’s screen composers.
After ten years with the Adelaide Concert Orchestra and Big Band, Brian May arrived in Melbourne in 1969 to create the Melbourne Show Band out of what was formerly the ABC Dance Band.
Recognised as one of Australia's outstanding arranger/conductors, Brian has record credits with his own orchestras and numerous performers such as Kamahl, Ted Hamilton, Matt Flinders, Lorrae Desmond and The Pied Pipers.
Recently, Brian has composed music for ABC/TV drama series, "Love Story", "Frank and Francesca", and "Bellbird", and has commissions for works to be performed by ABC Symphony Orchestras.
The TV series, "Music Unlimited", has been enthusiastically received by both the press and viewing public, and further series are being planned.
The Melbourne ABC Show Band
Since its inception in 1969, the Melbourne Show Band has attracted many of Australia's best musicians to its ranks, and through regular appearances on ABC radio and television the band has justly earned a reputation as the finest musical unit of its kind in the country.
The Melbourne Show Band has given concerts in Melbourne, Canberra, and in 1970 undertook a highly successful tour of Vietnam. In 1973 the band appeared with Cleo Laine and John Dankworth, and recorded special programmes for FM/stereo transmission on Radio Bavaria.
OK, so this is not my usual genre of music but I grew up listening to Brian May and his Show Band playing on a multitude of Australian Variety TV shows and backing many high profile celebrities in the music industry, both local and overseas artists. When I saw this album sitting in amongst a pile of uninteresting albums at the flee market, I felt compelled to save it from an inevitable death by neglect. I was pleasantly surprised to find that many of the tracks on the album were well known to me and features themes from "2001", "Shaft", "Exodus" and the Spaghetti Western "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly". How could I resist? Thanks for the memories Brian.
01 - Theme from "Shaft"
02 - Song sung blue
03 - Walk on by
04 - Theme from "Love story"
05 - Everything a man could ever need
06 - Theme from "Exodus"
07 - I can see clearly now
08 - Theme from "2001"
09 - Sing
10 - El condor pasa
11 - Go away little girl
12 - The good the bad & the ugly
13 - The young new Mexican puppeteer
14 - Rhythm of life
15 - Theme from Mad Max 2 (Bonus)
TRUMPETS/FRENCH HORN/ FLUGEL HORN -
ROY HOSKING, ARTHUR SMITH, RON WEBB, BRUCE GARDINER & TED JOYNER
DON LOCK, KEITH MCDONALD, COL WILLIAMS & JOHN BUCKLEY
PHIL COHEN, BERT PETTIFER, ANGELO CANDELA, PAULINE TONKIN, JULIE HOWE, JOSEPH CURCIO, ALEX SUTHERLAND, MARJORIE THOMS, BERTHA JORGENSEN, MELVIN CANN, ANDY FACTOR, JOYCE HOMER, MEDERICK FRAILLON & BETTY SUTHERLAND
PETER MARTIN, BOB STOREY, GRAEME LYALL, LAURIE PARR, ALVIN SEBIRE
GARRY HYDE (DRUMS)
DEREK CAPEWELL (BASS)
DALE KOHRY, CHARLIE GAULD (GUITAR)
BOBBY VENIER (PERCUSSION)
KEVIN HOCKING (KEYBOARDS)
Brian May & The ABC Showband Link (93Mb)