Yeah - I can tell you all about it. The show was on weeknights from 11:00 PM - 2:00 AM on KAAY 1090 AM. At the time, this was a clear channel AM station. No - it wasn't owned by Clear Channel. It was a clear channel AM station which meant no other stations in the US broadcast on this frequency at night. As a result, the "skip" was amazing and the station could be heard literally all over the world. The Beaker Street Show was heard in Canada, South America, and even in Viet Nam.
Clyde Clifford was the show's host. Whenever he opened the mike, there was always some spacy music playing in the background. This was to mask the sounds of the transmitter and fans since he did the show from a studio at the station's transmitter.
There were two music tracks used for the background - The Dream Sequence from the movie soundtrack for Arabesque was the original music. In the early 70s, the music changed to a 17 minute track called Cannibis Sativa by a group called Head.
Beaker Street is still on the air with the original host on Sunday nights 7 - midnight CST on Miagic 105 FM from Little Rock Arkansas. The station also broadcasts via the web, so you can check it out.
The Beaker Street website is http://www.beakerstreet.com The site is maintained by Clyde and he takes requests via e-mail. There is also a link for the live stream of the show.
If you have more questions, let me know.
The Search for Beaker Street's Background Music part 2
The Search...Part 2
For years we’ve heard the story that the original background music on Beaker Street came from “the Dream Sequence” from the 1963 movie “Charade”, composed by Henry Mancini. After some research, I’m convinced that is not correct. There is no music in the 1963 “Charade” soundtrack album that even comes close to sounding like it, and there is no “Dream Sequence” in the movie.
In 1995, Clyde gave an interview to Jim Snowbarger that has been posted on the web. During that interview, Clyde explains how the music came from a “Hitchcock” movie and was composed by Henry Mancini. The problem with this is that Henry Mancini didn’t do an Alfred Hitchcock movie soundtrack until 1971’s "Frenzy". Way too late. Here's the clip:
The four main points are
1. It was a Hitchcock movie,
2. It was Mancini making weird sounds with the piano,
3. He added “echo and some other things” to the music
4. He used it for about a “year and a half”.
Alfred Hitchcock had at least 2 movies made prior to 1966 that featured “dream sequences”. 1945’s “Spellbound” featured a famous sequence that was designed by Salvidore Dali and composed by Hungarian Miklos Rozsa. Here’s a sample:
That was pretty cool and featured the Theremin, but didn’t sound like Clyde’s background.
Then there is the 1958”Vertigo” staring Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak, which featured a surreal dream sequence. Here’s that music composed by Bernard Hermann:
Sounds intense and interesting, but not like Beaker Street.
So maybe it was a movie like a Hitchcock movie. That’s where “Arabesque” comes in. I had never heard of this movie until, while researching Beaker Street’s background music I came across a site which stated that music from “Arabesque” was used as the original background.
Here’s that site: http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/beeker-street.127254/
In the spring of 1966 the Stanley Donen movie “Arabesque” starring Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren was released. It was a thriller in the tradition of Hitchcock and was scored by Henry Mancini. In addition to that, the soundtrack included a trippy little musical piece entitled “Dream Street”, which included the sounds of piano strings being plucked.
Here’s a portion of that:
Now to me, that music sounded very familiar when I first heard it, but still didn’t sound much like the background I was searching for. However, Clyde said that he added echo and other things to the Mancini track which could account for that.
The last statement of interest was that he used it for “about a year and a half”. If Beaker street started in 1966 or early 1967 as has been said, that means that by the summer 1969, the background could have been changed again. That would actually make the “Head” music the 3rd background piece Clyde used. The problem is finding a recording of the earlier shows. The earliest we’ve heard is June of 1970, where we hear what has been thought to be the “Dream Sequence” background music. It could be another bed that Clyde used. One thing for certain is: the clock ticking, horns or whistles, feedback and space sounds didn’t come from any of the above mentioned soundtracks and was added from some other sources.
We know the “Head” cut began being used sometime between July of 1970 and April of 1971 according to the known archived Beaker Street shows. That leaves a lot of shows that haven’t been heard since they aired. Unless some of those earlier programs magically surface someday we may never know, because it’s a sure thing none of us can remember back that far.
In conclusion I would say that I’m about 98% sure that none of the background Clyde used came from the movie “Charade”. Neither is it likely to have come from the Hitchcock movies that have dream sequences in them: “Spellbound” and “Vertigo”.
As far as the song “Dream Street” from “Arabesque”, I think there’s a good possibility this was used in the early days because:
1.) The movie’s soundtrack and that cut were readily available at the time
2.) The sound of the music closely follows Clyde’s description
3.) the other known options have been ruled out at this point.
A final personal reason I think “Dream Street” was used early on is when I first heard it, it sounded very familiar, even though I had not listened to it or even known about the movie until recently. I started listening to Beaker Street in the summer of 1968. It does seem way back in my mind that I remember the background being different than anything we can hear now. It’s possible it was changed or added to at a later time to become what we are able to hear today in the available recordings.
So after all this, I was not able to determine with absolute certainty where the earlier background music bed came from. I am confident however that it didn’t come from the movie “Charade”.
All in all it still remains a memory that continues to fade further into the past. But thanks to sites likeBeaker Street Facebook page, the memories are kept alive and will continue to allow us to reminisce over the exciting and hopeful days of our youth. Thanks to the vision of Clyde Clifford and KAAY 1090 AM, those days were made a lot more memorable.
(c) windsofchangekc 2007