Posts Tagged ‘Playboy’s Theme’

Bonebrake Syncopators – Playboy’s Theme

(click song title above to listen)

Hugh Hefner, who passed away this past week at the age of 91, made his first foray into television in 1959, debuting “Playboy’s Penthouse.” Filmed in Chicago, the informal variety show was set in a “house party” atmosphere. Hef needed to set the tone for this jazzy affair, so he went to his pal Cy Coleman and tapped him to write a theme song for the show. “Playboy’s Theme” would go on to become one of the generation’s defining instrumentals and has gone on to define “bachelor pad cool.”

Hefner left an immeasurable impact on American society in a multitude of areas. He was a visionary of the sexual revolution but also the social changes that roiled the 1960s. The show was the first national program where whites and blacks sat down together and partied as equals. Hef featured guests like Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis Jr., Marvin Gaye, and James Brown in the 1960s to great societal backlash but he never backed down (for perspective, MTV had to be pressured to air vids featuring black artists in the 1980s).

“I think Hefner helped build the audience for a different attitude about civil rights” – Mike Wallace.

This week’s version of this cocktail classic is from none other than DJ Bonebrake of legendary Los Angeles punk rock band, X!

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Contact & Licensing info:

“Playboy’s Theme” was written by Cy Coleman. Published by Notable Music Co. (ASCAP). Contact: Damon Booth / info@notablemusic.net. Administered by Downtown Music Publishing. Contact: Sean McGraw / seanmcgraw@dmpgroup.com. Master controlled by Notable Music Co.

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Cy Coleman – Playboy’s Theme

(click song title above to listen)

The soundtrack to ’50s/’60s swingin’ bachelor pad cool…

In the late 1950s, Cy Coleman opened the Playroom, his own nightclub located in midtown NYC. The Playroom quickly became a hangout for the New York celebrity crowd (gents like William Holden and Jackie Gleason were regulars) and the Broadway elite. A frequent patron was none other than Hugh Hefner, who quickly struck up a friendship with Coleman, a bond that would last until Cy’s passing in 2004. At the time, Hef was about to debut his now-iconic television show, Playboy After Dark, and tapped Cy to write the theme, which would go on to become one of the generation’s defining instrumentals and Cy’s biggest hit as a performer. Cy frequently appeared on the program over the years — here’s Cy’s first appearance from October 1959, performing “Witchcraft” (a Top 10 hit for Sinatra).

Put on your smoking jacket and slippers, mix yourself a dry martini, and crank the hi-fi for a little “Playboy’s Theme.”

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Contact & Licensing info:

“Playboy’s Theme” was written by Cy Coleman. Published by Notable Music Co. (ASCAP). Contact: Damon Booth / info@notablemusic.net. Administered by Downtown Music Publishing. Contact: Sean McGraw / seanmcgraw@dmpgroup.com. Master controlled by Universal Music Group.

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Nelson Riddle – Playboy’s Theme

(click song title above to listen)

LENNY BRUCE: “This is a kind of a…an interesting party. You know, I first figured it would be like, sort of a TV typical fake party. But it’s got a good party feeling to it, with some pretty chicks, which is a good composite.”

HUGH HEFNER: “Well, yes…the girls, and we serve real liquor. It does the trick!”

LB: “That’s what grooved me about the show. That it’s an honest…it’s actually a party. So whatever happens at a party, within, you know, limitations…”

HH: “Well, we’re trying to build the personality of the show out of the magazine itself and make the thing sort of a sophisticated weekly get-together of the people that we dig and the people who dig us. Just have ourselves a kind of late night ball”.

It was this week in 1959 that Playboy founder/editor/publisher Hugh Hefner would broadcast his first episode of the new variety television talk show, Playboy’s Penthouse. Hefner would put his personal touch on the show throughout, cruising Lake Shore Drive, party-bound, in his own Mercedes 300SL to the opening credits and an original theme song which was composed and recorded by Cy Coleman two weeks before the premiere episode. The show was filmed in downtown Chicago’s WBKB-TV studios (where decades later Oprah Winfrey began her show) and ran in syndication from 1959-1961 for 44 episodes.

The debut party included Lenny Bruce, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, and Cy Coleman who would unveil his newest tune, “The Best is Yet to Come”, which Sinatra would soon record. It was a blatantly color-blind, happy, gutsy, unapologetic swirl of vice on-the-set with some of the greatest recording artists, comics, actors, authors, bunnies, & various other late-night dignitaries canoodling amid the smoke, the booze, and the wall-to-wall cocktail piano.

This week we feature the great arranger Nelson Riddle‘s version of the theme from his 1962 lp, Love Is A Game of Poker. If you don’t swing, please don’t ring!

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Contact & Licensing info:
Original Master controlled by Capitol Records. “Playboy’s Theme” written by Cy Coleman, Published by Notable Music Co. Inc. (ASCAP). Contact: Damon Booth info@notablemusic.net. Administered by Downtown Music Publishing / contact: seanmcgraw@dmpgroup.com.

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Poncho Sanchez – Playboy’s Theme

This week’s Top Tune is a theme song written by Cy Coleman at the behest of Hugh Hefner for his new television show, Playboy’s Penthouse. The show was recorded at Chicago station WBKB-TV and set up to look like Hefner’s apartment complete with Playboy Playmate’s, bunnies, musicians, authors, singers, comedians, actors, and plenty of booze. The first episode aired in October of 1959 and ran for two seasons in Chicago including such guests as Cy Coleman, Ella Fitzgerald, Lenny Bruce, Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis Jr., and Anita O’Day. In 1969 the show moved to Los Angeles along with Playboy Enterprises and ran for a few more seasons under the title Playboy After Dark.

Cy’s original version was released by the L.A. based Pacific Jazz label distributed by EMI and was modest hit on jazz radio. Many others have recorded the tune including Lionel Hampton, Henry Mancini, Nelson Riddle. Cy Coleman’s version was featured on many of Capitol Records popular Ultra-Lounge series beginning in 1996 during the swing revival.

The hugely influential conga player, Latin Jazz band leader, salsa singer and percussionist, Poncho Sanchez lays down our favorite version featured here from his 1998 album Afro-Cuban Fantasy, (his 18th for Concord Records). Pasarlo bien!

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Contact & Licensing info:
Original Master controlled by Concord Records. “Playboy’s Theme” written by Cy Coleman, Published by Notable Music Co. Inc. (ASCAP). Contact: Damon Booth info@notablemusic.net. Administered by BMG Chrysalis / contact: Wendy.Griffiths@bmgchrysalis.com

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