(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!
Contact & Licensing info:
“Playboy’s Theme” was written by Cy Coleman. Published by Notable Music Co. (ASCAP). Contact: Damon Booth / firstname.lastname@example.org. Administered by Downtown Music Publishing. Contact: Sean McGraw / email@example.com. Master controlled by Notable Music Co.