Selected Spy Vibe Posts: Fab Dresses, Eurospy Music Collection, Beetle Bailey in West Berlin, Why Mort Walker?, Spy Vibe radio: The Beatles Help!, Avengers Critical Guide, The Spotnicks, Benny Spies, James Pond 0017', Satire Stones, Annette Andre Book, Cat Day, Spy Vibe Radio: Get Smart, Caine: My Generation, Interview: Ian Ogilvy, ITC Elstree Event, Horror of Party Beach, Sylvie Vartan Renown, Ringo At 78, Dark Shadows Strips, Spy Vibe Radio: Flint, Archie Batman 66, Paul at 76, Beatles Pac-Man, Spy Vibe Radio: Jerry Cotton, The Invaders, 007 Horowitz Book Tour, McGoohan/Prisoner Event at Elstree, The Prisoner Interviews Vol 1, British Underground Press, Interview: Fab4 Mania, Bond Cocktail Book, Bond at Bletchley, Spy Smasher, Spy Vibe Radio: Peter Gunn, Agent Zero M, New Prisoner Comic, Dr. No Villains Edition, Spy Vibe Radio: Danger Diabolik, Dr. No 60th, Oy-Oy-Seven, Spy Vibe Radio (UFO), Cold War Comic Strips, Thunderball Event, Mission to India, Mort Walker Celebration, Peter Wyngarde Celebration, Batman 66 Exhibit, Prisoner Fifty Event, Ian Fleming Publications 2017-2018, Interview: Ed Hulse Pulp, Avengers Audio Drama, Interview: Callan At 50, Interview: Playboys, Spies, Private Eyes, TWA Returns, Spy Vibe Radio 8, Interview: Ryan Heshka, Mid-Century Modern Schulz, Agent Werewolf, Mata Hair Exhibit, Johnny Sokko 50th, Interview: Trina Robbins, Eddie Izzard, The Prisoner Capt Scarlet 50th, Hugh Hefner R.I.P., Jack Good R.I.P., Interview: Shaken Not Stirred, Callan 50th, Spy Vibe Radio 7, The Prisoner 50th Event, Spy-Fi Event, Kaho Aso 007, Two Million, Bo Diddley, Carnaby Pop, Le Carre Events, Billy Bragg Skiffle, Elvis 68, Jack Kirby The Prisoner, Casino Royale Concert, Review: The Prisoner Vol 2, Interview: The Prisoner Essential Guide, Maud Russell Mottisfont, Spy Vibe Radio 4, Batman Gallants, Adam West R.I.P., Village Triangle, Roger Moore R.I.P., Spy Vibe Radio 3, Sgt Pepper 50th, Satanik Kriminal OST, 60s Overdrive, Make Love in London, Spy Vibe Radio 2, Spy Vibe Radio 1, James Bond Strips, Propaganda Mabuse, Interview: Police Surgeon, XTC Avengers, 1966 Pep Spies, Batman Book Interview, Exclusive Fleming Interview, Avengers Comic Strips, Robert Vaughn RIP, UNCLE Fashions, Thunderbirds Are Pop!, Interview: Spy Film Guide, Lost Avengers Found, The Callan File, Mission Impossible 50th, Green Hornet 50th, Star Trek 50th, Portmeirion Photography 1, Filming the Prisoner, Gaiman McGinnins Project, Ian Fleming Grave, Revolver at 50, Karen Romanko Interview, Mod Tales 2, Umbrella Man: Patrick Macnee, New Beatles Film, The Curious Camera, Esterel Fashion 1966, Exclusive Ian Ogilvy Interview, 007 Tribute Covers, The Phantom Avon novels return, Ian Fleming Festival, Argoman Design, Sylvia Anderson R.I.P., Ken Adam R.I.P., George Martin R.I.P., The New Avengers Comics, The Phantom at 80, 007 Manga, Avengerworld Book, Diana Rigg Auto Show, The Prisoner Audio Drama Review.
September 19, 2018
DAVID MCCALLUM AT 85
Happy Birthday to David McCallum! Born on this day in Glasgow in 1933, McCallum is best known for his work in The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Great Escape, The Outer Limits, Sapphire & Steel, The Invisible Man, JAG, NCIS: New Orleans, and NCIS. In recent years, he has also lent his voice to a number of projects, including Ben 10, The Replacements, and Batman projects. His first thriller novel, One a Crooked Man, was published in 2016! Spy Vibers are likely to know about McCallum's role as Illya in U.N.C.L.E., so I want to focus today on his lesser-know efforts- in the record industry! Music was a large part of David McCallum's upbringing and education, so it was actually serendipitous that his first character note in his U.N.C.L.E. script was that Illya kept a collection of Jazz records under his bed. Like many stars in the 1960s, McCallum recorded a number of albums that crossed between easy listening, pop, and rock. As a classically trained musician, he made arrangements of popular songs for oboe, French horn, strings, guitar, and drums. McCallum also conducted and contributed his own compositions. Four LPs were made for Capital Records between 1966-1968. Speaking to Record Collector Magazine, McCallum said, : "Well, 'Communication' was just a 50's type novelty record, with me talking over the music. The follow-up was 'In The Garden, Under The Tree', which came from a film called 'Three Bites Of The Apple.' It was meant to be a comedy with a lot of funny things in it, but the studio took it upon themselves to recut it and make it into a romantic picture." McCallum was then asked to take on LP projects. "MGM came to me and said, with the success of 'U.N.C.L.E.', you ought to sing a whole album of songs. I said, I'm an actor, not a singer. They said, well, just read the telephone book or something and we'll put music to it. I found that somewhat reprehensible, and suggested that I could do some orchestral arrangements of contemporary pop songs, using woodwind with four French horns as a back up, and rhythm. The idea was to do it with straight orchestral instruments and no guitar or amplification. They gave the idea to David Axelrod at Capitol, who passed it onto H.P. Barnum, the arranger there, who was involved in Motown and rock. When I arrived at the studio they had the finest musicians sitting there, and you can see it was going to be full rock." Asked if he minded the modern instrumentation, McCallum said. "No, it was great fun doing it. My father was touring America with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the time, and he came along to a couple of those sessions. The whole period was very exciting. I'm still listening to those [Pop] songs now. That early '60's music is unique and very expressive of the emergence of the whole rock thing that followed. The toughest thing was the selection of the music." And speaking of that exciting period, McCallum's father was a noted classical violinist (look for David Sr's 78s on Parlophone) who played on some famous tracks from the SGT Pepper sessions with The Beatles! David McCallum released four LPs, a number of singles and EPs, and various narration albums- including works by H.P. Lovecraft and Ambrose Bierce. Spy Vibers might enjoy the German compilation of instrumental tracks, Solo Für I.L.L.Y.A., which sported a cool grid of McCallum images originally included as a bonus with the promo pressing of A Bit More of Me (1967) in a sheet of 15 photos (also used partially on the EMI House on Breckenridge Lane '68 sleeve below). You can still find his second record, A Bit More of Me, on CD, and other albums are available as MP3 downloads at Amazon and on iTunes. By the way, Val McCallum, son of David and Jill Ireland, has carried on the family tradition by working as a touring musician with major acts and contributing to soundtracks. Below: various record sleeve designs (I love the cover of "McCallum" from 1967) and the recently-sampled song, 'The Edge', from A Bit More of Me (1966). More McCallum info at Discogs, the Fans From U.N.C.L.E. website. Related links: Spy Vibe Radio: Man From U.N.C.L.E., Robert Vaughn R.I.P., 1966 Pep Spies, UNCLE Fashions, UNCLE Island Music, German UNCLE, McCallum Hullabaloo, New McCallum Novel, Notes From UNCLE Event, UNCLE School, Agente Secreto Comics, Der Mann Von UNCLE, Japanese UNCLE editions, UNCLE Gun, UNCLE Turns 50, UK Comics, UNCLE Manga, U.N.C.L.E. Comics. Enjoy!