22 February 2008

Only in Oz (9) Roger Roger & his Champs Elysées Orchestra - Dalilia

Another in my series of posts about tracks that charted in Australia but not in their countries of origin.

9. Roger Roger & his Champs Elysées Orchestra - Dalilia
(Roger Roger)
France 19??
Festival single (Australia) #FK-296 (1962); re-released on FK-1680 (1967)

Australian charts: #8 Sydney #8 Melbourne #16 Brisbane

This spaced-out electronic instrumental was familiar in Australia during the 60s as radio filler and as background music on radio and TV. [Listen] I mentioned it in an earlier post as a likely Time-out Instrumental.

Roger Roger (1911-1995) was a prolific French composer for radio, TV and film whose music is often filed these days under Space Age and Library.

Dalilia seems to have started out as a "library" track, a ready-made theme or soundtrack piece, one of numerous tracks Roger Roger composed and recorded for the Chappell Music company's Mood Music series from the mid-50s.

At the time such albums would have been sold to radio and TV stations and film producers, but they are now collected by aficionados of Library music and have reappeared on CD: see, for example, the catalogue at MovieGrooves, which includes a Roger Roger collection (Roger Roger is to Library Music what James Bond is to spy movies...).

Some of Roger Roger's music (SpaceAgePop.com tells us) also fits into a further sub-genre, Test Card, since his work was often heard with test patterns on BBC-TV.

I suspect that the release of Dalilia as a single was an Australian initiative (although a US release, Delilah, could be the same track). The B-side was Cha Cha Charlie, an instrumental by Mel Young, another Chappell library artist.

Festival released the single twice, first in December 1962 on #FK-296, when it charted, and again in March 1967 on #FK-1680, again coupled with Mel Young. As I've pointed out previously, one thing Australians loved back then was an instrumental.

The Dalilia tune was used in 1963 for the British TV show The Desperate People, when it was known as The Desperadoes (Theme from Desperate People). Each title is registered to Roger Roger as a separate work at ASCAP, but they do appear to be the same composition. In Australia, The Playboys released a version as Desperado (1965). You can listen for yourself from the Playboys page at the excellent MusicPopHits.com.

I once heard another Australian version with vocals but I've had no success in remembering it or tracking it down this time around.

And the title, Dalilia? The only title resembling Dalilia amongst the hundreds of Roger Roger compositions registered at SACEM (France) is Dalila, the French form of Delilah. There was a Roger Roger single released in the US in 1963 called Delilah (TIME #1063) but, as far I can see, no Dalilia. The title Dalilia is, however, registered to Roger Roger at ASCAP, but so is Delila (another form of Delilah/Dalila). I'm wondering whether Dalilia might be an Anglo misprint for Dalila (Delilah).

Roger Roger & his Champs Elysées Orchestra - Dalilia.mp3
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Chart positions from Gavin Ryan's Australian chart books.

References: 1. Roger Roger page at SpaceAgePop.com 2. Roger Roger biography (and photo) at Robert Farnon Society 3. Chappell Mood Music database. 4. Examples of Roger Roger's Chappell Mood Music LPs at Vintage Library Emporium and Sounds of Champaign (Side 2) 5. ASCAP Title Search 6. The Australian Festival Record Company...
1961-1969, label discography by George Crotty 7. Library Music catalogue and Roger Roger blurb at MovieGrooves.com. 8. Composer search at SACEM, the French performing rights organisation.


IRVING said...

It sounds like a Theremin is used on Dalilia - can any one confirm this? Thanks, irving

DoctorPepperOz said...

I used to do an electronic music show on 3RRR-FM in the early 80's called MUSIQUE FREAQUE - probably the most unpopular show in the history of the station I would assume from the number of abusive phone calls I received! I used to use DALILA as my under theme opening, during and closing the show. A few people did like it.It certainly is a Theremin.

Anonymous said...

Some sources say it was an Ondes Martenot - but sounds more like a Theremin to me!

Lyn said...

I've had my doubts about whether it's a theremin, but the consensus seems to be against me!

Ondes Martenot was new to me: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ondes_Martenot