The TV series “The Wild Wild West” ran on the CBS television network for four seasons: 1965 to 1969. I *loved* this show, and it was very popular.
The series followed Secret Service agents James West (Robert Conrad) and Artemus Gordon (Ross Martin) as they solved crimes, protected the President, and foiled the plans of megalomaniacal villains such as Dr. Loveless, played by Michael Dunn.
The theme is very memorable, yet as far as I can tell no one ever released an instrumental guitar-rock version of it. Until now. 🙂
“Tales of a Raggy Tramline” was originally an instrumental track on the Shadows 1962 album “Out of the Shadows”. My version is basically a straight cover.
Written by (then) bassist Jet Harris and drummer Brian Bennett, it features a prominent drum solo part presumably inspired by the rhythm of a tram going down its tracks. A “tram” is the same thing as a “streetcar” — a vehicle running on tracks laid in the street and obtaining power from overhead wires.
Both Harris and Bennett grew up in London in the 1940s, when trams were a major component of public transport. London Transport discontinued their use in 1952, although other areas of England still utilized them after that. Trams were reintroduced to London in the year 2000.
“Bad to Me” was written by John Lennon (credited to Lennon–McCartney) for Billy J. Kramer and The Dakotas. They released their recording of the song in 1963 and it became their first number 1 on the UK Singles Chart. The single would be released in the US the following year, and become a top-ten hit here, reaching number 9.
“The Girls” was originally a track from a 1962 EP (Extended Play) recording by the Shadows. The music on this EP were part of the soundtrack for a 1962 movie called “The Boys”, in which a night watchman at a garage is found murdered, and four teddy boys are put on trial for the crime. Witnesses and suspects give differing accounts of the lead-up to the crime, and the truth eventually emerges.
My arrangement is basically a cover of the original with a few changes. For the video, I decided a different and more modern perspective was warranted.
Movin’ ‘n’ Groovin’ was Duane Eddy’s first single, released in 1958. It only reached #72 on the Billboard Hot 100, but set the stage for his future success: his next release, Rebel Rouser, went to #6 that same year.
The Ventures covered the tune in 1962.
In my arrangement I tried to include elements of Duane Eddy’s style as well as the Ventures and surf guitar music in general.
“Guitar Twist” was the 6th and last track on side one of the Ventures 1962 album “Twist with the Ventures”. My version is based on the original, but is not an exact cover.
“Keep Searchin’ (We’ll Follow the Sun)” was written and recorded by Del Shannon in 1964. It was his second biggest hit, breaking into the top019 in 1965. “Runaway” was a #1 hit in 1961.
My arrangement is, of course, instrumental, but it retains much of the feel of the original.
Del Shannon’s personal story is rather sad. He was an alcoholic, which interfered with his professional obligations. He still managed to maintain his career, performing through the 1970s and 80’s.
Suffering from depression, for which he was taking Prozac, Shannon took his own life on February 8, 1990, killing himself with a .22-caliber rifle at his home in Santa Clarita, California.