Syd Dale

Syd Dale (20 May 1924 – 15 August 1994) was an English self-taught composer and arranger of funk, easy listening and library music. His music played an important role on TV, radio and advertising media of the 1960s and 1970s and is still used.

Syd Dale
Born(1924-05-20)20 May 1924
York, England
Died15 August 1994(1994-08-15) (aged 70)
Surrey, England
GenresEasy listening
Occupation(s)Composer, arranger
LabelsAmphonic Music Ltd


Dale started as an apprentice technician at Rowntree's chocolate factory at 16. Soon big band music, very popular in the 1940s, became his passion. He spent as much time as possible listening to the Big Bands and studying the arrangements. Three years later, in 1945, he left the factory and joined several local bands as pianist and arranger.

His music, which emphasized melody and harmony with intricate arrangements, was composed for many television and radio projects. He was musical director on Oh Boy, Six-Five Special and Braden's Week. He had also co-arranged and co-produced some 007 themes as many other commercial successes. Another of his many production music pieces, the bongo drum and harpsichord-driven "Cuban Presto" (originally released on the 1966 KPM album Accent on Percussion), was used by WPIX (Channel 11) in New York City as the theme for its late-night movie show, The Channel 11 Film Festival, from the late 1960s to the 1980s.[1][2]

Two years later he produced a track entitled "Walk and Talk", which was used for many years on BBC Two as the countdown music before television transmitter information bulletins were read over the air.[3][4] It also appeared in the 1967 ABC television animated series Spider-Man along with many other Dale library tracks. In the early 1990s the track was sampled by Meryn Cadell for her recitation The Sweater, which was used by skater Josée Chouinard in one of her award-winning routines. The late rapper Eazy-E also sampled the track for his performance in Gimme Datt Nutt.

In 1971, he founded the Amphonic Music company and record label for the express purpose of recording and producing his compositions and supplying production music to the TV, film and radio business.

In 1970 his track "Marching There and Back" was used as the theme music to the BBC Television children's programme Screen Test, presented initially by Michael Rodd.

Through the 1970s and 1980s his "The Hellraisers" composition was used as the theme music to the BBC World Service Outlook topical programme. It was also used as the theme music to Orlando, a children's television thriller serial starring Sam Kydd which ran for 76 episodes from 1965 to 1968.

His music is still used in productions today. For example, his "Beauty Parade" was used in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Spy Buddies". In the TV comedy series Episodes, Matt LeBlanc uses the tune "Two Time" as his iPhone's ringtone. The composition known either as "Man Friday" or "The Penthouse Suite" was used as the theme tune to LWT's Tarrant on TV and was also used extensively in the episode "Speed 3" of Father Ted to introduce libidinous milkman Pat Mustard.

Dale's tracks have been widely used by NFL Films over some four decades; his track "Artful Dodger" is given prominent use in such films as the official film recapping Super Bowl V.

Dale died on 15 August 1994, at the age of 70.[5]


The following list is only a small sample of his work.

  • The Penthouse Suite
  • Walk and Talk


  • The Sounds of Syd Dale (1966)
  • Impact and Action (1967)
  • Flamboyant Themes - Vol. II (1968)
  • Impact & Action - Vol. 2 (1970)
  • Love Isn't Just For The Young Various Volumes

Post-mortem compilations

  • Syd Dale: Retro
  • Kitsch UK
  • Cinemaphonic Soul Punch
  • Swinging 60's
  • Cocktail Lounge
  • Dusty Fingers Volume 13
  • Kpm 1000 Series: On The Lighter Side


  1. "WPIX-TV Channel 11 Film Festival". Retro Junk. 1970. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  2. "WPIX-TV Bumper Commercial". Retro Junk. 1970. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  3. Page, Neil (1 September 2001). "Hidden Programmes". Transdiffusion Broadcasting System.
  4. "Girl in a Suitcase". Winchester Hospital Radio. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  5. Musiker, Ruben; Musiker, Naomi (1998). Conductors and Composers of Popular Orchestral Music. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0313302602.
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