The music of

For those who don’t recognise the name…

Syd Dale

Syd Dale has been arranging and composing music since the late forties and it is very likely you will have heard his work on radio or TV and not been aware of the composer

BIOGRAPHY


Syd founded Amphonic Music over thirty years ago, to provide the TV, film, radio and advertising media with music that covered all bases, produced to the highest possible standards. The company’s reputation as one of Britain’s major suppliers of ‘library’ music was quickly established with the release of Big Band Sounds Of Today, the first LP Amphonic issued. Its success was helped in no small way by Syd’s contributions as composer.


This musical attitude was reflected in the work of the leading British composers and arrangers Syd invited to write for his company. Prestigious names such as Alan Hawkshaw, Keith Mansfield, Nick Ingman, Ronnie Hazlehurst, Les Reed and Tony Hatch, to mention only a few, all have credits within Amphonic’s library. Lesser-known (but equally gifted) composers such as Dick Doerschuck and James Clarke (a musical associate of Syd’s for some time) also made outstanding contributions.


The music they wrote for Amphonic is among the best of their work. (James Clarke’s Wild Elephants was famously used as the music for The Gap clothing store’s Khaki A Go-Go TV adverts a few years ago. The track was subsequently re-named Blow Up A Go-Go, in recognition of its success).


Musicians outside the UK provided music for the library, two notable examples being American composers Dick Hyman and Bill Loose. It was the combination of talent and a dedication to quality that helped to place Amphonic at the forefront of British library music.


He was enthralled by the Big Band sounds that were popular at the time (1940s) and, deciding that he wanted to make music his career, spent as much time as possible studying arrangements and listening closely to the Big Bands. In 1945, with the war over, he became a member of various local bands including The Squadronaires and played in the style of the famous Ted Heath Big Band. Syd’s role was as pianist and arranger.


Playing with the bands allowed him to travel, when they were engaged to play on cruises aboard the Queen Mary liner. This meant he was able to visit the US, where he heard first hand the major American Big Bands of the era. These activities helped Syd to establish himself as one of the most talented up-and-coming composers and arrangers of his generation.


Amphonic’s sound had a bias towards the large, orchestral style favoured by Syd, he and the other composers often expertly fusing this sound with the funk rhythms prevalent in the 1970s. LPs such as Sounds 80, Special Assignment, The All Electric Steam Radio Band and Super Sounds Unlimited feature excellent examples of this particular fusion, giving them their status as highly desirable items for collectors of funky library records.


After the company’s third move, during the latter part of the 1970s, to the Kerchesters Building in Surrey (prior to this, they were based in Kent, having moved there from Mortimer street), Syd launched the successful Sound Stage series of albums that took the company into the 1980s.


The Sound Stage LPs carried on the Amphonic tradition of quality music produced by the best available talent, the first release appearing in 1981. Syd and many of the original Amphonic composers continued to contribute to the library, but were now joined by some new names including Anne Dudley, later in The Art Of Noise band.


Syd passed away in the 1990s, but the resurgence of interest in 1960s and 1970s library music during recent years means his musical legacy has been discovered by a new generation of listeners, eager to hear the beautifully realised sounds produced by Syd and his colleagues during this golden era.



 

SYD CONDUCTING IN GERMANY

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THE SQUADRONAIRES IN DUBLIN, 1953

(SYD FRONT-CENTRE)
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SYD DALE, 1924 - 1994

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