Saturday, June 07, 2008

TV: Hockey Night in Canada's Theme Situation

The news tonight that the CBC has ended negotiations with the rights-holders for the opening theme to Hockey Night in Canada is possibly a negotiating ploy. The composer is holding out for increased rights fees, but said they were in line with the agreement for the last ten years. There IS that niggling little lawsuit for something in excess of two million bucks for back-royalties, but the rights-holders can't seem to figure out why the CBC is pulling out. If it is.

Welllll, I tend to get short-tempered when negotiating with somebody suing me. That's just the way I am. And with Scott Moore already well into the makeover of Hockey Night in Canada, dumping the litigious lady and her 90-seconds of fame, probably appeals to him. Ergo, I'm thinking this isn't so much a ploy as an end of an era.

I actually remember when the theme debuted. It was 40 years ago this fall. (Did I mention I am an OLD man?). It was catchy and hummable, very key to any theme music. Didn't last long. Then we had Foster Hewitt's voice come on with his immortal welcoming words to all Canadians listening (and then eventually watching) hockey tonight. After that, we had our first "He shoots, he scores!" of the night and the ceremony was over and it was time to play hockey!

Stompin' Tom Connors' Hockey Song and the various Saturday Night's All Right for Fightin' variations will obviously get some support to become the replacement theme. My guess is that those songs will stay right where they are. No, the CBC has to come up with a new theme.

My buddy Nick Schnier would be a good guy to give a call to, but the CBC will undoubtedly hold a competition. In fact, since it's a LOOONG time until it needs to be debuting, and summer normally means repeats of Hockeyville, I'm guessing they are already working on a half-hour weekly show to run through July and August. Idol competitions being all the rage, we are going to be exposed to some BAAAAD music. But one will be good, and as the supervillain once said to Superman when asked why he kept trying and failing to take over the world, "I've only got to win once."

The winning theme HAS to be orchestral. There has to be horns and drums and fast-paced transitions. Find the musical equivalent for "He shoots, he scores!" and then work in the sounds of skates, sticks and bodies colliding in a cacaphony of sound and Canadians will love it.

But it's gotta have horns.

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