Turn and Smile (a sitcom theme about sitcom themes)
This week I thought I’d do a quick write-up of a project completed before I had this blog called “Turn and Smile”. Basically, CollegeHumor asked me to make an 80’s sitcom theme a la Family Matters or Full House with piano, bass, and a scratchy soul singer. So, I listened to a LOT of sitcom themes on youtube, and did my best to incorporate the defining qualities of the genre into the above song.
My friend Hawk Colman is easily one of the best soul singers I know in Chicago and was a no-brainer for the lead vocal. I was dying laughing during the session, as Hawk is a natural with his delivery and knows exactly what lines to really sell and HOW to sell them (e.g. the way he sings “whichyo family” at 0:47, the slight character change at 1:10 for the “grouch” line, the airiness he throws in choice words for the outro at 1:26, etc). Also, when he sings “show’s created by THIS man” at 1:30 we discovered the way to get the perfect take was to have him VERY emphatically point at something when he sings “THIS”.
I remember the main note I gave him was “Hawk, that’s too soulful. Try to sound more like a white guy TRYING to sound like a black guy, and channel Rod Stewart”. And did he ever. I miss him greatly as a friend & musician out here in LA.
Max Crowe expertly laid down several layers of guitar, then I brought in a bunch of my best friends / neighbors for the gang vocals (Max, Alice Wedoff, Johanna Wiesbrock) and instructed them to sing as sitcomy as possible. Lastly, I added plenty of extra layers to stay true to the arranging style of that period: strings, french horn, and OF COURSE plenty of wind chimes.
Kudos to Vince Peone for directing, Dan Gurewitch for the lyrics, and to everyone else at CH for making such a solid video.