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Classical Notes: May 18, 2006 Archive

“Happy Birthday, Mr. Phelps...”

Posted at 2:01 PM on May 18, 2006 by John Birge
Filed under: The blog

"...this cake will self-destruct in 10 seconds."

Today is Peter Graves' 80th birthday. Born in Minneapolis, he was a 16 year-old radio announcer at WMIN Minneapolis, but became famous as Jim Phelps on TV's Mission: Impossible in 1966. The groovy theme music was by Lalo Schifrin, who studied with Olivier Messiaen at the Paris Conservatory.

If you can stand Tom Cruise, there's Mission: Impossible III, with Lalo Schifrin's original theme, and a score by Michael Giacchino, who studied at Juilliard (anyone know who his teacher was?).

The director of M:i:3, JJ Abrams (creator of Alias , Lost, and an electronic music composer) invited his friend Thomas Dolby to co-write an instrumental for the film.

It's been 23 years since Dolby's mega-hit record She Blinded Me with Science. In the '90s he got out of the music scene and made a jillion dollars selling ringtone software that's in half the world's cel phones. Now he's reviving his music career a bit, and his tour brings him to St. Paul this weekend!

Speaking of movies and weekends, check out the excellent NPR Weekend Edition interview with Hans Zimmer, who composed the score for The Da Vinci Code, which opens this weekend. Unlike Schifrin and Giacchino, Zimmer never studied with anyone; he's completely self-taught. Like Thomas Dolby, Zimmer had a huge hit in the 80's as as a member of The Buggles. Their single Video Killed the Radio Star was the first music video to be aired on MTV.

Now, are we any degrees closer to Kevin Bacon?