Syd Dale

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Syd Dale (20 May 1924 in York – 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.


Dale started as an apprentice engineer 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 would produce a track entitled Walk and Talk used for many years on BBC Two as the countdown music before technical bulletins were read over the air. In the early 1990s the track was sampled by Meryn Cadell for her recitation The Sweater, which was used by skater Josee 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 Amphonic Music record label for the express purpose of recording and producing his compositions and supplying 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 which ran for 76 episodes from 1965 to 1968.

In the 1970s, another composition of Dale's "Walk and Talk" was used as the introductory music to the BBC's transmitter information, usually broadcast on BBC 2 in the mornings.[3],[4].

His music is still used in productions today. For example, his "Beauty Parade" was used in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Spy Buddies" when Plankton get all of the customers out of Mr. Krabs's restaurant, the Krusty Krab. Plankton played it very loudly while flying over the Krusty Krab in his blimp. In the TV comedy series Episodes, the tune "Two Time" is the theme tune of the fictional TV show Pucks, which Matt Leblanc uses as his iPhone's ringtone. "Man Friday" was used as the theme tune to LWT's Tarrant on TV; and "The Penthouse Suite" in the episode of "Speed 3" with Milkman Pat Mustard, in Father Ted.

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.


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

  • The Penthouse Suite
  • Walk and Talk


Post-Mortem Compilations[edit]