Theme from Mission: Impossible

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"Theme from Mission: Impossible"
Mission Impossible single.jpg
Single by Lalo Schifrin
from the album Music from Mission: Impossible
Released1996
Recorded1967
GenreTheme music
Length2:31
LabelDot
Songwriter(s)Lalo Schifrin
Producer(s)Tom Mack

"Theme from Mission: Impossible" is the theme tune of the TV series Mission: Impossible (1966–1973). The theme was written and composed by Argentine composer Lalo Schifrin and has since gone on to appear in several other works of the Mission: Impossible franchise, including the 1988 TV series, the film series, and the video game series.

Overview[edit]

The theme is written in a 5
4
time signature, which Schifrin has jokingly explained as being "for people who have five legs".[1] Schifrin started from the Morse code for M.I. which is "_ _ .."; if a dot is one beat and a dash is one and a half beats, then this gives a bar of five beats, exactly matching the underlying rhythm.[2] The first notes of the theme are played by a flute using a trill. Musician and composer John Belezikjian was asked by Lalo Shifirin to "see what he could do with the Mission Impossible music" - as John, at age 16, auditioned to become a Hollywood music composer. Belezikjian played the theme music on his Oud (a Middle Eastern stringed instrument) - adding in the three-note accents to the melody - using a Middle Eastern musical embellishment called tarjama.

The original single release peaked at number 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 and 19 on the magazine's Adult Contemporary chart in 1967 (Leonard Nimoy, before playing Paris in Mission Impossible in 1969, also covered the theme two years earlier).[3]

In 2010, a fictionalized account of Lalo Schifrin's creation of the Mission: Impossible tune was featured in a Lipton TV commercial aired in a number of countries around the world.[4]

Track listing[edit]

7" Single

Side A:

  1. "Mission: Impossible" - 2:31

Side B:

  1. "Jim on the Move" - 3:12

Charts[edit]

Chart (1967) Peak
position
Billboard Hot 100 41
Billboard Easy Listening 19

Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr. version[edit]

"Theme from Mission: Impossible"
Theme from Mission Impossible.jpg
Single by Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr.
from the album Mission: Impossible: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture
ReleasedJune 3, 1996
Recorded1996
Genre
Length3:27
LabelMother Records
Songwriter(s)Lalo Schifrin
Producer(s)
  • David Beal
  • Larry Mullen
Music video
"Theme from Mission: Impossible" on YouTube

In 1996, the theme was remade by U2 members Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr. for the soundtrack to the film. The duo recorded two versions of the song, the main theme and another subtitled "Mission Accomplished". The main theme was used during the end credits.

Chart performance[edit]

The instrumental became a hit in the United States, peaking at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 and receiving a gold certification, selling 500,000 copies there.[5][6] It additionally peaked at number one in Finland, Hungary and Iceland, number two in Australia and Ireland, and number seven in the United Kingdom.

Critical reception[edit]

Larry Flick from Billboard wrote that U2 members Clayton and Mullen "cover the film's instantly recognizable theme, effectively funking it up for the '90s with a shuffling jeep beat." He complimented Lalo Schifrin's melody as "suspenseful and compelling as ever" and added, "It'll give fans of the TV show a fun jolt while entertaining a whole new generation."[7] Dave Sholin from the Gavin Report commented, "Those not familiar with this piece of music A) are under five years of age, B) have been living with Theodore Kaczynski for the past 25 years, or C) are not aware of television. This interpretation by half of U2 will be heard by millions of moviegoers expected to see what's been anticipated as the film of the summer. Try cranking this up and driving around the hills of San Francisco! Very cool."[8]

Track listings[edit]

CD Single

MUMTT75 / 576470-2
No.TitleLength
1."Theme from Mission: Impossible"3:27
2."Mission: Impossible Theme (Mission Accomplished)"3:05
Total length:6:32
MUMCD75 / 576471-2
No.TitleLength
1."Theme from Mission: Impossible"3:27
2."Theme from Mission: Impossible" (Junior's Hard Mix-Edit)4:10
3."Mission: Impossible Theme (Mission Accomplished)"3:05
4."Mission: Impossible Theme (Mission Accomplished)" (Cut the Red Not the Blue)4:35
5."Mission: Impossible Theme (Mission Accomplished)" (Dave Clarke Remix)4:30
Total length:19:47

Charts and certifications[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

Jazz organist Jimmy Smith recorded a cover version for his 1968 album Livin' It Up.

One cover version was recorded by French No Wave artist Lizzy Mercier Descloux on her 1979 album, Press Color.[55]

The theme's melodies form the basis of Limp Bizkit's 2000 single "Take a Look Around", which was recorded for the soundtrack of the second film.

Russian ethnic band Bugotak recorded a Russian-language rap song with ethnic Siberian instruments based on "Take a Look Around", the theme and "Empty Spaces" by Pink Floyd, entitled "Missiya Maadai-kara nevypolnima".

American rapper Kanye West and producer Jon Brion created a remix version at the end credits of the third film.

Brave Combo covered the theme as a "deep groove cumbia" on their 2008 album, The Exotic Rocking Life.

Houston rapper Chamillionaire, remixed the theme song for his cancelled third album Venom in 2010.[56][57]

Tiësto created a dance remix version of the theme to promote the fourth film in the series Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011).[58]

In January 2013, violinist and dancer Lindsey Stirling and The Piano Guys, Steven Sharp Nelson (cello) and Jon Schmidt (piano), released their interpretation of the "Theme from Mission: Impossible".[59][60] The arrangement is true to the Schifrin original, but also employs a passage with a liberal use of the Piano Sonato in C by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart K. 545 first movement and a self-composed passage to end the piece.[61] The arrangement was introduced with a music video having a comedic cloak and dagger theme. Two official copies of the video have garnered nearly 5 million views on Lindsey Stirling's YouTube channel[62] and over 10 million views on The Piano Guys YouTube channel as of August 2015.[61]

For the promotion of the fifth film Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015), Japanese guitarist Miyavi covered the theme.[63]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Koppl, R. Lalo Schifrin on Creating Mission: Impossible, originally published in Soundtrack Magazine (volume 19, number 74, 2000), posted at Soundtrack: The CinemaScore and Soundtrack Archives
  2. ^ Schifrin, Lalo (2011). Music Composition for Film and Television. Berklee Press.
  3. ^ Billboard: Lalo Schifrin Chart History accessed March 9, 2012
  4. ^ "Lipton Lalo Mission Impossible". inspiration room. May 1, 2010. Archived from the original on May 3, 2010. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
  5. ^ "American certifications – Clayton, Adam & Larry Mullen – Theme from Mission: Impossible". Recording Industry Association of America.
  6. ^ "Best-Selling Records of 1996". Billboard. BPI Communications Inc. 109 (3): 61. January 18, 1997. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 8, 2015.
  7. ^ "Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. 27 April 1996. p. 80. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  8. ^ Sholin, Dave (19 April 1996). "Gavin Picks > Singles" (PDF). Gavin Report. No. 2101. p. 78. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
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  21. ^ "Top 10 Hungary" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
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  28. ^ "Notowanie nr765" (in Polish). LP3. September 27, 1996. Retrieved March 9, 2019. Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
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  32. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  33. ^ "Adam Clayton Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  34. ^ "Adam Clayton Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  35. ^ "Adam Clayton Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  36. ^ "Adam Clayton Chart History (Dance Singles Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  37. ^ "Adam Clayton Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  38. ^ "ARIA Charts – End of Year Charts – Top 50 Singles 1996". ARIA. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
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  40. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1996" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  41. ^ "Rapports annuels 1996" (in French). Ultratop. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
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  55. ^ "Lizzy Mercier Descloux – Press Color". ZE Records – ZEA 33-004. 1979.
  56. ^ "Venom 2008-2011 Mixtape by Chamillionaire". www.datpiff.com.
  57. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ob_3t0JmWfI
  58. ^ "Mission: Impossible - Theme (Tiësto Remix)". YouTube. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  59. ^ Sanders Petersen, Sarah (8 January 2013). "The Piano Guys, Lindsey Stirling combine for 'Mission Impossible' video". Deseret News. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  60. ^ Updegraff, Jake (9 January 2013). "Piano Guys and Lindsey Stirling Take On 'Mission Impossible'". RyanSeacrest.com. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  61. ^ a b "Mission Impossible (Piano/Cello/Violin) ft. Lindsey Stirling - ThePiano". ThePianoGuys. 7 January 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2013. See "About" section for details
  62. ^ "Mission Impossible - Lindsey Stirling and the Piano Guys". LindseyStomp. 22 January 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  63. ^ "『ミッション:インポッシブル/ローグ・ネイション』×MIYAVI「Mission: Impossible Theme」(Official Music Video)". YouTube. Retrieved July 31, 2018.