In the late 1960s and early 1970s, as stereo sound systems became more affordable, many record companies produced what you might call stereo samplers, compilations of sound effects and popular music which sounded impressive in the new format. They were sold very cheaply, or even given away, a freebie thrown in with a new record player.
This one, Breakthrough Volume 2 (the imaginatively-titled follow up to Breakthrough) was put together by EMI, and features instrumental tracks from the big bands and pop orchestras of the day. It was the kind of thing you might have heard while sipping a martini and waiting to board Concord.
The first track is, quite obviously, designed to blow the wavering potential stereo buyer into next week, and also into reaching for the chequebook. (An obsolete method of payment, once popular. It was lighter and more convenient than a leather bag of doubloons.) It is the theme to a popular and cutting edge TV series, The Persuaders!, which starred Roger Moore and Tony Curtis. It may not surprise, given the lead actors, that the main characters are a pair of boozy, sports-car driving, womanising playboys who use unorthodox methods to protect sunny southern France from the scourge of crime.
I have never seen it, but it looks kinda fun judging from the opening titles. Nice theme, too, but the version which appears on Breakthrough Vol 2 is better than the original. It features Johnny Keating, a British a band leader, composer and arranger, conducting the London Symphony Orchestra.
Now, if sir and madam would like to relax on the purple crushed-velvet sofa, I would be delighted to dazzle you with the magic that is High-Fidelity Stereo Sound …
- Artist: John Keating conducting the London Symphony Orchestra
- LP Title: Breakthough, Volume 2 (Various Artists)
- Track: Side 1 Track 1 “The Persuaders Theme”
- Format: 12”, 33⅓ rpm
- Label: HMV SOELP 10000
- Manufactured in: Australia
- Year: 1972
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