Cover Image: Music for Prime Time

Music for Prime Time

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Member Reviews

So much music history that I knew nothing about.
Fantastic research and written so it’s easily understood.
If you love music give this book a shot.
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This was a little difficult for me to rate. If you are interested in the history of music composed for prime time television, this is the book for you. It is incredibly informative and seemingly well researched. While it could be a bit textbook at time with dates and back information on composers outside of their prime time work, it was also incredibly nostalgic for the avid television viewer. 

For those interested in this topic & needing possible research, I recommend the physical book. For a leisure reader, I recommend the audiobook…it’s length is fairly intimidating and took me time to get thru but by the end, I enjoyed it overall.
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This is a book I got from Net Galley. It doesn’t work as a audiobook- too many names and dates. It was set up by genre of television programming but the preview version did not have chapter breaks so while I would have like to listen to the sections/genre I was interested in, having to listen to all of it was too much for me. I may borrow the physical book or ebook to check out the later sections. 

It is obviously a well researched book and as a reference guide or trivia prep would have value but for casual reading it was not for me.
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Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book. All opinions are my own. 
Music for Prime Time is more of an educational read than I expected. It would be excellent for a study on the history of music in television or even as a textbook for a college course on the topic. For entertainment purposes I found it lacking. I listened to the audiobook version and was disappointed that at least small clips of the referenced theme songs weren’t added to the narration. I think that one change would have added to the entertainment factor. So this is excellent for educational reading but difficult for pleasure reading.
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I have always been a fan of television theme music. I can "name that tune" as soon as I hear the first few notes of just about any show. I love to sing along, even though my family doesn't always approve. Even now, with the ability to "skip intro" I will play allow the theme music to play just to enjoy the anticipation of a favorite show.

Burlingame has compiled a fascinating example of television shows in a wide range of categories (westerns, family sitcoms, cartoons, etc.) to break down the creation of and musical styling for individual television series. The majority of the shows mentioned, I knew and could hear the music in my head. 

This audiobook would have been even better if the music of the shows had been included (even a little snippet). I know it would have increased the running time (or maybe have it playing softly in the background as the text was read), but I know for me it would have made it even more interesting to listen.
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Music for Prime Time: A History of American Television Themes and Scoring, written by Jon Burlingame, is a detailed account of the use of music in television, primarily theme songs but also touching on music within some shows. I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Paul Woodson, and found it to be very good.

While theme music hasn't gotten a lot of attention in academic circles, it is overstatement to say it has been ignored. Both when I was a student and when I was teaching, theme music was referenced when it impacted what we were looking at. What I don't recall is attention being paid to it exclusively, always in relation to other elements of the show.

Since I am no longer in academia, I come to this book more as a casual reader rather than a researcher. I think for this kind of reading the audiobook might be the best option. There is a lot of detail here, and listening to it allowed me to catch the bigger picture without the tendency to skim the parts that, while essential, serve a closer reading rather than a broader more nostalgic reading. That said, if I were still teaching and doing research I would want the print version, it is an excellent reference book as well as a narrative history.

I found the early history, the ways in which names had to be changed or hidden, credit wasn't given, and stock music for emotions (suspense, scary, ominous, slapstick, etc) was composed en masse, to be very interesting. I wasn't aware of the union issues and the libraries that kept composers from collecting royalties. Fascinating stuff.

For a casual or popular reader, I think the nostalgic aspect will play into how much you enjoy the book. There will be a lot of times you'll start humming a theme. You may even end up doing what I did, find some of the music online. This was both for music I was humming already as well as the music I couldn't quite recall. This made the book that much more fun.

I recommend the audiobook for readers who want to get the history and the nostalgia but aren't likely to need all of the details. For those who want or need those details, I think the print version will suit your needs better. Either way, the work itself is recommended for everyone with an interest, from those who remember their TV viewing youth to academics.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
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This book covers so much - at 480 pages and over 21 hours of audio - it is very thorough. I missed the prime era for TV theme songs, so I can't say definitively whether this book misses anything, but it sure seems comprehensive. I love behind the scenes info and interviews, so the content was perfect. I enjoyed the narrator and definitely learned a lot. I probably wouldn't do the audiobook again since it is quite long. But the book would be lovely to have to refer back to some sections - probably the next time I watch some classic reruns! Thank you NetGalley and HighBridge Audio for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I was so excited to get to listen to this book about the history of music and television and everything from paladin and gunsmoke to the Cosby show in a different world and even Spenser for hire I found myself being able to recall the tunes for these TV shows and so many more. Even the ones I forgot like growing pains was just a quick Google search away and soon as I heard it I remembered it. This was not only a very interesting audiobook but also it was very fun and nostalgic to listen to. I thought the narrator did a great job  and set the right tone for the book. I was actually surprised to learn that many famous people did themes for television shows like Quincy Jones Aretha Franklin the blues travelers and many many more not only that the stories of how somebody’s theme songs got written we’re also very interesting from a thank you song for paladin that became the main song to many other interesting tales I truly and thoroughly enjoyed this book and thought I would have something to listen to for days and it ended way too soon. If you think it’s a Yourself someone who loves useless information musical history just likes to be in the know this book is a great book to listen to it has lots of tidbits about some of the music greats and the musical ability of acting talent  I highly recommend this book it is definitely a five star listen. I received this book from NetGalley but I am leaving this review voluntarily please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review.
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This book is a trip through memory lane, exploring the music and artists who made American TV what it is today. Starting with the birth of the medium and classifying the information by genre, the author reveals the background behind these hits. From I love Lucy to Game of Thrones, from Bernard Herrmann to Mark Snow, this comprehensive and informative volume places each show in its cultural and historical context. It also explains how each of these programs influenced the ones that came after, and it even explores the new streaming series that have changed TV forever. I liked the narration by Paul Woodson, who sounds a little like a reporter, which suits the material perfectly. I kept looking up the shows online and was surprised at how many of them I remembered. After reading this book I even caught some of the details that the author had mentioned. Anyone who’s watched TV will enjoy this read. 
I chose to listen to this audiobook and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Thank you, #NetGalley/#HighBridge Audio!
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