338. ‘Eye Level’, by The Simon Park Orchestra

And now, in a change to the scheduled programming, something slightly different. Don’t adjust your sets.

Eye Level, by The Simon Park Orchestra (their 1st and only #1)

4 weeks, from 23rd September – 21st October 1973

Well, it wouldn’t be the early 1970s if there wasn’t a random instrumental just around the corner, waiting to spend a month on top of the charts… From the Royal Scots Dragoon Guard, to Lieutenant Pigeon, to this. I mean, it’s pleasant enough. It’s very grand, almost Baroque… When it gets into its full sway I feel like I’ve just been announced at the court of Louis XIV.

There must be a story behind this getting to #1 – it’s not your everyday kind of chart-topper. In fact, the game is given away by the song’s sub-title: ‘Original Theme From ‘Van Der Valk’’. ‘Van Der Valk’ being a popular detective drama set in the Netherlands, which ran for five series over twenty years. In fact, it just got remade for ITV this spring! How have I never heard of this show until today? (Apparently there was *outrage* among fans of the original when the 2020 remake changed the theme tune…)

I quite like this, to be honest. It’s very lush, dense, and proper. It makes you stand up straight while you listen to it. It doesn’t sound much like the theme to a detective show should, but hey ho. My biggest disappointment is that it ends with a whimper, when it feels like it should have built to something much bigger, and more elegant.

Simon Park and his orchestra seem to have appeared from nowhere after being chosen to perform ‘Eye Level’. It had been released the year before to little fanfare, before a re-release following the TV programme’s success sent it flying to the top. It is an official million-selling single, and there aren’t too many of those around. Credit where it’s due. The orchestra went on to release a few more singles, and soundtracked a few more movies and shows.

One of those little diversions, then, that come along every so often on our journey through the charts. Nice enough; if a little out of place. Moving on…

Follow along, TV theme tunes and all, with my playlist…

7 thoughts on “338. ‘Eye Level’, by The Simon Park Orchestra

  1. While it’s not a bad tune as such, I still haven’t forgiven it for blocking Sweet’s Ballroom Blitz from a 2-week run on top, and Slade’s My Friend Stan for a one-weeker. This one was being bought by grannies who enjoyed a Detective TV show. I didn’t watch Van Der Valk, or at least I didn’t choose to watch it if there was anything on the BBC. Apparently this is the last time an actual instrumental topped the UK charts, at least one entirely free of human voices. I think it’s the revenge of Glam Rock fans refusing to age graciously and give up and buy inoffensive instrumentals 🙂

  2. That’s not bad. It reminds me of some of the neat music to our 70s TV shows like Mannix, Cannon and Barnaby Jones. I don’t think they made it to the Billboard Hot 100 but, they were nice theme songs.

  3. Pingback: Recap: #331 – #360 – The UK Number Ones Blog

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