Tuesday is the birthday of W.G. Snuffy Walden, the award-winning musician and composer who has provided some of the best theme music television has ever heard. Walden has more than two dozen BMI Awards, an Emmy Award and a dozen Emmy nominations for his work bringing music to TV, and his works are something that any music fan can appreciate. In honor of his special day, AXS has put together a playlist of the best of W.G. Snuffy Walden, which you can listen to by clicking the song titles below. Fans can learn more about him and keep up with his latest releases at AXS.
W.G. Snuffy Walden earned his Emmy Award for composing the theme song to NBC's White House drama "The West Wing." Much as the series is considered one of the best TV shows of all time by critics and viewers alike, the music Walden created for it has stood the test of time as some of the best material ever composed for the small screen. It's epic, idealistic and deeply moving in just 49 seconds. You can listen to Walden discuss how he created the theme for "The West Wing" by playing the video above.
When NBC adapted "Friday Night Lights" into a television series, it again tapped W.G. Snuffy Walden to compose the show's theme. He came up with something that sounded completely different from the music he'd done for "The West Wing." Instead, the theme for "Friday Night Lights" had a down-to-earth and down-home feel that befitted the show's taking place in a small Texas town. It blew the music from the original film out of the water, and it's still a rousing piece of music for anyone who enjoys sports or TV series alike.
Back in 1991, W.G. Snuffy Walden created a modern classic when he provided the music for "I'll Fly Away." The series, starring Sam Waterston (who would go on to fame as Jack McCoy on "Law & Order" just three years later) and Regina Taylor, was set in the civil rights period of the 1950's and 1960's. That meant coming up with a throwback kind of sound that reflected the era, and Walden accomplished that while mixing in a healthy dose of piano and even a little bit of vocals that made the piece have a slight gospel tone to it. Like the show, the theme tune remains underrated to this day.
Speaking of underrated, "Sports Night" may be the most underrated show in TV history and the same could be said for the music Walden crafted for it. The series that Aaron Sorkin created before "The West Wing" was set in a fast-paced New York newsroom, and while the show didn't have a theme song, Walden was responsible for every piece of music heard in the show's two seasons. He came up with an up-tempo, quick-moving score that matched the rapid-fire action on screen, while also capturing the vibe of New York City in "Big City."
Walden's main theme for "Once & Again" is a great piece of music, but it's particularly wonderful on his album Music By W.G. Snuffy Walden, which expands the piece to more than three minutes. It's romantic but there's a hint of mystery to it, and it shows off all kinds of different instruments and sounds throughout the long version. It's one of the examples of how TV music is real music - as full and rich as any mainstream song. Give it a listen; in fact, listen to the entire album because it will prove to you how W.G. Snuffy Walden is a master of music for the screen.
W.G. Snuffy Walden is not currently touring, but you can purchase his music on iTunes.
For more on W.G. Snuffy Walden, visit his artist page at AXS.