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Farewell to Laurie Johnson

British composer and arranger Laurie Johnson has died at the age of 96.

I was of the wrong age, and on the wrong continent, to watch The Avengers, but when I heard the theme, I perked up immediately.

I also liked the funkified sequel theme!

I hate to abridge a life and career into one franchise, but hopefully others more knowledgable than I am will give a proper write-up online.

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I am of the right vintage to know of Laurie Johnson's contributions to both big and small screen. Although in Britain he is better known for his work on the small screen, with many of his tunes from the 60s and 70s being well known, he composed some 25 film (movie) scores, the most well known to American audiences probably being Dr Strangelove. He was also well known for his big band and concert work. Most of his small screen work was with British programmes that in the 60s and 70s wouldn't have traveled over the pond, but any Brit that watched TV in the 60s would know of such programmes as Animal Magic, Whickers World, and This is your…

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Even though it's too slow (yet I still listen to it!), I'll forever by grateful to Mr. Johnson for basically introducing me to Herrmann's music via North by Northwest in his London recording for Starlog/Varese. Speaking of VS, that album (The Avengers & Other Themes) is very good, noce sampling of his work (Hedda is quite good). RIP LJ.

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His music added so much to the show. The original black and white opening title just jumped from still photo to still photo ending with Emma Peel’s kicks. It would have been nothing without his music. While in high school a couple of friends and I waited outside after the Broadway play Sleuth to meet Patrick Macnee in the 70s. He came out in a suit and tie. Very nice, so British! The Avengers are strange kind of tv. One episode has Steed and Emma Peel riding a toy train in a kid’s amusement park. They riff Buster Keaton’s The General in the scene.

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