Sunday, 30 July 2017

Setting the tone

For me, one of the greatest successes of the Carry On films was the music, mainly composed by the incredibly talented Eric Rogers. The score of a film sets the tone for the entire film, the story, the characters and the situations. While much of Eric's incidental music is truly excellent, his main theme tunes are the stuff of legend for me.

So here, for no reason other than a good wallow in some British film nostalgia, are my top five Carry On film theme tunes:

First off the rank is the tune from the classic 1971 adventure with the gang, Carry On At Your Convenience. The theme tune for Convenience is spot on for the film that follows. No subtlety, it moves at break neck speed and is full of fun and sauce!

Next up is the theme from my own personal favourite Carry On, Carry On Cabby. Released in 1963, this "kitchen sink" almost feminist Carry On features the first original score from Eric Rogers and the main theme is perfect. Once it gets inside your head you'll be forever humming it.

Going back to the very beginning now is a wonderful piece of music from the original Carry On composer, Bruce Montgomery. Montgomery, who also wrote crime fiction under the name of Edmund Crispin, composed the scores for the first six Carry On films. The original title music was updated and jazzed up as the films progressed and the clip featured below is my favourite, used in Teacher, Constable and Regardless. Montgomery's score was used for the last time in Carry On Cruising (the theme had more of a nautical twist for that film) before Eric Rogers came aboard for Cabby. Rogers continued to write the music for the films pretty much until the end of the run in 1978. 

I think the theme tune from 1975's Carry On Behind is one of the best in the entire series. It is very catchy and sets up the bawdy knock about 1970s comedy that follows superbly. It is also written around the initials of Peter Rogers' film producer wife, Betty Evelyn Box.

My final favourite has to be Carry On Screaming's chilling theme tune! The 1966 comedy horror classic is one of the few Carry On themes to feature an actual song. This comedy song was written by Myles Rudge and Ted DIcks, the duo who worked in theatrical revues and also wrote novelty songs for the likes of Bernard Cribbins and Joan Sims. The singer of Carry On Screaming is credited only as "Anon" and for many years it was rumoured the film's star and former pop singer Jim Dale was behind it. However, it is now credited to a session singer called Ray Pilgrim. 

So those are some of my favourite pieces of classic Carry On music, what are yours?

You can read more about why I love the Carry On film music here

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan


  1. For me,the best Carry On theme is 'Abroad' but then I'm a bit biased as I think it's my favourite of the films (with Screaming and Don't Lose Your Head' in a very close second place)

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