Listeners know it by heart, hum along when they hear it, and react passionately any time it's altered. The opening theme song of All Things Considered has changed, though; in the show's three decades on air, ATC listeners have heard two different themes, plus a couple of re-orchestrations.
The original, 1971 version of the theme was composed and performed by Don Voegeli (rhymes with vaguely), and recorded in the Electrosonic studio at the University of Wisconsin.
In 1976, Voegeli composed a new theme -- a melody that may sound very familiar to longtime listeners. Both these early themes were created entirely on electronic instruments.
In 1983, the theme was re-orchestrated, and the use of a brass orchestra introduced. This version is perhaps the best-known of ATC's themes, and the one many listeners still call their favorite.
In 1995, NPR wanted to update the theme. Don Voegeli's melody was preserved; but the theme took on an American jazz feel with the help of Wycliffe Gordon, best known for his work with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.
Over the years, many musicians have done variations of the ATC theme. The most-well known is used daily on our program, and performed and arranged by the Washington Saxophone Quartet.
-- Bob Boilen is ATC director, and host of NPR's All Songs Considered.
Contents Copyright 2001, National Public Radio