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October 5, 2011 / rockroots

Ape Shuffle – Music of the Planet of the Apes


As a new movie revives the Planet of the Apes name for a 2011 audience, it seems as good a time as any to take another look at the phenomenon that started the ball rolling. At the tail-end of the 1960s, the first Planet of the Apes film was a breakthrough for Hollywood science fiction. Together with 2001: A Space Odyssey (released the same year) Apes opened up the ’70s for the most creative and enduring era of Sci-Fi movie-making. The enormous success of the film spawned an unanticipated four sequels between 1970 and 1973, each diluting the adult themes of the original a little, but each becoming hits in their own right and further embedding the name into pop culture. By the time the overtly kids-oriented TV show was broadcast in late 1974, the world’s first full-scale movie franchise merchandising campaign was launched. Toys, books and every conceivable product flooded the market between 1974 and 1977, and naturally the music industry was quick to see the potential. Soundtrack LPs had already been issued from the first two movies. The music recorded had been orchestral and ambient, but for the Beneath the Planet of the Apes OST (1970), some tracks were re-made as experimental rock, somewhat similar to the work of composer David Axelrod. The soundtracks for the subsequent films had more contemporary music, but unfortunately they were not issued on LP at the time. And while one enterprising singer had put out an Apes tribute novelty single as early as 1968, it wasn’t until 1974 that others caught on to the idea.

Shortly after the TV series debuted, struggling band Electric Cowboy became the anonymous musicians on the concept album ‘Planet of the Apes … A Musical Trip’ – an apparently licensed yet remarkably original collection of specially-written songs vaguely related to the theme of an Ape Planet. Acts like Shabam, The Jeff Wayne Space Shuttle and Monkey Business each cashed in on the name to try to score a novelty hit, each with little success. Lalo Schifrin, main composer for the TV series, repeated the trick from the Beneath soundtrack (though more skilfully) by recording a funky rock single nominally linked to the TV show and featuring a chimp vocalist apparently suffering from an asthma attack. Despite the fact that the much-hyped series failed to deliver and was abruptly cancelled after fourteen episodes, a cartoon show was commissioned the following year and met a similar fate, while Japanese TV loosely rewrote the concept for a successful 26-episode series. Each of these TV shows also had original scores, most of which have dated better than the on-screen action. By 1977 Apemania was dead. The arrival of Star Wars and its attendant merchandising blitz was the final nail in the coffin, but in truth it had simply run its course. Now, for nostalgic ageing Apes fans, for a younger generation who want to know what all the fuss was about, or for people who just dig ’70s music, here is a re-creation through sound of the decade when Apes ruled the Planet.

To embellish these pieces of music, I’ve added some of the Radio Spot Announcements advertising the original Apes movies, along with random selections from Power Records’ 1974 ‘Planet of the Apes’ adventures – all of which were also designed for an audio audience. The inspiration for this collection came from other people, and it’s merely my take on their idea; thanks go to Chris and Mike for their patience, help and advice. It should be noted that enough punk and heavy metal songs have been written about Planet of the Apes in the last twenty years to fill at least two more CDs, but to keep this collection authentic and consistent I’ve limited it to pre-1980 material. Of course, if anyone really wanted to hear them, they’d make great follow-up collections.


Ape Shuffle – Music of the Planet of the Apes

01  (Ape Chatter – Three Astronauts)
02  Gary Knight – Planet of the Apes
03  (Ape Chatter – Apes have no death wish)
04  ‘Planet of the Apes’ 30-second radio spot
05  (Ape Chatter – A City of Apes)
06  ‘Beneath the Planet of the Apes’ 60-second radio spot
07  Leonard Rosenman – March of the Apes
08  (Ape Chatter – Come to the Cathedral)
09  Leonard Rosenman – Mass of the Holy Bomb (Psalm Mendez II)
10  ‘Beneath the Planet of the Apes’ 30-second radio spot
11  (Ape Chatter – Earth’s last two living beings)
12  Jerry Goldsmith – Escape from the Planet of the Apes – Main Title
13  (Ape Chatter – The implications are staggering)
14  Jerry Goldsmith – The Zoo
15  (Ape Chatter – He said ‘No’)
16  ‘Escape From The Planet Of The Apes’ 60-second radio spot
17  (Ape Chatter – Man’s fate)
18  ‘Conquest of The Planet Of The Apes’ 60-second radio spot (‘The Time – 1981’)
19  (Ape Chatter – The Birth of the Planet of the Apes)
20  Tom Scott – Subjugation Soul
21  ‘Battle for The Planet Of The Apes’ 30-second radio spot
22  (Ape Chatter – It didn’t hurt a bit)
23  Electric Cowboy – Planet of the Apes
24  (Ape Chatter – Did you say Earth)
25  Shabam – On the Planet of the Apes
26  (Ape Chatter – The superior Ape species)
27  Toshiaki Tsushima – Encounter with the Monkeys
28  (Ape Chatter – We’re on Earth)
29  Lalo Schifrin – Escape from Tomorrow
30  (Ape Chatter – Delicious Cocktails)
31  The Jeff Wayne Space Shuttle – Apes’ Victory Dance
32  (Ape Chatter – The Color, The Composition)
33  Toshiaki Tsushima – Mysterious Ninja Ape
34  (Ape Chatter – Alligator Wrestling)
35  Lalo Schifrin – Ape Shuffle (Theme from ”Planet of the Apes”)
36  (Ape Chatter – Which side are you on)
37  The Jeff Wayne Space Shuttle – The Ape Planet
38  Lalo Schifrin – Into The Arena
39  (Ape Chatter – The Book of Wonders)
40  Toshiaki Tsushima – Army of the Apes (TV edit)
41  (Ape Chatter – The Apes have taken over the Planet)
42  Dean Elliott – Return to the Planet of the Apes – Main Title
43  (Ape Chatter – No, No, No)
44  Eddie Russ – Zaius
45  (Ape Chatter – Dream-building with Landa)
46  Dean Elliott – I’m Going Humanoid Over You (truck radio mix)
47  (Ape Chatter – Stroked and Fondled)
48  Monkey Business – The Ape Planet
49  (Ape Chatter – Planet of the Apes Series 2)
50  The London Philharmonic Orchestra – Planet of the Apes Theme
51  (Ape Chatter – The Lesson of the Volcano)
52  Lalo Schifrin – Your World

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Do also check out the excellent Hunter Goatley Planet of the Apes Archive, where you can find:

The complete ‘Planet of the Apes … The Musical Trip’ album

The complete Power Records ‘Planet of the Apes’ audio adventures

And please support the recording artists by buying the legitimate soundtrack albums where available.

More details can be found on these and other Apes songs at The Planet of the Apes Wiki site:

The Sacred Scrolls: Music of the Planet of the Apes



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