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An unusual email popped into by inbox in 2009. It was from Ralph Titterton, one of the big guns involved with the Barry Gray Archive. He’d heard Music For Biscuits, and wanted to see if I’d be up for a Barry Gray version. You see Ralph had got hundreds of Barry Gray reels and tapes with masses of his advertising jingles and jazz on them. After two years of work, research and a little bit of messing about with artwork, this release is the result…

This album is available in ye olde trunk shoppe right now.

There are over 80 cues on the CD (less on the vinyl) and all date from between 1959 and 1965. Products range from the new space-age Hoover Keymatic, for which Gray provided an electronic score, to hooky jingles for new banana cereals. There is a sense of innocence, urgency, madness and fun across the whole album. Among the vocal talents on show are the Mike Sammes Singers, Eric Sykes and even Barry Gray shows off his vocal chords every now and again.

The CD comes with a 16 page booklet, and here’s a little more info on the tracklisting, the products they’re raving about and a biog of the great Gray man:

1 Esso 01:10
2 BOAC 01:52
3 Excerpt from Hoover “Keymatic Washing Machine” film score 02:10
4 Quaker Banana Mellows 00:37
5 Quaker Banana Mellows with voiceover 00:28
6 Booth's Dry Gin 01:04
7 Phillips Cycles 00:59
8 Farm Brand Milk 00:29
9 African Commercial Bank 00:25
10 Advert for Joan Gray's Shop, Guernsey 00:28
11 Further excerpt from “Hoover Keymatic” score 00:44
12 Further excerpt from “Hoover Keymatic” score 00:23
13 Unreferenced Short Music Track 00:32
14 Ridgeways Country House Tea No 1, voice and effects, version A 00:20
15 Ridgeway’s Country House Tea No 1, voice track 00:11
16 Ridgeway’s Country House Tea No 2, voice track 00:14
17 Ridgeways Country House Tea, wildtrack noises 00:36
18 Ogden’s St Julien Tobacco 00:11
19 Mansion Polish 00:27
20 Herald 00:19
21 Bonvisi Spaghetti 00:27
22 Hair & Beauty Salon. 00:14
23 As track 24 00:14
24 Tide Washing Powder 00:57
25 Respic 00:36
26 Blue Cars, music cue samples 02:07
27 Aspro “Footballer” 00:29
28 Aspro 00:30
29 Take Aspro 00:32
30 Lyons Maid, FAB Neapolitan Ice Cream 01:33
31 DIY 00:15
32 Vehicle Shop 00:13
33 Klenitex Waterproof Coating 00:28
34 Further excerpt from “Hoover Keymatic” score 00:42
35 Further excerpt from “Hoover Keymatic” score 01:18
36 Lanry Household Bleach 00:19
37 Sunsilk Shampoo 00:32
38 Sunsilk Shampoo with voice over  00:30
39 Gillette 01:02
40 Punjana Tea 00:16
41 Poppet Washing Up Liquid 00:30
42 Mazda Neeta Bulb (Mazda Lamps) 00:23
43 Ovaltine, version A 00:53
44 Thermogene 01:12
45 Flash, version A 00:15
46 Flash, version B 00:13
47 Tango Drink 02:19
48 Horlicks “Circus” 01:05
49 Horlicks “Farmyard” 00:45
50 Johnston, Mooney and O’Brien Bread 00:16
51 Shoe Repairs 00:22
52 Elastoplast 00:33
52 Unreferenced electronic music track 00:31
53 Car Repairs 00:17
54 Scooters 00:15
55 Poor Pablo 00:22
56 Coopers No 2 00:24
57 EKCO Radio and Television 00:28
58 Leeside Cakes “Favourite Six in a Box” 00:16
59 Scrap Iron 00:14
60 Scooters 00:13
61 Hearts Delight, version 1 00:13
62 Car Maintenance Brigade 00:12
63 Supermarket  00:16
64 Employment Bureau 00:19
65 Royal 00:17
66 Heart's Delight, version 2 00:34
67 Schweppes “Cowboy” 00:54
68 Unreferenced Music Track 00:32
69 Unreferenced Music Track 01:43
70 Unreferenced Music Track 00:34
71 Horlicks “School Master” 01:03
72 Unreferenced Music Track 00:25
73 Textiles 00:20
74 Barlova (Malted Milk Drink) 00:32
75 Jazz Track written for Shell 1 00:59
76 Jazz Track written for Shell 2 00:40
77 Jazz Track written for Shell 3 02:17
78 Mentholatum 00:59
79 Spick Supermarket 00:19
80 Super Shell and ICA 01:00
81 Moreno. Promotional song for George Moreno Film Productions 01:25


THE BRANDS (A - Z listing)

Note: Regretfully it has not been possible to list all the companies and brands that have commercials on this CD. For as many famous brands that remain well known to all, there are also small local companies and brands that have long since disappeared and with them each individual story behind their commercial with Barry Gray. The producers welcome any additional information listeners to this CD may be able to provide.

African Commercial Bank. Better known as the Commercial Bank of Africa Ltd (CBA), is the largest privately owned Kenyan bank, whose primary focus is Corporate and Institutional banking.

Aspro and Take Aspro. Aspro is a well known brand name for one of the most common pain killers on the market, Aspirin.

Barlova. Malted Milk powder. A drink wholesome and appetising, made and packed in Great Britain by Barlova Limited, Hyde, Manchester, the “Dairy County” apparently. Sounds yummy.

Blue Cars Melody. In 1960 Gerry Anderson produced three commercials for the Travel Agent “Blue Cars”. This melody of themes may have been put together to allow a music selection to be made. Certainly they were not used for one of the three commercials, “Martians”, however the remaining two, "Germans" and "Gambler" have yet to have been seen by this writer. All three commercials featured actors Nicholas Parsons and Denise Bryer, and two won awards at the first Television Mail Commercials Awards in the spring of 1961.

B.O.A.C. The British Overseas Airways Corporation was the British state airline from 1939 until 1946 and the long-haul British state airline from 1946 to 1974. The company started life with a merger between Imperial Airways Ltd. and British Airways Ltd Following a 1971 Act of Parliament; BOAC was merged in 1974 with British European Airways Corporation (BEA) to form British Airways, whose logo was never as cool as the original B.O.A.C. one.

Booths Dry Gin. Booth's Gin is a famous brand of dry gin, founded by the Booth family around 1740. All the distinctive bottles and merchandise have a reference to the Red Lion distillery where the drink was produced. Felix Booth launched his gin in 1790 and the original recipe was used until production stopped around 2006. Famously Booths Dry Gin was advertised on the giant neon signs at Piccadilly Circus throughout the 1960s.

Coopers No 2. Coopers No 2 is a colour enhancer used as part of the process of home brewing beer.

Ekco Radio and Television. EKCO from Eric Kirkham Cole Limited, was a British electronics company producing radio and television sets from 1924 through to 1973, when the company was absorbed into a conglomerate and its products rebadged.

Elastoplast. Elastoplast is a trademark name of a brand of sticking plaster (bandage) or medical dressing made by Smith & Nephew, and later Beiersdorf when the UK and Commonwealth rights were purchased in 1992. The name has become a genericized trademark for "sticking plaster" in some Commonwealth countries including Great Britain. Some even have things like Snoopy on them nowadays.

Esso. Esso is an international trade name for ExxonMobil and its related companies. Pronounced ("S-O"), it is derived from the initials of the pre-1911 Standard Oil, and as such became the focus of much litigation and regulatory restriction in the United States. In 1973, it was largely replaced in the U.S. by the Exxon brand, while Esso remained widely used elsewhere. In most of the world, the Esso brand and the Mobil brand are the primary brand names of ExxonMobil, with the Exxon brand name still in use only in the United States alongside Mobil.

Farm Brand Milk. Condensed Milk, which could be purchased in a tin. Yummy. And even more yummy if you boil it for three hours and turn it into toffee.

Flash. Flash was first introduced in the UK as Flash Powder in 1958. Its claim is that it is the ultimate cleaner for the home, from dusting, to mopping to soap scum - Flash has got it covered! It is manufactured by Procter & Gamble.

Gillette. The original Gillette Company was founded in 1895 as a safety razor manufacturer. It continued to trade until 2005 when the brand was purchased by Procter & Gamble who merged the company into their own. I tend to use King Of Shaves these days.

Heart’s Delight. Home baking flour. Wholemeal and wheatmeal are still available in the Republic of Ireland.

Hoover Keymatic Washing Machine Documentary. The first electric washing machine was introduced in 1908 by the American Alva J Fisher. However, these machines did not become widely used until 1947-1950. The Keymatic, introduced in 1963 was one of the new type of automatic washing machines which incorporated full wash, rinsing and spin cycles and was extremely successful. The Hoover 'Keymatic' featured a novel means of programming the machine by using a selection of 'key-cards' to select the wash programme. Quite space age but also a bit crap.

Horlicks. Horlicks is the name of a company and of a malted milk hot drink, which is claimed to promote sleep when consumed at bedtime. There is, however, no evidence that malted milk directly promotes sleep, merely staves off hunger pangs that may disturb sleep. It is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline in the United Kingdom, India and Jamaica.

Johnston, Mooney and O’Brien bread. Founded in 1835, this Irish owned company has been synonymous with the best in baking tasty breads for more than 171 years. Today in every corner of the country Johnston Mooney & O'Brien is trusted for freshness, taste, quality and service. The company operates from two bakeries in Ireland, one is a dedicated bun and morning goods bakery and the other is a dedicated bread bakery, both plants are based on the north side of Dublin.

Kenitex Waterproof Coating.  Kenitex is a textured formulation paint manufactured under license from Kenitex Chemicals AG, Switzerland. Kenitex is a unique coating both textured and smooth, developed specifically for the protection of a decoration of most exterior surfaces. I wish the bloke who did the front of my house had used it, then all the paint might not have washed off.

Lanry Household Bleach. Made in Nelson, by Allan and Harry Brown. The bottles were much favoured by distillers of illicit spirits as the liquid was the same colour and the bottles very similar to whisky bottles.

Lyon’s Maid Neapolitan Ice Cream. Ice-cream, or more precisely a derivative of it, is not a modern food but appears to have been available in Europe since the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries. It first appeared in the United Kingdom in about 1686. J. Lyons and Co started to make ice-cream in 1894, and Lyons Maid was a brand of ice-creams and ice-lollies created in 1925 as a spin-off organisation. The company traded very successfully until it was brought up and absorbed by Nestle in 1992. Neopoiltan is the one made up of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla strips, all together. Smashing.

Mansion Polish. Mansion Polish was a very successful product, launched back in 1912 by the Chiswick Polish Company, originally the Chiswick Soap Company, formed around the dawn of the 20th Century. Along with the product itself, it has spawned a lot of advertising paraphernalia that appears to be well sort after. Why? I’ve got no idea at all.

Mazda Neeta Bulb. Mazda was a trademarked name used by the American company General Electric, and others, for incandescent light bulbs from 1909 through 1945. Mazda brand light bulbs were made for decades after 1945 outside the USA. The company chose the name due to its association with (Ahura) Mazda, the transcendental and universal God of Zoroastrianism whose name means "[Wise] Lord" in the Avestan language.

Mentholatum. The Mentholatum Company, Inc. was founded in 1889 in Wichita, Texas, by Mr Albert Alexander Hyde (and associates) to produce medicines. After 4 years of research, they successfully developed "MENTHOLATUM Ointment" which had the properties of relieving pain, easing itch, curing cold and soothing insect bites, and was widely recommended by doctors & medical outlets. It instantly became an indispensable medicine of high reputation throughout the U.S at that time. The name of "MENTHOLATUM" is a combination of MENTHOL and PETROLATUM. Mr Hyde supported church missionaries to work overseas by donating Mentholatum Ointment. This is how the product gained entrance worldwide. I wonder if it would do anything for my constantly itching ankle.

Ogden’s St Julien Tobacco. Ogden’s was created by Thomas Ogden, who started the business in 1860 when he opened a small retail shop in Liverpool. In a short time he had established several branches in the city and within six years had his own factory. In 1870 additional premises were acquired and within just 20 years Ogden's had six factories and stores in Liverpool. After a brief ownership by the American Tobacco Company, Ogden's became a branch of Imperial Tobacco in 1902. By 1962 Ogden’s had stopped making cigarettes and concentrated on pipe tobaccos, of which St Julien was one. And of course Nut Gone Flake is even more famous, for other musical connections.

Ovaltine. If you thought Ovaltine was a bedtime drink then think again! Although the products are largely unchanged from their original recipes and formats, how we consume and think of Ovaltine today in the UK is vastly different from how it all began. Since its humble beginnings in a Swiss laboratory, millions of families all over the world have grown up with it. Far from being a bedtime drink, it was originally developed as a nourishing food beverage for children. It was based on the vitamin-rich properties of malt extract and combined with milk, eggs and cocoa it quickly became recognised as an ideal combination of essentials nutrients in a delicious and satisfying warm drink. However I have never been a fan. I think it’s the skin that forms on the top I don’t like.

Phillips Cycles. Phillips Cycles Ltd was a British bicycle manufacturer based in Smethwick near Birmingham, England. Its history began early in the 20th century and ended in the 1980s by which time it had become part of Raleigh Industries, itself a part of the Tube Investments group. For a number of years, the company was the second-largest bicycle producer in Britain, after Raleigh. The company motto, which was carried on all its badges, was "Renowned the World Over". The "Phillips" brand is still used around the world, especially in China and the Far East, having been licensed by Raleigh.

Poor Pablo. A children’s animation short, not a commercial, however it’s ended up here anyway because we thought it fitted in.

Punjana Tea. A century ago, Punjana Limited, the tea importer and blender, was beginning its life near the docklands in Belfast. A partner in the company, James Thompson, when passing the Gillespie statue in Comber Square, Comber, Co. Down, Northern Ireland noticed an inscription relating to the "Punjab". He thought that this would be a good basis for a brand name, as India was considered the home of good quality tea. His wife Lillias came up with the name – Punjana. Punjana was the first local brand to be advertised on Ulster Television, going on air on the first night (31st October 1959) of commercial broadcasting in Ulster.

Rennies. Another very well known medicine brand, Rennies, contain an antacid formulation to effectively relieve indigestion by neutralising excess acid in the stomach. Apparently you can get chewy ones now, and even ones in funny flavours like strawberry.

Ridgeways Country House Tea. Established in 1836, Ridgeways is a high quality tea, created by supplying some of the finest organically grown teas from all over the world. It’s Ridgeways' superb blend of select African, Indian and Ceylon teas that make it taste so good.

Shell. Royal Dutch Shell plc, commonly known simply as Shell, is a multinational petroleum company of Dutch and British origins. One of the six “supermajor” non state-owned energy companies, Shell was listed as the world's largest corporation for 2009 and operates in 140 countries. You are probably aware of its more recent interesting history…

Derek writes: I recently found this Shell ephemera from 1964 (opens in a new window).

Schweppes. Founded in 1783 by a German-born Swiss jeweller and amateur scientist named Jacob Schweppe, who discovered a way of producing carbonated water on a commercial scale. The 'Schweppes' brand arrived in Britain in 1792, with the opening of the first factory on Drury Lane, London. Their tonic is fabulous with gin if you ask me, but only buy the little cans if you are not going to drink the whole big bottle in one night, otherwise it goes flat and I do hate waste.

Sunsilk Shampoo. Sunsilk is a hair care brand, primarily aimed at women, produced by the Unilever group. It’s their leading hair care brand, and ranks as one of the Anglo-Dutch conglomerate's “billion dollar brands". Sunsilk is sold in 69 countries worldwide. That’s a lot of hair.

Supershell and ICA. According to a press advert from 1958, cars run better on Supershell, beause its got ICA! Which is Ignition Control Additive apparently. Sounds like a load of old rot to me.

Tango Drink. Tango was launched by Corona Soft Drinks in 1950, differentiated from regular Corona by the addition of real fruit. In 1958 the Beecham Group acquired Corona and in 1987 Britvic Soft Drinks acquired Beecham’s Soft Drinks interests, which included Tango as well as Idris and Corona.

Thermogene. Thermogene Medicated Wadding, produced by Beecham Pharmaceuticals is a product impregnated with capsicum oleoresin and methyl salicylate. A square put on your chest before your vest was supposed to ease your rheumatism, neuralgia, bronchitis, lumbago, sciatica, chest colds, etc.

Tide. Tide Powder is a well known clothes washing product that gets to the bottom of dirt and stains to help keep your whites white and your colours bright. For great stain removal in any temperature, Tide is formulated to quickly start dissolving ˜ even in cold water. Introduced into the UK in 1946. And I’m loving that “Bottom Of Dirt” line.



Born to musical parents in 1908, Barry Gray’s early years were spent between Blackburn and Blackpool.

He moved to London in the late 1920’s to join publishers Feldman & Co. This company published Gray’s earliest known work “Someone Else Took You Out of My Arms (but they can’t take you out of my heart)” written in 1932. In 1938 Gray became staff arranger-pianist for Radio Normandy’s English studio in Hallam Street, London. He remained until the station’s last broadcast on 7th September 1939, the day before the declaration of war.

Barry was called up on 10th September 1940 and found himself in the RAF. He quickly put his musical skills to good use, becoming the conductor of the camp dance band. Undeterred by war, Gray organized a show on the troop ship taking him to Burma and continued to submit to Chappell’s throughout his service. Gray was demobbed from RAF in 1946, having reached the rank of Pilot Officer.

By 1949 Gray had joined Vera Lynn as her accompanist-arranger. The two enjoyed a 10 year relationship that included all Vera’s Decca recordings, shows and an extensive tour of Europe. It was whilst working with Vera that Barry’s first known commercials were recorded. In his meticulously kept session book for April 1957 to April 1958, the first page details the April 11th session for Truman’s Light Ale; 10 hours, total cost £70 and 5 pennies. As with many of the commercials Gray provided the music for, this Truman advert was an animated short produced by George Moreno Productions. Between this date and 30th January 1969 Gray’s note books list over 180 sessions for more than 200 individual commercials, with many more are listed on tape boxes.

It was through Vera Lynn that Gray made his most important, and career defining contact, Gerry Anderson. Gray knew Roberta Leigh through their mutual association with Lynn. When Leigh took the outline for her television series, “The Adventures of Twizzl”, to Anderson and his AP Films partner Arthur Provis, she stipulated that Gray be appointed as musical director. However, Leigh did not want Gray to compose the music for the series. A friend had hummed tunes into a tape recorder and Leigh wanted Gray to arrange, orchestrate and record these for the show. The same humming / tape recording arrangement was employed on the next show, Torchy the Battery Boy (1958), but Gray stuck with it. His dedication paid off as the next production from the Anderson stable was “Four Feather Falls”. Gray’s involvement with this series went much further than the music. He developed the format for the western series, originally titled “The Magical Town of Four Feather Falls” and wrote the script for the initial episode. The concept was bought by APF, and with the series re-titled, it was sold to Granada Television in 1958 and reached the screen in 1960.

The relationship continued with Crossroads to Crime (1960) all the way through to Space: 1999 season one (1973-1974). For personal reasons, Gray declined the invitation to compose the music for the second season of Space: 1999 and he was replaced by Derek Wadsworth. Although Gray was Anderson’s first choice to produce the music for Terrahawks in 1982, it was not to be and he was replaced by Richard Harvey. Sadly, Space: 1999 season one proved to be Gray’s last composition for film or television series.

During 1970, the Gray family moved from their home in Esher, Surrey to Guernsey. From 1977 Barry was the resident pianist at the Old Government House Hotel on Guernsey, entertaining the hotel residents during dinner.

In 1979, Gray was invited to compose a fanfare for the opening of the “Filmharmonic ‘79” concert, at the Royal Albert Hall, and to arrange a twelve-minute orchestral suite of his film and television compositions. This was a great success and Gray was invited to compose the Royal Fanfare, for the entrance of Her Majesty The Queen and Prince Philip, and arrangements of “Great Songs United Artists Style” for the 1980 Royal Film Performance. The following year Gray was approached again, composing and arranging themes for the stage show section of the 1981 Performance.

Barry Gray died suddenly in hospital in Guernsey on April 26th, 1984. Gray is rightly famous for giving the world some of the most spirited, descriptive and undeniably cool music for TV. But his legacy is so much bigger than the just these shows. This CD gives new life to another branch of the work of this great British composer and delightful man.