omg! stu phillips plays the galactica theme just for us! (with video)


I recently had the privilege of visiting Mr. Stu Phillips at his home in Studio City where we went over last-minute particulars for his upcoming concert (i’m helping out with a few behind the scenes details).  Regular readers of this blog – and any fan worth his salt – should recall that Phillips is the maestro behind the music from the original Battlestar Galactica, as well as Buck Rogers, Knight Rider and countless other hours of entertainment that has undoubtedly made the world a better place.  As we wrapped things up, I headed for the door and walked past a piano… the very piano that was used to compose the theme music that defined my childhood; the theme that I’ve probably listened to more than any other piece of music in my life (yes, even the theme from Star Wars).  I couldn’t help myself.  “Stu,” I nervously asked.  “Would you be willing to give a fan the ultimate thrill and personally play the theme to Galactica on this piano?”  With his trademark humility and humor, he suggested that I should have higher standards for thrills – but he kindly obliged – and let me make a video of the impromptu performance to share with all of you…

Thanks so much, Stu!  I have to say, despite having listened to that theme a million times, hearing it distilled down to the basics in a piano performance was a whole new experience and further evidence of the strength of the piece.  It really is a classic.

Speaking of the upcoming concert, the erstwhile Bear McCreary (composer of the new BSG), has made this blog post about the show.  Bear will be premiering a brand new version of the Galactica theme, written specifically for this event, and had this to say about it:

My piece will be a combination of the various moments in my scores in which I quoted Stu’s timeless melody, drawing from “Colonial Anthem” from Season 2, “Husker in Combat” from Razor and, of course, “The Heart of the Sun” from the final episode.  Some of my own, original BSG themes will weave in there as well… this is your last chance this year to hear my Galactica score performed live in concert.  Since the concert program also includes Stu’s “Theme from Battlestar Galactica,” I want my “Colonial Anthem” to have all the unique qualities and sounds that set my score apart.  So, the orchestra will be joined on stage by BSG Orchestra superstars Paul Cartwright on electric violin, Chris Bleth on duduk and M.B. Gordy on taikos and ethnic percussion. This concert will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the classic and re-imagined Galactica scores together on one program..

In addition to all the great music from your favorite TV shows, there will also be a few surprise guests on hand, as well as a drawing to win CDs and other goodies signed by Bear and Stu.  Full details:

The Golden State Pops Orchestra
Halloween Fright Night 7
Help GSPO celebrate Stu Phillips’ 80th Birthday
Grand Warner Theater, San Pedro, CA
Saturday, October 24, 2009

Click here for more info and tix

Before I finally left, I asked Stu if I could grab a photo of one last thing, and I present it to you here –  the original, hand written sheet music for the theme to Battlestar Galactica!  Enjoy your glimpse of the BSG Holy Grail (click to make big) and I’ll see you in San Pedro on the 24th!



 ———————- WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE? ———————–

Bear also posted a fantastic interview with Stu Phillips, chock full of great insights into writing the Galactica score, Knight Rider, composing in general and some great stories about working in the industry.  I highly recommend you check it out!


12 Responses to “omg! stu phillips plays the galactica theme just for us! (with video)”

  1. October 14, 2009 at 7:48 am

    Wow, that sounds great. You could totally work it into a piano bar scene in some film noir pic.

  2. 2 Buck
    October 14, 2009 at 8:39 am

    It’s always cool to hear the composer play his stuff. Hearing GALACTICA’s Theme like that is a treat after only having heard the orchestrated version.

  3. 3 Boris
    October 14, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Thanks. BTW, the sheet music reads like the first nine seconds of the YouTube video below, though I’m not quite sure what clef was used for the melody, since the piece should be in F (I only play the piano; any composers around?):

  4. 4 Buckaroohawk
    October 14, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    As a TV show Battlestar Galactica may have had its hits and misses, but Stu Philips’ music is timeless and iconic. The opening bars never fail to send a chill down my spine and the entire piece is elegant and regal, with just a hint of melancholy behind it. And yet it sounds BIG, hinting at something deeply profound. It’s simply an amazing piece of music that has (and will always) easily withstand the test of time.

    And they used it in Airplane II: The Sequel too boot! How can anyone argue with a pedigree like that?

  5. October 14, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    What? No drums?

    I kid, of course. Hearing that melody on Thursday nights here in Germany in the 80s was the most exciting thing EVER! :)

  6. October 15, 2009 at 2:20 am

    I met Stu when he came over with the original cast to a memorabilia show in Birmingham about three years ago.

    He was impressed that I had the four-disc set of Galactica music and signed it for me and told me to come around to his side of the table so I could have my picture taken with him.

    He really is a great guy.

  7. 7 Surak
    October 15, 2009 at 7:17 am

    Blog Action Day 09 – Climate Change

    Where’s your comment?

    Live long an prosper!

  8. 8 darthmojo
    October 15, 2009 at 8:50 am

    SURAK: Huh? What is a blog action day? As far as climate change goes, I fully support it. In fact it’s getting warm so right now I’m going to change my own personal climate to 71 degrees…

    PETER: Yes, Stu is one hell of a great guy. Talented, funny, energetic and as humble as possible. If only the rest of the film & TV business could be like Stu Phillips!

  9. 9 BST
    October 17, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Truly magnificent. I vividly remember when this music played live, on tv, every week and though it’s been 31 years since Battlestar premiered, I was spellbound listening to it again. Once again, I can simply say, truly magnificent! Stu, you composed something for the ages.

  10. October 23, 2009 at 10:16 am

    That was awesome Mojo that you were able to film the fun. I just found out about the show a few days ago and think I’ll drive down from Sacramento to see the concert.

  11. March 16, 2010 at 5:02 am

    The image you used of Stu (with the autograph) is mine :)
    He signed that photo for me back in August 2005 at a convention.

  12. July 9, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Thanks everyone for the kind words. It’s great to have fans like you guys.


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October 2009

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