Musical coincidences # 2

June 2, 2009

Righty-o. This time our musical coincidence involves a pop moppet and a film composer.

I’d hazard a guess that, unlike the thieving Jimmy Page (see earlier post), this is purely coincidental. The two individuals have probably never met, and I’d guess that each artist won’t have the other’s music in their record collections.

The first song is “A Thousand Miles“. It’s from 2002 and it’s by Vanessa Carlton, one of a multitude of young females armed with a guitar or piano (in Ms Carlton’s case, it’s a piano) and a bedroom full of sensitive songs.

“A Thousand Miles” starts like this:

And when it gets to about the 30-second mark, the bridge* appears:

(*The bit before the chorus. Some people call it the refrain. Either way, it’s the bit before the chorus.)

The first time I heard that I thought, “Hmmm, that sounds suspiciously like an extremely famous piece of film music I know”:

That’s the supporting rhythm for the main tune of The Magnificent Seven by Elmer Bernstein. This is the main tune:


The theme for The Magnificent Seven was used in the United States to advertise cigarettes, and the ads involved someone known as The Marlboro Man. He was very macho, and, if he used the product he advertised, he’d also be very ill.

Because the ad for fags (that’s what cigarettes are called in both Australia and Britain, believe it or not) was shown on American television in the early Sixties, so there’s not much chance of Ms Carlton accidentally hearing the tune as a youngster. However, she may have heard the tune if one or more of her parents are fans of Westerns and had a VCR when she was growing up (e.g., “Vanessa, come and watch this. Cowboys!”). It’s possible.

Or Ms Carlton may have heard the tune somewhere when she was growing. She may also have actually met Mr Bernstein some time later (maybe at a party) and said to him, “Mr Bernstein, I love the theme for The Magnificent Seven. Can I use it in the bridge of my debut single?,” to which Bernstein may have replied, “Sure thing. Always glad to help a pop moppet on her way to success. Go for it.”

It’s possible.

If you’re keen on hearing the whole thing by Vanessa Carlton (you may actually want to, and I’m not one to judge), here’s all of “A Thousand Miles”:

And this is all of the theme to The Magnificent Seven: