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Batman theme composer dies at 85

'Hardest piece I ever wrote'

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Neal Hefti, the man responsible for the "energetic" theme tune for the TV series Batman, has died aged 85, the LA Times reports

The former big band trumpeter, arranger and composer passed away on Saturday at the end of a long career, encompassing multiple film scores and collaboration with some musical greats including Count Basie and Woody Herman.

Hefti's theme for Batman - which ran from 1966 to 1968 - became a Top 40 hit and secured the 1966 Grammy Award for best instrumental theme. He admitted, though, that it was a tough nut to crack, taking more than a month to complete.

He recounted to Jon Burlingame, author of TV's Biggest Hits: "I tore up a lot of paper. It did not come easy to me. I just sweated over that thing, more so than any other single piece of music I ever wrote. I was never satisfied with it. I was almost going to call them and say, I can't do it. But I never walk out on projects, so I sort of forced myself to finish."

Burlingame described the musical solution as "perfect: bass guitar, low brass and percussion to create a driving rhythm, while an eight-voice chorus sings 'Batman!' in harmony with the trumpets. It was part serious, part silly: just like the series."

The LA Times has more on Hefti's life and achievements here. ®

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