Pop Archives

Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra - ABC News Theme (excerpt from ‘The Majestic Fanfare’) (1952)

(Charles Williams)

In 1952 the last 18 seconds of Charles Williams's Majestic Fanfare became the news theme of the ABC, Australia's government-owned broadcaster. It was later reduced to a 9-second version, and was twice re-orchestrated in the 1980s, notably by Richard Mills in 1988The Majestic Fanfare excerpt has been used in one form or another on ABC Radio to this day

It was dropped for ABC-TV news in 1985, but an ABC-TV News theme by Martin Armiger was launched in 2005 with the note that it was "retaining references to… The Majestic Fanfare".

References: 1. The Majestic Fanfare, including Audio and Curator's Notes at the National Film and Sound Archive. 2. Wikipedia entry on The Majestic Fanfare.  

ABC: Not to be confused with the American TV network or with the defunct British TV company. This is the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, originally the Australian Broadcasting Commission (1932-1983). See the history of ABC Radio from the ABC website [archived page].

Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra - The Majestic Fanfare (1943)

(Charles Williams)
Original version

First recording of a work written in 1935 by British violinist, light music conductor and film composer Charles Williams (1893-1978), conductor of the orchestra here.

Further reading: Charles Williams biographies at All Music and The Robert Farnon Society.

Various - JJJ NEWS THEME (1990)

(Mix by Paul Mckercher with John Jacobs)
Later version

The news theme for ABC’s youth-oriented radio network Triple J includes original guitar, sound effects, samples from Prince and NWA, and a scratch of the last few seconds of The Majestic Fanfare, long familiar as the News theme on ABC radio.

Listen: Audio interview with the creators of the JJJ news theme, Paul Mckercher and John Jacobs from the ABC’s 30 Years of Triple J: News Theme [archived from defunct page].