Slashfilm revives story of The Smiths inspiring X-Files theme music


you must not tamper with arrangements
The X-Files Theme Song Combined A Spooky Vibe And The Smiths


Composer Mark Snow started his professional music writing career in 1976 with the release of the notorious TV movie "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble," starring a young John Travolta. Paul Williams wrote the theme song for the movie, but it was Snow who composed the incidental music. He was about 29 years old.

Since then, Snow has been a regular presence in the TV world, having written for shows like "Starsky & Hutch," "The Next Step Beyond," "Vega$," "The Love Boat," "Dynasty," "T.J. Hooker," "Pee-wee's Playhouse," and "Dark Justice." Snow's popularity exploded in the popular consciousness in 1993, however, with the debut of Chris Carter's paranormal investigation show "The X-Files."

"The X-Files" was about a pair of FBI agents who operated out of a basement and were given the weird, ghostly, monster-y, alien-related cases no one wanted (filed under the letter X in the FBI database, hence the show's title). Mulder (David Duchovny) was a believer, Scully (Gillian Anderson) was a skeptic. Snow, who composed the theme song and the incidental music, infused the show with a mysterious, near-funereal tone, communicating that the mysteries pointed only to greater mysteries. The government was not to be trusted, and the secrets of aliens would drive the populace insane.

In 2016, Snow and Carter were interviewed on NPR's "All Things Considered," and Snow distinctly remembered receiving the assignment for "The X-Files." For him, the series wasn't a nascent cultural phenomenon. It was just another pilot, something he had done dozens of times in the past. When show creator Chris Carter demanded something in the vein of "The Twilight Zone," something that Boy Scouts would hum around a campfire to amplify their ghost stories, Snow knew where he needed to go: Morrissey.

The Morrissey Zone


Snow (né Martin Fulterman) was born in Brooklyn in 1946 and attended Julliard as a teen to study music. He was briefly in a band called the New York Rock & Roll Ensemble, which he co-founded with Michael Kamen, who also eventually became a famous film composer. Between 1968 and 1973, the band put out eight studio albums. Frankly, they weren't very good. Soon thereafter, he parlayed his rock ambitious into a career composing for TV and film.

Years later, when it came time to compose for "The X-Files," Snow was an old pro who knew how to write for TV but had never tackled a spooky sci-fi show before. As such, Carter would give Snow a lot of instruction for new drafts when his composition didn't quite match what Carter wanted. Evidently, Carter eventually started sending actual recordings of pop songs he wanted the theme to sound like. Notably, he sent over a recording of The Smiths' "How Soon is Now?," originally released in 1984 as the B-side on the band's single "William, It Was Really Nothing." For those unfamiliar, "How Soon is Now?" may be one of the band's more recognizable songs. According to Vice, the CDs Snow received also included Phillip Glass and Portishead.

Snow recalls listening to The Smiths, and then noodling around on a keyboard. Bored one day, he put his elbow on the key while the echo effect was activated. The sound emerged. Snow recalls:

"So I thought, well, that's a nice little accompaniment figure. [...] What could be the other parts of it?"

The whistle part of "The X-Files" theme was also a quirk of his Emu 2 Proteus synthesizer. One of the built-in audio samples was a six-note audio patch called "Whistling Joe." Wouldn't you know it the melody was already out there...

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Previous related posts;
there was a few threads on here years ago on this very subject,used to love the x-files.
the musical theme of "Charmed''too. ''How soon is now'' is the song which started my passion for this music.
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