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Stanley Wilson

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A key figure in Hollywood’s music industry in the 1950s and 1960s, Stanley Wilson rarely recorded specifically for record audiences, but two of his albums are classics of space age pop. Pagan Love is a prime piece of jungle exotica, a collection of Wilson originals depicting various aspects of romance and sex among the primitives—at least, as seen by Hollywood. Music from “M-Squad” collects incidental music from the bloody television detective show starring Lee Marvin—most of it written by Wilson or Benny Carter—and featuring the theme by Count Basie Orchestra that was introduced in the series’ second season. As might be predicted with that cast of contributors, Music from “M-Squad” is a choice sample of crime jazz.

Wilson started out in the music biz as a trumpeter in Dixieland-style bands in the 1930s. After World War Two, he joined MGM’s music department in Los Angeles, moving a year later to Republic, where he churned out scores for countless B-movies and serials. In the late 1950s, he joined the new television arm of Universal Studios as head of creative activities, which meant he was in charge of putting music behind all of the studio’s productions, hiring and assigning composers, arrangers, orchestrators, and conductors—which were often rolled into a single job.

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