Mike Post (born Leland Michael Postil, September 29, 1944, in Berkeley, California) is a multi- Grammy and Emmy Award winning composer best known for his television theme music for such primetime series as Law & Order, NYPD Blue, The Rockford Files, L.A. Law, Quantum Leap, Magnum, P.I., Hunter, and Hill Street Blues.
Early musical career
Post's first credited work in music was cutting demos using two singing sisters, Terry and Carol Fischer. With Sally Gordon, they went on to become The Murmaids. Their first single, "Popsicles and Icicles" (written by David Gates), was a #3 hit song in January 1964.
Post also provided early guidance for the garage rock band the Outcasts while in basic training in San Antonio, Texas. He was the songwriter and producer for both songs on the band's first single, released in 1965, and also arranged a local concert where they served as the back-up band.
He won his first Grammy at age 23 for Best Instrumental Arrangement on Mason Williams' "Classical Gas", a #2 hit song in 1968. He is also credited as the music producer for Williams' LP that included this song, The Mason Williams Phonograph Record.
Post also worked with Kenny Rogers and produced the first three albums he recorded with his country/rock group the First Edition (between 1967 and 1969). Post also produced Dolly Parton's hit album 9 to 5 and Odd Jobs in 1981. Much later, in 1997, he produced Van Halen's Van Halen III album.
Television theme music
One of his first jobs in television started when he was 24, as the musical director on The Andy Williams Show. Another early job was writing the theme music for the short-lived detective series Toma in 1973, but his big breakthrough (together with co-composer Pete Carpenter) came in the following year with his theme song for The Rockford Files, another series by producer Stephen J. Cannell. The theme also got cross-over Top 40 radio airplay and earned a second Grammy for Post. Post subsequently won Grammys for Best Instrumental Composition for the themes for the television shows Hill Street Blues in 1981 and L.A. Law in 1988 as well as another Grammy in 1981 for Best Instrumental Performance for the Hill Street Blues theme.
Post won an Emmy for his Murder One theme music, and had previously been nominated for NYPD Blue, among others. He has won BMI Awards for the music for L.A. Law, Hunter, and the various Law & Order series. The theme for The Greatest American Hero (co-written with Stephen Geyer) is one of the few television themes to reach as high as #2 as a single record on the Billboard Hot 100.
At the peak of his career, Post was the go-to composer for all of the series created by Donald P. Bellisario, Steven Bochco, Stephen J. Cannell and Dick Wolf. Due to the considerable amount of music to be created, Post operated an office with multiple staff composers, among them Walter Murphy, Velton Ray Bunch, Frank Denson, Jerry Grant and Greg Edmonson, all composing side by side in cubicles. Each would write music cues, to complement specific scenes from each show, in Post's signature style. This practice is not uncommon for top composers in the TV and Film composing worlds.
Other TV music works include the opening and closing themes for the series Baa Baa Black Sheep, Blossom, CHiPs, The Commish, Doogie Howser, M.D., Greatest American Hero, Hardcastle & McCormick, Hooperman, NewsRadio, Nurses, Profit, Renegade, Riptide, Silk Stalkings, Stingray, Tales of the Gold Monkey,Tenspeed and Brown Shoe, The White Shadow, Wiseguy, the BBC series Roughnecks, and Philly.
Inventions from the Blue Line
In 1994, Post released a CD, called Inventions from the Blue Line. The CD contained several of his well-known themes, featuring NYPD Blue and also including Law & Order, Silk Stalkings and Renegade. In the liner notes, he discussed his late father, Sam Postil, and the admiration for law enforcement officers that Sam instilled in Mike. He also referred to police in the traditional nickname of "blues", as in The Thin Blue Line (referring to the police in general and to police camaraderie). One of the tracks is called "The Blue Line", which Post calls "the comradery theme".
In popular culture
Pete Townshend of the rock band The Who wrote a song called "Mike Post Theme," which alluded to the ubiquity of Post's work in television theme music. It was released on The Who's 2006 album, Endless Wire.
- 1975: Railhead Overture; MGM (LP)
- 1982: Television Theme Songs; Elektra (LP)
- 1988: Music from L.A. Law and Otherwise; Polydor (LP)
- 1994: Inventions from the Blue Line; American Gramaphone (CD)
- Review from Fuzz, Acid and Flowers, partially reproduced on www.dennysguitars.com/outcasts1.html
- Maconie, Stuart (2004). Cider With Roadies (1st ed.). London: Random House. p. 69. ISBN 0-09-189115-9.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 432. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Mike Post Bio on Enotes
- Mike Post at the Internet Movie Database
- Biography On Enotes.com
- Mike Post Archive of American Television Interview