Sunday, 20 December 2015

The Selling Sounds of the Seventies: Sonic Design - Bruce Clarke's Jingle Workshop (1970?)

As I’ve written previously, I think that ‘incidental’ music such as advertising, television soundtracks and the like is far more evocative of our past than the pop hits that are generally believed to fulfill this role. Don’t get me wrong – I love old pop music – but it gets continually reused by later generations, symmetrically enough often for advertising and soundtracks, and this reappropriation strips the music of its original context and it becomes part of the sonic canon to newer generations. Not so for the advertisements. Ad music is created, used and then forgotten all within a very short amount of time. It is here that you can experience a real time capsule and listen to what the past really sounded like.

Sonic Design by Bruce Clarke’s Jingle Workshop is one such time capsule and a remarkable one at that. Sonic Design is intended as an advertisement of the advertiser’s advertising work. It’s an LP length mixtape of the Jingle Workshop’s existing jingles, campaigns and examples of what they can do in the recording studio. Put this on in your car as you drive down the street and you will swear you are actually travelling through late 1960s Australia.

The Jingle Workshop was a production company helmed by Bruce Clarke – a talented and diverse performer and teacher – and which produced “3000 odd credits for television ads and programmes as well as film soundtracks produced for local and international markets”.  There were apparently a number of similar promotional records produced by the Jingle Workshop, but Sonic Design is the most common, in my experience.

The narration is a bit naff, in that peculiar late-1960s way, but the music still sounds great.



  1. Thanks for this. Buce Clarke also had an album called "Stratusphunk" in 1974 -

  2. Cheers Simon, I had a listen to that album as I was writing this post - it's gold! Would love to get a copy.