Who Is Keith Mansfield?
While he might not be a household name, you’ve almost certainly heard his music before. Keith Mansfield is a British composer, born in London in 1941, who has composed music that has largely been used on television and radio programmes.
Mansfield’s most famous pieces include “Funky Fanfare”, which was used in the USA as the music played behind advertisements or announcements in cinemas before films or during their intermissions. In the UK, his pieces can be recognised as the theme for the long-running sports show Grandstand, the theme for the BBC’s Wimbledon Tennis Tournament coverage, and the theme for the children’s TV series Freewheelers.
What is Keith Mansfield’s Legacy in Music?
In the 1960s and 1970s, Mansfield was one of the most prominent composers for KPM’s music library, composing hundreds of tracks that could easily be licensed by production companies for use within programmes without having to pay royalties. Many KPM LPs have since become cult classics and collectable items within the emergent library music fanbase, especially when they contain recordings by Mansfield himself.
As a tribute to the style of films from the 1970s, Quentin Tarantino used Keith Mansfield’s music in the 2007 film Death Proof, which contained a fake intermission pastiching one which his music would have likely originally appeared in. Tarantino has also used his music in the popular 2003 film, Kill Bill, Volume 1, amongst a variety of other filmmakers. Because of his status as a library music composer, much of his work goes unnoticed, along with ubiquitous works by his contemporaries such as Alan Hawkshaw, Syd Dale, and Alan Parker. Nonetheless, the appreciation for his works that emerged following the 1960s and 1970s has demonstrated the skills of Mansfield and the other library musicians in creating effective and catchy works, which have had hit potential in their own right.
As such, Keith Mansfield’s works have been sampled by many major artists, and featured in hit singles as a result. The extremely popular producer Danger Mouse has often sampled Mansfield’s music, using “Funky Fanfare” in the Gnarles Barkley track “Run”, and in other projects he has worked on. Fatboy Slim has also used samples of Mansfield’s works in his music. In more recent years, Mansfield has been included on a variety of albums released that feature remixes of library music tracks, such as KPM’s 2009 release “Bootleg Beats”, and the album “Vintage Remix Boutique – Skeewiff vs KPM”.
What does Keith Mansfield’s Music Sound Like?
Stylistically, Keith Mansfield’s work is often uptempo with elements of funk, soul, beat, latin music and many other styles. However, just as with other artists on KPM, his tracks feature a variety of moods in order to suit the type of scenes or programmes that they are developed with in mind. His work from the 1980s also began to move with the times, as studio musicians became less popular and he began to work with electronic synthesisers and drum machines. Mansfield’s accomplishment as a composer has also lent itself often to popular musicians such as Dusty Springfield, for whom he conducted and arranged several tracks for on her 1968 album “Dusty… Definitely”, and on a number of her hit singles from around this period.