One of the defining features of the Family Guy TV show, apart from its resolutely irreverent sense of humour, is its use of lush musical arrangements. Almost every episode features a musical number, and these are performed by top swing players and recorded on the legendary Newman scoring stage at Fox Studios in Hollywood.
While the show’s writers pen the lyrics, someone has to turn these into musical pieces that work. That person is Walter Murphy, a musician of note in his own right whose disco version of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony shot to fame as part of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.
In this video, Walter walks us through two musical cues, from turning a script into a song, to creating demos, right through to recording a live, 60-piece swing band on one of the most famous scoring stages in the world. We also find out how he and the show’s creator, Seth MacFarlane, created the title sequence music for the pilot episode on a shoestring budget.