Listen to Rare Version of the M*A*S*H Theme

The theme song to M*A*S*H, “Suicide is Painless,” first appeared in the feature film MASH (with lyrics) and, over the eleven years the television series was on the air, was modified numerous times. The familiar tune always stayed the same but the instrumentation was changed, sometimes significantly. One unique version of the theme song was played in the background of the 1972 CBS fall preview for the series, which you can watch here. I’m not sure how to describe this version. Soulful, perhaps? It’s certainly different than the version most people are familiar with.

Anyway, I was contacted late last month by M*A*S*H fan Dalton who came upon a recording of this version of the theme song sans dialogue and sound effects at the Television Production Music Museum (which I wrote about at Television Obscurities last year). It runs for almost two minutes and is one of numerous CBS theme songs said to be from the 1974-1975 season, courtesy of the L.M. Withers Collection.

Personally, I really like this version but it wouldn’t have worked well over the opening credits.

5 Comments

  • Eric says:

    Wow! That was some preview, it gave away the whole pilot!

  • Dalton says:

    You’re right, the theme wouldn’t have worked with the opening credits. It just has that “soulful” kind of feel like you said, and it wouldn’t have fit with the opening too well. For the preview though, it was a pretty good rendition.

  • Guest says:

    It sounds to me like a computerized version that may have been composed for a CD soundtrack or so… I’ve noticed a few CDs out there with all kinds of television show theme songs on them, and if the themes are instrumental ones, for some reason, they usually replace the real things with computerized compositions (MIDI).

  • Your website is a real treat! I have been a huge fan of M*A*S*H forever. I used to have a reproduction of the signpost in my parents back yard in the early to mid ’80s!

    The link to the rare version of the M*A*S*H theme sans the dialogue and sound effects seems to be broken. I would LOVE it if you could either fix the link, or email me a copy.

    Thanks so much, for all the years of enjoyment!

  • Walrus says:

    What is the song played when the helicopters went into battle

Leave a Reply to Larry Lee Moniz Cancel reply