On this program we discuss the heyday of NFL Films in the 60s and 70s with their Music Director Phil Spieller.
NFL Films was run by Ed Sabol, and later his son, Steve Sabol. They documented the National Football League with a style that developed into a mix of slow motion footage and dramatic music, combined with sideline access and personality profiles. The combination helped to sell the NFL to the general public with weekly highlights and magazine programs, and eventually an entire network, documenting every moment of every game that took place.
Besides covering the NFL, they would also make documentaries about the NBA, tennis, and even NASA.
The music selections were ambitious, spanning many genres and styles. They combined original scoring by their in-house composers such as Sam Spence, supplemented by production library music.
Phil Spieller was the person making those critical music selections. He began by doing sound for weddings and Bar Mitzvahs in Philadelphia, before getting work in Washington D.C. for Norwood Studios doing location recordings for training films for the FBI and the Dept. of Agriculture. He edited soundtracks in Los Angeles and arrived at NFL Films in 1968 where he would work as their Music Director for 16 years until 1984.
On this program he talks about music choices, editing, working with the Ed and Steve Sabol, John Facenda, production music libraries, and the music of Sam Spence.
Listen to the PRX Phil Spieller radio program:
Click the link below to listen to the extended version of the Phil Spieller NFL Films interview (without music tracks), with additional detail about the editing process and production music library labels that he used:
Listen to the Phil Spieller Extended Interview (no music):