This is not to take back anything I said in my DVD listing for last week about the Muppet Show DVD set - like how it's the one set you absolutely have to buy - but Mark Evanier reveals that the set isn't quite everything it was supposed to be. Not only was it released a week earlier than I said, but it is missing a number of songs, presumably because someone wanted more money than the DVD producers or someone were willing to pay. In this case what's missing includes Jim Nabors singing "Gone With The Wind", Paul Williams doing "All Of Me", Vincent Price performing "You've Got A Friend", and Charles Aznavour doing his English language signature song "Dance In The Old Fashioned Way". (This is all part of a rant by Mark about the way that altered DVDs are being released without notification to the public about material that could be missing from DVDs and other potential alterations, something which I agree with him on totally by the way.)
Music clearances are the bane of TV syndicator's and DVD producers. It's the one reason why we will sadly never see a DVD release of WKRP In Cincinnati in our lifetimes. So many of the episodes were built around specific songs - notably the Russian defector episode for which it was essential that Elton John's song "Tiny Dancer" actually be heard - that the show as a whole becomes a massive train wreck when the show is "adjusted" for the loss of music rights. It doesn't destroy some episodes - the Thanksgiving episode or my own personal favourite, the one with the Reverend Little Ed ("He's Got The Devil In a Bulgarian Headlock" is one song that isn't covered by copyright restrictions) - but it destroys the series as a whole. Surely having your song a TV show even thirty years on actually helps sales, but I guess someone doesn't see it that way. Current shows presumably have contracts for music use which will keep them intact ... don't they?