Since I seem to be on a FRASIER jag (and I'm going up to Seattle Friday for the Mariners' home opener), here's a Friday Frasier question that deserves its own post. And a special guest to answer it.
What's the story of the song "Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs" that Kelsey Grammer sings at the end of the show? Who wrote it? What does it mean? Who's idea was it to put it at the end of the show and for Kelsey to sing it?
To answer I went to the source, the extremely talented, Bruce Miller. (Bruce also did the music for ALMOST PERFECT so you know I'm more than a fan.)
Having been the composer on a show called "Wings", I was asked by the creator's of that show to try to come up with a song for their next effort….that is to submit as one of three submissions for the "prize" in a blindfold test to chose the one they liked best!
I was told they wanted something pretty eclectic and jazzy, but to avoid any direct references to specific subject matter. So it was necessary to stay away from words about psychiatry, radio shows, the name "Frasier", and anything else directly indicating aspects of the show.
I immediately wrote the song/music itself, but then needed a lyric that would work, so I called my friend Darryl Phinnesse who is really talented and really smart. I gave him the idea of the show and he called back with the idea of "Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs". At first I was a bit baffled myself until he explained that these were things that were "mixed up"….like Frasier Crane's patients. Once we agreed on this premise (by the time I fully understood it), we went into completing the song. I actually did contribute a couple lines, but the heavy lifting here was Darryl, and lucky for me that I went to him to him in the first place.
"Hey baby I hear the blues a-callin"-refers to patients with troubles calling into the radio show
"Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs"
"But maybe I seem a bit confused"-Frasier's personality was a bit????
"Maybe, but I got you pegged"-Frasier does understand these people and helps them.
"But I don't know what to do with those Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs"-it's a tough business….gotta deal with these "crazies" every day.
"They're calling again"-oh, oh….should be self explanatory.
When I first wrote the song, I instantly thought of the great jazz singer, Mel Torme. He would have been perfect, but the producers wanted me to try Kelsey….and of course, he really made it his own with his interpretation.
As you can see, there were elements of this whole process that came to me from others. Those elements are what eventually helped to make the song successful on the show.
I'd assume the network wanted to get right into the show as quickly as possible (just my guess), so the song needed to go where it could be played full length. When the short little graphics of the Seattle skyline were created for the open of the show, I was asked to compose several different short pieces in the style of the theme, which were alternated each episode, depending upon the particular graphic used for that episode. I recall having composed about 25 of those little main titles by the end of the show's run.
Thanks so much, Bruce. Here's your now-classic closing theme.