Thomas Lee Bähler
For the past thirty five years, Tom Bähler has collaborated and worked independently as a Composer, Producer, Creative Director, Songwriter, Singer and Arranger, on a countless number of successful television, film, album and theatrical projects.
A multi-faceted talent, Tom is a product of the USC Thornton School of Music. He first entered television as a singer for The Smothers’ Brothers Show. His high demand as a studio singer opened the industry’s eyes to his gift for arranging and composing. Not long after, Tom found himself as the Vocal Arranger for such hit television shows as The Partridge Family and The Brady Bunch.
Then, as an independent Songwriter, Tom penned the hit songs “Julie do you Love Me” for Bobby Sherman, “Living in a House Divided” for Cher, and “She’s Out of my Life”, the fourth top ten single from Michael Jackson’s “Off the Wall” album. In 1973 he began singing, arranging and writing for Quincy Jones’ gold albums including “Body Heat”, “Mellow Madness”, “Sounds n’ Stuff Like That”, “Q’s Juke Joint”, the Soundtrack Albums for “The Wiz” and “The Color Purple.” For Phil Ramone and Billy Joel he did the vocal arrangements and sang on Billy’s “Innocent Man” album, still his greatest seller. Tom’s long term working relationship with Quincy Jones soared in 1985 when Tom was named Associate Producer and Vocal Arranger for We Are the World, as well as conductor for the finale of the historic Live Aid concert.
In 1985 Tom was given the task of creating the new music library and composing original songs for the top-rated daytime drama, General Hospital. He composed for the show for nine years and was honored for “Outstanding Music Achievement” by Soap Opera Magazine. He spent a season writing special material for The Mac Davis Show and later served as Musical Director for the Network Television Special, Red Hot Rhythm and Blues starring Diana Ross. In 1992, Tom composed the score for the critically acclaimed CBS Movie of the Week, In the Eyes of a Stranger, starring Richard Dean Anderson and Justine Bateman, and Produced by Cary Brokaw. In 1993, Tom became Musical Director for the long running Circus of the Stars.
For eleven seasons, Tom composed and produced the original music, as well as served as Music Director, for CBS’ annual telecasts of the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA Pageants produced by Sid Smith and Edd Griles. In 1998 Tom co-wrote the theme for Quincy Jones’ VIBE television show.
In addition to the successful recordings listed above, Tom has sung, arranged and composed countless songs for virtually all the major recording labels and leading artists since 1967. Some of these include: Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Quincy Jones, Ray Charles, Nancy Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Cher, The Jackson Five, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Gladys Knight, Diana Ross, Andre and Saundra Crouch, Sarah Vaughn, Michael Jackson and Renée Fleming.
Tom’s extensive feature film experience includes having served as Music Supervisor, as well as Executive Producer, of the soundtrack album for the Academy Award-nominated “The Color Purple” directed by Steven Spielberg and Produced by Quincy Jones. He co-wrote and produced the music for Ray Stark’s production of “The Slugger’s Wife” and for DeLaurentiis’ “Raw Deal” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. For Cary Brokaw’s Avenue Pictures, Tom composed the music for “Ground Zero” and scored, as well as produced, the soundtrack album for “Cold Feet.” In 1991, he scored Michael Lindsay Hogg’s Avenue feature entitled “The Object of Beauty” starring John Malcovich and Andie McDowell. In 1996, Tom’s “Cowboy Reggae” was licensed by Nora Ephron to introduce John Travolta’s character in his hit “Michael.” Warner Brothers also contracted with Tom to use some of his compositions for the Chevy Chase film, “Vegas Vacation.” In 1997 Tom was to write and produce an anthem entitled “The American Dream” for “Wag the Dog” a film written by David Mamet, directed by Barry Levinson, and starring Robert DeNiro and Dustin Hoffman.
Tom studied composition with George Tremblay from 1976 until George’s death in 1982. In addition to having success in the popular music field (listed above) Tom also composes music for Theatrical and special events. In 1988, the renowned illusionists, Siegfried & Roy, enlisted Tom as Musical Director and Composer of original music for their record-setting World Tour, and in 1990 invited him back to compose and produce the music for their sell out show still running at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. Their production, directed by John Caird and John Napier, has since become the most successful show in Las Vegas history.
Additionally, Tom scored and produced the music for the nation of Singapore’s 25th Anniversary Celebration. He also composed and produced the musical scores for the Dairinkai “Water Fantasium” and the “Fantastic Odyssey” exhibits. Conceived by Daniel Flannery, these exhibits were the leading attractions at the 1990 World’s Fair in Osaka, Japan and the1993 World’s Fair in Taejon, Korea. Fantastic Odyssey is now a permanent attraction at Lotte World in Seoul, Korea. The show is so popular that patrons wait in line for two hours to see and hear this show. In December of 1995, again working with his good friend Daniel Flannery, Tom Created a new composition entitled “Prismatic Fantasy” that appeared as a ‘Second Gate’ for Geopolis at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan.
Tom recently composed a tone poem entitled The Atlanta Skyline, commissioned by the Georgia Institute of Technology premiered at the College Band Director’s national convention held in Atlanta, Georgia in February 2002. Tom consulted with Thomas Galloway, the Dean of the College of Architecture who then set up interviews with John Portman, Tom Ventulett, Jerry Cooper and Larry Lord, whose philosophies and observations of the close relationship of architecture and music became the keystone of Tom’s composition.
At the request of Dr. Arthur C. Bartner and the USC Alumni Association, Tom composed two new works for USC’s “Spirit of Troy”, “TROJAN VICTORY” and “WE ARE SC”.
Tom recently composed the music for the Christmas Spectacular ‘TWAS for the NextStage Theater in Grand Prairie Texas.
Tom’s special event expertise spans over twenty years. Under his friend and mentor Robert F. Jani, Tom served as Creative/Musical Director and composed, arranged and supervised the music for the three most popular shows in the history of the refurbished Radio City Music Hall: New York Summer, America, and Encore. His musical setting of “The Night Before Christmas” became an on-going favorite in the Music Hall’s Christmas spectacular. Tom’s special association with his Mentor, Robert F. Jani began at USC and continued for many years as he Arranged, composed and produced countless projects for Mr. Jani at Disneyland. In addition, Tom served as the Musical Director and composer for all of the Anheuser-Busch corporate entertainment specials produced from 1978 until 1988, each featuring over forty major stars, produced by Imero Fiorentino Associates. During that period, his close relationship with Michael Roarty director of Marketing for Anheuser Busch helped to form his business/entertainment philosophy that has served him so well. In January of 1993, Tom continued his working relationship with his Mentor Quincy Jones and his partner David Salzman when he acted as both Music Director and Music Supervisor for Jones’ momentous production of the Lincoln Memorial Concert, celebrating the first inauguration of President Clinton, broadcast on HBO. In January, 1994 he served as Creative Director for “Rockin Country Sunday”, the 1994 Superbowl Halftime show.
On December 11th, 1994, Tom again teamed up with Quincy Jones and David Salzman, acting as Music Director for the historic “Concert of the America’s” held in Miami at the behest of President Clinton to honor the 34 Presidents and Prime Ministers of the Western Hemisphere.
In January of 1997, Tom served as Creative Director for the Superbowl XXXI halftime extravaganza “Blues Brothers Bash.” Working for Dennis Despie’s Select Productions, Tom proudly brought The Blues Brothers, James Brown and ZZ Top back to the world stage.
In 1991, through his association with Jani International, Tom was given the honor of producing and arranging music used as the themes for “The Points of Light Foundation.” In addition, Tom conducted the ‘President’s Own’ Marine Band and choir at the White House for President Bush’s non-profit organization.
In 1994 Tom was Supervising Producer of the World Cup Qualifying Draw held in New York City, where he was responsible for all aspects of the entertainment production. On June 17, 1994 Tom produced Diana Ross’ Opening Ceremonies for World Cup ’94 in Chicago.
In April of 1995, Tom acted as Executive Producer for Dr. Arthur Bartner’s Twenty- Fifth Anniversary Celebration at the Memorial Coliseum. The event, in addition to honoring the leader of “Spirit of Troy, raised money for the University of Southern California’s Trojan Marching Band.
Again in December of 1997, at the request of Larry Livingston, Dean of music, Tom acted as Executive Producer for the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music’ “Dickens Dinner” held at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, an evening honoring Quincy Jones’ fifty years of entertainment. The event also raised money for a Quincy Jones Scholarship. In March of 1997, The University of Southern California bestowed its prestigious Alumni Merit Award upon Tom and in May of the same year, he received the Dean’s Special Commendation from the Thornton School of Music for his ongoing efforts concerning his Alma Mater.
For “America’s Millennium” our nation’s celebration hailing this new century produced by Quincy Jones and George Stevens Jr., Tom once again served as primary music arranger and Musical Director.
In 2000 through 2002 Tom co-created and produced major entertainment segments of Sun Microsystems corporate shows, produced by Dave Richanbach and Associates.
In December, 2001, Tom again teamed with George Stevens Jr. to coordinate, Music Direct and Conduct Quincy Jones segment of The Kennedy Center Honors as Quincy was awarded that coveted prize. Tom also arranged and conducted the finale for the renowned soprano, Renée Fleming, at her request.
Starting in January 1999, Tom became Producer/Director for the Champagne Theater at the Welk Resort in Branson Mo. His new shows have garnered unanimous acclaim as the best entertainment in the theater’s ten year history. He is currently in the planning stages, with Larry Welk, to design and oversee all new productions at the Champagne Theater through Christmas 2003.
Tom’s foray into advertising began early in his career when J. Walter Thompson hired Tom and his Brother John to create a musical group to represent Ford Motor Company in all their television, radio and print advertising from 1969 through 1970. Tom was enlightened by his close proximity to Henry Ford II for those two years. Tom and John then went on to sing over 600 television and radio commercials as well as compose and arrange them. In 1988, Tom, in a collaborative effort with his brother John, arranged and produced the music for the Arrow Shirts campaign. They garnered two Clio Awards as well as the New York International Advertising Award, the London International Advertising Award and the honor of being listed as Ad Week’s All-Star Creative Team “Arrangers of the Year.”
Tom’s unique talent for writing dance and vocal arrangements enabled him to co-write and produce music for Sidney Poitier’s dance feature, “Fast Forward.” On numerous other projects he has written dance arrangements for such renowned choreographers as Graziella Daniel, Geoffrey Holder, Tad Tadlock as well as Joe Layton, Lester Wilson and Scott Salmon.
In 1995, Bähler’s career took an understandable yet unique turn when the company Dare To Dream, owned by Jeff Jani, for which Tom served as Creative Director since it’s inception, was acquired by the Microsoft Corporation. Tom then formed a new company with Don Kobayashi. The result, Sequel Intertainment, provided creative services for Microsoft Corporation’s ActiMate character “Barney” which made a smash debut at the Toy Fair in February, 1997, and hit the market with tremendous popularity. ActiMate sales totaled $100,000,000.
In addition to overseeing the creative content for the standalone version of Barney (who boasts a 16,000-word vocabulary), Tom also composed 107 new songs for the four CD Rom Titles that were released concurrently with the ActiMate character. Sequel Intertainment also performed all of the LPC voice editing for the ActiMate character Barney as well as producing all audio areas of the entire project.
Tom is currently creating a new musical play, “ÆSOP”, for which Tom wrote the story and music as well as lyrics. It is based upon the “LIFE OF ÆSOP” the first biography written in 300 BC based on a subject who was neither a king nor warrior. Tom first began his work on this piece in 1979 when he found that ÆSOP was born a slave, yet when he died, he was the ambassador to the most powerful king on earth, Crœsus of Lydia.