R.I.P. Bob Cobert, who composed the cool, eerie music of Dark Shadows
His 'Dark Shadows' soundtrack made history — and charted in the Top 20.
Image: The Everett Collection
A good deal of Dark Shadows' ambiance can be credited to Bob Cobert. The composer imbued the gothic soap opera with music that both evoked classic horror scores and looked to the future with its spacey sounds. No wonder that ABC released an official soundtrack album for the show, under the weighty title of The Original Music From Dark Shadows with The Robert Cobert Orchestra Featuring Jonathan (Barnabas) Frid and David (Quentin) Selby.
The record was the first soundtrack to a daytime soap opera ever released. It also rocketed into the Top 20 on the Billboard album chart in 1969. Dark Shadows was that popular. The music was that cool.
In fact, the soap opera itself helped drive album sales by creating a sort of proto-music video. In one episode, Charity Trask and Quentin Collins lustfully make faces as the entirety of "Shadows of the Night (Quentin’s Theme)" plays. The Charles Randolph Grean Sounde then covered an instrumental version of "Quentin's Theme" — and that became a hit Billboard single on both the pop and easy-listening charts.
Cobert was so masterful at scoring vampire television that he was later commissioned to compose the score to the 1972 TV movie The Night Stalker, which later spawned the cult series Kolchak: The Night Stalker.
Cobert excelled in the realm of game shows, too. He wrote the theme songs to Password, Blockbusters and The $25,000 Pyramid.
The composer died on February 19, as reported by Variety. He was 95.
Listen to the Dark Shadows theme and "Quentin's Theme" below.