AN INTERVIEW WITH
Recently, we were very fortunate to speak briefly with Don Spencer – the vocalist behind the ever popular Fireball XL5 theme tune. Fireball was the first of numerous singles Don released during his career and he also went on forge a career in children's entertainment both in his native Australia and the UK. You can find out more about his fascinating life at www.donspencer.com.au
How were you chosen to sing the Fireball XL5 theme song?
I guess you would have to say it was a bit of a fluke. I was recording several of my own songs for possible release, and while I was doing that, I was asked if I would do a demo vocal of Fireball. I almost forgot about it and a year later, when I was in Canada, I got word it was in the Hit Parade so I flew back to the UK. One of my original songs is the B side of Fireball called 'I'm all alone again'.
What did you think of the song at the time?
I loved it but thought I was just doing a demo of the vocal for someone else to sing it so I was very surprised to hear they had released my demo.
Do you recall where the song was it recorded and what the recording session was like?
The famous Abbey Road Studios where the Beatles recorded. (It was) nerve wracking but exciting because I sang with the orchestra who recorded alongside me.
What was Barry Gray like?
I unfortunately never met him.
Did you meet Gerry and Sylvia Anderson?
Yes, many times, even went to stay with them. They were delightful.
Did you go to the studios and see any filming
Do you remember the BBC briefly banning the song?!
No… I would love to know why… I wonder if it was my singing!!
What's your feeling towards the show all these years later?
Wonderful...to this day, I get people who say “Are you the guy who sang the theme?" My only regret was that because of a contractual problem with Robert Stigwood (who I had a big falling out with), unbeknown to me, Robert told Sylvia and Gerry that I was unavailable to work with them on 'Thunderbirds’. I didn't find out until they told me years later. They were annoyed and refused to speak to me until I persisted to find out what the problem was. They forgave me... but I never forgave Robert Stigwood.