Written by David Wadley (BMI) and Neal Hefti (ASCAP), Produced by David Wadley and George Sipl, Lead and Background Vocals: David Wadley (Batman, Robin, Batfreak, The Penguin, Bass Vocals, and Synthesized "Batman" Chorus), Raquel Gary (Little Girl), Keyboards, Synthesizers, Drums, and Audio Engineer: George Sipl, Lead and Rhythm Guitar: Ed Sarley, Bass Guitar: Mike Solarz...Recorded and Mixed at Beachwood Studios, Cleveland, Ohio, Digitally Remastered at Aftermaster Audio Labs, Hollywood, California - Senior Mastering Engineer: Peter Doell, Mastering: Nashville Record Productions, Nashville, Tennessee - Mastering Engineer: John Eberle, Audio Conversion: Current Pixel, Atlanta, Georgia - Owner: Tim Rogers, Preservation Artist: Sean Jackson, Audio Archivist: Catherine Wadley, Executive Producers: Dorothy McIntyre and Walter D. Bizzell IV
Electro (or electro-funk) is a genre of electronic music and early hip hop directly influenced by the use of the Roland TR-808 drum machines, and funk. Records in the genre typically feature drum machines and heavy electronic sounds, usually without vocals, although if vocals are present they are delivered in a deadpan manner, often through electronic distortion such as vocoding and talkboxing.
Following the decline of disco music in the United States, electro emerged as a fusion of funk and New York boogie. Early hip hop and rap combined with German and Japanese electropop influences such as Kraftwerk and Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO) inspired the birth of electro. In 1981, Gandmaster Flash and The Furious Five released the masterpiece, "Scorpio." Afrika Bambaataa and producer Arthur Baker followed one year later with the seminal "Planet Rock", which was built using samples from Kraftwerk's Trans-Europe Express (1977) and drum beats supplied by the TR-808. "Planet Rock" was followed later that year by another breakthrough electro record, "Nunk" by Warp 9. In 1983, Hashim created an electro funk sound which influenced Herbie Hancock, resulting in his hit single "Rockit."
Throughout the early 1980s, electro welcomed several contributions from talented artists living in the state of Ohio, home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Zapp & Roger, a Dayton, Ohio band led by Roger Troutman, blazed a trail with the iconic "More Bounce to the Ounce" in 1980, which was produced by Cincinnati, Ohio native, William "Bootsy" Collins. Zapp and Roger's music would later be sampled by Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube and many other artists. Ice Cube stated that "More Bounce To The Ounce" introduced him to hip-hop:
"I was in the sixth grade, we'd stayed after school. We had this dude named Mr. Lock, and he used to bring in his radio with these pop-lockers [dance troupe]...He put on that song 'More Bounce', and they started pop-locking. And I think from that visual, from seeing that, it was my first introduction into hip-hop. Period. I didn't know nothing about nothing. I hadn't heard "Rapper's Delight" yet. It was the first thing that was really fly to me. They started dancing, and since 'More Bounce' goes on forever, they just got down. I just think that was a rush of adrenaline for me, like a chemical reaction in my brain." - Ice Cube
"More Bounce to the Ounce" was followed by the Grammy winning hit, "Let it Whip," released by The Dazz Band, a group hailing from Cleveland, OH. "Let it Whip" features a percolating drum machine rhythm underneath live drums, and a Minimoog bassline underneath an electric bass guitar. Radio DJ, Lynn Tolliver, then composed the electro classic "I Need a Freak" for the group Sexual Harassment in 1983, which was later recreated by the Black Eyed Peas, Too Short, and Egyptian Lover. In 1984, the final year of the electro era, David Wadley recorded an imaginative 24 track cover of "Batman Theme," effectively utilizing Troutman's earlier vocoder technique to create electronic vocals for the "Batman" chorus, and the animated voice of a humorous supervillain named Batfreak. Tolliver, who directed music programming at Cleveland's leading R&B radio station, WZAK, consistently opened his daily radio show with Wadley's "Batman Theme" to energize listeners during their morning commute to work and school.
The early 1980s were electro's mainstream peak. By the mid 1980s, the genre moved away from its electronic and funk influences, using harder edged beats and rock samples, exemplified by Run DMC. From the late 1990s onward, the term "electro" is also used to refer to two other fusion genres of electro; either blended with techno and new wave in electroclash, or with house and the former in electro house. The genre enjoyed a resurgence from 2016 onwards with DJs like Helena Hauff and DJ Stingray gaining popularity. Electro has branched out into other subgenres, including Electrocore and Skweee, which developed in Sweden and Finland. Several music labels are now pushing a current trove of electro artists introducing the genre to an entirely new generation of music lovers.
Ironically, the creators of the hip hop/electro songs "Batman Theme" (1984) by David Wadley, "The Riddler" (1995) by Method Man [produced by RZA], "Batman and Robin" (2002) by Snoop Dogg, and "GATman And Robbin" (2005) by Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, all worked together on MGM's SOUL PLANE (2004). Snoop Dogg and Method Man co-starred in the feature film, while the other three worked behind the scenes; Wadley as Supervising Sound Editor, RZA providing musical accompaniment as the Film Composer, and 50 Cent contributing his single "In Da Club" to the SOUL PLANE motion picture soundtrack.
David Wadley wrote, produced and released "Batman Theme," an electro cover of the opening theme song from the classic TV series, shortly after graduating from St. Peter Chanel High School in Cleveland, Ohio. He later made the Dean's List as a freshman at Morehouse College. Ernest Tidyman, a Cleveland journalist and Oscar-winning screenwriter of THE FRENCH CONNECTION (1971), SHAFT (1971), and HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER (1973), encouraged David to study film production at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He supported himself throughout his college years with various jobs at the The New York Hilton and Towers, The Plaza Hotel and The Waldorf Astoria, where he was given the opportunity to interact with frequent hotel patrons Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, and Jesse Jackson. As a political science major at Hunter College, David interned in Harlem's 15th Congressional District under Representative Charles Rangel.
Historically, David is the first college student invited to participate as a guest panelist on the regionally televised "City University of New York Internship Forum," where he discussed "Race Relations in New York City" with local politicians and noted political scientist, Dr. Marilyn Gittell. Intrigued by his studies relating to the Civil Rights Movement, David arranged private, face-to-face discussions with both Coretta Scott King and Betty Shabazz, the widows of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. He also worked nights as a runner for Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen and Katz; the law firm that orchestrated Bank of America's purchase of Merrill Lynch for $50 billion, as well as the hostile takeover of the RJR Nabisco empire which served as the subject of the bestselling novel and film, BARBARIANS AT THE GATE (1993).
David's desire to work in the film industry led him to Hollywood where he landed positions at Panavision and Technicolor. The former Atlanta Firefighter/EMT also worked as a Production Assistant on several films produced by Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Robert De Niro, and blaxploitation pioneer Melvin Van Peebles; including PANTHER (1995), TALES FROM THE HOOD (1995), TO WONG FOO, THANKS FOR EVERYTHING, JULIE NEWMAR (1995), and MINORITY REPORT (2002). These films gave him the opportunity to work with noted actors such as Angela Bassett, Tom Cruise, Robin Williams, Patrick Swayze, Chris Rock and Wesley Snipes. David then wrote, produced and directed a feature film entitled DARK ANGELS (1998) for Stray Dog Filmworks/Maverick Entertainment. Following the release of DARK ANGELS (1998), he wrote several feature-length screenplays including, ALWAYS AND FOREVER, NOTORIOUS, and YANG.
David became a member of I.A.T.S.E. - Local 700, the Motion Picture Editors Guild in 1999. As Music and Effects Supervisor at Sony Pictures Studios, he worked on the international versions of television programs such as The King of Queens, The Steve Harvey Show, Just Shoot Me!, and Dawson's Creek. David also served in a similar capacity for Warner Bros. Studios, where he assisted the M&E Supervisor on more than a dozen television programs including ER, The West Wing, Third Watch, Smallville, Gilmore Girls, The Bernie Mac Show, The Drew Carey Show, Friends, and the feature films TRAINING DAY (2002), SCOOBY-DOO (2001), and WHITE OLEANDER (2001). While at Warner Bros., he also edited sound effects for WHERE’S ANGELO? (2003) and performed the duties of Supervising Sound Editor on CONDEMNED (2002), which went on to win Best Short Film at the Ankara International Film Festival in Turkey.
David then started his own company, Art of Sound, Inc., performing as Supervising Sound Editor on several projects produced by the American Film Institute, as well as MGM's SOUL PLANE (2004), which showcased Kevin Hart in his first starring role, and featured Oscar winner Mo'Nique, Sofía Vergara, and Snoop Dogg. SOUL PLANE (2004) is historically noted as the first motion picture to utilize Eastman Kodak Co.'s new method of storing the soundtrack on a thin layer of cyan dye in the film instead of on a magnetic or optical track. Immediately following the film's release, David flew to Hong Kong and the Philippines, where he met with chairmen and studio executives of Viva Films, Star Cinema Productions and Regal Films. He returned to the United States with the task of restoring both sound and picture on three Filipino classics; SINASAMBA KITA (1982), BAKIT BUGHAW ANG LANGIT? (1981) and P.S. I LOVE YOU (1981), for both television and DVD release.
David later worked in Las Vegas for several years at Caesars Palace, MGM Grand and joined the Surveillance Division of Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in November 2006, several days before Prince opened his own nightclub, Club 3121, in the lower level of the Rio to present nightly performances for Las Vegas patrons. He noticed an overall lack of cultural activities on the gambling strip leading him to create the Las Vegas Film Society (LVFS) which presented monthly screenings of restored 35mm film prints such as WEST SIDE STORY (1961) and RAGING BULL (1980). This innovative film series was presented at the Regal Cinemas Theater inside the Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa. David also visited Las Vegas elementary schools as well as senior citizen groups to promote appreciation for classic films and invite local residents to the screenings.
In 2008, David secured a position with the U.S. federal government during the transfer of Executive Branch control from President George W. Bush to President Barack Obama. In addition to performing his duties as a public servant with the Federal Government of the United States, he created a website, All Women Are Beautiful (AWAB), to share public service information related to cultural diversity and inner beauty. David utilized AWAB to assist in preproduction fundraising and promotion of a film project, which inspired the film's producers to acknowledge him with "Special Thanks" in the closing credits of THE INVISIBLE WAR (2012), an investigative documentary about the epidemic of rape within the U.S. military. Two days after watching this groundbreaking film, former CIA Director and U.S. Secretary of Defense, Leon E. Panetta, directed military commanders to hand over all sexual assault investigations to a higher ranking colonel and announced that each branch of the United States Armed Forces would establish a Special Victims Unit.
THE INVISIBLE WAR (2012) was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at The Oscars (2013) and has been lauded by advocates, lawmakers, and journalists for its influence on government policies to reduce the prevalence of rape in the U.S. Armed Forces.