This year is the tenth anniversary of the release of a film called Take the Lead starring Antonio Banderas. I was fortunate enough to work on some of the soundtrack of the movie.

Director Liz Friedlander and New Line Cinema needed a piece of music to make a crucial scene work. The scene was a turning point in the movie. An old school ballroom dance teacher finally connects with troubled kids when their different styles of music are mashed together perfectly.

I (under the name McSleazy) was approached with the task of mixing June Christy’s take on Irving Berlin’s “You Can’t Take That Away from Me” with a string of hip hop tracks in perfect sync to the scene. What could have been an easy job was further complicated by copyright hell and lawyer intervention as sample clearance provided the film makers with ongoing problems.

Angie, who was the most wonderful musical contact to have, would call and break the bad news to me. Lawyers had found more problems with the samples, or a tune that we were using didn’t itself have sample clearance. It went on and on. We got there in the end. I created dozens of versions of the tune until the men in grey suits could sign their contracts.

Not only do versions of the mix feature on the ‘Take the Lead’ soundtrack cd but a further edit was made for TV promo spots.


Here’s a clip from the director’s commentary where they discuss the work put into this scene.

It’s probably the case that I may be the only person from Scotland to have co-writing credits with both George & Ira Gershwin and Eric B & Rakim – at least for the same song!


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