BACKSTAIRS AT THE WHITE HOUSE - Morton Stevens (Original Score) (2-CD Set)

Dragon's Domain Records


(UPC: 712187488020)

CD Includes Digital Download / Digital Booklet

Dragon’s Domain Records, to be distributed through, presents BACKSTAIRS AT THE WHITE HOUSE, featuring music composed by Morton Stevens for the 1979 television miniseries directed by Michael O’Herlihy, developed for television by Gwen Bagni and Paul Dubov. The cast included Leslie Uggams, Olivia Cole, Louis Gossett Jr., Robert Hooks, Bill Overton, David Downing Celeste Holm, Lee Grant, Larry Gates, Jan Sterling, Eileen Heckart, John Anderson, Harry Morgan, Estelle Parsons, Barbara Barrie, Andrew Duggan, Leslie Nielsen, Hari Rhodes, George Kennedy, Ed Flanders, Victor Buono, Barry Sullivan, Paul Winfield and Robert Vaughn.

BACKSTAIRS AT THE WHITE HOUSE was a 1979 NBC television miniseries presented in four parts and based on the 1961 book ‘My Thirty Years Backstairs At The White House’ by Lillian Rogers Parks (with Frances Spatz Leighton). The series, produced by Ed Friendly Productions, was the story of behind-the-scenes workings of the White House and the relationship between the staff and the First Families. BACKSTAIRS AT THE WHITE HOUSE was nominated for 11 Emmy Awards at the 31st Primetime Emmy Awards, winning for Outstanding Achievement in Make-up.

At its heart, BACKSTAIRS AT THE WHITE HOUSE is a story about resilience, self-sacrifice, and the enduring human spirit. Through its diverse cast of historical characters, the series celebrates the unsung heroes whose contributions often go unnoticed in the annals of American history. Whether it's the dedicated housemaids, the skilled chefs, or the loyal butlers, each member of the White House staff plays a vital role in upholding the traditions and dignity of the presidential residence.

The music for BACKSTAIRS AT THE WHITE HOUSE was crafted by composer extraordinaire Morton Stevens. Stevens gained industry-wide recognition for his work as the composer for the mega-hit television series HAWAII FIVE-O, which boasted one of the most recognizable themes in the history of television. Stevens’ music for BACKSTAIRS AT THE WHITE HOUSE is a veritable journey through six decades of period-accurate American folk music, with a European romantic twist. The modest-sized orchestra helps to create a close intimacy between the characters on screen and the audience. The main theme, often expressed in the upper strings, is peppered throughout the entirety of the series. The individual presidential administrations are scored as if each were its own “episode” within the larger framework of the narrative. There are individual themes and motifs representing the Taft, Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower families. Along the way, Stevens’ music evolves throughout the various administrations, mirroring the ongoing maturation of the United States as a nation.

Born In Newark, New Jersey in 1929, Morton Stevens studied composition at the Juilliard School and became the arranger and later, the musical director, for Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Liza Minnelli. He also served as music director for CBS and was a prolific composer and arranger for television for over 30 years. Best known for the famous theme music for HAWAII FIVE-0, for which he won two Emmys, Stevens contributed music to many television shows, including GUNSMOKE, POLICE WOMAN, THRILLER, WAGON TRAIN, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E., CIMARRON STRIP, THE WILD WILD WEST and TINY TOON ADVENTURES. Stevens also served on the board of directors for the Academy Of Television Arts And Sciences. Surprisingly, he only scored a few feature films including ACT OF PIRACY, THEY STILL CALL ME BRUCE, CRACKING UP and THE RAIDERS. Stevens scored 101 TV movies and nine motion pictures in a three-decade career that began in the early 1960s and ran until 1990. A former student of Jerry Goldsmith, he co-scored the 1981 miniseries MASADA and Arthur Hayley’s WHEELS in 1978, for which he both received Emmy nominations.

 Dragon’s Domain Records presents the premiere release of BACKSTAIRS AT THE WHITE HOUSE, featuring music composed by Morton Stevens. The liner notes are written by author and composer Brian Satterwhite. The music has been mastered by James Nelson at Digital Outland.

The music is presented on two CDs. When the score for BACKSTAIRS AT THE WHITE HOUSE was recorded , it was common for studios or networks to house the master tapes wherever storage space was available, even if proven detrimental to the materials over time. There was no foresight in preserving these reels for posterity. Many recordings during this period (especially for television) have not survived the passage of time. Magnetic tape warps and will eventually disintegrate if not properly stored in precise conditions. Several tracks of BACKSTAIRS AT THE WHITE HOUSE weathered significant damage which can be heard in the final transfer. Effort was taken to mend the damaged reels and digitally remove as much of the unwanted artifacts as possible. However, a handful of tracks were scarred beyond repair and are properly labeled as “Damaged” on this album presentation.

BACKSTAIRS AT THE WHITE HOUSE is a limited edition release and is expected to begin shipping the week of May 20th and can be ordered at

CD 1 EPISODE 1 (Taft, Wilson, Harding)
1. Main Theme (2:12)
2. The Story Begins / Getting To Work /Montage (4:48)
3. The Fan / Sneaking Food / Lillian in Catholic School (2:25)
4. Maggie’s Fine Dress / The Tafts Leave /Enter The Wilsons (4:19)
5. May 1914 / The Death of Mrs. Wilson / Hardly Dignified (2:17)
6. War Is Imminent / A Letter / War Is Over / Wilson Collapses (4:06)
7. Lincoln’s Bed / Fooling Senators / Meet The Prince Of Wales (7:03)
8. Wilsons Leave White House / Preparing For The Hardings / End Credit Theme (2:48)
9. Forgotten Coat / Contaminated Blood / Harding Walks Out / The Suicide / Goodbye (5:19)
EPISODE 2 (Harding, Coolidge, Hoover)
10. Annie’s Farewell / Efficient Coolidge / Bowl Of Peanuts (3:38)
11. Coolidge To The Dress Shop / Miss Jaffrey Resigns (4:11)
12. Repo Men Take Freezer / Lillian Goes To Work / First Day On The Job / Coming Up (5:26)

13. Marching Band (Source) (3:57)
14. Party (Source) (3:24)
15. Piano A (Source) (2:00)
16. Victrola (Source) (0:24)
17. The Charleston (Source) (0:45)
18. Music Box (Source) (0:16)

19. Spring 1912* / Mrs. Taft’s Stroke* / Lillian’s Surgery* / Lillian’s Crutches* (4:34)
20. Recap Episode 1 / Illegal Booze / Teapot Dome* / Mrs. Harding and Maggie (3:31)
21. Spring 1912* (Alternate) (0:22)
22. Main Theme* (Alternate) (2:06)
Total Time - Disc One: 70:51

CD 2 EPISODE 3 (Hoover, Roosevelt)
1. Main Theme (Long Version) (2:25)
2. Roosevelts Take Over / Lillian and FDR Bond / First Maid / Cleaning Frenzy (3:28)
3. I Am Never Going To Leave You / Salary Cut / Louis Howe Is Dead / Maggie Retires (5:50)
4. Miss LeHand Has A Stroke / Fraser Says Goodbye / FDR Talks of War (6:09)
EPISODE 4 (Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower)
5. Recap Episode 3 (3:46)
6. 1942 / Nothing But A Towel / Maggie Returns / Tea Tasting / No Excuse For Slovenliness (2:32)
7. Take Me Home / Fraser’s Death (3:20)
8. Lillian and FDR / The Trumans Take Over (4:15)
9. Mushroom Cloud / The Scrapbook / Blair House / Shootout / Surprise Birthday Party (5:22)
10. The Mays Funeral / Maggie’s Last Breath (5:01)
11. Lillian’s Last Day / I Am Going To Write A Book (3:40)
12. End Credit (1:05)
13. Happy Days Are Here Again (Source) (2:14)
14. Newsreel (Source) (0:38)
15. Radio Play (Source) (0:56)
16. Big Band (Source) (0:45)
17. Piano B (Source) (0:42)
18. Party A / B (Source) (3:16)
19. Piano C (Source) (0:27)
20. Recap Episode 2 / Money’s Gone* / Secret Service (5:33)
21. Face To Face With Hoover / Henry Loses His Job* / Maggie Collapses (6:47)
22. Main Theme* (Short Version) (1:29)
Total Time - Disc Two: 70:38