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Oliver Nelson

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O Nelson

Oliver Nelson (4 June 1932 - 27 October 1975) was an innovative jazz musician who began scoring television programs soon after his move to Los Angeles in 1967. He was brought onboard The Six Million Dollar Man from the beginning of Harve Bennett's reign over the televised Steve Austin, receiving his first on-screen credit for Population Zero. He thereafter worked on the program up to the day of his unexpected death by heart attack.[1]


Nelson obit from Jet Magazine

His music set the tone that would later be emulated by the artists who followed him on the series. Most of the signature cues heard in The Six Million Dollar Man were written by him, including the memorable romantic theme for Jaime and Steve, "Sweet Jaime." Some his cues persisted well after his death, and can even be found in The Bionic Woman, a show he never lived to work on.

Undoubtedly, however, his most recognizable legacy is The Six Million Dollar Man theme, which, when set against the voice-over work of Harve Bennett and Richard Anderson, combined to create a work that Entertainment Weekly called in 2007, "the best main title sequence in the history of television".[2]


  • "Baja Bossa" - A song heard many times, composed for The Peeping Blonde; later released by Nelson on his 1975 album, Skull Session.
  • "Three Seconds" - A jazz piece composed by Nelson for his 1960 album, Screamin' The Blues, used as the basis of the score for "Dr. Wells Is Missing."


  1. Oliver Nelson's Six Million Dollar "discography" at
  2. Bernardin, Marc. "The Worst Title Sequence on TV. Ever." Popwatch. 29 October 2007.


  • Nelson's music was used to rescore The Solid Gold Kidnapping for its syndicated reedit, but as this occurred well after his passing, these episodes are examples of "tracking," rather than a true scoring effort by Nelson. Gil Mellé composed the original telefilm's score.
  • A number of episodes give credit to Nelson sufficiently beyond October 1975 as to raise questions regarding his level of involvement. Episodes beyond January of 1976 are clearly tracked, as well as some of those prior.

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