Remembered & Remastered Volume 2: Richard Joseph
Prior to writing music for the games industry Richard was an active musician/singer. He joined the the prog rock group
CMU on their second album before joining Jazz funk band Shakatak. He also released a solo single for EMI. It wasn't til 1986 when he replied to an advert from Palace Software seeking a musician for their games in the now defunct
I’d just spent a year composing about 100 tunes on a Yamaha CX5 music computer (including the ‘famous’ Robocod one), and had tinkered with a Spectrum so it wasn’t that hard to convince Palace. - Richard Joseph
Sadly Richard passed away in March 2007 and through the eyes of the remixer we remember him and his work on both the C64 and the Amiga home computers.
The 8-bit years
Richard was given the task of writing the music plus 20 sound effects for the Palace Software game
Cauldron II in just 20 days. The results were basic and resulted in a very short jingle lasting just 30 seconds. Richard was working on a longer version but time ran out and it was never finished. Despite that it still managed to sneak its way into many hearts with 10 remixes at RKO. Trauma from the c64 group Press Play On Tape back in 2003 created a very unusual but highly satisfying semi a capella remix which builds and builds into something quite aggressive. Apparently, Trauma is a pumpkin man. Who would have thought?
Unfortunately, there are very few remixes of Palace Software's
The Sacred Armour Of Antiriad. The ones out there are of mediocre quality. It's a surpise really how few people have tackled this little gem. In 2002 Glyn R Brown entered a remix competition held by remix64 and entered a three track mix of
Antiriad, Warhawk and Myth. It came 5th of of 11 entries. While it's not Glyn's best work it still holds much merit and in fact the Antiriad sections stand out the best. It will take up over 9 minutes of your life.
Shortly after Richard's passing in 2007 Reyn Ouwehand paid homage by quickly remixing Palace Software's
Stifflip & co.
When I started doing transcriptions of the actual track I stumbled upon some really genius melodies, chord changes, modulations and phrasing of melodies. I was blown away really. He knew what he was doing and he must have put a lot of effort in his work. Even parts that sound the same in the track have nice different details hidden inside of it. Real craftsmanship. All in all it was very impressive, this great jolly track of his. - Reyn.
A highlight of Richard's career on the C64 and a game that sparked quite a bit of controversy back in the 80's was Barbarian. Rather than the violence in the game being an issue it was a scantilly clad page 3 model Maria Whittaker's appearence on the front cover. The controversy however pushed the game's sales figures higher, so much so that it enabled Palace Software to expand its operations. There are several remixes of Barbarian on RKO that all follow the same orchestral path and in similar ways. I've gone with a remixer who has only ever released one mix and that was in 2008 who goes by the name Asterion (Rafal Kazimierski).
Amazingly, it took til 2019 for a really creative and complete version of Cinemaware's Defender of the Crown. The whole score was originally created by Jim Cuomo for the Amiga and Atari ST. Richard was given the rare task of converting the 16-bit soundtrack to the C64. More often than not it was the other way around. Peter Clarke's remix brings the main theme and sub themes into 1 giant epic. Oh! He's fond of elves! Aren't we all?
The 16-bit years
The famous Bitmap Brothers game
Gods - Into the Wonderful was created by Nation 12 and incorrectly credited to Richard Joseph on Amiga Remix. The same also goes for
Speed Ball 2. Richard created the code behind the tune and also did the sound FX for the game. Since Richard was heavily involved in the game we can let that detail slip. The Amiga game was published by Renegade. Subsequent versions were published/distributed by a whole host of different companies including Mindscape, Accolade, Konami, TCM complete. In 2017 Andreaux created this Wonderful remix. A year later he did a second version. To date these two remixes are his only ones.
After the huge success of the Sensible Soccer series of games Sensible Software or maybe Not Quite Sensible Software used the same style of tiny sprites and top down views for the whacky but ever so fun
Cannon Fodder. Jon Hare - a musician in his own right - teamed up with Richard to create a wonderful set of jolly tunes. The main theme covered here in 2004 by Infamous continues with the whacky nature of the original by speeding up Jon Hare's lyrics.
Famous for its very colourful graphics Millennium Interactive's
James Pond II: Codename: RoboCod featured some rarther cheeky and catchy tunes. Makke's version from 2006 enhances that feeling using a funky organ and some well placed
Sensible Software's Iconic stategy game
Mega Lo Mania is rightly considered a classic amongst Amiga fans. Richard's atmospheric composition was expertly remixed by Sacco Garcia Peveri in 2015.
Richard was a brilliant musician who enriched our lives with some great melodies. This picture of Richard is how I'd like to remember him. It really does sum it up without words.
/Neil Carr (Tas)
Richard Joseph: 1953 - 2007
Further References on remix64:
The Secret History of Richard Joseph By Warren Pilkington