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Tom Merriman

tom merriman, tom merriman attorney
Thomas Wayne Merriman 20 March 1924 Chicago – 11 November 2009 Dallas was an American music composer based in Dallas, Texas, who in 1955 created the first production company specializing in radio station advertising campaigns and jingles Merriman led the Liberty Network Band, and arranged and/or produced music for Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway


  • 1 Career
    • 11 TM Studios
      • 111 "Dance the Slurp"
  • 2 Death
  • 3 Historical collections
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links


Merriman wrote and recorded the first ever radio jingle recorded in Dallas for KLIF He also wrote countless commercials that are still recognizable and remembered today, corporate musical shows, Las Vegas shows, and theme park ride music, he also recorded the voice on his classic, "I’m Otto, the Orkin Man"

He was one of the original owners of KVIL, a major FM radio station serving the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex

He was a graduate of Indiana University, renowned for its music school, Merriman was a student of the Juilliard School of Music and established his musical credentials with an impressive list of clients Over the years, he wrote and produced music for Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Cab Calloway, as well as corporate and film clients — winning a Cannes Film Festival Award and an award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Among his musical works, Merriman’s arranged a hit for Louis Armstrong’s, "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans"

Over the years, Merriman mentored young musicians and writers, some of whom followed in his jingle/radio ID footsteps, such as local singer/composer, Chris Kershaw, whom he took under his wing when he was a teenager at St Mark's School in Dallas; and jazz composer/producer, Phil Kelly, now living in Bellingham, Washington, who says that "working with Tom over a period of thirty plus years was always continuing post graduate instruction in how to write all kinds of commercial music I'm definitely a far better writer, directly due to watching, listening, learning and, often stealing from him"

TM Studios

Before partnering with Jim Long in 1967 to create one of the nation’s most influential commercial jingle and radio ID production companies, TM Productions now TM Studios, Merriman was a staff writer for various production houses, an independent producer, the owner of CRC Commercial Recording Corporation, where he wrote and recorded a custom jingle for the Dallas Morning News: "Start the day with the world on your doorstep, with the Dallas Morning News"

All the while, he kept his "day job" as the Music Director at the Hockaday School — until the success of the TM Companies far exceeded his wildest dreams Even with success and a busy schedule, he still found time to serve as orchestral arranger for his friend, Jim Clancy, who founded the now internationally recognized vocal performance group, The Vocal Majority

The TM Companies grew to include not only radio IDs and commercial jingles, but also radio programming, automated radio formats, and music libraries TM Programming which surpassed anything else in the marketplace Tom Parma, who was hired as an engineer at TM Productions – and was soon moved into sales by Long, describes the 1960s, and 1970s at TM as a "shining, golden time" of creativity, success and a "wonderful place to work" Tom Parma's wife, Judy, was a radio ID jingle singer at TM Studios

Merriman continued to support countless young musicians by hiring recent graduates of the newly formed at that time One O'Clock Lab Band — and by creating an internship program at TM which fostered the production talents of then Indiana University student, Linda Adelkoff LeGrand, who became a top level recording engineer and vocal producer LeGrand recalls of her experience at TM, "I was 21 years old when I came to work at TM Productions as a recording engineer intern I was awestruck by his talent and musical knowledge What a character! Tom Merriman was a genius in an unlikely package"

Music industry experts acknowledge that TM was the biggest and best of its kind in the world, winning awards and shaping the sound of commercial recording for over 40 years, evolving thru’ changes in ownership and management, including its sale to Disney's Shamrock Broadcasting and current incarnation as TM Studios, under the former leadership of David Graupner

"Dance the Slurp"

In a true test of time, 40 years after Merriman wrote a catchy little number, called "Dance the Slurp" which was released as a vinyl 45 to promote 7-Eleven's Slurpee drinks in the late 1960s, it became a huge dance hit on the DJ circuit San Francisco Bay area DJs Cut Chemist and Shadow, featured Merriman's song as the centerpiece of their "BrainFreeze" mix CD Because of legal problems with 7-Eleven, the "BrainFreeze" funk mix has gone underground, selling for up to $100 and a single copy of the original 45 "Dance the Slurp" is considered a bargain at $35


Merriman suffered a fall and his health declined over several months Merriman died November 11, 2009, in Dallas, Texas

Historical collections

The majority of Mr Merriman's personal recordings collection are housed with Media Preservation Foundation in Springfield, Massachusetts


  1. ^ Tom Merriman, tommerrimantributecom
  2. ^ a b TheDeadRockStarsClubcom - accessed November 12, 2009
  3. ^ Tom Merriman Funeral Arrangements Set, allaccesscom, retrieved on 13 November 2009
  4. ^ Wilonsky, Robert November 11, 2009 "Dallas Radio and Jingle Pioneer Tom Merriman Died Early This Morning" Unfair Park Dallas Observer 

External links

  • Tom Merriman tribute site
  • Blackwell, MI October 16, 1985 "Shopping for a jingle They say Dallas's are best" Dallas Morning News 
  • "Just give us a jingle Radio stations from around the country turn to Dallas to make their call letters sing" Fort Worth Star-Telegram November 9, 2000 
  • "TM Century, Inc Unveils Revolutionary MPowerMix Imaging Platform" Press release Business Wire July 24, 2002 Tom Merriman, the 'TM' of TM Century, invented the radio jingle for Gordon McClendon's KLIF in Dallas back in 1952 
  • "Tom Merriman kreeg Genootschap Jingle Award" radiovisieeu in Dutch September 16, 2008 Archived from the original on July 20, 2011 CS1 maint: Unfit url link
  • Carman, Tracy September 20, 2008 "The Tom Merriman tribute evening" Jingle News 

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