The New York Post has an interview with Harold Wheeler which is interesting – certainly interesting to John. Excerpts:
One of the biggest thrills of “Dancing With the Stars” is the way unlikely pop hits become quicksteps and rumbas. The man responsible for turning New Order’s “Blue Monday” into a pasodoble is musical director and bandleader Harold Wheeler. The Broadway vet orchestrated the likes of “Dreamgirls” and “Hairspray,” and even produced Gloria Gaynor’s “Never Can Say Goodbye.” We phoned Wheeler in LA to review some of his finest “DWTS” feats.
* “Paparazzi” This pasodoble version of the Lady Gaga hit embodies the Wheeler Touch: horns, and lots of them. “If we did this song true to the nature of the record, it wouldn’t support the dancing,” he explains. “When you put on this big production, you need that brass.”
* “I Want You To Want Me” For a quickstep, Wheeler used the Letters to Cleo cover rather than the Cheap Trick original. “When the producers license the material, they do it according to what’s available at what price. That’s why sometimes we get an odd version: It was probably cheaper [laughs]. But then, I can be more me in the arrangement.”
* “Fever” More was more to make Peggy Lee’s minimal classic a fox trot. “I told the dancers ‘You’re going to hear some new things in the song and I don’t want them to surprise you. They’re really essential to keeping the audience’s attention, so don’t tell me to throw them away.”
* “Secret Agent Man” “Donny Osmond stopped dancing in rehearsal because toward the end I threw in a bit of the 007 theme. But he comes from performing. The pros tend to be more opinionated about the music than the stars.”
* “Star Wars Theme” Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson danced a tango to the disco version, which was close to Wheeler’s heart. “I told the producers to Google the artist, Meco. They called me back and said, ‘You produced that record!’ ”