NCIS Actor David McCallum’s Unlikely Connection To Dr. Dre’s The Next Episode
David McCallum is a TV legend not just for the role of “Ducky” Mallard on “NCIS,” but for originating the character of uptight but hyper-competent Russian secret agent Illya Kuryakin on the classic ’60s spy series “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” as well. But casual fans of McCallum or even diehard viewers of “NCIS” may not be aware that back in the 1960s, at the height of his “Man from U.N.C.L.E.” fame, he had a whole second entertainment career, and it’s one that ultimately had the biggest enduring pop culture impact of anything he’s done.
Like a lot of TV and movie stars in the 1960s, McCallum had a sideline in the music business. But unlike most of his fellow actors dabbling in music, McCallum specialized in instrumental compositions and covers without stepping in front of a microphone. And also unlike most dabblers, he had one song crest its era into immortality, thanks to its association with the Dr. Dre classic “The Next Episode.”
McCallum’s song The Edge was sampled by Dr. Dre
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“The Next Episode” is immediately recognizable to any casual hip-hop listener thanks to its distinctive hook, constructed by Dr. Dre from an unusual source: a song called “The Edge” by David McCallum. You can listen to McCallum’s song on YouTube, and the sample is recognizable within the first 10 seconds. But just in case you need a refresher to compare the two, here’s “The Next Episode” on YouTube as well.
Music site Rock the Bells points out that the song had already been used in tracks by artists Missin’ Linx and Tash, but it was Dre who took the sample to a new stratosphere of popularity and ubiquity, turning it into one of the most famous pieces of music in the modern music landscape. And “The Edge” itself found new life as a result of its connection to “The Next Episode,” appearing on the soundtracks to “Grand Theft Auto IV” and “Baby Driver.”
But many are unaware that the music was actually composed by none other than David McCallum of “NCIS” fame!