Martin Galway

I think its fair to say that there were not many musicians on the Commodore 64 music scene that could rival Rob Hubbard, who set a very high benchmark on the C64. But there was one notable exception, a young and talented computer musician, which could not only rival Hubbard, but also at times even surpass him! It is of course Martin Galway (nephew of the famous flutist Sir James Galway).

Galway’s first foray into computer music was on a BBC microcomputer at school. He did not use the C64 for music until a fateful visit, to the game software company Ocean (Manchester, UK), where he borrowed a Commodore 64 system for developing C64 music, from the Ocean programmer David Collier.

Galway’s first game music on the C64 was for the Daley Thompson’s Decathlon loading sequence, which featured a rendition of the music Rydeen by the Yellow Magic Orchestra. Galway created the music on his C64 system, using some in-house music software – later Galway would use his own development tools as the in-house software was poorly implemented and limited.

One of the criticisms of Galway’s music was that it could all sound a bit similar in that he found a unique sound and used it throughout his C64 music career. I suppose you could argue he was kind of like the C64 music equivalent of the famous pop music production team in the UK, Stock Aitken and Waterman! (aka the Hit Factory - that’s supposed to be a complement by the way!).

The unique sound he created was a revelation; most importantly it was totally different to anything that other C64 musicians were producing, which ensured that Galway carved out his own niche in C64 music. It’s difficult to describe the ‘Galway sound’ but that it flowed beautifully, soared occasionally and was like a well-honed opera singer. It was distinct and memorable and became a trademark sound – when you heard C64 music you knew if it was a Galway.


The first time I was introduced to the amazing talent of Martin Galway was on the now infamous Ocean Loader tune that played while the game Hyper Sports was loading. The loader tune was astounding – using his unique sound it was an experience like no other, you simply could not believe this sound was coming out of your C64. It was that good. Just when you thought that could not be topped, after the loader tune finished and the Hyper Sports game loaded – you were hit with a stunning rendition of the Vangelis film theme Chariots of Fire!

The whole sequence from beginning to end, is a musical masterpiece. If you were a Commodore 64 fan at the time and bought this game – your jaw dropped half way through the loading sequence! It certainly helped to earn the C64 a fearsome reputation as the best machine for game music - many other owners of competing machines like the Spectrum or Amstrad were not at all impressed by the superior sound coming out of the humble 64...
Hyper Sports
Hyper Sports by Ocean



The karate-based game Yie Ar Kung-Fu was a licensed conversion of the arcade machine (similar in concept to the c64 games, Way of the Exploding Fist or International Karate).

It had a classic piece of Galway music on the game title screen, which really showcased Galway’s talent. It was reasonably long, with some exquisite moments. This is one of my favourites, and various computer musicians have remixed the music over the years, some of the remixes are excellent and capture the quality of the original perfectly.
In 1985 Ocean developed an adventure game, based on the popular 1984 fantasy film Never Ending Story - featuring the young boy Bastian who escapes from some bullies in an old book shop by reading an ancient magic book, eventually he gets drawn into the story and instead of being the reader ends up as part of the story and enters the world of Fantasia.

The game is an illustrated text adventure – so there are graphics throughout, which depict familiar characters and scenes from the film. The music is outstanding; the Never Ending Story soundtrack by Limahl has been reproduced by Galway on the C64.

Yie Ar Kung-Fu
Yie Ar Kung-Fu by Ocean

Never Ending Story
Never Ending Story by Ocean