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This was the theme for a TV show called Secret Agent, starring Patrick McGoohan. Unlike many TV themes, the song held up on its own with a distinctive dueling guitar sound. (thanks, Dill - Alexandria, VA)
This is an example of "Spy" music. The sound implied action and was associated with James Bond movies.
PF Sloan and Steve Barri of The Grass Roots wrote this song. Secret Agent was a US adaptation of a hit show in England called Dangerman, and CBS needed a 15-second theme to replace the British version. Sloan wrote of the song (from his website): "Somebody thought I should do a full length instrumental of the song. So I did. Meanwhile the song was picked by CBS and Johnny Rivers recorded the quick 15-second song for the TV show. The Ventures, the genius guitar instrumental group, heard the demo and recorded and released the song way before Rivers even had a finished song. The publishers asked me to finish the song, Rivers recorded it, not one of his favorite songs back then, but he's happier with it now."
Some of the artists to record this song include Hank Williams Jr., Devo and Blues Traveler.
This was used in commercials for Wal-Mart and also for Chase credit cards. Some of the many movies to use the song include Repo Man, Bowfinger, Can't Buy Me Love, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, and Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.