Tourism in Miami was up by 10% in 1985. On TV, the series 'Miami Vice' was Universal Television's hottest export. In the US, 'Miami Vice' was most popular with men ages 18 and 45 and Yuppies. Outside the US, 'Miami Vice' found success in England and Canada. The 'Los Angeles Times' noted, "Music is an integral part of the show's appeal. Geared to the MTV generation, without all the up-to-the-minute music, the show wouldn't be the same."
In November 1985, 'Miami Vice (Music From The Television Series)' became the biggest-selling album ever. In less than 3 months, the 'Miami Vice' album became the second album of music from a TV series to top the Billboard's album chart. Twenty six years earlier in 1959, the Henry Mancini music from the 'Peter Gunn' series also reached No. 1 on the Billboard's album chart.
'The Sunday Star' reported in January 1986, "'Miami Vice' remains the standard-bearer of the rock-TV merger. At its best, the soundtrack of 'Vice' merges '80s contemporary hit radio with the eclecticism of early '70s FM programming." 'The New York Times' added, "By using rock vidoes in a dramatic context, the series has demonstrated, even more convincingly than MTV, the power of video to promote records."
Music coordinator and associate producer Fred Lyle insisted, "A song being in the Top 10 or not is not what influences what songs go on 'Miami Vice'. The song has to fit the scene to make it in the show." 'The New York Times' also pointed out, "'Miami Vice' – both the series and the album – may represent the culmination in popular culture of America's decade-long romance with cocaine, a drug that stimulates the central nervous system, is an anesthetic, and costs a bundle. Two songs on the album - 'Smuggler's Blues' and 'Vice' - talk directly about the drug trade."
The 'Miami News' expressed, "'Vice' is the most interesting musically and lyrically as it paints a seamy, sordid picture of our fair city. When 'Vice' is heard by the local chamber of commerce, coronary units will be working overtime for a week. Grandmaster Melle Mel runs through a marvelously electric and wicked rap about how Miami's streets are populated only by professional hit men, luxury condo-owning prostitutes, smuggling cocaine mules and flowing blood money.
"The hook comes when Mel says they claim it never snows in Miami, but now (in December 1985) there's snow on the beaches, snow on the streets, snow everywhere you go. 'Vice' is such a riveting, explicit musical excursion into Miami's dark underbelly that it makes Glenn Frey’s 'Smuggler's Blues' – also a look at Miami's cocaine trade – sound like the theme song to 'Sesame Street'."
Speaking to 'Knight-Ridder News Service' in April 1985, Philip Michael Thomas enthused, "After 16 years (since 1969) in this business, it's all happened in six months. In six months, we've become a world-wide phenomena. Six months ago (at the start of the 1984-85 season), it was who is Don Johnson and who is Philip Michael Thomas? The recognition has been so rapid, it's mind-boggling. It's like wild time."
Of the success of 'Miami Vice', Philip Michael Thomas believed, "We happen to have an incredible team of people – cast, crew, editors – an incredible team. The editors are phenomenal. They have their fingers on the pulse. With the advent of MTV, we’re ushering the golden age of television into the platinum age. We’re sizzling. I like the idea of giving people an eargasm as well as an eyegasm.
"There's also an incredible chemistry between me and Don Johnson. The first time we read together, it was an explosive, magical moment. We both knew at that moment that it was right. We do the impossible each week. It’s getting closer and closer to doing a major motion picture each week. To do that in seven days is phenomenal. It's nice to be in this place – part of the winning team. You can parlay your talents from this place, and I intend to parlay them right to the top. I didn't get into this business to make $1.86. I got in to make it big. It's so nice being at the top!
"The pilot was incredible, but the first few episodes lacked. I caught a repeat the other night (in 1985). There's been a major jump. There's a sense of timing and style and rhythm that's becoming automatic. It's definitely jelling. Next year (the 1985-86 season), we'll open with a two-hour movie shot in New York, Puerto Rico and Miami. I expect shows will copy us, but, hey, a carbon copy is never as good as the original."
Keyboardist-drummer Jan Hammer, then 37, immigrated to the US from the former Czechoslovakia in 1968 shortly before the Russian invasion. His 'Miami Vice' instrumental theme reached No. 1 on the Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart. Speaking to the press, Jan Hammer elaborated, "In most cop shows, a lot of the scoring is predictable. You see a car chase and you're going to hear a certain kind of music. It's almost scoring-by-the-numbers. I approach each episode as a movie, something fresh for which I'm writing all original music. That kind of brainy, intellectual music (his career began with the Mahavishnu Orchestra) for music's sake is way in my past. I got bored with it about 10 years ago (in 1975). I'm much more into fun music now (in 1985)."
When the story, camerawork, performances and music all come together, Jan Hammer maintained, "It can be pure magic. I can see it already. Even the older shows are starting to inject our techniques. The whole fabric of our show was designed from the ground up. For example, you can always make undercover cops into glamorous and good-looking people. It's harder to do that with lawyers or doctors or someone who has to dress for success."
As reported in 1985, "While in Los Angeles at a movie meeting in March 1984, a friend introduced Jan Hammer to producer Michael Mann, who was then assembling the 'Miami Vice' concept. Hammer, whose musical ideas meshed with Mann's, wound up composing the music for the pilot, which evolved into scoring the series. Because of his 'Miami Vice' sound tracks, Hammer is in demand to score movies."
Jan Hammer made known, "I've turned down more money to do sound tracks (due to time) than I've made in the last five years (1980-85). That's a horrible feeling. It's amazing, but when I took the job the show didn't exist. And I wrote the theme before I even had the job, just playing around in the studio. I've tried to do so many things with this show. Some work, some don't; the major point is this is something that comes naturally to me. It's not labored. Music is definitely one of the major characters. I don't know what billing it should get – I guess it depends on the show. But it is a definite departure from the usual.
"They (the characters created by Johnson and Thomas) are opposite poles of the same magnet, and it translates beautifully into music. Crockett is supercharged, leaning over the edge; Tubbs is outwardly cool, but inside there's turbulence that is never manifested. They are beautiful characters. There is so much more depth to what I do, and what the show is about. Some of what we do may suggest that, but it's an oversimplification. People just need to have a handle.
"They (the record companies) think instrumental music is a poor second cousin to vocals. They saw me as a jazz artist. My audience was a complete rock audience yet they saw me as jazz. I still can't believe it. I've gotten used to companies missing all the buttons, MCA (Records) pushed all the right buttons. It amounts to spending the extra amount of money on promotion. That's crucial to the album's success.
"Whey they (the sound mixer) mix in sound effects – the screeching tires, the gunshots – they turn down my music. The special effects sometimes are too loud for my tastes. Special effects are great but they're not the key to our success. Music is more important. I've had problems with this at the beginning of last season (1984-85) and of this season (1985-86), I'm trying to take care of this problem now."
Jan Hammer also made the observation, "I don't want to start repeating myself. It's inevitable if I'm doing scores about the same characters in the same locale. In two years (at the end of the 1985-86 season) that's 44 shows. It's hard to stay fresh doing that much original music. I could stay on the show, but it wouldn't be worth it to them to keep me. After this season, they couldn't afford me.
"Other shows recycle music and use stuff over and over. They take the show's theme and restate it a thousand different ways. I could do the same thing, write some stuff and then recycle it ad nauseam. But I prefer writing all new music for every show. That freshness is important to the show. But I've created a monster for myself. It's incredibly hard work. I can get adventurous and interesting because I have no one telling me what to do. From the very beginning I haven't had anybody telling me what to do. Michael Mann gave me a free rein."