Following in the footsteps of Matthew Weiner’s 1960s drama Mad Men, Jack Orman’s Pan Am takes to the airwaves each week on ABC with a period-perfect recreation of the days when "the world's most experienced airline" ruled the skies. Now, the show’s impeccably-selected music can be yours to keep - and perhaps used as the soundtrack to your very own swinging cocktail party! - on Verve’s Pan Am: Music From and Inspired by the Original Series, due to arrive on January 17. How appropriate that one of the most recognizable labels of the Jet Age will release the soundtrack to the series that celebrates the period’s glamour, sex appeal and style.
The CD’s fourteen tracks are a pleasing mix of the familiar and the uncommon, and the classic line-up has been bolstered by two new performances. Grace Potter, of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, offers a new take on Bart Howard’s “Fly Me to the Moon,” while Nikki Jean puts her own spin on John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s “Do You Want to Know a Secret.” Nikki Jean certainly knows her way around a great song, having collaborated with Burt Bacharach, Thom Bell, Jimmy Webb, Carole King, Paul Williams, Lamont Dozier and even Bob Dylan on her 2011 debut (and future classic!) Pennies in a Jar.
Buddy Greco’s fizzy version of Victor Young and Harold Adamson’s “Around the World” featured prominently in the Pan Am pilot, and it’s of course heard here. From Verve’s own catalogue comes Ella Fitzgerald’s Songbook recording of Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies,” Shirley Horn’s interpretation of Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh’s optimistic “The Best Is Yet To Come,” and the original Stan Getz recording of the bossa nova anthem “The Girl from Ipanema.” The era-defining bossa nova sound is also heard on Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66’s “Mas Que Nada.” Peggy Lee offers “New York City Blues,” co-written by the chanteuse with Quincy Jones, and the travel theme continues with Dinah Washington’s “Destination Moon” and Connie Francis’ Italian take of “Quando Quando Quando” (recorded years before Engelbert Humperdinck popularized the song in English).
Hit the jump for more, including the full track listing with discographical annotation!
Though the television series itself, focusing on the intrigue-filled lives of Pan Am stewardesses, pilots and crew members, was met favorably by critics, its reaction from viewers has been less enthusiastic. Its final pre-Christmas episode on December 4 scored series-low ratings. But as the show gears up to return on January 8 with its future uncertain, one thing is certain: if you want to fly Pan Am, you can book now at the link below for the soundtrack!
Pan Am: Music From and Inspired by the Original Series takes off on January 17.
Various Artists, Pan Am: Music From and Inspired By The Original Series (Verve, 2012)
- Buddy Greco – “Around The World”
- Grace Potter – “Fly Me To The Moon”
- Bobby Darin – “Call Me Irresponsible”
- Ella Fitzgerald – “Blue Skies”
- Stan Getz & João Gilberto w/Astrud Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim – “The Girl From Ipanema”
- Peggy Lee – “New York City Blues”
- Shirley Horn – “The Best Is Yet To Come”
- Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 – “Mais Que Nada”
- Billie Holiday – “Just One More Chance”
- Count Basie – “I Can’t Stop Loving You”
- Brenda Lee – “Break It To Me Gently”
- Nikki Jean – “Do You Want To Know A Secret”
- Connie Francis – “Quando Quando Quando (Tell Me When)”
- Dinah Washington – “Destination Moon”
Track 1 from Epic single 9451, 1962
Tracks 2 & 12 previously unreleased
Track 3 from From Hello Dolly to Goodbye Charlie, Capitol LP ST-2194, 1964
Track 4 from Sings the Irving Berlin Songbook Volume 2, Verve LP MGV-4031, 1958
Track 5 from Getz/Gilberto, Verve LP V/V6 8545, 1963
Track 6 from Blues Cross Country, Capitol LP ST-1671, 1962
Track 7 from You’re My Thrill, Verve LP 3114 5494172, 2001
Track 8 from Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66, A&M LP SP 4116, 1966
Track 9 from MGM single K 12813, 1959
Track 10 from Reprise single R-20170, 1963
Track 11 from Decca single 31348, 1962
Track 13 from Modern Italian Hits, MGM LP SE-4102, 1962
Track 14 from Dinah ’62, Roulette LP R-52170, 1962
I don't watch the show but I absolutely love that CD cover, and the soundtrack looks great.