Though John Barry crafted a lushly exquisite score for First Love in 1977 – the same year the film titan also lent his talent to The Deep and The White Buffalo – his name appeared nowhere in the credits to the romantic drama directed by Joan Darling. The director had enlisted Barry when she thought twice about the initial concept of using songs written by Cat Stevens and Paul Williams, but in the end, brief fragments of Barry’s score remained, uncredited, alongside songs from Stevens and Williams and orchestral cues from other composers. What happened? The entire story is revealed in La-La Land’s first-ever issue of John Barry’s complete First Love, available now from the label.
Following in the footsteps of the campus-set romance Love Story, First Love was based on a story by Harold Brodkey. The film, as written by Jane Stanton Hitchcock and David Freeman, concerned the ultimately ill-fated romance of Elgin (William Katt) and Caroline (Susan Dey). The film poster begged the question, “Why doesn’t anyone tell you there’s a difference between making love and being in love?” The Paramount production was initially accommodating to Barry, with the studio reportedly having even delayed the film in order to allow him more time to craft its score. But all wasn’t well for long. Jeff Bond’s detailed liner notes in La-La Land’s release quote a 1979 interview with Barry in which the composer recalled that one studio executive “liked the music, but thought it was too mature for the film.” The famously frank Barry added, “That’s one of the strangest criticisms I’ve ever had. So then they wanted to revert back to sticking some songs in the picture and use a little of my music.” Some eight minutes of Barry’s approximately 40-minute score remained in the final cut, plus Cat Stevens’ “Child for a Day,” Paul Williams’ “That’s Enough for Me,” and additional music by Carmine Coppola and Jean Sibelius.
After the jump: more specs on this new release plus the full track listing and order link!
La-La Land’s world premiere release has been remixed by Mike Matessino from the studio’s original 16-track tapes into true stereo for the very first time. In addition to the full score, the CD produced by Neil S. Bulk and Lukas Kendall also adds a brace of bonus tracks including three alternate cues and source music such as a Mozart composition. As this release is dedicated to the presentation of John Barry’s music, the Williams and Steven songs, and additional music, are absent. The full-color sixteen-page booklet boasts Bond’s lengthy essay and plenty of photographs.
John Barry’s haunting First Love, a limited edition release of 2,000 units, can be ordered now from La-La Land at the link below!
John Barry, First Love: Music from the Motion Picture (rec. 1976 – released La-La Land Records LLLCD 1243, 2013)
- Main Title
- Elgin’s Room
- No Coffee/Enjoy the Book
- Dante’s Theme
- The Big Love Scene
- The First Time
- The Hallway
- Two on a Bike
- Soccer Game
- Caroline’s Note
- Model House
- Shelley Waits
- Wait Till It Happens/I’m Shelley
- Interchange/Night Intruder
- The Train
- End Credits
- Main Title (Revised)
- The Big Love Scene (Original Version)
- End Credits (Original Version)
- The Restaurant
- Piano Source
- String Quartet No. 5 in D Major, K. 593 (Mozart)