Stage Door Records is taking another dip into the archives of the late, beloved entertainer Anthony Newley with its first release of 2015: an entire disc of Newley’s previously unreleased recordings of his own score to the 1973 musical The Good Old Bad Old Days! The January 26 release, produced in conjunction with the Anthony Newley Society, features never-before-issued 20 recordings, almost all of which were made during the development of the musical co-written by Newley and his longtime collaborator Leslie Bricusse.
The partnership of Newley and Bricusse dated back to 1961 and the premiere of Stop the World, I Want to Get Off, co-written by the pair, directed by and starring Newley. Yielding the instant standard “What Kind of Fool Am I?,” Stop the World completed Newley’s transformation into an international star of stage, screen and records. Newley and Bricusse followed Stop the World with The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd, another allegorical musical with an infectious score, this time introducing “Who Can I Turn To?” and “Feeling Good” to the standard repertoire. Newley and Bricusse also found time to co-write “Goldfinger” with John Barry and work individually, although when Bricusse alone wrote the score to 20th Century Fox’s Doctor Dolittle, Newley was on hand as an actor in the film! Following their Academy Award-nominated work on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Newley and Bricusse returned to the stage with The Good Old Bad Old Days.
Bricusse described it as “a modest little saga about Man, Life, Death, God and The Devil, with the history of the world thrown in.” It tells of Bubba (Newley), who tries to persuade God not to destroy the world, and makes the case for humanity by presenting a pageant of mankind through the ages (including scenes of The Mayflower, The French Revolution, The American Civil War, etc.). When New York producer James Nederlander declined to continue his participation with the musical, it looked like it might never get off the ground, but reigning West End impresario Bernard Delfont stepped in and booked The Good Old Bad Old Days for a tour to culminate with a London opening in December 1972. Though it only ran for 309 performances at Delfont’s Prince of Wales Theatre, it left behind a memorable and enjoyable score highlighted by “The People Tree,” also recorded by Sammy Davis Jr. on the heels of his success with “The Candy Man” from Willy Wonka! Davis – always the most prolific interpreter of Newley and Bricusse’s work – covered a number of songs from the score, including “I Do Not Love You,” “Tomorrow” and “It’s a Musical World. “ Tony Bennett, Petula Clark and Frankie Vaughan all took their turns performing songs from the score, as well.
After the jump: more details on this exciting new release!
Anthony Newley Sings the Good Old Bad Old Days features the show’s familiar tunes (including all three songs subsequently recorded by Davis) as well as songs dropped after the Nottingham tryout and some written for the show that never even made it to the stage. As a bonus track, Stage Door has also included a version of “Mister Sniffles,” the B-side of Newley’s Columbia U.K. pop single recording of the musical’s title song.
An eight-page booklet will be included with Stage Door’s release. This makes an ideal companion to Kritzerland’s 2012 reissue of the musical’s Original London Cast Recording which is still available from the label.
Anthony Newley Sings the Good Old Bad Old Days, a treasure trove from the musical world of Messrs. Newley and Bricusse, will be available on January 26 from Stage Door Records!
- The Good Old Bad Old Days
- The Fool Who Dared to Dream
- The Wisdom of the World
- A Cotton Pickin’ Moon
- We’ve Got a Cure for Everything on Broadway
- And Women Must Wait
- Thanksgiving Day
- I Do Not Love You
- The Good Things in Life
- The People Tree
- It’s a Musical World
- The Wisdom of the World (Alternate Version)
- Hell of a Night (cut from the production)
- It’s a Funny Old World (cut from the production)
- Mustn’t Grumble, Can’t Complain (heard only in Nottingham production)
- What’s the Matter, God? (Live) (Duet with Paul Bacon)
- Mister Sniffles (B-side to the pop single version of “The Good Old Bad Old Days”)