Alex North would have achieved immortality had he only composed “Unchained Melody,” one of the most enduring pop songs of all time. Yet North accomplished much more than that, scoring over 40 feature films, earning 15 Academy Award nominations (and one honorary Oscar), three Grammy nominations, and a Golden Globe Award. In 1990, the Bay Cities label released Unchained Melody: The Film Themes of Alex North, featuring the composer conducting his own classic works. Now, Kritzerland has a remastered and expanded reissue arriving as Unchained Melodies: The Film Themes of Alex North.
Unchained Melodies includes many of North’s most memorable themes from films such as A Streetcar Named Desire, The Bad Seed, Viva Zapata!, The Rose Tattoo, and of course, Unchained. Remarkably, these scores are all drawn from the first seven years of a Hollywood career that lasted from 1951 through 1991; that year’s The Last Butterfly was his final film. (North’s credits on short films, documentaries, and television series date back to 1937.) After the period chronicled on this release, North contributed acclaimed scores to movies such as Spartacus, Cleopatra, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and Good Morning Vietnam, but Unchained Melodies is a stirring testament to his remarkable early work.
Alex North died on September 8, 1991, at the age of 80 – not long after the original release of this album. For this reissue, Kritzerland has remastered the sound and added a bonus track: North’s classical work “Holiday Set,” performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by F. Charles Adler. Unchained Melodies: The Film Themes of Alex North is limited to 500 copies. CDs will ship by the second week of August, but pre-orders directly from Kritzerland typically arrive earlier. You’ll find the pre-order link and track listing below!
Unchained Melodies: The Film Themes of Alex North (Bay Cities BCD 310, 1990 – reissued Kritzerland, 2019)
- The Racers
- Viva Zapata!
- The Bad Seed
- A Streetcar Named Desire
- The Bachelor Party
- The 13th Letter
- Stage Struck
- I’ll Cry Tomorrow
- Les Miserables
- The Rose Tattoo
- Holiday Set (Sunday Morning, Journey to Country Scene, Baseball Game Pause, Journey From) (Bonus Track)
All music composed by Alex North
Tracks 1-12 conducted by Alex North
Track 13 conducted by F. Charles Adler, with the Vienna Philharmonia Orchestra