2022 marks 100 years of The Hollywood Bowl. The famous amphitheater nestled in the Hollywood hills has hosted luminaries of every genre of music from classical to rock in its instantly familiar bandshell (actually two bandshells, as the first one from 1929 was demolished in 2003 and replaced with a larger model). The Bowl has been featured in movies including the original A Star Is Born, Double Indemnity, Xanadu, and Beaches and cartoons starring Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry, and The Pink Panther. Now, its resident orchestra - the prestigious L.A. Philharmonic - is celebrating the Bowl's century of song with a new 7-LP vinyl box set showcasing some of the greatest names to have performed on its stage including Frank Sinatra, Leonard Bernstein, Donna Summer, James Brown, The Doors, Nat "King" Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Herbie Hancock, Count Basie, and Randy Newman. (Alas, no Beatles!)
Hollywood Bowl 100: The First 100 Years of Music is available for pre-order now with an anticipated release date of mid-June. The numbered, limited-edition box set features seven LPs pressed on 150-gram black vinyl with a total of over four hours and forty minutes of music recorded live at The Hollywood Bowl. The albums are arranged thematically:
LP 1 & LP 2, Side One - Classical, recorded 1928-2020 and featuring the L.A. Philharmonic under the baton of Igor Stravinsky, Zubin Mehta, Leonard Bernstein, current conductor Gustavo Dudamel, and others on compositions by Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Elgar, and more.
LP 2, Side Two - Classical and Pop/Rock - This eclectic side takes in recently-recorded classical pieces alongside Nat "King" Cole's 1954 live "Unforgettable" (with orchestra led by Music Man composer Meredith Willson) and The Doors' 1968 performance of their hit "Hello, I Love You."
LP 3 - Pop/Rock - Showcasing the breadth of the Bowl's programming over the years, Donna Summer, Common, Death Cab for Cutie, and Ziggy Marley are among the eclectic artists on this LP.
LP 4 & LP 5, Side One - Jazz: Many of the genre's all-time greatest vocal and instrumental talents have appeared on the Bowl stage, among them The Dave Brubeck Quartet ("Take the 'A' Train"), Billie Holiday ("Billie's Blues"), Ella Fitzgerald ("Too Close for Comfort"), Count Basie ("Blues in Frankie's Flat"), and Herbie Hancock ("Footprints"). Contemporary artists are represented, too, such as Cecile McLorin Salvant ("Wives and Lovers"), Pink Martini ("Amado Mio"), and Christian McBride and Jose James ("Moanin'"). Godfather of Soul James Brown appears here, too, with his rendition of Ron Miller and Orlando Murden's standard "For Once in My Life."
LP 5, Side Two & LP 6 - Film: Silver screen sounds are featured on these LPs from such film score heroes as Henry Mancini ("Moon River"), John Barry ("James Bond Medley"), Randy Newman ("You've Got a Friend in Me," with his cousin David conducting), frequent Bowl headliner John Williams ("Theme from Schindler's List," "Flight to Neverland" from Hook), and Bernard Herrmann ("The Wild Ride" from North by Northwest). The Gershwins appear twice: once via Fred Astaire's 1937 live recording of "They Can't Take That Away from Me" and also with Porgy and Bess as part of conductor Vince Mendoza's medley celebrating African-Americans on screen. (Themes from The Mack, A Raisin in the Sun, and Shaft are also played in the medley.)
LP 7 - Broadway/Great American Songbook: Frank Sinatra's 1943 live recording of Cole Porter's "Night and Day" leads off this set of (mostly) Broadway showstoppers sung by such favorites as Ann Miller ("I'm Still Here" from Follies), Carol Channing ("Razzle Dazzle" from Chicago), Barbara Cook ("Losing My Mind" from Follies), George Hearn ("I Am What I Am" from La Cage Aux Folles), Kristin Chenoweth ("Smile" based on a theme from the film Modern Times), Brian Stokes Mitchell and Sutton Foster ("New York, New York" from On the Town), and Patti LuPone and Audra McDonald (recreating the famous Judy and Barbra medley of "Happy Days Are Here Again" and "Get Happy").
Each LP in the box is housed in a custom sleeve, and the audio has been remastered at Abbey Road Studios. Hollywood Bowl 100 is available now directly from the L.A. Philharmonic shop at the links below.
Various Artists, Hollywood Bowl 100: The First 100 Years of Music (L.A. Philharmonic, 2022)
- Complete track listing for each disc available at above link