The feature-length documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me opens today at New York’s IFC Center and on Friday at Los Angeles’ Nuart Theatre. In conjunction with its release, Omnivore Recordings has recently unveiled a soundtrack album collecting 21 previously unissued songs from the legendary Memphis band. Rare is the cult band that actually lives up to its legend. Yet, with each listen - time after time, year after year - Big Star not only meets the hype, but surpasses it. Chances are, if
In the first two lines of the introductory essay that accompanies JSP Records’ new box set Judy Garland – Creations 1929-1962: Songs She Introduced, the box’s compiler Lawrence Schulman sets forth its raison d'être: “That Judy Garland (1922-1969) was one of the most talented singers and actresses of her generation is known. That she introduced close to a hundred songs to the Great American Songbook is not.” Thanks to this 4-CD, 94-song collection, that secret shouldn’t be a secret any longer.
Review: John Williams, "Jurassic Park: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - 20th Anniversary Edition"
Really, it's almost pointless to speculate why John Williams never received an Oscar nomination for his score to Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park (1993). The composer's CV features several of the most iconic scores in the history of movies with synchronized sound. Five of his projects - an adaptation of the music to the Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof and four originals (JAWS (1975), Star Wars (1977), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and Schindler's List (1993)) have won gold statuettes,
After more than three years of planning, preparing and waiting, audiences finally have a chance to enjoy an expanded edition of John Williams' score to Steven Spielberg's 1991 cult classic Hook (La-La Land Records LLLCD 1211). The world had been "getting by," so to speak, with the Epic label's original 75-minute CD presentation - a generous offering, to be sure, but one that only sort of did the score justice. While critics remain divided to indifferent on the celluloid continuation of James M.
When Hair ushered in the Age of Aquarius on April 29, 1968, it heralded the arrival of the rock revolution on Broadway. The New York Times' influential critic Clive Barnes didn't mince his words, declaring that the musical was a "long-term joust against Broadway's world of Sigmund Romberg [the composer of such operettas as The Student Prince]" and more importantly, "the first Broadway musical in some time to have the authentic voice of today rather than the day before yesterday." And while the
When John Barry won two 1967 Academy Awards for his work on Born Free, the trophies were a vindication. Over the initial objections of his director, Barry envisioned his score to reflect a "Disneyesque kind of movie, lovely family entertainment" and fought for the dramatic integrity of that sound. Twelve years later, Barry actually got his chance to score a Walt Disney Productions motion picture. One of many science-fiction epics produced in the wake of Star Wars, Disney's The Black Hole was
June is busting out all over, and so is the music of Richard Rodgers. Then again, the work of the composer (1902-1979) is always busting out all over. Even in 2010, Rodgers had the third most-covered song of the year, according to ASCAP. The song was "My Funny Valentine," with lyrics by Lorenz Hart, and it was written in 1937, proving that Richard Rodgers' music is, indeed, timeless. Masterworks Broadway, drawing from Sony Music Entertainment's Columbia and RCA Victor vaults, has been a leading
Film Score Monthly has established a top-notch reputation for restoration, but the label can carve a notch on its belt for resuscitation, too. With the release of the Original Soundtrack Recording of The Belle of New York, FSM has resuscitated the line of expanded MGM musical soundtracks, once the province of Turner Classic Movies Music and Rhino, later Rhino Handmade. Under the aegis of George Feltenstein, the Rhino/Turner affiliation produced definitive editions of classic musical
"I look around and what do I see? Nothing's the way it used to be..." In 1969, Eve Merriam bluntly took aim at violence, racism, corruption and poverty in her ironic collection of verse, Inner City Mother Goose. Controversial from the outset, Merriam's Mother Goose became one of the most banned books in the country. Enter visionary theatre director Tom O'Horgan. Having replaced Gerald Freedman for Hair's move uptown in 1968, O'Horgan was well known for his experimental flair. Julian Barry's
Close your eyes for a moment and pretend you're on Jeopardy! The answer: "This 1963 widescreen epic opened Hollywood's Cinerama Dome." The question: "What is It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World?" Raise your hand if you got it right! Yes, Mad World, as we'll abbreviate it for expediency's sake, is this author's epic film to end all epic films (sorry, Ben-Hur!) and certainly one of the only Hollywood epic comedies! While the designation "all-star" has been applied before and since, perhaps no film
Well, another New Year is in sight, the CD still isn't dead (told you so!) and celebration is in the air at The Second Disc. Back on December 23, Mike shared The Year in Reissues both here and over with our pals at Popdose. Do not pass go, do not collect 200 bucks until you read these indispensable columns! Are you back with me? Good. Now, I'd like to take this opportunity to take a fun look back at a few of my favorite things via Joe's Gold Bonus Disc Awards! I'm awarding these to the reissues
We're just about to put the "Closed" sign on the door of The Second Disc HQ, but should any of you stumble upon The Second Disc on Christmas, I want this to be the first thing you see for two reasons. One, you're going to find a compendium below of all the Christmas articles Joe and myself have done this season. Let them fill you with Christmas cheer whenever you need some! And second, and most importantly, may you, the treasured reader of The Second Disc, have a Merry, Merry Christmas and a
When you discuss the best modern entry into the Christmas music canon, most discussion centers on Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You." The 1994 song did a fantastic job of paying tribute to the always-excellent A Christmas Gift to You from Phil Spector (1963), bringing the Wall of Sound to the '90s, and it's lived on for over 15 years. One Yuletide tune that deserves your attention from earlier in that decade, however, is "Somewhere in My Memory," the heartwarming main theme from
It's a credit to one's abilities as a composer when people all over the world can vocalize the instruments that play your songs. Every hook The Beatles got on the radio proved their expertise at this. Plenty of album-oriented rock bands have accomplished similar feats. In terms of worldwide appeal, however, Koji Kondo may have them all beat. Though few know his name, a simple vocalization - "Doo-doo-doo-do-do-DOOT" - solidifies his status as a legend. And to think, his most successful music
Once upon a time, the undisputed king of the box set was Rhino Records. The label gave us a brain in a box, an old phonograph to house the masterworks of Ray Charles, a crate of eight tracks to take us back to a more soulful time, and a hatbox filled with the most effervescent girl group sounds possible, just to name a few. (Shag carpets, coffee beans and a carrying case for 45s figured prominently in a few other such packages.) Of late, these lavish sets haven't appeared with great frequency; I
Sometimes the most rewarding soundtrack releases are the least expected. 1983's Curse of the Pink Panther marked the end - well, for a decade, anyway - of Blake Edwards' long-running series of comedies which began with 1963's The Pink Panther. Edwards' seventh and eighth Panther films had been shot following the death of series star Peter Sellers, who proved to be irreplaceable as bumbling Inspector Jacques Clouseau. (A previous attempt to do Clouseau sans Sellers was 1968's Inspector Clouseau,
It's a safe guess that your enjoyment of La La Land's new expansion of Danny Elfman's score to Batman (1989) (LLLCD 1140), like so many soundtracks, hinges on your enjoyment of the film itself. That sentiment, in turn, hinges on how much you can separate the idea of a fun movie from a good one. The blockbuster - drawn from the immortal DC Comics superhero - never falls short on action, thrills or compelling visuals. But it is too long and bloated, with thin characterization and a
It's somewhat ironic that a man so closely associated with the lush, timeless music of Frank Sinatra would find such great fame (or notoriety?) as a composer scoring one of the most over-the-top television series ever. Yet such was the case of Nelson Riddle, who as arranger and conductor was a chief sonic architect of Sinatra's unprecedented run of Capitol concept albums and beyond. His television credits included such groundbreaking programs as The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Naked City and Route
Henry Mancini would have gone down in film history had he only composed the instantly recognizable “Pink Panther Theme,” or supplied the melody to Johnny Mercer’s wistful lyric “Moon River.” But those accomplishments are mere tips of the iceberg for the man who scored over 80 films and recorded over 90 albums, garnering 20 Grammys and 4 Oscars along the way. Hardly a year goes by without a CD reissue of one of his classic scores, and 2010 is no exception, with 2 very different works given new