The ’59 2018 #065: 180306
The Beatles – Yellow Submarine (1969)
This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. We’re currently at year 11 – 1969.
Yellow Submarine was the Beatles’ tenth studio album released on 13 January 1969 in the United States and on 17 January 1969 in the UK. It was issued as the soundtrack to the animated film of the same name, which premiered in London in July 1968. The album contains six songs by the Beatles, including four new songs and the previously released “Yellow Submarine” and “All You Need Is Love”. The remainder of the album is a re-recording of the film’s orchestral soundtrack by the band’s producer, George Martin.
The project was regarded as a contractual obligation by the Beatles, who were asked to supply four new songs for the film. Some songs were written and recorded specifically for the soundtrack, while others were unreleased tracks from other projects. The album was issued two months after the band’s self-titled double LP (also known as the “White Album”) and was therefore not viewed by the band as a significant release. Yellow Submarine has since been afforded a mixed reception from music critics, some of whom consider that it falls short of the high standard generally associated with the Beatles’ work. It reached the top 5 in the UK and the US, and has been reissued on compact disc several times.
The ’59 2018 #043: 180212
The Beatles – Help (1965)
This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. We’re currently at year 7 – 1965.
Help! was the fifth studio album from the Beatles and the soundtrack from their film of the same name. Produced by George Martin and released on 6 August 1965, seven of its fourteen songs, including the singles “Help!” and “Ticket to Ride”, appeared in the film and took up the first side of the album. The second side contained seven other releases including the most-covered song ever written, “Yesterday”.
The American release was a true soundtrack album, mixing the first seven songs with instrumental material from the film. Of the other seven songs that were on the British release, two were released on the US version of the next Beatles album, Rubber Soul, two were back-to-back on the next US single and then appeared on Yesterday and Today, and three had already been on Beatles VI.
In 2012, Help! was voted 331st on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” and in September 2013, after the British Phonographic Industry changed their sales award rules, it was declared as having gone platinum.
“The ’59” 2018 #019: 180119
Cliff Richard & the Shadows – The Young Ones (1961)
‘The Young Ones’ was a soundtrack album by Cliff Richard and the Shadows to the film of the same name. It was produced by Norrie Paramor, with music by Ronald Cass and Stanley Black and topped the UK Albums and Singles Charts in 1961.
Move on some 20 years and ‘The Young Ones’ is a British sitcom, broadcast in the UK from 1982 to 1984 in two six-part series. Shown on BBC2, it featured anarchic, offbeat humour which helped bring alternative comedy to British television in the 1980s and made household names of its writers (Ben Elton, Alexi Sayle & Ricv Mayall) and performers (Richard Mayall, Adrian Edmondson, Nigel Planar, Christoper Ryan and Alexi Sayle).
“The ’59” 2018 #016: 180116
West Side Story – the original soundtrack (1961)
West Side Story is the soundtrack to the 1961 film of the same name. Released in 1961, the soundtrack spent 54 weeks at No. 1 on the album charts, giving it the longest run at No. 1 of any album in history. Some lists, however, instead credit Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, on the grounds that West Side Story was listed on a chart for stereo albums only at a time when many albums were recorded in mono.
In 1962, it won a Grammy award for “Best Sound Track Album – Original Cast” and Johnny Richards orchestrations of the movie score (on Kenton’s West Side Story) also winning a Grammy in 1962 for “Best Large Ensemble Jazz Album” further bolstering the popularity of the movie and soundtrack. In the United States, it was the best-selling album of the 1960s,certifying three times platinum by the RIAA on November 21, 1986.
Though the album was released just a few years after the release of the original broadway cast recording, it is preferred by some to the earlier version both sentimentally, as the film succeeded in establishing the musical as a “popular masterpiece”, and musically, as it contains “beefier orchestration.
The Epic 2017 Project #355: 171221
Stevie Wonder – The secret life of plants (1979)
Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through “The Secret Life of Plants” was released on the Tamla Motown label on October 30, 1979. It is the soundtrack to the documentary The Secret Life of Plants, directed by Walon Green, which was based on the book of the same name by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird.
The Epic 2017 Project #214: 170802
Pink Floyd – More (1969)
More was the first full-length soundtrack album, and third studio album, from Pink Floyd, released on 13 June 1969 in the United Kingdom by EMI Columbia and on 9 August 1969 by Tower Records a subsidiary label of Capitol Records in the United States as Original Motion Picture Soundtrack from the film ‘More’. It is the first album by the band to be released by Capitol internationally. The film More was made in Luxembourg in 1969 and was directed by Barbet Schroeder.
It was also Pink Floyd’s first full album without founder member Syd Barrett, who was ousted from the group in early 1968 during the recording of A Saucerful of Secrets (see Epic 215 tomorrow). It is one of the three albums to feature David Gilmour as the sole lead vocalist, the others being 1987’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason (see Epic 216 due on 4 August) and 2014’s The Endless River.
Two songs can be heard in the film that were not included on the album: “Seabirds” and “Hollywood”.
The Epic 2017 Project #203: 170722
Pink Floyd – Obscured by clouds (1972)
Obscured by Clouds was Pink Floyd’s seventh studio album. Its was based on their soundtrack for the French film La Vallée, by Barbet Schroeder and released in the United Kingdom on 2 June 1972, and a few weeks later in the United States, by Harvest Records. It reached number 6 and number 46 respectively. A single, “Free Four”, was issued in the US only.
The album was something of a stopgap for the band, who had already started work on The Dark Side of the Moon (see Epic #200 – 19th July), and was recorded in two sessions in France between touring, with three days for mixing. The original plan was to just record small sections of music, but they ultimately created enough songs for a complete album. The resulting work has been overlooked in the Pink Floyd canon because of the huge commercial success of later albums, but still has a positive reaction from fans and critics.