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Archive for the ‘Andrew Lloyd Webber’ Category

Still Here: Elaine Paige Celebrates Career On New “Ultimate Collection” With Previously Unreleased Songs and Rare Singles

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Elaine Paige - Ultimate CollectionThough her appearances on the Broadway stage have been rare, Elaine Paige remains one of the reigning first ladies of musical theatre around the world. Paige has been a fixture in London’s West End since her debut there in the 1968 production of Hair, rising to fame as the first actress to portray Eva Peron onstage in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Evita in 1978. Paige went on to introduce the role of Grizabella and the song “Memory” in Cats, and subsequently starred in such musicals as Chess, Anything Goes, Sunset Boulevard, The King and I, The Drowsy Chaperone, and most recently in New York, Follies. What might be less well-known (in the U.S., at least!) is that Paige has also recorded a number of U.K. hit albums and singles.   The May 12 release from Rhino U.K. of The Ultimate Collection draws on Paige’s remarkable body of recordings between 1978 and 2011, and the standard edition premieres a couple of unreleased songs as well as a new club remixThe 2-CD Special Edition adds 20 more tracks, all culled from Paige’s singles discography and featuring 4 new-to-CD tracks.

The Ultimate Collection recognizes Paige’s acclaimed 50 years in show business, beginning with her professional debut onstage in 1964. The chronologically-sequenced set begins, of course, with “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina,” which was already familiar to listeners thanks to Julie Covington’s performance on the Evita concept album. Paige made the song her own, however, and began her collaboration with composer Andrew Lloyd Webber who is also represented here with “Memory” from Cats, the two key songs from Paige’s star turn in Sunset Boulevard, and a studio rendition of “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” from Jesus Christ Superstar. Paige didn’t portray Mary Magdalene onstage in the show, but recorded the song for her 1983 studio album and third solo LP, Stages. Produced by David Bowie’s famed collaborator Tony Visconti, Stages was a phenomenon in Paige’s native United Kingdom. It remained on the British album chart for 48 weeks, garnering a 2x Platinum certification by the BPI (The British Recorded Music Industry) for U.K. sales. From that collection of theatre music, The Ultimate Collection also reprises its songs from A Chorus Line, Dreamgirls and Nine. “Be on Your Own,” from Nine, is heard not in its original version, but in the radio edit of its new Almighty Remix.

Visconti and Paige reunited for the follow-up to Stages. Instead of Broadway showstoppers, Cinema took aim at the songs of Hollywood. The result was another Top 20 Platinum-seller, from which the standard “Unchained Melody” and the song “Sometimes,” from the films Unchained and Champions, respectively, have been culled. 1985’s Love Hurts showed off Paige’s pop side, which she previously visited on albums including 1981’s Warner Music debut Elaine Paige. That album featured new songs from Paul McCartney (“Hot as Sun”), Barry Gibb (“Secrets”) and Vangelis (“The Second Time”); though none are featured here, The Ultimate Collection offers three Love Hurts tracks: Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word,” Judie Tzuke’s “For You” and a little song from the musical Chess which became one of Britain’s biggest-selling singles of 1985. “I Know Him So Well” was penned by Tim Rice and ABBA’s Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus. Paige’s duet with Barbara Dickson sold over 900,000 copies, and the Love Hurts album went Top 10.

Hit the jump for more on The Ultimate Collection, including the complete track listing with discography! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 6, 2014 at 13:17

Don’t Cry For Me, Princess Leia: John Williams, Andrew Lloyd Webber Go Disco

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Midney Evita EmpireWhat do a beloved Broadway musical and an iconic sci-fi epic have to do with dance music pioneer Boris Midney?  Plenty, as it turns out.  Midney, a producer and arranger who came to prominence in the disco era with his expansive 48-track productions, recorded under a number of guises:  Caress, Beautiful Bend, Masquerade, Double Discovery, to name a few.  And The Demon Music Group’s Harmless Records imprint indeed does have a double discovery!  On January 26 in the U.K. and one week later in the U.S., an expanded reissue of two era-defining disco platters will arrive in one package: 1979’s Evita, recorded under the Festival name and known to many simply as Disco Evita, and the following year’s reinvented The Empire Strikes Back, released under Midney’s own name.

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s 1976 concept album Evita, based on the life and times of Argentina’s controversial First Lady Eva Perón, starred Julie Covington in the title role.  Covington led a cast that also included Mike d’Abo and Paul Jones of Manfred Mann, future Les Miserables star Colm Wilkinson, pop crooner Tony Christie and actress/singer Barbara Dickson.  The success of Evita was immediate, with Covington earning the No. 1 spot on the U.K. pop charts with her stirring rendition of “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina.”  A stage production directed by Harold Prince and starring Elaine Paige followed in the West End in 1978, and Prince’s production arrived in New York the following year with Patti LuPone in the title role.  Impresario Robert Stigwood, an early champion of Lloyd Webber and Rice’s work, produced Evita in both London and New York, and through his RSO Records, had further designs on the musical.

Stigwood enlisted Boris Midney to create a disco version of the Evita score, which was released on RSO in 1979 under the name of Festival.  Festival’s Evita continued the musical’s success streak, becoming a No. 1 Billboard Disco Album and yielding 12-inch, club-ready mixes of a special medley (over 20 minutes, spread on two sides of a single) and of “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina.”  Harmless’ reissue appends both sides of the “Evita: Special Dance Music Version” as well as the 7-inch mix of “Argentina” and the song’s Mexican 12-inch mix.  Due to the success of the so-called Disco Evita, Stigwood enlisted Midney to turn his attention not to another rock opera, but to a space opera instead.

Mike picks up the story of Midney’s The Empire Strikes Back after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 15, 2013 at 09:51

Heaven On Their Minds: Remastered “Jesus Christ Superstar” Coming From Verve, with Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan, Yvonne Elliman

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“Nothing could convince me that any show that has sold two and one-half million copies of its album before the opening night is anything like all bad,” wrote The New York Times’ Clive Barnes on October 13, 1971 upon the Broadway debut of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Jesus Christ Superstar.  Indeed, the original Jesus Christ Superstar was a bit of a revelation, a true hybrid of rock and theater, introduced as a record but destined for the world’s stages.  And it’s returning in a new, remastered edition.

That 1970 concept album starred Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan as Jesus, Murray Head as Judas Iscariot, Yvonne Elliman as Mary Magdalene and Manfred Mann’s Mike d’Abo as King Herod, and featured equally impressive talent among its musicians (Chris Spedding, Mike Vickers, Wings’ Henry McCullough) and supporting vocalists (P.P. Arnold, Madeline Bell, Lesley Duncan).  Gillan recently recalled Superstar with fondness to Phil Sutcliffe in MOJO, describing it as “top-notch stuff” and a “career highlight.”  He even described being greeted on a 1980s tour of the USSR by fans who had “certainly never heard of Deep Purple, but they knew all about Jesus Christ Superstar!”

Though it’s been oft-reissued over the years, that 1970 Superstar is seeing another release, overseen by composer/orchestrator/producer Lloyd Webber.  He’s remastered it for superior sound on CD, long having felt that the original British vinyl was “much better and brighter than the American.” Though the original masters have been lost, according to Lloyd Webber (along with the possibility of previously unreleased material), he was able to source the new issue from a copy of the masters found in his personal archives.  The result was made available in the U.K. last month, with an American release arriving today on Universal’s Verve label.

The new Jesus Christ Superstar coincides with an arena tour also being shepherded by Lloyd Webber.  Despite skepticism from lyricist Tim Rice, Lloyd Webber cast the role of Jesus via a television program, and actor/singer Ben Forster was announced on July 25 as the winner.  The tour, also starring former Spice Girl Melanie C as Mary Magdalene, begins at London’s O2 Arena on September 25.  Directed by Laurence Connor, it’s completely unrelated to the recent Broadway staging by Jersey Boys’ Des McAnuff which closed on July 1, 2012 after 116 performances at New York’s Neil Simon Theatre.  The U.K. edition of the remastered cast album is housed in a slipcase featuring the colorful artwork of the upcoming tour; the enclosed booklet cover uses the familiar brown logo rather than the psychedelic yellow art from the 1970 U.K. album.  The U.S. version lacks the slipcase, but is otherwise identical.

We’ve got more details after the jump, including the track listing and order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 7, 2012 at 09:58

Release Round-Up: Week of August 7

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The Beach Boys, Japanese 2012 Remasters (EMI)

Released last week across the sea, these new Japanese remasters of 12 of the boys of summer’s first LPs (spanning from 1963 to 1971 but, alas, incomplete) should be hitting our shores around now. Has anyone had the chance to hear them yet?

Roxy Music, The Complete Recordings 1972-1982 (Virgin)

This 10-disc set, kicking off a planned 40th anniversary celebration of the iconic New Wave pioneers, features new remasters of the band’s first eight albums and two bonus discs of non-LP B-sides and mixes, several of which are making their CD debut.

Johnny Cash, The Greatest: The Number OnesCountry Classics Gospel Songs / Duets (Columbia/Legacy) / Various Artists, We Walk the Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash (Legacy)

Lots of love for The Man in Black today: four themed compilations collecting some 60-plus Cash classics (a deluxe edition of The Number Ones features a bonus DVD of performances from The Johnny Cash Show), and a CD/DVD of an all-star 2012 tribute concert featuring Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams and more.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Sexmix (ZTT/Salvo)

A new double-disc set collating many of the U.K. popsters’ cassette singles and other rare mixes. (It should be noted that ZTT has apologized for the use of an alternate mono master of the “Welcome to the Pleasuredome” cassingle – buyer beware and all that.)

Sparks, Shortcuts: The 7 Inch Mixes (1979-1984) Extended: The 12 Inch Mixes (1979-1984) (Repertoire)

Two new compilations from the diverse pop duo: one compiling the band’s second wave of chart hits in Europe, and another collating those songs and singles in their extended and remixed forms.

Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits (24 KT CD) (Audio Fidelity)

Bob’s classic first hits set, presented on gold disc.

Various Artists,Jesus Christ Superstar (Verve)

A new remaster of the original rock opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice that became an iconic Broadway hit. Featuring vocals from Ian Gillan, Murray Head and Yvonne Elliman.

Written by Mike Duquette

August 7, 2012 at 08:02

Bacharach, Sondheim, Lloyd Webber Honored by Melissa Manchester, Dave Koz, Stephen Bishop and More on New Kritzerland Releases

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Kritzerland is reaching into the vaults of Los Angeles’ S.T.A.G.E. charitable organization for three star-filled releases celebrating composers who need no introduction: Burt Bacharach, Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber.  These live concert recordings feature renowned artists from the worlds of pop (Melissa Manchester, Stephen Bishop) and jazz (Dave Koz, Ann Hampton Callaway) plus stars from stage, screen and television (Tyne Daly, Felicity Huffman, Len Cariou, Charlotte Rae, Donna McKechnie) and even some rather unexpected performers (Rip Taylor, Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry), all tackling selections from these deep songbooks.  The Lloyd Webber and Sondheim tributes are both 2-CD sets, while the Bacharach is a single disc.  A portion of the proceeds from all three albums will be allocated to AIDS Project L.A. and other AIDS organizations.

These releases mark a return to S.T.A.G.E., or Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event, territory for producer Bruce KimmelOn the Kritzerland label he’s issued Strouse/Schwartz/Schwartz (that’s Charles, Arthur and Stephen!) and prior to that, Kimmel produced numerous concert releases on Varese Sarabande.  As for S.T.A.G.E. itself, the company’s first such benefit took place in October 1984, honoring the music of Leonard Bernstein. Subsequent presentations have paid tribute to composers and lyricists from the musical stage including: Stephen Sondheim (1985, 1987, 1996, 2007), Jule Styne (1988), Jerry Herman (1989), John Kander and Fred Ebb (1990), Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein (1991), Irving Berlin (1992), George and Ira Gershwin (1993, 2009), Harold Arlen (1995), Cole Porter (1997), Alan Jay Lerner, Frederick Loewe and Burton Lane (1998), Richard Adler, Jerry Bock and Cy Coleman (1999), Charles Strouse, Arthur Schwartz and Stephen Schwartz (2000), Jerome Kern (2001), Johnny Mercer (2002), Frank Loesser (2003), Andrew Lloyd Webber (2004), Marvin Hamlisch and Harry Warren (2005), and Betty Comden and Adolph Green (2006).

The albums are scheduled to ship the fourth week in May, but pre-orders will likely be mailed several weeks earlier as per Kritzerland’s custom.  Hit the jump for a look at each of this trio of recordings, including full track listings and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 13, 2012 at 16:32