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Archive for the ‘Marvin Hamlisch’ Category

The Entertainer: Marvin Hamlisch’s “D.A.R.Y.L.” Premieres on CD, Features Teddy Pendergrass and Nile Rodgers

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DARYL OSTIt’s appropriate that Marvin Hamlisch’s only children’s book was titled Marvin Makes Music, for making music was indeed what the man did – music for Broadway, music for television, music for the concert hall, music for the silver screen. In any genre, Marvin made music overflowing with melody, wit and heart, and his populist approach earned him the nickname “the people’s composer.” Hamlisch’s film career began in 1968 with the score to the cult film The Swimmer and ended with his posthumously-released work on the HBO motion picture Behind the Candelabra; along the way, he picked up three Academy Awards (all in 1974, for The Sting and The Way We Were) and nine further nominations (between 1972 and 1997). La-La Land Records has recently unveiled the first-ever soundtrack to one of Hamlisch’s less-heralded projects, the 1985 sci-fi fantasy D.A.R.Y.L., on compact disc.

Director Simon Wincer’s film centered on a mysterious little boy named Daryl (Barret Oliver) who comes into the lives of foster parents Andy (Michael McKean) and Joyce (Mary Beth Hurt). Eventually it’s discovered that Daryl isn’t a boy at all, but rather an artificial intelligence named D.A.R.Y.L. (Data-Analyzing Robot Youth Lifeform) who wishes to be human. This contemporary spin on Pinocchio followed the eighties trend of “weird scene” movies aimed at youngsters, but something in the premise clearly inspired Marvin Hamlisch. The eighties wasn’t the best decade for the Pulitzer Prize and EGOT (Emmy/Grammy/Oscar/Tony)-winning maestro; his score to D.A.R.Y.L. proved to be his only Hollywood assignment between 1983 and 1987. D.A.R.Y.L. arrived between his scores to two unsuccessful musicals, London’s Jean Seberg and New York’s Smile.  Despite fine scores with some of Hamlisch’s most inventive and effective music, both shows failed to reach their potential. D.A.R.Y.L. is yet one more crucial piece of evidence that Hamlisch’s gifts were still in abundance during this period of his career.

La-La Land’s beautiful presentation offers the score in full, plus three bonus tracks. Two of these bonuses are source cues (of Beethoven and Rodgers and Hart!) but the third is the song that exists at the heart of D.A.R.Y.L., “Somewhere I Belong.” Philadelphia soul man Teddy Pendergrass performs the song with lyrics by Dean Pitchford (Footloose) in a glossy pop rendition with production and guitar by CHIC’s Nile Rodgers that makes its worldwide debut on CD here. (This version is the full 5+-minute version of the song, too, rather than the truncated edit.) Pitchford’s lyrics take Daryl’s point of view while also functioning as a universal love song: “Somewhere I belong/somewhere I can call my home/Open your heart to me/I’ve got the feeling/That your love is leading me home…”

Hamlisch threaded the yearning, reflective melody of “Somewhere I Belong” throughout his heartfelt, often poignant score, beginning with the latter portion of the Main Title (which begins with a languid, wistfully whistled melody that’s quintessentially Hamlisch). Echoing the family film’s various elements of comedy, drama and high adventure, Hamlisch’s score is among his most diverse. Most of it is traditionally orchestral, but befitting the modern science-fiction elements, he also incorporates more cutting-edge sounds. The score’s first major brush with electronics is the brief, synthesizer-led “Baseball Montage” but soon piano and orchestra take over in softer mode. (The bright and brash “Baseball” melody recurs in the buoyant “Turtle’s Homer.”) A far colder, more sterile use of electronics is heard in “TASCOM/I’m Scared” for the sequence in which D.A.R.Y.L. returns to the facility in which he was created.

There’s more after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 23, 2014 at 13:14

On the Fifth Day of Second Discmas…

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Christmas Kritzerland Fb banner

Here at The Second Disc, the holiday season is the perfect time to do what we love to do best: share the gift of music. For the second year in a row, we have we reached out to some of our favorite reissue labels and we’ve teamed with them to play Santa Claus to our awesome and faithful readers. It’s called – what else? – Second Discmas, and it’s going on now through Christmas!

The fifth day of Second Discmas is a celebration of all things stage and screen!  We’re offering two amazing gift sets from our friends at the Kritzerland label, a torch-bearer for film scores from Hollywood’s Golden Age as well as classic Broadway musicals.

The first prize pack features producer Bruce Kimmel’s entertaining new memoir Album Produced By…,  joined by (what else?) two albums produced by Bruce Kimmel: the revelatory remix and remaster of Stephen Sondheim’s seminal Follies: The Original Broadway Cast Recording; and Bruce’s latest album and one sure to be a holiday staple, Sandy Bainum’s This Christmas!

For fans of the silver screen, Kritzerland has also created a prize pack with two rare and out-of-print selections from its catalogue plus one title celebrating a recently departed legend.  The label’s latest sell-out, an Alfred Newman two-fer of Love is a Many-Splendored Thing and The Seven Year Itch, can no longer be purchased from Kritzerland, but it can be YOURS!  Ditto for the amazing expansion of Henry Mancini’s ravishing and unique score to The Molly Maguires!  Lastly, the late Marvin Hamlisch can be remembered with his captivating soundtrack to Romantic Comedy!

How can you make these prizes yours? Click on the graphic up top to head over to Contest Central for the complete rules! And there’s still more great free music coming your way, only at The Second Disc!

Written by Joe Marchese

December 21, 2012 at 10:15

Reissue Theory: “James Bond 007: The Ultimate Collection”

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Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we focus on classic music and the reissues they may someday see. With 50 years of on-screen action and a new film in theaters, the name is Bond…James Bond, and the music is plentiful!

What else is left to say about Ian Fleming’s blunt, British secret agent James Bond? Our 007, licensed to kill, is an international icon of print and, since Sean Connery suavely stepped into Bond’s tuxedo in 1962’s Dr. No, the big screen. Today, the 23rd Bond film, Skyfall – the third to star Daniel Craig as a rougher-hewn 007 and, by nearly all accounts, one of the greatest films in the series – opens in American theaters, guaranteeing the legacy that film producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli created a half-century ago remains as shaken (not stirred) as ever.

Bond soundtrack fans have had much to enjoy in that time period. From Monty Norman and His Orchestra’s brassy, immortal main theme (punctuated by session guitarist Vic Flick’s staccato electric guitar licks), to lush scores by John Barry, Marvin Hamlisch, Bill Conti, Michael Kamen, David Arnold and Thomas Newman, to name a few, to the 23 title themes of varying quality but with boundless cultural currency, music is as vital a part of the Bond experience as martinis, girls, cars and guns. And fans have been lucky: in the 1990s, Rykodisc acquired the rights to much of the Bond soundtrack catalogue (in most cases, controlled by Capitol/EMI). In the 2000s, Capitol itself expanded and/or remastered many of those albums anew. And compilations, from 1992’s rarity-packed double-disc The Best of James Bond 30th Anniversary Collection to this year’s Bond…James Bond: 50 Years, 50 Tracks, have been plentiful as well.

But short of another, even more comprehensive pass at expanding the soundtrack albums to completion (one that seems increasingly like a pipe dream, thanks to the climate of the industry and the varying physical and financial statuses of the scores themselves), one could certainly find worth in a multi-disc box set that would provide the definitive dossier on Bond music. With that in mind, Second Disc HQ’s latest mission file is just that – and you can expect us to talk after the jump!

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It’s The Falling In Love: Raven Reissues The Complete Carole Bayer Sager Albums; Bacharach, Jackson, Diamond, Midler Guest

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Carole Bayer Sager knew “that’s what friends are for” long before she wrote the song of the same name. The former Carole Bayer was already a hitmaking lyricist before graduating high school, thanks to the Mindbenders’ No. 2 hit “A Groovy Kind of Love.” The song was written by Bayer and Toni Wine before both women hit the ripe old age of 18. Following more hit tunes with the likes of the Monkees and Neil Sedaka, and even a Broadway musical (1970’s Georgy, with music by George Fischoff), she eventually turned to a recording career. Her complete, three-album solo discography has just been collected on two CDs by Australian label Raven Records, and the set makes for a “Who’s Who” of popular music. Sager’s team of songwriters, producers and background vocalists were all-stars, to wit: Bette Midler, Peter Allen, Melissa Manchester, Neil Diamond, Tony Orlando, David Foster, Nino Tempo, Nicky Hopkins, Luther Vandross, Alice Cooper, Michael McDonald, and not one, but two romantic partners who both just happened to be Academy Award-winning songwriters: Marvin Hamlisch and Burt Bacharach. Oh, yeah. The future King of Pop showed up for a duet, too. Carole Bayer Sager/…Too/Sometimes Late at Night (Raven RVCD-356, 2012) brims with an abundance of orchestral pop-rock riches, showcasing some of the lyricist’s finest and most enduring compositions.

Sager’s self-titled Elektra debut (1977) and its follow-up …Too (1978) are both impeccably arranged collections that have been criminally underrated over the years, but 1981’s Boardwalk LP Sometimes Late at Night is the crown jewel here. Though Sager is known for her unabashedly commercial lyrics that have struck a chord with so many, her more idiosyncratic side comes into full blossom, too.

Carole Bayer Sager featured songs co-written with Manchester, Midler, Hamlisch, Allen, Bruce Roberts and Johnny Vastano, but all shared a similar sonic signature thanks to the low-key, lean production of Brooks Arthur and the subtly evocative arrangements of Paul Buckmaster, the architect of the string charts for most of Elton John’s early hits. Sager’s voice was a small, wispy instrument, yet she knew, and was in full control of, its strengths. An aching vulnerability permeates much of the album, most vividly on the Allen co-write “I’d Rather Leave While I’m in Love.” Later recorded in a hit version by Rita Coolidge and also by Allen, Dusty Springfield and Carmen McRae (not to mention Hugh Jackman in the Allen bio-musical The Boy from Oz), the song’s direct sentiment cuts to the bone thanks to Sager’s poignant vocal and the sympathetic arrangement: “Too many times I’ve seen the rose die on the vine/And somebody’s heart gets broken/Usually it’s mine…” She also brings a touching dimension to “Come In from the Rain,” which was introduced by Manchester and also recorded in 1977 by Captain and Tennille. Sager is no match for Manchester, Coolidge or Toni Tennille in terms of vocal power, and her voice occasionally cracks or gets particularly throaty. But these surprisingly soulful performances are appealing due to the emotion on display.

Carole Bayer Sager isn’t all melancholy, though. Peter Allen supplies a sleek piano part on his feisty “Don’t Wish Too Hard” (“Or then you might get it…and then when you get it, you might find you didn’t want it at all!”) on which Sager is joined by Tony Orlando as her protesting lover. Gene Page provided the upbeat arrangement. Even saucier, though, is the offbeat “You’re Moving Out Today,” a major hit for Sager virtually everywhere but America! The kooky single hit No. 6 in the U.K. and No. 1 in Australia, where the album hit No. 2 itself. Bette Midler (who also wrote the song with Sager and Bruce Roberts) joins Carole as she deliciously kisses off a live-in lover with, um, some interesting proclivities: “Your nasty habits ain’t confined to bed/The grocer told me what you do with bread/Why don’t you take up with the baker’s wife instead of me?,” she coquettishly implores before demanding he pack up his rubber duck, his funny cigarettes, his 61 cassettes, his rubber hose, and various other objects. Seems he’s a composer, too (Carole’s type), for she asks him to pack up his “songs that have no hooks,” as well! It all makes for a gleefully wicked three minutes of song. (Midler’s studio version appears on her Live at Last album.) A gentler end to a relationship is presented in the wistful “Sweet Alibis,” written with Marvin Hamlisch, who supplies typically sensitive work on piano, celeste and Fender Rhodes. Lee Ritenour brings a unique color to this track with a strong electric guitar solo. In a different vein, Midler lends her pipes to the sweetly affecting Allen/Sager tune “Shy as a Violet,” fleshing out Sager’s lead vocal with a close harmony.

We check out the next two Carole Bayer Sager albums after the jump! Plus: the full track listing and an order link!

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Written by Joe Marchese

October 2, 2012 at 14:25

Nobody Does It Better: James Bond Turns 50, Capitol Celebrates with New CD Anthology

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When Sean Connery first uttered the immortal words “Bond…James Bond” fifty years ago in the film Dr. No, the template for the long-running movie series was already set.  That soon-to-be-signature phrase was joined in the film by a piece of music that would quickly rival those three words for familiarity.  John Barry’s arrangement of “The James Bond Theme” not only helped cement the silver screen icon of 007 but virtually became a genre unto itself, that of spy music.  The spy film craze may have hit its peak in the swinging sixties, but Ian Fleming’s immortal character of the debonair Bond has endured over some 23 “official” films (including this year’s upcoming Skyfall), plus a couple of unofficial ones.  He has been portrayed by six actors in those 23 films, from Connery to Daniel Craig.  Since Dr. No, James Bond and music have been closely intertwined, and the film franchise continues to attract the very best: it’s been all but confirmed that record-breaking artist Adele will mark her return to music with the recently-leaked Skyfall theme.  Now, 50 years of Bond music is being compiled by Capitol Records as Best of Bond…James Bond, set for an October 9 release in both standard and deluxe editions.  It joins the recent DVD/BD box set, Bond 50, which contains each and every official Bond film to date!

While similar (and similarly-titled!) compilations have arrived on a periodic basis in the CD era, the new set in its deluxe two-disc form is the most comprehensive collection of Bond-related music yet with 50 tracks.  Both versions stand as a tribute to John Barry, the late composer who will forever be associated with the film series.  The disc opens with his original arrangement of “The James Bond Theme.”  Though credited to Monty Norman, Barry long maintained in and out of the courtroom that the composition was, in fact, his own.  (The confusion stems from the fact that Barry was presented with Norman’s theme, and rearranged it in the style of his previous instrumental “Bea’s Knees,” almost wholly transforming the music along the way.  He was reportedly paid under $1,000.00 for his troubles!)  Barry went on to score eleven of the films between 1963’s From Russia with Love through 1987’s The Living Daylights, ceding movies along the way to George Martin, Marvin Hamlisch and Bill Conti.  Since Barry’s retirement from the Bond franchise, the longest-standing composer has been David Arnold, with five films under his belt between 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies and 2008’s Quantum of Solace.  (The score to Skyfall has been crafted by director Sam Mendes’ frequent collaborator Thomas Newman.)  Either consciously or subconsciously, however, every composer has been influenced by the template set by John Barry.  Indeed, his famous arrangement of the Norman theme has been quoted in each film’s score.  Best of Bond also is a reminder of the gargantuan talents of two other contributors, both of whom passed away in 2012: Marvin Hamlisch (The Spy Who Loved Me) and Hal David (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.)

The first CD (also available as a stand-alone disc) features 23 tracks: the theme to every one of the films from 1962’s Dr. No through 2008’s Quantum of Solace, plus the “secondary” theme to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), Louis Armstrong’s “We Have All the Time in the World.”  This CD includes Chris Cornell’s “You Know My Name” from Casino Royale (2006), the first main Bond theme to not appear on the movie’s soundtrack album.  Other highlights include the very first vocal Bond theme, Lionel Bart’s “From Russia with Love” as performed by Matt Monro; Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley and John Barry’s “Goldfinger” from the iconic Dame Shirley Bassey; Barry and Don Black’s booming “Thunderball” from Tom Jones; Paul and Linda McCartney’s Wings-performed “Live and Let Die;” Carole Bayer Sager and Marvin Hamlisch’s “Nobody Does It Better” (from The Spy Who Loved Me); Barry and Duran Duran’s “A View to a Kill;” and Barry and Pål Waaktaar’s “The Living Daylights,” performed by Waaktaar’s band a-ha.

What’s on Disc 2?  Hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 27, 2012 at 09:49

As the Globe Turns: Universal Adds Classic, Possibly Rare, Soundtrack Material to Blu-Ray Box Set

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In 1912, an ex-dry goods merchant and owner of the nascent Independent Moving Pictures (IMP) studio stood in a New York office with five other movie moguls and made history.

These six men, organized by IMP founder Carl Laemmle, were keen to merge their businesses with an eye toward the growing big business of moviemaking. As they struggled for a title for their venture, Laemmle allegedly saw a wagon zip by on the street below with a grandiose name: “Universal Pipe Fitters.” Turning back to the window, he announced the venture would be named Universal, an apt name for the magnitude of what they wanted to accomplish.

A century later, Universal is one of the biggest entertainment corporations in the world and the longest-running American film company. Dozens of their blockbuster films sit toward the top of the all-time box office lists, and their bi-coastal studio backlot/theme parks in Los Angeles and Orlando are prime vacation destinations. For film fans, Universal has been keen to celebrate their 100th anniversary this year, releasing not only stunning restorations of classic films on Blu-Ray (JAWS hit shops last week, with boxes devoted to Alfred Hitchcock and Universal Studios Monsters due in the next few months along with the hi-def debut of Second Disc favorite E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial) but at least one classic soundtrack in the form of the premiere release of Henry Mancini’s original film score to the classic Charade.

On November 6, the studio will release their biggest box set yet – a collection of 25 of their most classic films with value-added bonus content. But soundtrack enthusiasts will want to keep an eye on this package for the possibility of exceptionally rare film music. We explain all after the jump.

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Reissue Theory, In Memoriam: Various Artists, “The Essential Marvin Hamlisch”

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Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we focus on notable albums and the reissues they may someday see. Today’s installment looks back at the mighty career of the late Marvin Hamlisch and how his best songs might be compiled into a truly “Essential” release.

On Tuesday morning, August 7, news broke that composer Marvin Hamlisch had unexpectedly died the day before, at the age of 68.  The worlds of music, theatre and film were all shocked, as Hamlisch’s latest musical, The Nutty Professor, had started performances in Nashville, Tennessee, and the busy conductor had continued to fulfill his concert appearances.  Barbra Streisand reflected, “I’m devastated…he was a musical genius, but above all that, he was a beautiful human being.”  Her sentiment was echoed by many with whom he had worked.  Rupert Holmes, his lyricist on The Nutty Professor, commented, “The music of Marvin Hamlisch is invariably compassionate, charming, tender, uplifting, classy, delightful and profoundly moving.  The world has not lost a note of his genius.  His music will live on.  What I have lost as his devoted collaborator is a friend who was invariably…compassionate, tender, uplifting, classy, delightful and often profoundly moving.”  Robert Klein, star of Hamlisch’s musical They’re Playing Our Song, admitted, “He was inscrutable in some ways, but was a loving collaborator who composed the most beautiful melodies, and thankfully we are left with them.  It is sad to think of all the beautiful music he would have composed in days to come.”  Liza Minnelli, a childhood friend, summed it up: “I have lost my lifelong best friend, and sadly we have lost a splendid, splendid talent.”

The best way, of course, to celebrate Hamlisch’s life is with his music.  Surely the man who wrote “The Way We Were” and “One [Singular Sensation]” is deserving of a retrospective collection.  And so we’ve created one, Reissue Theory-style!  A box set would seem most natural, with one disc devoted to his orchestral soundtrack work, another to his Broadway musicals, and a third to his pop music and hit film songs.  But would it be possible to distill the essence of Marvin Hamlisch onto one disc?  His was an enormously versatile talent; there’s not a signature Marvin Hamlisch sound the way there is a “Burt Bacharach sound” or a “Henry Mancini sound.”  What Hamlisch’s compositions have in common is an unerring sense of melody, an open heart and a true positivity.  And you’ll certainly hear some musical trademarks on these tracks.

For our not-yet-a-reality The Essential Marvin Hamlisch, we have attempted to bring together the best of all three of Hamlisch’s musical worlds, with both hit songs and some pieces which might be unfamiliar.  Some amazing tracks had to fall by the wayside, all of which are every bit as worthy as those we have chosen: “At the Ballet,” from A Chorus Line, perhaps that score’s most thrillingly visceral moment.  “At the Fountain,” the heart-stopping soliloquy from Sweet Smell of Success.  The yearning “Disneyland” from Smile.  “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows,” the Lesley Gore pop hit.  “Life is What You Make It,” from the film Kotch.  “Cause I Believe In Loving,” an affecting song that closes Woody Allen’s Bananas in a version performed by singer Jake Holmes.  The dramatic cues for films like Sophie’s Choice and Ordinary People.  The list goes on and on.  Hamlisch even wrote a number of songs for performers who might not usually be associated with him.  The young Paul Simon recorded a demo of the song “Flame.”  The Chambers Brothers, Stephanie Mills, Tevin Campbell and Peter Allen all recorded music by Marvin Hamlisch.

You can read our full tribute to Marvin Hamlisch here.  Or hit the jump for our hypothetical track listing to The Essential Marvin Hamlisch, with track-by-track “liner notes” and complete discographical information as to where you can find each of these remarkable songs! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 10, 2012 at 10:06

In Memoriam: Marvin Hamlisch (1944-2012)

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I only met Marvin Hamlisch once.

It was late in September 2010, on the campus of Los Angeles’ UCLA, where the esteemed composer had been working on a revised production of his 1979 musical They’re Playing Our Song.  He and I were both on our cell phones in the lobby a few minutes before the show was about to start.  As if by serendipity, we hung up at the same time.  As we both were headed back into the auditorium, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to extend my hand to one of the men whose work had inspired me to pursue a career in music journalism and in musical theatre.  He graciously accepted my words of thanks, signed a program, and disappeared into the crowd. Still, I couldn’t help but sneak a glance at him at his seat throughout the show, supporting Jason Alexander and Stephanie J. Block onstage as Vernon Gersch and Sonia Walsk.  The character of Gersch is a neurotic, self-obsessed composer with an otherworldly gift of melody, embroiled in a tempestuous romance with a free-spirited lyricist.  In other words, Marvin Hamlisch was watching his own one-time relationship with Carole Bayer Sager comically unfold.  He appeared to be enjoying every moment of it.

Marvin Hamlisch died yesterday at the age of 68.  It’s hard to imagine that the day has come where we won’t hear more Marvin Hamlisch melodies.  The EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) and Pulitzer Prize winner seemed to perform magic each time he got behind the keys of a piano.  He composed the ultimate melodic expression of a long-gone love with “The Way We Were,” channeled the nostalgic joy of ragtime with his adaptation of Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer,” and taught the world “What I Did For Love” about an artist’s passion against all odds.  He bottled pure pop exultation with songs like “California Nights” and “Sunshine, Lollipops and Roses,” and captivated with film scores from his first, The Swimmer, to the last, The Informant!.  No, Hamlisch didn’t do it all alone, collaborating with lyricists such as Alan and Marilyn Bergman (“The Way We Were”), Ed Kleban (A Chorus Line), Bayer Sager (They’re Playing Our Song, “Nobody Does It Better”), Craig Carnelia (the stunningly mature musical Sweet Smell of Success) and Howard Ashman (Smile).  He had only recently completed work with Rupert Holmes on a new musical adaptation of Jerry Lewis’ film The Nutty Professor, currently playing in Nashville with an eye to Broadway.  Holmes described his friend’s new score as “Hamlisch at his best, with a number of deeply touching and timeless ballads.”  That’s what Marvin Hamlisch excelled at: creating open-hearted melodies that stuck in the brain but pierced the heart.

Around 1976, Hamlisch and Tim Rice wrote a song called “The Only Way to Go” for the television film The Entertainer.  “Don’t dig any deeper, what you get is what you see,” Bing Crosby insouciantly sang in one of his last-ever recordings, in the persona of a carefree soul nearing the end of his days.  There wasn’t a need to dig any deeper to understand the universal, emotional, heart-on-its-sleeve music of Marvin Hamlisch; we were gifted – and lifted – with we saw, and what we heard, from this versatile composer, conductor, producer and performer.

Rest in peace, Mr. Hamlisch.  Nobody did it better.

Written by Joe Marchese

August 7, 2012 at 11:03

Ring Them Bells: Liza Minnelli’s Triumphant “Live at the Winter Garden” Expanded For CD Premiere

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Liza Minnelli turns 66 today, and could rightfully relax, look back and celebrate over six decades in show business.  But the daughter of Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli, who made her first onscreen appearance as a baby in 1949’s MGM extravaganza In the Good Old Summertime, has never been one to rest on her considerable laurels.  Minnelli is still touring, recording and doing what she does best: entertaining, whether on the big screen (Sex and the City 2), the small screen (Arrested Development) or onstage.  Masterworks Broadway will, on April 3, give the deluxe treatment to one of the few milestones in Minnelli’s career not previously revisited: Live at the Winter Garden.

In 1974, the multi-hyphenate talent was riding high, having taken home a Best Actress Academy Award for her incendiary performance as Sally Bowles in Bob Fosse’s film version of Cabaret, as well as an Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Program – Variety and Popular Music for Liza with a “Z,” also helmed by the visionary Fosse.  So it was probably inevitable that Minnelli and Fosse would reteam in their natural habitat: onstage.

Liza Minnelli, just 27 years old and already a superstar, took the stage at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre (today the home of Mamma Mia!) on January 6, 1974 for a series of 24 sold-out concerts, setting a house record at the venerable theatre.  The concert itself, directed and co-choreographed by Fosse, was simply entitled Liza, and there was no doubt of the surname.  Columbia Records, to which Minnelli had recently been signed, was on hand to record the event.  It boasted special material by longtime friends John Kander and Fred Ebb (Cabaret, Chicago) and musical coordination by another Academy Award winner, Marvin Hamlisch.  Columbia released the album in April when the shows were still fresh in fans’ minds, but the original LP was soon withdrawn due to legal wrangling with the rights holders to the Cabaret soundtrack, unhappy that Minnelli’s famous songs from the film were now available on a competing release.

Hit the jump for much more on this classic LP, including the complete track listing and links to order and hear samples! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 12, 2012 at 13:38