Film Score Monthly
FSM HOME MESSAGE BOARD FSM CDs FSM ONLINE RESOURCES FUN STUFF ABOUT US  SEARCH FSM   
Search Terms: 
Search Within:   search tips 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
 
 Posted:   Feb 16, 2014 - 8:08 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

My recent thread about "That Darn Cat..."

http://filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=101087&forumID=1&archive=0

...got me thinking about the content of Disney "soundtrack" albums over the years.

These ranged from being accurate presentations of the film music (Snow White) to complete re-records not including the original casts (Lady and the Tramp) to story albums (The Ugly Dachshund).

Does anyone know about the reasons or thought processes around these divergent approaches? I'm sure money came into play, especially with famous artists such as Peggy Lee.

Any background on this?

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 16, 2014 - 9:24 AM   
 By:   CindyLover   (Member)

Does anyone know about the reasons or thought processes around these divergent approaches? I'm sure money came into play, especially with famous artists such as Peggy Lee.

I'd say you just answered your own question.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 16, 2014 - 9:27 AM   
 By:   jskoda   (Member)

A big topic.

One thing you have to remember is that Disney didn't form it's own record label until the late 1950s, so before that, the Disney scores were handled in a patchwork way by the major labels.

One of the first things the Disneyland label did was a series of soundtrack albums (the WDL-4000 series) from the major animated classics. These were classy LPs for the adult market, which was a nice start.

Unfortunately, I'm guessing these didn't sell as well as was hoped because the label all but abandoned this approach soon after and concentrated on the kiddie LP market. So you mostly got Storyteller releases and budget LPs.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 16, 2014 - 9:33 AM   
 By:   John B. Archibald   (Member)

As I recall, Peggy Lee was under contract to Decca, which produced an album of her songs from LADY AND THE TRAMP. But, upon listening, I realized that some of the tracks, like the main title, "Bella Notte," and the finale, among others, were all from the music tracks of the film, none of them publicized on the jacket.

On the other hand, there never was a release of the tracks to PETER PAN on its first release (1953). It wasn't until about 1961 that I was able to find a "story-teller" version, narrated by Jimmie Dodd, of "Mousketeers" fame, but with actual soundtrack excerpts, dialogue scenes, and even sound effects, from the soundtrack. A couple of years after that, I got a low-priced lp, which had the actual tracks, including the main title, though without the dialogue scenes.

Finally, back in the late 90's, Disney released a CD of the score, with music tracks, which I still have, and which is, so far, the most comprehensive.

Likewise, there was never a proper release of the tracks to ALICE IN WONDERLAND (1951), until also in the late 90's. The songs in the film all seem to be interrupted at various points: "In a World of My Own" ends abruptly when Alice sees the White Rabbit. "Golden Afternoon" has an embarrassing moment when Alice's voice breaks. And "Very Good Advice" stops abruptly when Alice can't stop crying. Consequently, Disneyland Records released a re-recording of the score, conducted by Camerata, and with Mousketeer Darlene Gillespie singing Alice, which actually has some extended versions of cues not heard in the film, and which was, finally, released on CD in Japan.

Meanwhile, the much-debated SONG OF THE SOUTH only had an lp release of the tracks during a re-release of the film in 1956. This was later released on a Disney budget version, with the songs, but less of the background score, which was a common practice. To my knowledge, the music from SONG OF THE SOUTH has never been released since, and has never appeared on CD.

There are also occasional anomalies between lp and CD releases of Disney scores. The CD of BAMBI omits the ominous choral cue, heard on the lp, when the animals have gathered on an island to watch the forest fire. The SNOW WHITE CD has the finale as heard in the film, but the earlier lp release had an alternate cue, with a wordless choir, and this also later appeared on a budget CD. The SLEEPING BEAUTY CD omits a cue from the lp, when the 3 good fairies are hurrying to the forest cottage. You'd think that, since all of these were on the original lp's, that the Disney people would have access to them for the CD recordings. Go figure...

Likewise, there are a lot of Disney films which have never had any CD release, such as MELODY TIME, MAKE MINE MUSIC, SALUDOS AMIGOS, and THREE CABALLEROS, let alone such other oddities as VICTORY THROUGH AIR POWER or any of the SILLY SYMPHONIES. During the 30's and 40's, the main outlet for film scores seems to have been to release songs by various vocalists, with few actual soundtracks being made available, a common practice at the time.

There are a lot of Disney soundtracks which have yet to see circulation.

Curious, because the music from Disney films was probably among the first film scores many people have ever heard, and should be made available.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 16, 2014 - 9:44 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)



I'd say you just answered your own question.


Partially, but not entirely. It also took some time, money, and effort to do the story LPs and "music inspired by" LPs. It's not like this content was readily available for an album in the same way that the music may have been.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 16, 2014 - 10:02 AM   
 By:   jskoda   (Member)

The Decca LADY AND THE TRAMP LP is interesting--there are two different versions. The 10" LP came out when the film did, and (as I recall) is almost completely soundtrack material. Later Decca decided to add expanded content for a 12" version, so Lee went back in the studio (a couple of years after the film) and recorded additional songs. It's unclear whether this new material was newly-written or was written for the film but not used.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 16, 2014 - 3:02 PM   
 By:   joec   (Member)

The Decca LADY AND THE TRAMP LP is interesting--there are two different versions. The 10" LP came out when the film did, and (as I recall) is almost completely soundtrack material. Later Decca decided to add expanded content for a 12" version, so Lee went back in the studio (a couple of years after the film) and recorded additional songs. It's unclear whether this new material was newly-written or was written for the film but not used.

Has any of this Decca LADY & THE TRAMP material ever appeared on CD?

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 16, 2014 - 3:36 PM   
 By:   RonBurbella   (Member)

If you are REALLY into the story of Walt Disney Records, R. Michael Murray ("recordman" here at FSM) wrote the definitive book on the subject:

THE GOLDEN AGE OF WALT DISNEY RECORDS 1933-1988 (published in 1997)
http://www.amazon.com/Golden-Walt-Disney-Records-1933-1988/dp/0930625706/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392593153&sr=1-1&keywords=Walt+Disney+Records

This is an AMAZING treasure trove of Disney music history, album photos and information, and even a price guide. I was a real labor of love as well. If you haven't picked up a copy by now, I most highly recommend it for Disney music fans and soundtrack fans.

I'll wait for Mike (aka recordman) to chime in with his answer, as I consider him the definitive authority on the subject.

Ron Burbella

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 16, 2014 - 4:16 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

The Decca LADY AND THE TRAMP LP is interesting--there are two different versions. The 10" LP came out when the film did, and (as I recall) is almost completely soundtrack material. Later Decca decided to add expanded content for a 12" version, so Lee went back in the studio (a couple of years after the film) and recorded additional songs. It's unclear whether this new material was newly-written or was written for the film but not used.

Has any of this Decca LADY & THE TRAMP material ever appeared on CD?



Here’s the Decca 12-inch LP (DL 8142):



Here are the 13 tracks on the LP. The four tracks in bold are the new ones added to the 12-inch LP that did not appear on the 10-inch LP.

1. Bella Notte - Peggy Lee & Chorus
2. Peace On Earth / Silent Night - Peggy Lee & Chorus
3. Jim Dear - Peggy Lee
4. Lady - Orchestra
5. Old Trusty - Peggy Lee & Sonny Burke
6. That Fellow's A Friend of Man - Peggy Lee
7. Singing, Cause He Wants to Sing - Peggy Lee

8. What is A Baby? - Peggy Lee
9. La La Lu - Peggy Lee
10. The Siamese Cat Song - Peggy Lee
11. He's A Tramp - Peggy Lee & The Mellow Men
12. Home Sweet Home - The Mellow Men
13. Bella Notte and Finale - George Givot and Chorus

According to an online Peggy Lee discography:

http://www.peggyleediscography.com/p/PhotosDecca.php

The original Decca issues of Songs From Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp contain six numbers sung by Peggy Lee. These issues qualify as partial rather than full movie soundtracks: only half of Lee's tracks are the same ones that are heard in the soundtrack ("La La Lu," "He's A Tramp," "The Siamese Cat Song"). In the other three numbers, Lee offers her interpretation of lyrics which were sung by other vocalists in the soundtrack ("What Is A Baby?," "Bella Notte," "Peace On Earth"), though Lee herself wrote each of them.

“Additionally, there are a few differences between the soundtrack and the album renditions of "La La Lu" and "He's A Tramp." One significant difference pertains to length. The film features an edited, 2:57 version of La La Lu" whereas the album offers a longer, 4:10 performance of the same master take. (Decca released the 2:57 version on a single. The 4:10 version would have not fit on one side of a single.) Another significant difference pertains to the spoken coda that closes "La La Lu." Though uttered by Lee in both cases, the words are not the same.

“In 1956, Peggy Lee recorded [four] new tracks expressly for inclusion in the expanded, 12" LP edition of the original 10" LP and EP. The newly recorded songs were not brand new compositions, however: she had co-written them back when the Disney movie was in production, and they had been considered for inclusion in the film at that time.”

Two of the LP tracks, “He’s a Tramp” and “The Siamese Cat Song” appear on the Peggy Lee CD The Best of the Decca Years. In addition to those two, "Bella Notte" and "La La Lu" have been on a Japanese Peggy Lee compilation CD (Uicy 1534).

But it appears that nearly all ten of the Lee tracks from LADY AND THE TRAMP should appear on the 2003 British MCA CD compilation "Classics & Collectables (DECCA 1130342). I say should because the set has some peculiarities. From the Lee discography again:

"Although this set officially contains 52 tracks, some early pressings feature only 50. Missing are "Bella Notte" and the medley of "Peace On Earth/Silent Night." Prospective buyers are advised to ask vendors about the number of tracks in the copies for sale.

"A handful of tracks in this otherwise highly recommended set fail to live to expectations. Two tracks suffer from significant mastering defects. Both are doubletracked numbers for which Peggy Lee overdubbed her voice, thereby duetting with herself: "The Siamese Cat Song" and this session's "Sisters." For each of these numbers, only one of Lee's two voices is heard in the CD. Music fills the spots where the other voice is expected to come in. Perhaps this defect may actually prove a welcome curiosity among Peggy Lee collectors who already own the correct vocals in other albums. More casual listeners in search of those two performances are advised to track down other CDs which contain them."

http://www.amazon.com/Classics-Collectables-Peggy-Lee/dp/tracks/B000083LQ8/ref=dp_tracks_all_1#disc_1

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 16, 2014 - 7:42 PM   
 By:   jskoda   (Member)

Two of the LP tracks, “He’s a Tramp” and “The Siamese Cat Song” appear on the Peggy Lee CD The Best of the Decca Years. In addition to those two, "Bella Notte" and "La La Lu" have been on a Japanese Peggy Lee compilation CD (Uicy 1534).

Actually it's even more confusing. For the two LADY tracks, The Best of the Decca Years CD has later Decca studio versions of "He's A Tramp" and "The Siamese Cat Song" rather than the soundtrack vocal versions heard on both of the Decca LPs.

 
 Posted:   Feb 16, 2014 - 8:44 PM   
 By:   Recordman   (Member)

In considering why the OP's (Onyabirri) query as to why the Walt Disney Company LPs were "all over the map" vis a vis content and presentation I offer the below with a few quotes from my Disney records book tossed in. The condensed history below might give you a taste as to why Disney produced the records it did.

From our lofty soundtrack/score niche market today many seem to criticize Disney for offering only a hodgepodge of its musical library and even that as not being "complete" or original. One thing forgotten from this lofty perch is that Disney was not always the entertainment conglomerate it is now. Indeed there were times when pennies were tight and Disney was scrambling to produce something that would sell independently of its films. At the time it was certainly the films that made the money -not the music. Moreover, while we concentrate on the Disney underscores, it is the Disney vocal songs and stories which finally became paramount. In my opinion, Disney was "all over the map" because for a long time its assignments and licensing arrangements did not give it control over its own music and it really wanted to play with and against the big record labels...but it didn't know how for a long time. It tried everything until it finally saw the light.

"Prior to 1955, Walt Disney Productions (now the Walt Disney Company) did not produce and distribute its own music recordings from its films. It assigned or licensed out the rights to its music and recording rights to the major record corporations of the time, primarily RCA, Decca and Capitol which released a few original Disney soundtracks, and many cast studio tracks to the films as well. Disney licensed not only its music, but cartoon drawings and/or photos, which usually appeared on these non-Disney album or singles covers making them true Disney collectibles as well. This was especially true in the 1930's through the early 1950's during the 78 rpm era."

Disney did not reap great profits from these deals. Usual arrangements with these third-party firms gave Disney 50% of the record royalties, out of which it usually had to pay its composers and writers approximately two-thirds of that amount. Moreover, Disney did not share at all in any ASCAP performing rights for the assigned music. Actually Disney assigned musical rights to both Snow White and Pinocchio, both of which were later licensed to Victor/RCA and Disney was never again to own the "Snow White" music outright (at least up to 1997 when I wrote the book)

The "Walt Disney Music Company", an ASCAP firm, was established in 1949 at or about the time the record format wars took place with the introduction of the LP long playing records and RCA's 45rpm 7" records. All the companies that had previously produced the licensed Disney music reissued it in the new formats. Disney then began seeking more of a control over its own music and in producing other pop music as well. While the Walt Disney Music Company had some earlier success in the late 1940's and early 1950's with popular music hits, such as Frankie Laine's "Mule Train" on Mercury, and Jo Stafford's "Shrimp Boats" on Columbia, it steadily lost money in 1950 through 1952.

Disney had a licensing arrangement with Golden records in the early 50's to issue its Disney children records (remember Little Golden Records) which also produced Mickey Mouse Club (MMC)records in the early 50s as well. The success of the MMC records was encouraging but if any one event might be seen as the major impetus for Disney to have launched its own record label, that event was the world-wide success of over 200 different recorded versions of "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" in 1955. In the US Columbia and Cadence record issues were giant hits. The creation and success of the "Disneyland" theme park (1954), coupled with its TV counterpart (1955) and the TV Mickey Mouse Club (1955) success as well made nationwide outlets for both the films AND the music.

Disney finally saw the light by realizing Disney should own any master records made with its talent and its music, and two: once the records were owned outright, Disney could better control the music to help the films even more. It was thought that this arrangement would greatly benefit the periodic rerelease of Disney classic films by issuing older music to coincide with those releases, something other record companies would not do. Advantages were seen in producing and controlling Disney record releases in a growing foreign and educational market as well.

Disneyland Records, was officially founded in 1956, as a division of the Walt Disney Music Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Walt Disney Productions. In its first year of recording, the records dealt exclusively with Disney films, subjects and artists. Tutti Camarata was hired as Musical Director of Disneyland Records. His initial production was the first 1956 LP original soundtrack recording to be on the official "Disneyland" designated series: Song of the South (WDL-4001), timed to coincide with the film's rerelease. The now legendary"WDL-4000" series of LPs was launched with "sophisticated adult art covers" and priced at $4.98. It was felt that these quality pressings would "find their place in record stores alongside other Hollywood soundtracks and Broadway cast albums" and serve to promote reissues of classic animated films.
"Westward Ho the Wagons" on LP WDL-4008, released on October 1, 1956, was the first soundtrack to be recorded for a new Disney film release.

By the Fall of 1957 into 1959 Disney Records was losing money. Considering the record business at the time, and given the nature of the music and records Disney was producing, that should have been no surprise. It was extremely difficult for music such as this to break into the record charts of the day. From 1955 onwards, "pop" music had begun to be dominated by the tidal wave of early rock and roll music which proved disastrous to all preconceived notions as to what would sell in the marketplace. Management personnel at Disney records had come of age with the sound of late 1930's and 1940's music. However, the 1940's sound of the "Big Bands", vocalist crooners and even most earlier jazz had become extremely dated by the mid-1950's. Disneyland was making such records as "Tutti's Trumpets" by Camarata [WDL/STER-3011] in 1957 while Elvis Presley and his peers were breaking all sorts of music sales records around the world. At the time, there was no doubt that Disney knew films, but it seemingly had no idea how, who or what to produce on records that would make money in the open marketplace. What chance then existed for high priced "children's records" and rerecordings of 15 year old soundtracks?

In 1959, Disneyland Records retrenched in the face of dismal financial showings and almost folded its operations. The decision was made to abandon the "adult-style" WDL-4000 series of LPs, to drop most of the non-Disney musical talent, and to emphasize its children's line and "story-teller" series. Prices were dropped from $4.98 to a "DQ" line of budget LPs at $1.98 . It was recognized that the children's record business was more closely akin to the children's book or toy business, rather than a "pop" record market. Let Disney do what Disney had always done best - concentrate on the children! Thus, the highly collectible "WDL-4000" series of beautifully produced record albums disappeared after only nineteen records.

But Disney had finally made its own right decision. It concentrated on the kids and would produce what sold and what would provide mutual financial benefit to its other divisions, as well as ingrain Disney music in all of us and our own children as well.



The above is a highly condensed version of Disney recorded music history taken from the introduction to my 1997 book, "The Golden Age of Walt Disney Music 1933-1988" by R. Michael Murray. It is out-of-print but can be found online through Amazon and other sites. Copyright 1997; 2014
Thanks Ron Burbella for remembering the book smile

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 16, 2014 - 10:33 PM   
 By:   Doc Loch   (Member)

And then, of course, there are the releases in other countries with different music, often by name composers, such as the Georges Delerue cues for the French and Canadian releases of Lady and the Tramp (anyone know if there are differences between these two) and the Maurice Jarre scores for the French Davy Crockett(!) and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea albums. These are the only ones I'm aware of so if anyone knows of others I'd appreciate any information.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 16, 2014 - 11:51 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Two of the LP tracks, “He’s a Tramp” and “The Siamese Cat Song” appear on the Peggy Lee CD The Best of the Decca Years. In addition to those two, "Bella Notte" and "La La Lu" have been on a Japanese Peggy Lee compilation CD (Uicy 1534).
-------------------------------------
Actually it's even more confusing. For the two LADY tracks, The Best of the Decca Years CD has later Decca studio versions of "He's A Tramp" and "The Siamese Cat Song" rather than the soundtrack vocal versions heard on both of the Decca LPs.



You are correct. While all of the recordings were made at Decca studios, the ones used for the soundtrack (and which appeared on the LP) were recorded on 20 December 1954, while the ones for the single release (which were ultimately included on the CD) were recorded two months later on 11 February 1955.

For "He's a Tramp," the latter version is done in a more adult-oriented manner. No spoken comments, no barks, and no howls are included. For "The Siamese Cat Song," different lyrics and choruses are used.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 17, 2014 - 4:18 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Thank you for that detailed response, Recordman.

It would seem that the Disneyland label's major setback was not having a small roster of major artists. As is well known, many of the most loved records from the dawn of the LP era didn't break even, and it didn't matter: There was a booming postwar economy and labels had to quickly amass LP catalogs and then, in a few years, stereo LP catalogs. Artists like Elvis and Sinatra, along with blockbusters like "West Side Story," paid the bills for all these other releases.

I guess the launch of the Buena Vista label in the early/mid 1960s was an attempt at re-launching the concept of the WDL series, and I think that Louis Prima was even signed to that label, at least briefly. Correct me if I'm mistaken.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 17, 2014 - 7:05 AM   
 By:   jskoda   (Member)

While all of the recordings were made at Decca studios, the ones used for the soundtrack (and which appeared on the LP) were recorded on 20 December 1954, while the ones for the single release (which were ultimately included on the CD) were recorded two months later on 11 February 1955.

My guess is Decca had Lee record the studio versions of these tracks so they could have their own versions to release without paying anything to the Disney folks. These became the "goto" versions for future Decca compilations.

Recordman's "The Golden Age of Walt Disney Records 1933-1988" is the essential book for keeping track of all the Disney vinyl releases and reissues. It's never too far out of reach for me. Another fun book out there is "Mouse Tracks, The Story of Walt Disney Records" by Tim Hollis and Greg Ehrbar. Rather then information on the releases, this one has the back stories of the family of artists that were recording all those studio tracks for Disney.

It must have been a dream job for Tutti Camarata, music director for the label. As long as he stuck with the general Disney family-friendly theme, he was pretty much able to put out whatever he wanted and operate without a lot of commercial pressure. There was a very nice series of book/record issues designed to introduce children to classical music, including Buena Vista STER-4040, "Walt Disney presents Impressionism in Art and Music" with Kurt Graunke conducting Debussy and Ravel and a booklet including 18 French impressionist print reproductions.

 
 Posted:   Feb 17, 2014 - 7:52 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

@ Recordman- Thanks for your awesome post. I learned a lot. So it was Elvis's fault! (JK!) Seriously interesting read. Walt always took animation and music seriously and saw it not only as family entertainment, but as an adult art form. The latter never caught on sadly. So it's not a surprise it's "adult" line of LP's crashed and burned while the children story tellers did well.

 
 Posted:   Feb 17, 2014 - 5:02 PM   
 By:   Recordman   (Member)

Onyabirri regarding Buena Vista:
Disney did again try to enter the mainstream market. Disney’s other label, Buena Vista, was established in 1959 with its initial purpose to record and distribute whatever “pop” records it might produce. It is fair to say that Buena Vista was really the label that the late “Annette” Funicello (1942-2013) built as the ex-Mousketeer had a string of hits on multiple singles and LPs which initially carried the new label. Annette had a pleasant voice, sang of young teeny love, had a bit of rock in her and most of all, for the boys at least, had a mature woman’s bust line emphasized in cover record photos. Her male peers would rush home from school everyday just to watch her on the Mickey Mouse Club. She was the biggest star on Buena Vista which also had records by the likes of Haley Mills, Maurice Chevalier, Billy Storm, Louis Prima, now forgotten folk-singers and other female vocalists. It later featured budding soundtrack releases like “Mary Poppins” (which sold 2.3 million copies on its initial release in 1964), “Bedknobs and Brooksticks” etc. and of course, “The Black Hole.”. Disney constantly recycled its children’s’ music in seemingly endless variations back and forth between the “Disneyland” label and “Buena Vista.

See Annette Funicello: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=108035124

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 17, 2014 - 8:02 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Buena Vista had one of the most beautiful record labels ever.

And "That Darn Cat" is killer!

 
 Posted:   Feb 21, 2014 - 12:39 AM   
 By:   Julian K   (Member)

Just chipping in to thank those in this thread who have contributed information and expertise.

I've learned a great deal.

I can't add anything, other than point out something I noticed a few years ago, which may be of interest to Disney music fans and scholars. I think I've mentioned this here before, so apologies to those that know!

The animated version of ROBIN HOOD is one of my favourite Disney films.

At the end of the first song there's a scene where Little John and Robin are hiding in a tree, just having escaped from the Sheriff's men. This plays without music (up to the point where Robin hears Prince John's entourage approaching). If you listen to the Spanish version of this scene (on the US DVD), it's accompanied by a rather charming score cue.

(The French version, also on the DVD, doesn't have the music, either).

 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
© 2014 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.