Varese Vs. Rhino…

In conclusion to the posts detailing the Superman Soundtrack library I present this fascinating pair of double disc releases from 1998 and 2000, respectively. These infinitely contrasting CD’s are notable for being the first full rehashes of John Williams original score since the 1978 soundtrack album, supplemented by previously unreleased material. Curiously, Varese Sarabande were there first, with a 20-track adaptation ably performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under Emmy Award winning composer (SeaQuest DSV) John Debney. Simply but gracefully presented, the set makes up for any lack of WB involvement by utilizing hitherto unseen paintings for Superman: The Movie by Bob Peak for the cover and liner notes (2nd and 4th pics). This, plus the never-before-published music from The Helicopter Rescue (Disc 2, Track 1) quickly made the album a must-have and somewhat of a rarity today.
Not be outdone, two years later Warner Brothers Archive label Rhino would offer a humdinger of a package as a sparkling update/re-issue of the original John Williams material that re-addressed the balance by offering 35 tracks of remastered music mostly peppered with previously unreleased material.  Exquisitely packaged, with an holographic slipcase and colour liner-notes, this Michael Matessino-produced spectacular was considered definitive until the discovery of even better source material during research conducted for the upcoming Superman: The Movie Special Edition on DVD. It would be the best part of a decade before the reels discovered in Pinewood’s vaults would yield the ultimate box-set…

Music Of Steel…

In continuation of the musical theme of recent posts, here is a selection of vintage images promoting the soundtrack incorporating what was to become one of the most instantly recognisable theme tunes of Movie history. Legendary Composer John Williams, while forever associated with Spielberg and Lucas is nonetheless responsible for the greatest Superhero music of all time despite twice nearly losing out on the job to Jerry Goldsmith. From the top – rare Variety ad announcing WB as the top Music Publisher of 1978, full-page ad for the 7″ single release, Sheet music cover for ‘Can You Read my Mind’ as performed by Maureen McGovern (hear her performance in this video) and bottom, Japanese 7″ Single record sleeve…

The Blue Box…

Arguably one of the finest soundtrack boxsets ever created, Superman: The Music is nothing less than a dream come true for everybody from completeists to the casual fan. As much has been written about the set already (go here) I need not go into detail save for the fact this comprehensive set is the standard by which everything else must surely be judged. This was reflected by the unprecedented frenzy of its release on Film Score Monthly’s website where demand had it crashing down in moments, eventually prompting a second pressing. Notable for its premiere inclusion of the hitherto unreleased complete soundtrack to Superman IV, the liner notes (a grand book worthy of its own release) even detail the track listing of the abandoned album. Credit must go to producer Mike Matessino who made the ‘Blue Box’ his baby and UK SuperFan Oliver Harper, whose enthusiasm served as a conduit for the involvement of Superman II composer Ken Thorne. Yet more proof of the power and influence of the passionate Superfan…!
From the top – Original photographs of 1st release Blue Box from my collection – Bottom pic; beautiful unused promotional art by Jim Bowers.