Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Vangelis - Chariots Of Fire (1981)


Note: this release was originally purchased as a LP, later replaced by a CD.

The choice of 1980s analog synths to score a movie set in the 1930s was an interesting one indeed.  But not only did it work, both movie and score were a huge success. The original score also won the Academy Award in 1982, beating John Williams' famous theme to Raiders Of The Lost Ark.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #1 (4 consecutive weeks, April 17 - May 8, 1982)
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #1 (5 consecutive weeks)

Tracks: To be honest, I usually skip the first track (titled "Titles" but better known as simply "Chariots of Fire") because it is so overplayed and over-mocked.  The other 6 tracks are hit or miss.  The better tracks are Five Circles and Abraham's Theme. On the LP, the first 6 tracks were side 1; side 2 was a 20 minute suite that utilized the themes heard on side 1.  I'm guessing this suite was created simply so the record could have a side 2 because there's not much new there.  Strange since there's music in the movie that doesn't appear on the album, like the music accompanying this scene.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD:  Much like Blade Runner, this album is fantastic rainy day music.  When I was 15 and just becoming to realize my addiction to music, this album was my introduction to synth-washed New Aged music.  It would have been a totally different album if the exact same music had been scored for strings.  Not many of my high school friends shared my appreciation for this album; in fact, one of them once told me, "My mom has that album." 

In the summer of 1973, I spent 3 weeks in St. Andrews, Scotland, just a few hundred yards from the beach where the movie's famous opening scene was shot.  Here's a photo my father took of the beach from one of the buildings on the campus of the University of St. Andrews.  That narrow sliver of green between the buildings and the beach is the first tee of the famous Old Course, one of the oldest golf courses in the world.  That summer, I played on the putting green of the Old Course and on the adjoining beach, although the North Sea was far to cold to enter.  I was only 7, so I had no idea of any significance; I was just trying to entertain myself. 


In 1982, saxophonist Ernie Watts recorded dance versions of a few of the tracks from this soundtrack along with other covers like Kenny Roger's Lady and Donnie Hathaway's Valdez In The Country.  Produced by Quincy Jones.  I don't think that album has ever been reissued on CD, but I still have a copy on vinyl.  I would tell you that I bought it for the cover of Valdez In The Country, but I don't think you'd believe me.


Previously revisited for the blog:
Blade Runner (1994)

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