Entertainment :: Music

Bye Bye Birdie - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Remastered)

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Monday Jan 14, 2013
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Almost anyone who was involved with his or her high school musicals knows of the classic show, "Bye Bye Birdie." The 1960 musical performed well on Broadway, inspiring the film adaptation in 1963. Now Masterworks Broadway reissues the film soundtrack to commemorate the 50th anniversary of one of the first "rock-n-roll" musicals.

The producers retained two of its leading men from the New York production, Dick Van Dyke and Paul Lynde, adding the more recognizable talents of Janet Leigh, Maureen Stapleton, Bobby Rydell, and the sexy 21-year old, Ann-Margret, to the cinematic adaptation of this suburban tale of a community absorbed by the enlisting of the famous rock singer, Conrad Birdie (read: Elvis Presley), and their various generational reactions when Birdie comes for a visit to their small town prior to his leaving for the army.

The musical staples from the Charles Strouse / Lee Adams score included the (at the time) innovative expression of teenage gossip, "The Telephone Hour," Van Dyke’s showstopping "Put On A Happy Face," Lynde’s television tribute to Ed Sullivan, "Hymn For a Sunday Evening," and Margret’s sultry recordings of "How Lovely to Be a Woman" and "One Boy." Jesse Pearson, the first replacement for Dick Gautier in the Broadway production, gets several features in this release, with "One Last Kiss" and "A Lot of Livin’ To Do," giving gritty interpretations of the tunes, leaving the listener only slightly wishing that Elvis had actually recorded some of these hip-swingin’ melodies.

Bonus tracks include an unreleased version of "One Last Kiss," two alternate takes from Ann-Margret of "How Lovely to Be a Woman," and "Bye Bye Birdie."

For theater students interested in enjoying a look back at one of the first rock-and-roll musicals, as well as a nostalgic stroll for anyone who lived through the film’s time period, this recording will bring you a smile.

"Bye Bye Birdie"
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
CD and digital formats
Masterworks Broadway

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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