Rifling - The Rifleman

Retroist Scoreboard: Rifling through the classics

There’s been no shortage of soundtracks from classic westerns lately, but this week I have a real treat to bring to your attention, a vintage surprise from a label normally associated with audiophile classical releases rather than soundtracks. Laurel Records is releasing a 2-CD set of Herschel Burke Gilbert’s original music from the classic late ‘50s/early ‘60s TV series The Rifleman, remastered from the original session tapes. The 2-CD set includes a 24-page booklet detailing the series’ music and the career of its composer, who also happened to be the founder of the label. The track list includes such gems as a vocal version of the theme tune, which many listeners may not have realized had lyrics all along! TV soundtracks from this era, let alone soundtracks representing the golden age of TV westerns, are rare specimens indeed.

Rifling

The Esteemed Herschel Burke Gilbert.

Varese Sarabande is bringing back a classic soundtrack they first issued on vinyl in the 1980s, this time on CD for the first time: Bob Colbert’s score to the mammoth 1983 miniseries based on Herman Wouk’s The Winds of War. Colbert, a veteran of such TV fare as Dark Shadows, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and Supertrain, gave the epic tale of family drama amid the turmoil of World War II a fittingly grandiose orchestral treatment that has been available on LP only for the past 30-odd years. As part of the Varese 500 series, this release is limited to a very, very short print run of 500 copies worldwide.

Even ThinkGeek is getting in on the soundtrack action this week, with an exclusive milk-white vinyl release of highlights from Ramin Djawadi’s music from season one of HBO’s Westworld. It contains only a fraction of the music available on the full-length digital download, but if you like your music for unnervingly emotional robots to have the warmth of vinyl, this is the only game in town. This title is reportedly selling fast, so muster your best robot-like reflexes on the ordering button.

Last but not least, Intrada has put a heap of back catalog titles on sale through April 26th, offering a 30% discount with the coupon code SALE30. Titles you can pick up at unhealable deep-cut discounts include 48 Hrs., The Blue Lagoon, In Like Flint, SpaceCamp, Cat’s Eye, Judge Dredd, Red Dawn, The Shadow, and vinyl releases such as Rocky IV and Clash Of The Titans. Pick up some real classics for your collection, possibly without weeping for your wallet. Hey, you needed to spend that tax refund somewhere, didn’t you?

Before we shut down this week’s Retroist Scoreboard, here are a couple of sneak previews. La-La Land Records has been delighting X-Files fans for several years with elaborate box sets containing highlights of Mark Snow’s scores from many a popular episode of the original show’s run, and now the label is bringing X-Files fans’ soundtrack collections up to date with a collection of music from the recent revival of the series, available for order next week.

Varese Sarabande is taking pre-orders for the May CD release of the score from Barbarella, the first-ever official CD pressing of this score. (There have been CDs transferred from the original LP before, but all of those prior releases have been bootlegs.) Also, the price is definitely right on this one – the music has that unmistakable flavor of the ‘60s, and it has a price tag from the ‘90s.

And finally, the official soundtrack of the human race as of 1977 is about to be made available! Last fall, Ozma Records launched a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign to fund a remastered edition of the Voyager Golden Record, the gold-plated LPs that were affixed to the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft before their launch toward interstellar space in 1977. Devised by Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan and Jon Lomberg, the Golden Record is a primer of the sights and sounds of Earth, including natural sounds from many environments, music from many cultures (including the late, great Chuck Berry and Louis Armstrong), and pictorial and pictographic representations of Earth, its location, and its dominant life forms who felt like flinging some very informative vinyl into the depths of the Milky Way galaxy. While the 3-LP vinyl box set ran nearly $100 and is still in production, those of us who, like myself, backed the project at a more budget-conscious level can expect to receive our digital downloads in the very near future. There’s no word as yet on any general, non-Kickstarter-backer release plans for the remastered Voyager Golden Record.

Now, if the Voyager Golden Record had been made about a year later, what are the odds that Earth’s Greatest Hits would’ve wound up including some John Williams tunes suitable for a galaxy far, far away?

Lovecraft

POW, Lovecraft! To the moon!

If you’re in the mood for the moon, or perhaps for awakening eldritch horrors, this is your week, soundtrack collecting friends.

There’s a new soundtrack out for a movie based on some classic H.P. Lovecraft lore, and if you’ll pardon the expression, it’s a great old one. Intrada this week brings us Richard Band’s complete score from 1986’s From Beyond, including alternate recordings of some of the movie’s cues. Alternates are an interesting glimpse into the compositional process, a look at how a scene could’ve played out musically…but didn’t. Maybe it’s a slight shift in arrangement, maybe it’s a total rethink of the piece of music from the ground up.
Lovecraft

Oh, but it gets better – since Intrada has rolled out a new release that combines Lovecraft and Richard Band and Jeffrey Combs, why not offer a special deal on another soundtrack that has all of those things in one place? The already-released Richard Band score from 1985’s Re-Animator can be yours for 15% off – with or without the purchase of From Beyond – if you use the coupon code BEYOND at checkout.
Lovecraft

Now let’s go to the moon. Many an ardent fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation will tell you that the show’s music was much better in its first four seasons on the air thanks to composer Ron Jones, whose tendency to buck the showrunners’ very strict ideas on music didn’t exactly endear him to them, and they simply stopped engaging his services toward the end of the fourth season, even though he’d given the show its most celebrated score (1990’s fan favorite two-parter The Best Of Both Worlds). Jones has since moved on to Family Guy, happily leaving space behind…until the makers of a new documentary about the space program sent him back into orbit.

Jones’ score from Fight for Space can now be brought down to Earth from Amazon’s digital music service. (No CD release is planned at this time.)

If you’re looking for a more fanciful trip to the moon, however, Kritzerland Records brings us John Scott’s classic score from 1967’s Jules Verne’s Rocket to the Moon (released in the U.S. as Those Fantastic Flying Fools in an attempt to grab the coattails of Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines). This soundtrack was released…in 1967…on vinyl…in the UK. Chances are, for most soundtrack collectors, this is their first realistic shot at owning this one. Scott was near the beginning of his career here, prior to such high-profile assignments as The Final Countdown, Greystoke: The Legend Of Tarzan, and King Kong Lives, and this score makes it easy to see how he started climbing the Hollywood ladder so quickly.

Coming next week: the late, great Elmer Bernstein rides again with The Sons Of Katie Elder. Tune in next time, true believers.

Speaking of showbiz and soundtracks, it’s time for the penultimate installment of the Retroist Scoreboard Glossary, giving you the lingo that crops up so often in discussion of collecting soundtracks.

The Retroist Scoreboard: The Industry & The Hobby & Some Acronyms

AFM (American Federation of Musicians) – the trade union of session musicians hired to perform film scores in the United States, the AFM represents its members in negotiations for the release or reuse of their music, and as such wields considerable power in the soundtrack industry. The AFM contends – quite rightly – that if labels or the directors/studios of later movies wish to make use of music already recorded, the musicians who performed in those recordings should benefit from that continued use as well. The AFM was responsible for establishing the approximately 45-minute “ceiling” on the amount of music on most soundtrack albums through the ‘90s (and, as such, can be inadvertently thanked for making complete or expanded score reissues necessary in the first place). Negotiations between the AFM and Film Score Monthly (FSM) in the late ‘90s led to the industry-standard 3,000 copy limited edition that has become the norm for boutique soundtrack labels, though that limit can also be said to have created the secondary market for limited edition soundtrack releases.

Film Score Monthly (FSM) – the long-running periodical publication of the film music collecting hobby, Film Score Monthly was founded as a fanzine in 1990 by Lukas Kendall, became a glossy professional publication in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, before going digital (like many other print magazines) more recently. Film Score Monthly also became, chiefly in the 2000s, a soundtrack label unto itself, releasing such classic film scores as The Dirty Dozen, Logan’s Run, THX-1138, Ben-Hur, Patton, Heavy Metal, and dozens of others, though Kendall opted to cease operating as a label several years ago. Some out of print FSM titles are now worth serious money on the secondary market.

Holst – in soundtrack collecting circles, you hear a lot about Gustav Holst (1874–1934), the composer of The Planets (Op. 32) orchestral suite, which was not a soundtrack. But Holst’s unique style, especially the opening bars of “Mars, Bringer Of War” (The Planets’ first movement), has had a profound influence on orchestral scoring. You can clearly hear its influence on John Williams’ Star Wars (and, via Williams’ influence on later generations of composers, to much more recent fare), and various filmmakers and composers have even licensed and incorporated snippets of The Planets into their own scores, such as The Right Stuff. (Director Nicholas Meyer originally wanted to track Star Trek VI with The Planets, but the cost of licensing the music from the Holst estate ruled that out; see tracking.)

Korngold – a descriptive term derived from the name of legendary film composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957), who all but invented the full-blooded orchestral film scoring tradition for movies with fantasy settings, bestowing a brassy, heraldic sound upon The Adventures Of Robin Hood (1938) and Captain Blood (1935). (The irony of it is that, if Robin Hood was a real person, the dominant music of that period in history would likely have been plainchant, not a brass section.) Korngold is often pointed out a major influence on most later film music composers, including one John Williams; over half a century after his death, his name has become a verb among some film music fans (“wow, he was really Korngolding it on that movie!”).

Perpetuity Rights – in the early days of the specialty soundtrack label (namely, the 1990s), small labels such as Varese Sarabande and GNP Crescendo negotiated the rights to film and TV scores they released in perpetuity – no other label can release that soundtrack. Ever. This has an effect on reissues in that, unless that label releases an expanded or complete score later itself, there’s now an additional party to pay in reissuing/expanding a previously partially released score. This was a major issue with La-La Land’s 2012 release of the 15-CD complete music collection from classic Star Trek: GNP Crescendo had to be paid because it had locked down the soundtrack rights for the scores from the original series. This behind-the-scenes negotiation is invisible to the buying public, but may substantially increase the price they pay for a reissue.

Charlie Brown

Retroist Scoreboard 3-22-17: Charlie Brown vs. The Devil

Soundtrack fans, there are some classics both well-known and obscure out this week, music for everyone from the Devil to Snoopy. Surely somewhere, in that vast spectrum, you’ll hear something you like.

Intrada has managed to squeeze onto a single CD two scores by the late, great Leonard Rosenman (Rebel Without A Cause, A Man Called Horse, Beneath The Planet Of The Apes, Lord Of The Rings, Star Trek IV, Robocop 2), but the difference in subject matter is a bit jarring. The scores in question are from the 1975 film Race With The Devil and 1982’s romantic drama Making Love (!). Intrada points out that fans of Rosenman’s music from his two entries on the original Planet Of The Apes film cycle will enjoy Race With The Devil. If you don’t get whiplash from the transition in tone, this one’s for you. Rosenman is film music royalty who often doesn’t get his due, despite a stellar high-profile resume.

For those who don’t feel like dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight, Kritzerland Records has a real treat – complete score from 1969’s A Boy Named Charlie Brown, composed by Vince Guaraldi and John Scott Trotter with songs by Rod McKuen. Though there has been an LP release for this movie, it was a dialogue-heavy “story album”, and this CD is the first-ever release of the music without that dialogue. Only 1,000 copies are being pressed, so you may need to fly a little bit faster than Woodstock.
Charlie Brown

For fans of modern reboots of their childhood, Varese Sarabande has has Brian Tyler’s score from the new Power Rangers . Tyler’s music has graced major franchises from the recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies to Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Avengers: Age Of Ultron… it’s safe to say he’s on the go-to shortlist in Hollywood for “big-screen epic”.

And now, to further your soundtrack collecting education, here’s another chunk of the glossary. When is a soundtrack not just an official release of the original recordings? Well…there are some grey areas. And some of them are expensive.

Until next week, music lovers…

The Retroist Scoreboard Glossary, part 3: rarities & oddities
Bootleg – when a soundtrack is not commercially available on CD, it’s not uncommon for someone to perceive a demand that has gone unfulfilled…and fill it. For many years, soundtracks released only on LP (i.e. Tron, The Black Hole, Silent Running) were bootlegged on CD. Bootlegs should be considered, if not an absolute no-no, then an absolute last resort: proceeds from bootleg sales line the pockets of individuals who happened to own an old LP, with none of the proceeds going to the composers, the studios, or the musicians who brought the music life with their performances. Keeping an eye on the bootleg market, however, has provided the soundtrack labels with something of an indicator for which releases are desired: the three examples above have all since received official reissues, two of them vastly expanded. In this collector’s opinion, if an official reissue of a title is released, even if you’ve bought a bootleg along the way, it’s only proper to buy the official reissue. (In many cases, the sound quality will be vastly superior to the bootleg.)

Composer Promo – in the days before digital music could be embedded into a web site, composers seeking future work would ship out composer promo CDs to producers, directors, and studios’ heads of music. These were not intended for public distribution (but hold that thought for a moment), and as such were not officially licensed by the studios in question. To defray the costs of having custom CDs pressed, composers would sometimes quietly look the other way while the pressing plant sold a very, very limited number of copies directly into the soundtrack collectors’ market (and would likely deny all knowledge if a studio lawyer came calling). In the 1990s, one such operation, Super Tracks, was particularly brazen about selling composer promos of titles such as Krull and Galaxy Quest, eventually disappearing in one legal dust-up too many; studio lawyers often regarded composer promos as no better than bootlegs. A close cousin of composer promos is the private-label release, intentionally created for sale to collectors. With the advent of streaming audio from composers’ professional web sites, actual composer promo CDs and their attendant legal issues have all but vanished.

Private Label Release – some composers have decided to cut out the middle man and have small runs of their scores pressed for sale directly to fans and collectors (such as John Scott’s marvelous score from The Final Countdown, or the many soundtracks released by the late Joel Goldsmith’s Free Clyde label, named after his dog). These may be subject to the same licensing and quality issues as composer promos, and can suddenly go “out of print” for that reason, but are intended from the outset for public sale. For some lesser-known composers and their even-lesser-known scores, this may be the only way to obtain the material. In some rare cases (i.e. Dennis McCarthy’s score from the PC game Star Trek: Borg), a private label release will quietly go out of print and get a fully licensed official CD release on one of the soundtrack labels.

Rerecording – a from-the-ground-up reconstruction and new recording of a score, usually using the original sheet music and the composer’s original notes, along with extensive notation on the part of whoever is behind the new recording. This is a dirty word for some collectors, as what they’re getting is not the original recording, and may differ in terms of tempo/timing, performance or instrument quality (up to and including recreating orchestral recordings entirely with synthesizers – see also the wide spread of opinions about including dialogue in soundtrack releases, and magnify that controversy by a thousand). One thing to keep in mind: there are, sadly, many cases where original session recordings have vanished or have been damaged beyond the ability to restore them, meaning that rerecordings are the only way we can listen to those scores now (example: John Barry’s Raise The Titanic!).

Skull Island

Retroist Scoreboard: From Central Park to Nakatomi Plaza to Skull Island

March is roaring in with some serious music, soundtrack fans, so gather ’round for this week’s batch of retro releases.


Intrada is rolling out the never-before-released-on-CD score from Baby’s Day Out (1994), by Bruce Broughton. The movie was positively slathered with music – 9/10 of its screen time had music underneath it – so the CD is filled to capacity. You can’t ask for better than that.

Varese Sarabande has a new entry in its “We Hear You” series – fan-requested reissues of titles that had previously been issued only on LP or as very limited edition CDs. This time around, Neal Hefti (he of Batman ’66 theme music fame) is in the spotlight with two scores from movie versions of Neil Simon plays, Barefoot in the Park and The Odd Couple, both on a single CD. There are only 2,000 copies of this disc being pressed.

Kritzerland Records has a slice of vintage Henry Mancini on tap, an ever more limited release of the maestro’s score for the 1967 Audrey Hepburn comedy Two For The Road. Only 1,000 copies of this CD are being pressed.

Want an edition that’s even more limited than that? Try 500. 500 copies. As in 500 copies of Ennio Morricone’s score from the 1977 killer whale flick Orca, thanks to European label Music Box Records. Jump on this one fast…which isn’t something I usually say about Orca.

A current movie score of keen interest to retro cinema fans can now be ordered from WaterTower Music, Henry Jackman’s soundtrack from Kong: Skull Island . Be aware that Watertower’s releases often come in CD-R form, as they rely more on digital sales, and produce physical copies of their releases on a burn-on-demand basis.
Skull Island

Further into the future – the 23rd century to be exact – La-La Land Records has revealed that its March 14th release (not yet available for pre-order) will be a 2-LP vinyl pressing of the expanded Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack from 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture, now with eye-popping new artwork by Darren Dochterman, a CGI artist who was part of the team behind the CGI scenes from the DVD Director’s Edition. 1,500 copies of this 2-LP set will be pressed; smart money says it’d be wise to be sitting on La-La Land’s website next Tuesday at noon Pacific time to get an order in.
Skull Island - Star Trek

Even further out, on March 28th, La-La Land will be putting one of their fastest-selling releases back into print for a limited time: the late, great Michael Kamen’s score from Die Hard was released a few years ago on the same label, selling out in record time. Proving that the same soundtrack can happen to the same guy twice, La-La Land is re-releasing Die Hard in an edition of 2,000 copies, with new artwork to differentiate it from the previous release.

Now, why does everything happen in limited editions of only a few hundred to a couple thousand copies? Here to answer that is the first chunk of an essential glossary of terms and concepts for budding soundtrack collectors. I’ll be adding to this in the weeks ahead, so stick around and you might learn a few things about this tuneful hobby.

The Retroist Scoreboard Glossary, Part 1: Collectorspeak
One of my aims with the Retroist Scoreboard is to heed the words of Master Yoda and pass on what I have learned – in this case, about the soundtrack collecting hobby. After you’ve been reading the Scoreboard for a while, you should basically know what I know. Our tastes may not line up, sure, but you’ll have the objective knowledge that it’s taken me 25+ years to accumulate. With that in mind, here’s a quick – but probably by no means complete – glossary of terms that come up frequently in the course of building a soundtrack collection.

Golden Age – generally considered to have been Hollywood’s heyday, stretching from the 1920s or ‘30s through the 1950s, Hollywood’s Golden Age has become a useful category for film score collectors. “Golden Age” and “Silver Age” were labels that Film Score Monthly (FSM) applied to its own soundtrack releases, and were quickly picked up by the soundtrack collecting community at large.

Limited Edition – many boutique soundtrack labels limit the print run of a new CD release to 3,000 copies, a number that became an industry standard due to Film Score Monthly negotiating with the American Federation of Musicians in the early days of specialty soundtrack releases. To keep a title in print indefinitely (i.e. FSM’s Star Trek II and Gremlins expanded soundtracks), it costs the label more, sometimes significantly more money. Limited editions may, if a label perceives a smaller audience for a release, number less than 3,000, possibly even in the hundreds.

Out Of Print (OOP) – whether it’s 3,000 copies or a whopping 10,000 copies, this title has sold out, and in most cases no more will be made. OOP = oops…you’re headed to the Secondary Market. Good luck, we’re all counting on you. There are precedents for OOP titles being reissued (SpaceCamp, the 1987 Masters Of The Universe movie score, The Omega Man, the soundtrack from the 1966 Batman movie, Die Hard), but these are the exception rather than the rule, and the reissues themselves may be Limited Editions.

Pegwarmer – this is a term from the toy-collecting hobby that I use to describe any slow seller. If it’s a pegwarmer, it’ll be keeping the pegs on a retail display warm for quite some time because no one’s buying it. Granted, CDs aren’t sold this way, especially from the soundtrack specialty labels, but it’s a nice bit of shorthand. “Shelfwarmer” may be more accurate, but “pegwarmer” is just so catchy.

Secondary Market – when a title goes Out Of Print (OOP), this becomes your last refuge for obtaining a soundtrack CD. Some soundtrack vendors do carry second-hand/used items, such as Screen Archive Entertainment and Buysoundtrax.com, but whether you’re dealing with them or heading straight to the dreaded swamp of eBay or Amazon sellers, expect to shell out more. In a few rare cases, quickly-sold-out titles that are in demand can command prices into multiple hundreds of dollars. May the odds be ever in your favor.

Silver Age – a period in which Hollywood’s output gained maturity, presenting more stark realism and occasionally violence, stretching from the 1950s through the late 1970s, Hollywood’s Silver Age has become a useful category for film score collectors. “Golden Age” and “Silver Age” were labels that Film Score Monthly (FSM) applied to its own soundtrack releases, and were quickly picked up by the soundtrack collecting community at large. It could be argued that Jaws (1975) is a Silver Age film, while Star Wars (1977) belongs to the modern age.

Listen Long

Retroist Scoreboard: Listen Long And Prosper

Soundtrack fans, there’s one major release this week, and a couple of real retro gems, but let’s face it, the big news is a big box set that’s been eagerly awaited for years. We’ll talk about that release and then give it some context in a moment.

From Dragon’s Domain Records comes a pair of releases that’ll tickle your retro gene: the Harry Manfredini (Friday The 13th, Swamp Thing) score from 1995’s Timemaster (possibly the only film in history to feature Pat “Mr. Miyagi” Morita, Michael “Worf” Dorn, and Zelda Rubenstein of Poltergeist fame in the same movie). Not retro enough for you? Then rewind to 1979 for the soundtrack from the David Cronenberg racing movie Fast Company, a film that was so ’70s that John Saxon was required by federal law to be in the cast. (Okay, just kidding about that, but John Saxon was in it.) The music, ironically, is by Fred and Larry Mollin; you’ll remember Fred Mollin from his music for Friday The 13th: The Series. Dragon’s Domain is a very small label renowned for its deep dives into cinematic obscurity, so both releases are capped at 1,000 copies each. The first 100 copies of each title, both of which ship on March 13th but are being pre-ordered now, will be autographed by their respective composers.

Now let’s roll back to 1995 – the same year Timemaster hit theaters – and simultaneously fast-forward to the 24th century.
Listen Long

La-La Land is launching (from spacedock, no doubt) a 4-CD set of music from all seven season of Star Trek: Voyager, a release that was first announced a couple of years back. That being said, the Voyager box set isn’t really “late”, per se. This $59.98, 4-CD set includes highlights from the episodes Rise, Night, Equinox Parts I & II, Pathfinder, Spirit Folk, The Haunting Of Deck Twelve, Shattered, The Void, The 37s, Basics Parts I & II, The Q and the Gray, Concerning Flight, Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy, Workforce Parts I & II, and the complete scores from the episodes Dark Frontier Parts I & II, Lifesigns, Scorpion Parts I & II, and The Year Of Hell Parts I & II. Wondering where the action-and-Borg-packed series finale, Endgame, is? La-La Land is holding it for the second volume of Voyager music to be released next year. La-La Land rolls out its Star Trek box sets at a slow rate, both so that one property doesn’t take up their entire release schedule, and as a mercy to Star Trek music fans on a budget.

Of course, that Star Trek music fans even need a reprieve between releases is a mind-boggling thought to those of us who are old enough to remember when Trek soundtracks were exceedingly scarce.

The first Star Trek music that was available to the public was 1979’s Jerry Goldsmith’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture soundtrack, released alongside the movie itself as a single LP clocking in at around the traditional 40-minute mark for vinyl soundtracks. Prior to that release, the only Star Trek listening material was the 1976 spoken-word LP Inside Star Trek, and Power Records’ library of Star Trek audio stories for children, sometimes accompanied by a read-along book. It was exceedingly rare for anything on TV to get its own soundtrack album at the time; a compilation of TV theme tunes wasn’t unheard of, but an entire soundtrack? Television shows and TV movies couldn’t afford the large orchestras of feature films…who would want to listen to that?

In 1986, GNP Crescendo and a few other labels decided to find out. That year happened to be the 20th anniversary of the original Star Trek, which had been revived in movie form more successfully than anyone could have expected. A fourth movie was due in late 1986, the series began to be available commercially on VHS tapes containing two episodes each, and Trek was once again very visible. If there was a time to test the waters of the soundtrack scene to see if TV music would be welcomed, this was as safe a time as any.

Three labels released a quintet of releases tied to the music of the original series. Label X and Varese Sarabande each published two albums of re-recorded music assembling highlights of the original series’ most familiar music, now played by a far larger orchestra than the original Trek could ever afford. But small label GNP Crescendo – founded in the 1940s by Gene Norman for his own easy-listening output – took the bold step of releasing the original recordings as heard on TV in the 1960s. With tape recovery and restoration methods being in their infancy in 1986, the result was an album that presented, with somewhat tinny sound, nearly the complete scores from the two Star Trek pilot episodes, The Cage and Where No One Has Gone Before. Norman’s son, sci-fi/Star Trek fan Neil Norman, spearheaded that effort, and managed to wrest from Paramount the release rights for those episode scores in perpetuity, an almost unimaginable situation now – and a demonstration of how far low a priority TV soundtrack music was at the time. In 1988, GNP Crescendo followed this up with a CD containing roughly 2/3 of the score from the Star Trek: The Next Generation premiere, Encounter At Farpoint, which was also a brisk seller among Trek fans. Obviously, the Star Trek music library had merit.

Over the next few years, GNP Crescendo continued releasing music from classic Trek and Star Trek: TNG, along with soundtracks for the premiere episodes of Deep Space Nine and Voyager, and took over as the de facto Star Trek label for the movies as well, beginning with Star Trek: Generations. The turn of the century saw a downturn in interest in Star Trek, however: the movies featuring the TNG cast had become a poster child for diminishing box office returns, and ratings after the premiere of Star Trek: Enterprise seemed to indicate that the audience was tiring of the saga. The Enterprise soundtrack was released by Decca Records (the label of singer Russell Watson, the voice of Enterprise’s love-it-or-hate-it theme song), while Varese Sarabande released the soundtrack from 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis. Enterprise was cancelled in 2005, the first Trek series in 18 years not to go to seven seasons, and the Trek franchise disappeared into a cocoon at the studio, re-emerging as a movie reboot in 2009. Varese once again released the soundtrack for the new movies.

But the re-emergence of Star Trek as a viable media entity also coincided with the appointment of a new head of Paramount Pictures’ music department, Randy Spendlove. A veteran producer who had worked in the studio with U2, Beyonce, and Linkin Park, Spendlove was in charge of licensing music from the various TV and film properties at Paramount. By this point, soundtrack boutique labels such as Film Score Monthly, Intrada and La-La Land Records had sprung up, and with them, a collectors’ market that now wanted to own the complete scores of their favorite movies and shows, not just the 40-or-so minutes that had become the industry standard (and was, in part, dictated by musicians’ union rules on re-use). Unlike his predecessors, Spendlove was more than happy to hold discussions with these labels regarding the musical gems in the Paramount vaults. The first result of this was Film Score Monthly’s releases of the complete Star Trek II and Star Trek III scores.

As of 2009, there were 12 CDs in total featuring original music from the various Trek TV series – three from classic Trek, four from TNG, one each from Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise, and two “multi-series” Best Of Star Trek releases from GNP Crescendo. The next two releases of Star Trek TV music more than tripled the number of CDs available from the franchise’s television entries. 2010 saw Film Score Monthly’s release of a gargantuan 14-disc box set collecting almost all of composer Ron Jones’ music from Star Trek: TNG. With the sole exception of the two-part The Best Of Both Worlds, which GNP Crescendo had released on CD in 1991, the box set gave fans of TNG’s standout composer every note that he had recorded during his four-year stint on the show. Two years later, not to be outdone, La-La Land issued a 15-CD box set that put every note ever recorded for the 1960s Star Trek series in the hands of fans, all freshly remastered from the original session tapes. (Since GNP Crescendo had rights in perpetuity to the handful of episodes whose music they had released on CD, La-La Land had to sublicense some of the music on the set from them, at no small expense.)

In three years, we’d gone from 12 CDs of Star Trek TV music to 41 CDs. Since then, La-La Land, in addition to pleasing fans by delivering a long-overdue 3-CD complete version of the 1979 Star Trek: The Motion Picture score that started it all, has released two box sets each of scores from Enterprise and non-Ron-Jones music from Star Trek: TNG, as well as one box set each from Deep Space Nine and, now, Voyager (both of those spinoffs will receive a further box set release). GNP Crescendo, picking up on the hunger for Trek TV music, has reissued two of its TNG soundtracks in complete and remastered form (Encounter At Far Point and The Best Of Both Worlds), as well as complete versions of the three Trek movie soundtracks they issued in the ’90s (Generations, First Contact, Insurrection). Intrada pitched in to re-release Star Trek IV, V and VI in complete and remastered form.

Just in time for Christmas 2016, La-La Land released a 4-CD box set of highlights from classic Trek, as well as oft-requested fan favorites from TNG, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager, and – for the first time – the complete reconstructed music library from Filmation’s early 1970s animated Star Trek.

Later this year, La-La Land will release another box set, rounding out the music of Deep Space Nine, with a second Voyager set due this time in 2018. 2018 will end with a final Star Trek box set featuring odds and ends from all of the series that didn’t make it into the other box sets – and at that point, according to La-La Land’s head honcho, M.V. Gerhard, the label is calling its trek through Star Trek’s music vaults done…unless, of course, their current negotiations to land the rights to release music from Star Trek: Discovery are successful.

Not counting the various movie soundtracks and their own expanded reissues, by the end of next year, there will be as many CDs’ worth of Star Trek television music as there were episodes of the original series – 79 total. Rewinding to 1986, when it was a huge roll of the dice to put out a television soundtrack at all, the thought of 79 CDs’ worth of music from any franchise, either film or television, is mind-boggling. (Add all the movie soundtracks’ multi-disc reissues to that 79, and you arrive at an even 100. 100 CDs’ worth of Star Trek music. If you can get your head around that idea.)

Furthermore, the success of the Star Trek soundtracks has emboldened the soundtrack labels who have access to the music of other television shows: The X-Files, Batman: The Animated Series, the original Mission: Impossible, 1970s Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers In The 25th Century, Jonny Quest, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Rat Patrol, 1980s Twilight Zone, Lost In Space, and even relative obscurities such as the 1960s series Then Came Bronson have all gotten box set treatment (in some cases, multiple box sets) now that the soundtrack labels know there’s a market for such a thing. You have Star Trek’s enduring appeal and ardent fan base, and risk takers like Neil Norman, Film Score Monthly’s Lukas Kendall, and even Randy Spendlove at Paramount, to thank for the current healthy ecosystem for classic TV soundtracks.

Next week: more music, and the first entries in a basic glossary for soundtrack collectors.

When he’s not keeping score at the Retroist, Earl Green is the founder, head writer and podcaster-in-chief at the LogBook.com, a site devoted in roughly equal parts to classic sci-fi, classic video games, classic soundtracks, and space history. You can catch him lining up carefully curated excerpts from TV, movie and game scores most months on the Log Book’s soundtrack mixtape podcast, In The Grand Theme Of Things.