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.
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.
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.