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The Mystery of the JAWS Re-recording

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I don't know if it is worth a thread but I think it could be interesting. As you all know without a doubt that the original LP and CD counterpart is a re-recording. Well, in the FSM Issue Vol. 5, Nr. 5 there is a statement from Jeff Bond, who questioned this (Anniversary CD review released on this issue in 2000):

(...) Over the years the question of whether the LP was a re-recording has become strangely clouded, with Williams himself saying on occasion that no re-recording of the score was made. It’s easy to assume that many of the differences between the film and LP versions are the result of editorial and engineering decisions. (...)

However, Maurizio stated here that

On an old FSM print magazine issue was written that the primary reason for the OST re-recording was that Williams wasn't particularly satisfied with the film recording's performance and/or sound (hence why he nixed also an isolated score track on the 20th Anniversary Laserdisc).

Well, that's contradictory. So what's the deal?

Personally I believe that this indeed a re-recording. If you have proofs, give it to me!

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Just put headphones on and listen to the same section of music from the two different CDs. There's a difference in performance and recording - different room size and amount of reverb, not to mention they are physically playing the music differently - there are small alterations through the pieces beyond the obvious extensions, not to mention different tempos, etc.

For visual proof, just look at the waveforms of the same piece of music from both CDs and you will see the difference.

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I believe you the first time, Jason!

I only listen music with headphones. I thought that maybe there are different or alternate takes (with different instrumentation), but this turns out not to be the case. Anyway I find this very irritating. Jeff Bond seems to be very convinced about it, especially he explains that the differences you mentioned (different room size and amount of reverb etc.) were actually technical adjusting from the engineers.

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Jeff could be right; perhaps additional concert suites were recorded during the same sessions, but were altered digitally later. This could exlain the difference in tempo. We also know a lot of the material in the sheet music seems to correspond with the tracks on the presumed 'rerecording'.

That could explain why the masters of the OST album are nowhere to be found as well, but it's only a hypothesis.

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We also know a lot of the material in the sheet music seems to correspond with the tracks on the presumed 'rerecording'.

I wouldn't say that. There's significant differences between the film and soundtrack versions of 'Chrissie's Death.' The sheet music that's currently out there only corresponds with what we hear in the film.

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We also know a lot of the material in the sheet music seems to correspond with the tracks on the presumed 'rerecording'.

I wouldn't say that. There's significant differences between the film and soundtrack versions of 'Chrissie's Death.' The sheet music that's currently out there only corresponds with what we hear in the film.

Oh, ok. Thanks for pointing that out. That doesn't necessarily mean there weren't any concert suites recorded during the actual sessions, though.

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Going by info on both CD inlays, the original movie recording was made at 20th Century Fox Studios and engineered by Ted Keep, whilst the OST recording was at Burbank Studios with John Neal.

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Going by info on both CD inlays, the original movie recording was made at 20th Century Fox Studios and engineered by Ted Keep, whilst the OST recording was at Burbank Studios with John Neal.

That makes sense. The 20th Century Fox Studios always had quite a dry/gritty sound (think PLANET OF THE APES).

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If there's any Williams score that deserves a combo complete score/OST release, this is it!

As much as i love it, i still think it's not the most listenable score. If there should be any more releases, they just should clean up the album master which sounds more polished to begin with.

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As much as i love it, i still think it's not the most listenable score. If there should be any more releases, they just should clean up the album master which sounds more polished to begin with.

A perfectly valid opinion, but I strongly disagree.

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Going by info on both CD inlays, the original movie recording was made at 20th Century Fox Studios and engineered by Ted Keep, whilst the OST recording was at Burbank Studios with John Neal.

that totally answer the question.

By the way, why are theses concert version OSTs called re-recordings when they are differently crafted works? I mean there "re-" means doing the same again....

Maybe that's why williams was confused. Maybe they asked if he did re-record the music for the album and he thought they were asking if the 2000 release of the original film tracks was a re-recording...

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By the way, why are theses concert version OSTs called re-recordings when they are differently crafted works? I mean there "re-" means doing the same again....

True. They should be called "album recordings".

Maybe that's why williams was confused. Maybe they asked if he did re-record the music for the album and he thought they were asking if the 2000 release of the original film tracks was a re-recording...

Good point!

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So, JW "wasn't...sastified" with the score as heard in the film.

Hmm. This is odd, because he would have had numerous takes of each cue, so he presumably picked the ones that he was most happy with. If he felt that the entire score did not live up to his expectations, why did he not re-record it (for the film, I mean)?

Also, if he nixed the iso. score on the Laserdisc, why would he allow the Decca re-release, and not simply re-release the version that he was pleased with-the MCA version?

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It was proved that a reason because so many scores where "re-recorded" for the album release at this time, is for the artists and players to receive the money they truly deserved for this kind of release.

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I do believe the Jaws 1975 soundtrack album was just that, a re-recording of the score by a different orchestra, which has also been demonstrated by the evidence above in this thread (different recording venue, different recording engineer).

Rerecord just means you're recording the same written music again, not doing it exactly the same way.

Of course you could get stuck on words and complain about false marketing. We often do. ;)

The soundtrack album, which contains the music from the film re-recorded by a different orchestra could not technically be called The Original Soundtrack since it clearly isn't. It is much closer to something people like Thor (the prime advocate of soundtrack albums) prefer to have from the movie, a reconceptualization of the film's music into an album programme by the composer.

But it could be argued that these re-recordings gave the composers chance to rethink their music out of the filmic context as music, rework on passages that they might have wanted to change but could not in the film and reconceptualize the whole musical narrative for a stand alone record. Also the fact that they could afford to do such a re-recording was an important factor in doing them in the first place, since it was most of the time cheaper than releasing the original recordings because of the re-use fees. And believe it or not in film business monetary concerns matter quite a bit and mattered also in the earlier decades.

Having both the original score, recorded for the film and the re-recorded music for the album is a great blessing as you get to hear the music in two different contexts and guises and in some cases (e.g. The Fury) performed by a world class ensemble that trumps the original recording ensemble in performance and sheer sound. In any case you have two different interpretations of the same material, which in film music world is not a bad thing as re-recordings are not as nearly as common occurrence as in the classical world where a famous piece might get bazillion recordings.

I am going off at a tangent to the original question but I think it is good to remember some of the reasons behind these re-recordings. The way we look at (or rather listen to) soundtracks has also changed. Soundtrack album was still at its infancy in 1950's and 1960's. Not only was the length of the LP limited, the way the soundtrack was viewed as the ancillary marketing product of the film was also different. Back in the 1960's and even in the 1970's soundtracks were still mainly selling hit songs and some incidental music from the movies, which was very often re-arranged pop source music found in the films. I do not know if it was explicitly understood by the composers that the soundtrack album should be easily digestible, preferably tied to the modes of the popular music of the time to appeal to all demographics but you really get this image from music like Penelope, Bachelor in Paradise (Mancini), Not with My Wife You Don't, Diamond Head, Fitzwilly and even Earthquake. In other words the soundtracks should be produced with a pop music mentality.

E.g. Williams' and Mancini's albums of the period attest to this very clearly. Of course there were exceptions to this but the trend was to sell (hopefully) hit songs for the target audiences. The soundtrack album was more of a memento from the film (like modern collectibles or posters) than exactly the original music recorded for the film.

In the 1970's this trend started to change with the re-emerge of orchestral film music after a period of heavily song and pop music oriented soundtracks. The re-use fees were a factor in doing re-recordings at the time but also the the tradition of re-envisioning the music was equally important and I think this is why it wasn't strange or unusual even in 1970's to have a re-recording of a movie score.

Of course over the years there has been a huge change in how soundtracks are viewed and these days we have become rather demanding in what we expect from a soundtrack album, which is to us only the logical norm. Complete releases of scores from all periods have made collectors and fans accustomed to the full and complete presentations, that make things like re-recordings somehow absurd when we want the original music recorded for the film, not just some aural memento from the movie. And we usually start lamenting the missing music even before a note of the score has been released.

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