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John Williams albums by Philips Records (Boston Pops)


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So.  I started a project a while back where I am actually listening to all my physical CDs in my entire film score collection (whether I've played them before or not) before being sorted onto my shelves.

 

I've now gotten through all the actual JW movie OSTs, and now I'm listening to some compilations.  This morning I grabbed all the Boston Pops CDs he did under Philips that I have, and it turns out I only have 6 of the 19 non-compilations albums:

 

1980 Pops in Space

1980 Pops on the March

1981 That's Entertainment

1981 We Wish You A Merry Christmas    

1982 Pops Around The World (Digital Overtures)

1982 Aisle Seat

1983 Out of This World

1984 On Stage

1984 Peter and the Wolf/Nutcracker

1985 Swing, Swing, Swing

1985 America, The Dream Goes On

1986 Bernstein by Boston

1987 Pops in Love

1987 Holst - The Planets

1988 Digital Jukebox

1989 Pops Britannia

1989 Salute to Hollywood

1990 Pops a la Russe

1990 Pops by George: The Music of Gershwin

 

Does anyone have any particular recommendations of which ones I'm missing that are the best ones to get / most worth tracking down / your personal favorites?

 

 

I also have these compilations out of the plethora of compilations Philips released:

 

1987 By Request... The Best of John Williams and the Boston Pops
1990 Star Wars - The Best of Space Music
1991 The Very Best of the Boston Pops
1992 Kids Stuff: An Afternoon at the Movies
1992 Movies
1992 Over The Rainbow
1995 Pops Stoppers
1995 Space-Taculars
1995 Space and Time
1996 Boston Pops: Salute Gene Kelly, Fred Astair, Judy Garland
1996 Salute to America
1999 Star Wars Saga
2001 American Classics
2004 Encore!
2012 A Celebration!

2015 John Williams Conducts Music From Star Wars

 

Some of the compilations are nice because they feature nicer cover art and booklets than the very 80s feel of all the originals... though admittedly, there is something nostalgic about the red Philips bar and all white back covers of all those old ones. (And by the way, do all copies of "Aisle Seat" spell "Wizard" wrong?)

 

Does anyone know if any of the compilations actually feature an improvement in sound over the original releases?

 

Finally, is By Request the only compilation that actually features new recordings mixed in with re-released tracks?

 

And do I have this right about which tracks on By Request are new vs old?

 

Newly recorded for By Request:

 

1 Olympic Fanfare And Theme

8 Liberty Fanfare

11 March From 1941

12 Theme From Jaws

14 Mission Theme (Theme For NBC News)

 

Taken from prior albums:

 

2 The Cowboys: Overture (taken from Pops Around The World)

3 Excerpts From Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (taken from Pops in Space, where it was called "Suite")

4 March From Midway (taken from Pops on the March)

5 Flying Theme From E.T. (taken from Aisle Seat)

6 Luke And Leia Theme From Return Of The Jedi (taken from Out of This World)

7 March From Superman (taken from Pops in Space)

9 March From Raiders Of The Lost Ark (taken from Aisle Seat)

10 Yoda's Theme From The Empire Strikes Back (taken from Pops in Space)

13 Imperial March From The Empire Strikes Back (taken from Pops in Space)

15 Main Theme From Star Wars (taken from Pops in Space)

 

Thanks!

 

 

You know, I wish Philips would just put put out a box set of all 19 albums, like Sony did for his run with them.  They could take the 5 new tracks from By Request and put them at the end of various albums where they make sense as bonus tracks.  And then include a nice booklet with all the cover art from the entire run, including all the compilation album cover arts too.  That'd be great!

 

Update: I see now he played piano on two Jessye Norman albums released by Philps.  Those should be included if they ever do a box set, too!

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You try too hard to make jokes on this forum.  Your overall success rate of making people laugh would improve if you posted less often and didn't spread your comedy juice so thinly.

Well, I looked on Amazon and it turns out I can get all 13 of the Philips albums I don't have for ~2 bucks each, so I ordered them.  I think I'll listen through all 19 in order once they arrive and po

Here's the info I collected checking the vinyl and Japanese releases as well as numerous compilations featuring some tracks from this albums (new/different info in red):   1980 Williams: Pop

27 minutes ago, Jay said:

(And by the way, do all copies of "Aisle Seat" spell "Wizard" wrong?)

 

I never noticed it before so I took mine out and lo and behold it says "WIZZARD" as well.

 

28 minutes ago, Jay said:

You know, I wish Philips would just put put out a box set of all 19 albums, like Sony did for his run with them.  They could take the 5 new tracks from By Request and put them at the end of various albums where they make sense as bonus tracks.  And then include a nice booklet with all the cover art from the entire run, including all the compilation album cover arts too.  That'd be great!

 

Same here!

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I've got all of these Philips albums except Salute to Hollywood, and most are worth having even if you're not a JW completionist.

 

By the way, are you missing the two Jessye Norman/Williams Philips label albums?

 

With A Song in My Heart (1984)

Lucky to Be Me (1992)

 

The latter in particular I'd say is essential, since it's Williams at the piano for the whole album. And Jessye Norman is Jessye Norman.

 

Of the rest, I'd say Pops Brittania and The Planets should be high priorities. Perhaps not surprising, but JW's interpretation of the Holst is phenomenal, an opinion I think even hardcore Holst fans agree on.

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3 minutes ago, Falstaft said:

By the way, are you missing the two Jessye Norman/Williams Philips label albums?

 

1 hour ago, Jay said:

Update: I see now he played piano on two Jessye Norman albums released by Philps.  Those should be included if they ever do a box set, too!

 

I'm going to add them to my Amazon order too!

 

 

Quote

Of the rest, I'd say Pops Brittania and The Planets should be high priorities. Perhaps not surprising, but JW's interpretation of the Holst is phenomenal, an opinion I think even hardcore Holst fans agree on.

 

4 minutes ago, Jay said:

Well, I looked on Amazon and it turns out I can get all 13 of the Philips albums I don't have for ~2 bucks each, so I ordered them.  I think I'll listen through all 19 in order once they arrive and post my thoughts in this thread

 

 

I'm getting them all!

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I've always found "Pops in Love" to be a very good listen.

 

"Pops a la Russe" is very energetic and "Pops Britannia" has (I think) the premiere recording of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies' "An Orkney Wedding with Sunrise," of course commissioned by Williams for the Pops.

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40 minutes ago, Jay said:

Well, I looked on Amazon and it turns out I can get all 13 of the Philips albums I don't have for ~2 bucks each, so I ordered them.  I think I'll listen through all 19 in order once they arrive and post my thoughts in this thread

 

That's how I did it!  I got them on Amazon used, most of them for $0.01, maybe a buck, plus shipping.  And this was back in the day when shipping was cheaper, so it ended up being something like $2-3 apiece after shipping - a real steal for what you get!

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Yea sadly shipping is 4 bucks now for all these.  And even though I found all but 2 of them from the same third party seller, there is no discount or anything for getting them all from the same place.  If they come in separate envelopes too, that'll be really shitty!

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3 hours ago, Jay said:

And then include a nice booklet with all the cover art from the entire run, including all the compilation album cover arts too.  That'd be great!

 

Although it would be nice to have all the original cover art, I'd say it's more important to have all the original liner notes in such a box.

 

3 hours ago, Jay said:

1987 Holst - The Planets

 

I've always liked JW's take on The Planets.

 

3 hours ago, Jay said:

They could take the 5 new tracks from By Request and put them at the end of various albums where they make sense as bonus tracks. 

 

That's such a great compilation of his earlier victories that it should be preserved as it is.

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1 hour ago, Holko said:

I do like his Planets very much, I have it on the 2016 "conducts Star Wars etc." compilation.

 

Yes, it is great 2CD compilation.

It is actually the blend of these three Phillips CDs (+ "Flying Theme" and minus Superman tracks):

 

http://www.jw-collection.de/compilations/pops_space.htm

 

http://www.jw-collection.de/compilations/pops_outofthisworld.htm

 

http://www.jw-collection.de/compilations/popsplanets.htm

 

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Oh this Philips era was wonderful. 

I remember buying Pops Around the World, Aisle Seat, Out of This World and By Request on LP. Not interested in those more lighter stuff. Pops Britannia was my first CD of this series. Wonderful recordings. 

 

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6 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

But the scherzo is so painfully slooow!

I don't mind a tad slower take on it.

 

There are worse offenders like The Lost Boys Ballet and Jim's New Life on the Sony's Williams on Williams compilation.

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6 minutes ago, Incanus said:

I don't mind a tad slower take on it.

 

There are worse offenders like The Lost Boys Ballet and Jim's New Life on the Sony's Williams on Williams compilation.

 

These excatly came my mind, which  really feels too slow... 

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There were only three I Iistened to the back in the day: Bernstein by Boston, Pops on the March and Out of This World. I borrowed them (LPs) from the library and taped them onto cassettes then played those tapes to death. Now I have all the Philips CDs and I never listen to them :(

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I know the title song has become something of a punchline around here, but America, the Dream Goes On is a great album.  The two Aaron Copland tracks are fantastic; there's the Hoe-Down from "Rodeo," and then Boston's brass section really shines in Fanfare for the Common Man to open the album.  There's also a great arrangement of When the Saints Go Marchin' In.  

 

It's worth noting, that virtually the entire album (minus Bernstein's America Medley) was re-released on a Philips compilation entitled America the Beautiful, which combined music recorded by John Williams and Arthur Fiedler.  That's where I initially heard most of it; I had only ordered the original Williams album for completist's sake.

 

https://www.amazon.com/America-Beautiful-Arthur-Fiedler/dp/B0000041F8/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2T1N325A2B31W&dchild=1&keywords=boston+pops+america+the+beautiful&qid=1592431006&s=music&sprefix=Boston+Pops+America+%2Caps%2C150&sr=1-1

 

 

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I've never listened to these (although I do own them):

 

1981 That's Entertainment

1981 We Wish You A Merry Christmas    

1982 Pops Around The World (Digital Overtures)

1982 Aisle Seat

1984 On Stage

1984 Peter and the Wolf/Nutcracker

1985 Swing, Swing, Swing

1985 America, The Dream Goes On

1987 Pops in Love

1987 Holst - The Planets

1988 Digital Jukebox

1989 Pops Britannia

1990 Pops a la Russe

1990 Pops by George: The Music of Gershwin

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A nice padded envelope arrived on Monday with all the Philips albums I got from one seller - 14 of them!  So much red banner and white background!

 

I am just waiting for two more (Pops a la Russe and Pops by George) to arrive and I'll have the whole collection!

 

Running out of room on the shelves of my re-arranged office already...

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I have a very soft spot for those Philips recordings.

From the ones you're missing, "Pops Britannia" and the two Jessie Norman collaborations are a must.

I'm very fond of "Bernstein By Boston", though I never really liked much the medley they did of West Side Story.

"Swing, Swing, Swing" is really fun, and "Pops in Love"... well, the name kind of says it all. Really wonderful collection for a romantic evening.

Holst's The Planets is great indeed, as pointed out before, and I also like a lot "Pops à lá Russe". 

If memory serves, the Tchaikovsky/Prokofiev album was Grammy nominated and it's fun, though I prefer other performances over this one.

The Gershwin is a hit or miss thing -- love the abridged version of the Porgy and Bess suite, but never cared much for this performance of Rhapsody.

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Pops by George arrived yesterday, so now I'm just waiting for Pops a la Russe to arrive to have them all!

 

Well, I assume that's all I need; No one ever answered these questions for me

 

On 6/17/2020 at 10:48 AM, Jay said:

Does anyone know if any of the compilations actually feature an improvement in sound over the original releases?

 

Finally, is By Request the only compilation that actually features new recordings mixed in with re-released tracks?

 

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4 minutes ago, Miguel Andrade said:

"By Request" is indeed the only compilation that featured some newly recorded sellections.

 

Thanks!

 

4 minutes ago, Miguel Andrade said:

As for sound improvement, going by the compilatons I own, I don't think they sound any better than the original releases.

 

Thanks!  I assumed as much, but was curious if anyone knew differently, or had even ever compared before

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Well I have a pile of 24 Philips CDs to go through, but I wanted to make sure I listened to them all in the right order, as the list in the main post only shows years, and sometimes multiple releases came out in the same year. 

 

I don't know if there's a way to find out the exact date or at least month each of these originally came out (a tried to look up a random couple on SoundtrackCollector and they didn't say, Bespin's discography doesn't say, etc), so I decided to look on the back cover of each and look at the recording dates, and found some curiosities:

 

1980 (recorded 06/80) Pops in Space

1980 (recorded 06/80) Pops on the March

1981 (doesn't say...) That's Entertainment

1981 (recorded 12/80) We Wish You A Merry Christmas    

1982 (recorded 1981) Pops Around The World (Digital Overtures)

1982 (doesn't say...) Aisle Seat

1983 (doesn't say...) Out of This World

1984 (doesn't say...) On Stage

1984 (doesn't say...) Peter and the Wolf/Nutcracker

1985 (recorded 5/84) Swing, Swing, Swing

1985 (recorded 6/84) America, The Dream Goes On

1986 (recorded 6/85, except it notes Candide was recorded 6/81, so now we know the recording month for Pops Around The World I guess...) Bernstein by Boston

1987 (says recorded 6/85 but I think is really 6/86) Pops in Love

1987 (recorded 6/86) Holst - The Planets

1988 (recorded 6/87) Digital Jukebox

1989 (recorded 5/87, except it notes Fantasia on Greensleeves was recorded 6/86, even though Pops In Love says it was recorded 6/85, so one of them is wrong!, and Orb and Sceptre was recorded 6/80 as its from Pops on the March) Pops Britannia

1989 (recorded May 18 & June 4 1988) Salute to Hollywood

1990 (recorded June 4-7 1988) Pops a la Russe

1990 (recorded 6/89) Pops by George: The Music of Gershwin

1984 (recorded 6/84) With A Song In My Heart (Jessye Norman, JW piano)

1991 (recorded 1/87 [7 tracks] & 8/89 [6 tracks]) Lucky To Be Me (Jessye Norman, JW piano)

 

 

 

So that was interesting to go through, as I learned Bernstein by Boston and Pops Britannia each feature tracks that were previously released, which I hadn't realized before.

 

And it seems possible that We We You A Merry Christmas might be the only album recorded in the winter instead of the summer.  This made me wonder when the last time that John Williams was in a snowy climate was?

 

And it seems certain that the summer of '89 was the last time JW recorded with the Pops for Philips, recording Pops by George in June and then 6 more tracks for Lucky To Be Me in August.

 

Let's see if I can learn anything from the compilations I have

 

1987 (doesn't say when any of the new, or old, tracks were recorded) By Request... The Best of John Williams and the Boston Pops
1995 (doesn't say, just list the dates the original albums came out) Space-Taculars
1996 (same) Boston Pops: Salute Gene Kelly, Fred Astair, Judy Garland

 

I wonder if the new tracks for By Request were recorded in '86 or '87?

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I think Pops In Love was recorded 6/86, not 6/85, and its the back of the CD that's wrong.  The album came out in '87, and they probably realized their error and used the right date by the time Pops Britannia came out.

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I just realized that after By Request, JW only recorded 2 more of his own compositions: Balloon Sequence & Devil's Dance from The Witches of Eastwick.  He wouldn't do Empire of the Sun, or anything else from from his '87-'89 work, until the Sony era.

 

This means the Philips run of his own compositions would look like this:

 

(I've bolded the ones not available on By Request)

 

1970 Jane Eyre: "At Lowood" (Pops Britannia)

1970 Jane Eyre: "To Thornfield" (Pops Britannia)

1970 Jane Eyre: "The Return" (Pops Britannia)

1972 The Cowboys: "Suite" (Pops Around The World, retitled "Overture" on By Request)

1975 Jaws: "Theme" (By Request)

1976 Midway: "Midway March" (Pops on the March, retitled "March" on By Request)

1977 Star Wars: "Main Theme" (Pops in Space, By Request)

1977 Star Wars: "Princess Leia" (Pops in Space)

1977 Close Encounters: "Suite" (Pops in Space, retitled "Excerpts" on By Request)

1978 Superman: "March" (Pops in Space, By Request)

1978 Superman: "Love Theme" (Pops in Space)

1979 1941: "March" (By Request)

1979 1941: "Swing, Swing, Swing" (Swing, Swing, Swing)

1980 The Empire Strikes Back: The Asteroid Field (Pops in Space)

1980 The Empire Strikes Back: Yoda's Theme (Pops in Space, By Request)

1980 The Empire Strikes Back: The Imperial March (Pops in Space, By Request)

1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark: "Raiders of the Lost Ark March" (Aisle Seat, retitled "March" on By Request)

1982 E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: "The Flying Theme" (Aisle Seat, By Request)

1982 E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: "Adventures on Earth" (Out of This World)

1982 Yes, Giorgio: "If We Were In Love" (Aisle Seat)

1983 Return of the Jedi: "Parade of the Ewoks" (Out of This World)

1983 Return of the Jedi: "Luke & Leia" (Out of This World, By Request)

1983 Return of the Jedi: "Jabba The Hutt" (Out of This World)

1983 Return of the Jedi: "The Forest Battle" (Out of This World)

1984 "America, The Dream Goes On" (America, The Dream Goes On)

1984 "Olympic Fanfare And Theme" (By Request)

1985 "Mission Theme (Theme For NBC News)" (By Request)

1986 "Liberty Fanfare" (By Request)

1987 The Witches of Eastwick: "Balloon Sequence" (Salute to Hollywood)

1987 The Witches of Eastwick: "Devil's Dance" (Salute to Hollywood)

 

The most fascinating thing to me I realized when putting this together was that after Jedi, he completely skipped TEMPLE OF DOOM, The River, and SpaceCamp, but then elected to do Witches of Eastwick eventually.  Curious choices!  He never did anything from Monsignor, Heartbeeps, or Dracula either, but that is somehow less curious to me.

 

It's also kind of curious that 1979's score to 1941 became popular enough he recorded two different selections from it for two different albums, but later in the 80s, not when it was still a new score when he started with the Pops in 1980.

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5 hours ago, Jay said:

 

1980 (recorded 06/80) Pops in Space

1980 (recorded 06/80) Pops on the March

1981 (doesn't say...) That's Entertainment

1981 (recorded 12/80) We Wish You A Merry Christmas    

1982 (doesn't say...) Pops Around The World (Digital Overtures)

1982 (doesn't say...) Aisle Seat

 

 

I have just realized that first 6 Philips albums have been produced by legendary record producer George Korngold, son of Erich Wolfgang Korngold.

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I'm also realizing that outside of his own compositions, he mostly recorded classical music, standards, music from the golden age of Hollywood, etc.


Unless I missed any, the only contemporary film music selections he recorded in his entire decade on Philips are:

 

1979 Alien by Jerry Goldsmith

1979 Star Trek The Motion Picture by Jerry Goldsmith

1982 Chariots of Fire by Vangelis

1985 Out of Africa by John Barry

1986 An American Tail by James Horner

 

I wonder if that is a fairly good assessment of the penetration of film scoring into the masses in the 80s?  I can think of many other outright classics from the 80s to us, but I don't know how many of those average Joes in the 80s would have cared about...

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5 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

Which album is that on?

 

Salute to Hollywood

 

 

 

 

 

8 minutes ago, E-Wan said:

I have just realized that first 6 Philips albums have been produced by legendary record producer George Korngold, son of Erich Wolfgang Korngold.

 

Hey that's cool.  Incidentally, do those 6 albums in your collection all mention his name?

Because on mine, he's only listed on Pops on the March through Pops Around The World, and not mentioned on Pops in Space or Aisle Seat

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35 minutes ago, Jay said:

I'm also realizing that outside of his own compositions, he mostly recorded classical music, standards, music from the golden age of Hollywood, etc.


Unless I missed any, the only contemporary film music selections he recorded in his entire decade on Philips are:

 

1979 Alien by Jerry Goldsmith

1979 Star Trek The Motion Picture by Jerry Goldsmith

1982 Chariots of Fire by Vangelis

1985 Out of Africa by John Barry

1986 An American Tail by James Horner

 

I wonder if that is a fairly good assessment of the penetration of film scoring into the masses in the 80s?  I can think of many other outright classics from the 80s to us, but I don't know how many of those average Joes in the 80s would have cared about...

 

There's of course The Mission from 1986 and Back to the Future from 1985.

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5 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

There's of course The Mission from 1986

 

The Mission is indeed a Morricone score from 1986, but unless I'm missing an album, John Williams never recorded anything from it during his Philips run.

 

Are you confusing it with his own theme for NBC News, also titled The Mission?

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