A Boy Named Charlie Brown (soundtrack)

The 1969 animated film A Boy Named Charlie Brown, based on Charles M. Schulz's comic strip Peanuts, had two different soundtrack albums. These albums were released individually in 1970 and 2017.

BackgroundEdit

A Boy Named Charlie Brown is the debut theatrical film based on the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz.[1] For the music score, producer Lee Mendelson recruited jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi, who had previously composed uptempo jazz melodies for the first six Peanuts television specials as well as the unaired documentary of the same name. Guaraldi did not compose new songs for the film, but instead fitted established compositions with a more "theatrical" treatment featuring lusher horn-filled arrangements. Instrumental tracks used in the film included new variations of the songs "Skating", "Baseball Theme", "Charlie Brown and His All-Stars", "Oh, Good Grief", "Blue Charlie Brown", and several versions of the Peanuts franchise theme song, "Linus and Lucy". Guaraldi also resurrected the non-Peanuts song "Lucifer's Lady" from his album The Eclectic Vince Guaraldi (1969), retitled "Kite Music (Lucifer's Lady)".[2]

To fill out the sound, Mendelson also hired composer/arranger John Scott Trotter (who also worked in concert with Guaraldi since 1966's It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown) and composer/singer Rod McKuen. When discussing the augmentation of Guaraldi's established jazz scores with additional musicians, Mendelson commented, "It wasn’t that we thought Vince's jazz couldn't carry the movie, but we wanted to supplement it with some 'big screen music.' We focused on Vince for the smaller, more intimate Charlie Brown scenes; for the larger moments, we turned to Trotter's richer, full-score sound."[3] Guaraldi's services were passed over entirely for the second Peanuts feature film, Snoopy Come Home, with Mendelson turning to longtime Disney composers the Sherman Brothers to compose the music score.[2]

The film included several original songs, some of which boasted vocals: "Failure Face", "I Before E" and "Champion Charlie Brown". McKuen wrote and sang the title song, as well as writing "Failure Face" and "Champion Charlie Brown".[2] Trotter composed additional songs, like "Cloud Dreams", "Catatonic Blues" and "Bus Wheel Blues".

A soundtrack album with dialogue from the film was released on the Columbia Masterworks label in 1970 titled A Boy Named Charlie Brown: Selections from the Film Soundtrack. The first all-music version of the soundtrack was released on CD by Kritzerland Records as a limited issue of 1,000 copies in 2017, titled A Boy Named Charlie Brown: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.[3]

A Boy Named Charlie Brown: Selections from the Film SoundtrackEdit

A Boy Named Charlie Brown: Selections from the Film Soundtrack
 
Soundtrack album by
Released1970 (US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand)
1971 (UK)
1972 (Japan)
RecordedOctober 4, 1966 (Side 2, Track 9)
April 19, July 10, July 30, August 14, October 14, 1969[2]
Genre
Length51:21
LabelColumbia Masterworks
Producer
Vince Guaraldi chronology
Alma-Ville
(1969)
A Boy Named Charlie Brown: Selections from the Film Soundtrack
(1970)
Greatest Hits
(1980)

A Boy Named Charlie Brown: Selections from the Film Soundtrack is the first of two soundtracks issued for the film, released in early 1970. The soundtrack was a commercial success and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score, ultimately losing to The Beatles' Let It Be.[2] A Boy Named Charlie Brown: Selections from the Film Soundtrack was out of print by 1973. As of 2020, it has not been issued on CD.[2]

Unlike traditional music soundtracks, A Boy Named Charlie Brown: Selections from the Film Soundtrack was presented as a condensed book-and-record radio play version of the film, running approximately 50 minutes in length. Most musical segments act as underscores behind dialogue. Several recording sessions occurred between April and October 1969, all under the supervision of John Scott Trotter. He and jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi booked several jazz combos for one date; Guaraldi worked solely with trio sidemen Peter Marshall and Jerry Granelli on another.[2]

Track listingEdit

Despite individual tracks being listed on the album, track running times for each title were not published.[2]

Side One
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."A Boy Named Charlie Brown" (vocal)Rod McKuen 
2."Cloud Dreams"John Scott Trotter 
3."Charlie Brown and His All-Stars"Vince Guaraldi 
4."We Lost Again"Rod McKuen 
5."Blue Charlie Brown"Vince Guaraldi 
6."Time To Go To School"Vince Guaraldi 
7."I Only Dread One Day at a Time"Vince Guaraldi 
8."Failure Face" (vocal)Rod McKuen 
9."By Golly I'll Show 'Em"John Scott Trotter 
10."Class Champion"Rod McKuen 
11.""I" Before "E""
 
12."School Spelling Bee"John Scott Trotter 
13."Champion Charlie Brown" (vocal)Rod McKuen 
Total length:25:20
Side Two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Start Boning Up On Your Spelling, Charlie Brown"  
2."You'll Either Be a Hero... Or a Goat"Rod McKuen 
3."Bus Station"Rod McKuen 
4."Bus Wheel Blues"John Scott Trotter 
5."Do Piano Players Make a Lot of Money?"Ludwig van Beethoven 
6."I've Got To Get My Blanket Back"Vince Guaraldi 
7."Big City"Vince Guaraldi, Rod McKuen 
8."Snoopy On Ice"Vince Guaraldi, John Scott Trotter 
9."Found Blanket" ("Linus and Lucy")Vince Guaraldi 
10."National Spelling Bee"Rod McKuen 
11."B-e-a-g-e-l"Rod McKuen 
12."Bus Wheel Blues"John Scott Trotter 
13."Homecoming"Vince Guaraldi, Rod McKuen 
14."I'm Never Going To School Again"Rod McKuen 
15."Welcome Home, Charlie Brown"Vince Guaraldi 
16."A Boy Named Charlie Brown" (vocal)Rod McKuen 
Total length:26:01

A Boy Named Charlie Brown: Original Motion Picture SoundtrackEdit

A Boy Named Charlie Brown: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
 
Soundtrack album by
Vince Guaraldi, John Scott Trotter, Rod McKuen
ReleasedMarch 2017[4]
RecordedOctober 4, 1966 (track 18)
April 19, July 10, July 30, August 14, October 14, 1969[2]
Genre
Length78:25
LabelKritzerland
Producer
  • Vince Guaraldi
  • John Scott Trotter
  • Craig E. Rogers
  • Erwan Laurent
  • Kevin Schwankner
  • Michael Cangelosi
Vince Guaraldi chronology
Peanuts Greatest Hits
(2015)
A Boy Named Charlie Brown: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
(2017)
The Complete Warner Bros.–Seven Arts Recordings
(2018)

A Boy Named Charlie Brown: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is the second of two soundtracks issued for the film. It was released on CD by Kritzerland Records in 2017 with a limited run of 1,000 copies,[3] which sold out within one week of release.[2]

Vince Guaraldi historian and author Derrick Bang referred to the 2017 release as the "Guaraldi Holy Grail" for fans of the jazz pianist.[4] For many years, the logistics involved in releasing a music-only soundtrack were daunting. Licensing issues were complex as both Columbia Masterworks Records and Cinema Center Films had ceased to exist decades earlier and asset ownership passed along to a number of subsequent corporate entities. The music itself also posed challenges, as it involved not only Guaraldi's estate (Guaraldi died in 1976), but those associated with John Scott Trotter and Rod McKuen, who had died in 1975 and 2015, respectively.[2]

Track listingEdit

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Champion Charlie Brown (Logo)"/"Cloud Dreams"Rod McKuen/John Scott Trotter1:15
2."Champion Charlie Brown (Main Title)"/"A Boy Named Charlie Brown" ("A Boy Named Charlie Brown" vocal: Rod McKuen)Rod McKuen3:29
3."Kite Music (Lucifer's Lady)"/"Charlie Brown and His All-Stars"Vince Guaraldi4:07
4."Percussion Swinger"/"Baseball Theme"Vince Guaraldi1:17
5."Baseball Theme" (Charlie Brown Pitches)Vince Guaraldi2:04
6."Baseball Theme (Three Strikes and You’re Out)"/"A Boy Named Charlie Brown (We Lost Again)"/"Air Music (Snoopy Theme)"/"The Red Baron Strikes Again"Vince Guaraldi/Rod McKuen/Vince Guaraldi/John Scott Trotter7:12
7."Blue Charlie Brown"Vince Guaraldi5:55
8."Linus and Lucy (Time to Go to School)"/"Champion Charlie Brown (I Only Dread One Day at a Time)"Vince Guaraldi/Rod McKuen3:15
9."Failure Face (Lucy, Violet, Patty)"/"Catatonic Blues" (vocal on "Failure Face")Rod McKuen/John Scott Trotter1:23
10.""I" Before "E"" (Charlie Brown, Linus)
4:00
11."Champion Charlie Brown" (The Gang)Rod McKuen1:16
12."Oh, Good Grief"/"Champion Charlie Brown (Bus Station)"/"A Boy Named Charlie Brown"
/Rod McKuen/Rod McKuen
3:18
13."Linus and Lucy (I’ve Got to Get My Blanket Back)" (minor key)Vince Guaraldi1:27
14."Bus Wheel Blues"John Scott Trotter1:19
15."A Boy Named Charlie Brown ("I" Before Milk)"/"Champion Charlie Brown"Rod McKuen1:53
16."Linus and Lucy (Big City)" (minor key)Vince Guaraldi1:01
17."Skating"/"Blue Puck"/"Skating (Snoopy on Ice)"Vince Guaraldi/John Scott Trotter/Vince Guaraldi5:12
18."Linus and Lucy (Found Blanket)"/"Champion Charlie Brown (Spelling Bee)"Vince Guaraldi/Rod McKuen3:49
19."A Boy Named Charlie Brown"/"Bus Wheel Blues"Rod McKuen/John Scott Trotter1:22
20."A Boy Named Charlie Brown (I’m Never Going to School Again)"Rod McKuen2:08
21."Charlie Brown and His All-Stars"Vince Guaraldi2:02
22."A Boy Named Charlie Brown" (vocal: Rod McKuen)Rod McKuen3:42
Bonus tracks
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
23."Champion Charlie Brown (Logo)" (alternate)Rod McKuen0:25
24."The Star-Spangled Banner" (alternate)John Stafford Smith; arr. John Scott Trotter1:03
25."Air Music (Snoopy Theme)"/"The Red Baron Strikes Again" (alternate)Vince Guaraldi/John Scott Trotter2:13
26."Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13 (Sonata Pathétique) – III: Rondo: Allegro" (performed by Ingolf Dahl)Ludwig van Beethoven0:32
27."Bus Wheel Blues" (alternate)John Scott Trotter2:09
28."Champion Charlie Brown" (Transition)Rod McKuen0:17
29."Skating"/"Blue Puck"/"Skating (Snoopy on Ice)" (alternate)Vince Guaraldi/John Scott Trotter/Vince Guaraldi6:24
30."Linus and Lucy (Found Blanket)" (alternate)Vince Guaraldi0:29
31."Champion Charlie Brown" (unused jazz combo performed by Vince Guaraldi Quintet)Rod McKuen2:07
32."Dialogue (Linus, Charlie Brown)" (Linus: Glenn Gilger; Charlie Brown: Peter Robbins)Rod McKuen0:20
Total length:78:25

Track 18, "Linus and Lucy (Found Blanket)", is the same flute-driven, monaural version used during the cold open scene in It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966).

PersonnelEdit

Credits were adapted from 2017 liner notes.

Additional

  • Phil Macy – engineer (1970 release)
  • Derrick Bang – liner notes (2017 release)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Solomon, Charles (2012). The Art and Making of Peanuts Animation: Celebrating Fifty Years of Television Specials. Chronicle Books. pp. 94–97. ISBN 978-1452110912.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Bang, Derrick. "Vince Guaraldi on LP and CD: A Boy Named Charlie Brown: Selections from the Film Soundtrack". fivecentsplease.org. Derrick Bang, Scott McGuire. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  3. ^ a b c A Boy Named Charlie Brown: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack at kritzerland.com
  4. ^ a b "You're Finally a Film Score, Charlie Brown": A track-by-track analysis of A Boy Named Charlie Brown by Derrick Bang

External linksEdit