The Family Way (soundtrack)

The Family Way is a soundtrack recording composed by Paul McCartney, released in January 1967. The album is the soundtrack to the 1966 film The Family Way, directed by Roy Boulting and starring Hayley Mills. Produced and arranged by George Martin, the album was credited to "The George Martin Orchestra" and issued under the full title The Family Way (Original Soundtrack Album).[2] A 45rpm single, again credited to the George Martin Orchestra, was issued on 23 December 1966, comprising "Love in the Open Air" backed with "Theme from 'The Family Way'", as United Artists UP1165.[3]

The Family Way
Soundtrack album by
Released6 January 1967 (UK)
12 June 1967 (US)
RecordedDecember 1966
StudioCTS Studios, London
LabelDecca (SKL 4847) (UK)
London (US)
ProducerGeorge Martin
Professional ratings
Review scores
Mojo3/5 stars[1]

The Family Way won an Ivor Novello Award in 1967. It was remastered and released on CD in 1996 with new musical compositions not on the original 1967 soundtrack album.

Composition and recordingEdit

McCartney and Martin began collaborating on the project in November 1966, shortly before The Beatles started work on their album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.[4] McCartney's contribution to the project was minimal, according to authors Howard Sounes and Steve Turner.[5][6] McCartney composed a brief piano piece, which Martin then interpreted into several variations and arrangements, sufficient to produce 24 minutes of music.[6] At McCartney's suggestion, one of the versions had a brass band arrangement, anticipating his production of the Black Dyke Mills Band's instrumental "Thingumybob" in 1968.[7] Turner writes that, given the film's setting in northern England, the use of a brass band in the Family Way soundtrack might have been part of McCartney's inspiration for the fictitious Sgt. Pepper band, which McCartney termed "a bit of a brass band, in a way".[8]

A second composition was required for a pivotal love scene in the film.[6] Quoting Martin's recollection, Sounes says that he had to "pester Paul for the briefest scrap of a tune" for this piece.[5] Martin recalled that only after he had threatened to write the theme himself did McCartney comply, and that it was created on the spot at McCartney's home in St John's Wood, as Martin stood over McCartney at his piano.[9] Titled "Love in the Open Air", the piece was "a sweet little fragment of a waltz tune", according to Martin.[7]

McCartney, who had initially been enthusiastic about the project, likened his subsequent lack of productivity to a type of writer's block.[10] As a result of the delay, recording for the score did not begin until 15 December.[10] The sessions took place over three days at CTS Studios in London.[11] Members of the George Martin Orchestra included violinists Neville Marriner and Raymond Keenlyside, viola player John Underwood and cellist Joy Hall.[11] Aside from the brass band, other musicians contributed on church organ and tuba.[7]

Although The Family Way was released in January 1967, most commentators consider George Harrison's Wonderwall Music (1968), also a film soundtrack, to be the first solo album by a member of the Beatles. Unlike with McCartney's film score, Harrison directed and produced the recordings for Wonderwall Music, in addition to playing on some of the album.[12]

CD releaseEdit

The soundtrack album was released on CD, in mono, in 2003. In 2011, a new remastered version of the soundtrack was released by Varèse Vintage. It featured the 1967 score in the original sequence, remastered from the first-generation stereo master tapes. It also included the unreleased stereo mix of "A Theme from The Family Way" as a bonus track. This piece was originally issued as the B-side of the 1966 UK/US single by the Tudor Minstrels.

Track listing, original 1967 soundtrack albumEdit

Side One
  1. The Family Way
Side Two
  1. The Family Way

Track listing, 2011 CD reissueEdit

  1. Cue 2M1 / 2M4
  2. 5M1 / 11M3
  3. 6M4 / 7M2
  4. 6M2 / 1M2
  5. 10M1 / 6M3 / 4M1 / 1M3 / 1M4
  6. Love in the Open Air (7M3)
  7. 2M5
  8. 1M1
  9. 7M1
  10. 11M1 / 11M2 / 10M3 / 8M1
  11. 12M1
  12. 13M1
  13. 13M2
  14. Theme from The Family Way


  1. ^ Male, Andrew (January 2012). "Soundtracks: Paul McCartney The Family Way". Mojo. p. 93.
  2. ^ Castleman, Harry; Podrazik, Walter J. (1976). All Together Now: The First Complete Beatles Discography 1961–1975. New York, NY: Ballantine Books. p. 61. ISBN 0-345-25680-8.
    - Miles, Barry (2001). The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years. London: Omnibus Press. p. 253. ISBN 0-7119-8308-9.
  3. ^ Castleman, Harry; Podrazik, Walter J. (1976). All Together Now: The First Complete Beatles Discography 1961–1975. New York, NY: Ballantine Books. p. 58. ISBN 0-345-25680-8.
  4. ^ Sounes, Howard (2010). Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney. London: HarperCollins. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-00-723705-0.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  5. ^ a b Sounes 2010, p. 159.
  6. ^ a b c Turner, Steve (2016). Beatles '66: The Revolutionary Year. New York, NY: Ecco. p. 360. ISBN 978-0-06-247558-9.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  7. ^ a b c Turner 2016, p. 361.
  8. ^ Turner 2016, pp. 361–62.
  9. ^ Turner 2016, pp. 360–61.
  10. ^ a b Womack, Kenneth (2018). Sound Pictures: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin – The Later Years, 1966–2016. Chicago, IL: Chicago Review Press. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-912777-74-0.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  11. ^ a b Turner 2016, p. 360.
  12. ^ Spizer, Bruce (2005). The Beatles Solo on Apple Records. New Orleans, LA: 498 Productions. p. 206. ISBN 0-9662649-5-9.