V/A – The Great Gatsby Original Soundtrack

The Great Gatsby Original SoundtrackVarious Artists
The Great Gatsby Original Soundtrack
Paramount Records ℗1974
Location of purchase: Easy Street Records (Queen Anne), Seattle, Wash.
Price: $0.99
Additional note: 2-record set

The peculiar thing about Jay Gatsby, the main character in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book The Great Gatsby, is that he masks his inner turmoil with a dashing and charming personality and grandiose mansion parties. He always seems like he has no care in the world, but inside he is fervently fighting to contain his romantic feelings for the married Daisy Buchanan. In that sense, the soundtrack to Jack Clayton’s film adaptation of Fitzgerald’s novel is a good reflection of Gatsby. The sounds are all joyous and good-natured, rarely showing any sign of tension or deceit, which can be both a good and bad thing.

In this 2-record release, supervised and conducted by Nelson Riddle, elegant instrumentations and cheerful flair conquer all. The opening track, “What’ll I Do,” is one of the few with vocals, in this case featuring those of Bill Atherton. The song is dramatically nostalgic, but still very easygoing. It is the type of song that one could see Julie Andrews singing in a luscious field of flowers.

Another song that features vocals is “Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue,” showcasing the pipes of celebrated ’20s musician Nick Lucas. It is a total flapper ditty with quick and fun movements. Likewise, “I’m Gonna Charleston Back to Charleston,” another tune with Lucas on vocals, has a great horn section and builds a nice sense of pizzaz. “Kitten on the Keys” and “It Had to Be You” are instrumentals that even without vocals emit the enthusiasm of Gatsby’s glitzy parties.

One thing that is frustrating about the soundtrack is that pieces, such as, “Tom and Myrtle” and “Myrtle’s Dead,” which are supposed to be grave and reflect risque affairs fall a bit flat. While they are moody, the friction between instruments is not strong enough to reflect a corrupt situation. Even “Jordan’s Tango” is a bit bland, there is no lustful excitement that the dance deserves.

Despite some faults, the music is fun and a good companion for showing how easy it is to falsely romanticize the American dream. Having won an Academy Award in the “Best Music” category, the soundtrack is multifaceted in the way that it can simply add light to any space or if the listener decides to look for deeper meaning, it is good for reflection.

Find the full track listing and a sample track after the jump.

Side One

  1. What’ll I Do – Vocals by Bill Atherton
    (I. Berlin)
  2. The Sheik of Araby
    (H.B. Smith, F. Wheeler, T. Snyder)
  3. Tom and Myrtle
    (N. Riddle)
  4. Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue – Vocals by Nick Lucas
    (S. Lewis, J. Young, R. Henderson)
  5. Jordan’s Tango
    (N. Riddle)
  6. Who?
    (O. Harbach, O. Hammerstein II, J. Kern)

Side Two

  1. I’m Gonna Charleston Back to Charleston – Vocals by Nick Lucas
    (R. Turk, L. Handman)
  2. Along Time Ago
    (N. Riddle)
  3. Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby
    (G. Kahn, W. Donaldson)
  4. We’ve Met Before
    (I. Berlin, N. Riddle)
  5. Whispering
    (J. Schonberger, R. Coburn, V. Rose)
  6. Charleston
    (C. Mack, J. Johnson)

Side Three

  1. It Had to Be You
    (G. Kahn, T. Jones)
  2. Daisy
    (I. Berlin)
  3. When You and I Were Seventeen – Vocals by Nick Lucas
    (G. Kahn, C. Rosoff)
  4. Myrtle’s Dead
    (N. Riddle)
  5. Alice Blue Gown
    (J. McCarthy, H. Tierney)
  6. Daisy’s Tango
    (N. Riddle)

Side Four

  1. My Favorite Beau
    (I. Berlin, N. Riddle)
  2. Kitten on the Keys
    (Z. Confrey)
  3. Beale Street Blues – Piano solo by Jess Stacy
    (W.C. Handy)
  4. The Ring
    (I. Berlin, N. Riddle)
  5. Summer’s Almost Over
    (N. Riddle)
  6. What’ll I Do/Ain’t We Got Fun (Medley)
    (I. Berlin)/(G. Kahn, R. Egan, R. Whiting)
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One Response to V/A – The Great Gatsby Original Soundtrack

  1. Pingback: February guest post: Yes – Fragile | Awfully Crate

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