ANIMATION SPIN
January 19, 2016 posted by

Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Soundtrack Albums”

Whistle as we work our way through seven different editions of the classic soundtrack as released on Disneyland and Buena Vista vinyl albums from 1956 to 1987.

SnowWhiteLP1956-600

Walt Disney’s
SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS

Music from the Original Motion Picture Sound Track
Disneyland Records WDL-4005 (12” 33 1/3 RPM LP / Mono)

Released in 1956. Album Executive Producer: Jimmy Johnson. Album Producer: Camarata. Running Time: 32 minutes.
Voices: Adriana Caselotti (Snow White); Harry Stockwell (Prince); Pinto Colvig (Grumpy), Roy Atwell (Doc), Billy Gilbert (Sneezy); Otis Harlan (Happy); Scotty Mattraw (Bashful); Marion Darlington, Perv Pullen (Birds); The Fraunfelder Family (Yodelers); The Hall Johnson Choir.
Songs: “I’m Wishing,” “One Song,” “With a Smile and a Song,” “Whistle While You Work,” “Heigh-Ho,” “Bluddle-Uddle-Uddle-Um-Dum (The Washing Song),” “A Silly Song (The Dwarfs’ Yodel Song),” “Someday My Prince Will Come,” “One Song (Reprise),” “Someday My Prince Will Come (Finale)” by Frank Churchill, Larry Morey.
Instrumentals: “Magic Mirror,” “Animal Friends,” “Prayer at Evening” by Frank Churchill, Paul J. Smith and Leigh Harline.

Tutti Camarata famously watched Disney films with his eyes closed—at least when he was conceiving their soundtrack albums. In this way, he was able to focus on the music and songs themselves without the distraction of the visuals. Using his Julliard-trained classical music background, he created a format unique among soundtrack albums for their day—in which the songs and music intermingled as if the entire album were an oratorio or a suite. The format was similar to the landmark original cast album format credited to Columbia Records’ legendary producer, Goddard Lieberson. The musical score of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs–one of the most important in the Disney film and music company libraries—is given such a treatment on its soundtrack album.

Camarata made conscious, deliberate decisions about whether to repeat a passage or delete it, and if the listening experience would be heightened by joining several songs and themes in a single album track. It is no accident that, while there are 13 selections on the 1956 edition of the Snow White album, there are only seven physical tracks on the vinyl.

This was the first recording of Snow White to isolate the music tracks from dialogue and sound effects, though a few bits are added here and there as highlights. RCA Victor’s earlier 78 RPM soundtrack set–the very first movie soundtrack recording of any kind–came directly from what was presumably from an early mix of the film, produced for records as early as possible to get it into stores. Changes in the tracks must have continued between RCA’s receipt of their mix and the finished film mix, because the record doesn’t match the final soundtrack exactly. It contains elements either added to or missing from the film as released. One of the most notable portions is an extra verse in the “Silly Song.”

The Snow White “WDL” album is one of several soundtracks that Disneyland Records originally marketed purely as soundtrack albums, meant to be located in the show sections of record stores. Sold at a premium price of $4.98 (steep in those days), the albums were gorgeous to see and hear, but they didn’t sell well.

SnowWhiteLP1960-600

Walt Disney’s
SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS

Music from the Original Motion Picture Sound Track
Disneyland Records DQ-1201. Cover Art: George Peed.

Released in September, 1959. Running Time: 28 minutes.

To help boost sales of the still-struggling in-house Disney record company, dramatic changes were made to the most high-profile titles in the catalog, particularly the scores of the movie classics. In the “DQ” series, Snow White was the first soundtrack in the line, and like the other revised albums, it was given a brighter, more child-friendly design.

In several cases, the “DQ” albums had shorter running times than their “WDL” forebears, emphasizing vocals over instrumentals. On the 1959 edition, “Prayer at Evening” was deleted and the dance section of “A Silly Song” was cut, taking almost five minutes off the WDL version. It does seem that the 1959 version was also given a bit of a remix, as the clarity is noticeably plussed. Other than that, it is the same album minus the two sections.

Disneyland Records also took a cue from Golden Records and used the back covers to promote other “DQ” and Mickey Mouse Club titles (inspiring many a “wish list” from kids who stared wistfully at all the other records for hours, this writer included). By using the back covers for advertising, costs for the album covers went down because many back covers could be printed in large runs and later attached to whatever specific titles were desired. A similar practice was followed in 1961, with additional titles added.

1963 Back Cover

1963 Back Cover

Walt Disney’s
SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS

Music from the Original Motion Picture Sound Track
Disneyland Records DQ-1201.

Released in 1963. Running Time: 23 minutes.

In 1963, most of the Disneyland albums were given their own special back covers in place of advertising. The layout was consistent across dozens of titles: the name of the album across the top, the artists and composers, several black-and-white film frames with song titles underneath, two columns of liner notes (presumably written by Jimmy Johnson), and two columns of music programs listings.

The 1963 edition retained the memorable, exciting “swirl” cover by George Peed, brother of Disney Legend Bill Peet (who changed his last name). George worked for the New York Disney merchandise office, creating art for Disney games (Babes in Toyland, The Monorail Game), but is best known to record collectors as the go-to artist for Peter Pan Records.

Another five minutes of playing time was excised by cutting right from the overture to “I’m Wishing,” deleting the “Animal Friends” prelude to “With a Smile and a Song” and removing the big-band swing bridge in “Whistle While You Work.”

SnowWhiteLP1968Front-600

Walt Disney’s
SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS

Music from the Original Motion Picture Sound Track
Disneyland Records DQ-1201 (also released without “DQ” prefix).

Released in 1968. Running Time: 23 minutes.

Color was added to the back cover designs, with spot tints on the film images (which was a nice touch but made photo details harder to see) and a blanket color for the entire area, complementing the color scheme of the front cover. For Snow White, the 1968 cover layout was adapted from the 1956 art. The musical program was not shortened, but remained at 23 minutes.

SnowWhitePictureDiscWalt Disney’s
SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS

Music from the Original Motion Picture Sound Track
Disney Picture Disc #1301.

Released in February, 1981. Running Time: 23 minutes.

The brief popularity of picture discs in the early ’80s was spiked by a nice selection of Disney discs with art by the Alvin White Studio. Musically, the record is identical to the 1963/68 editions. Picture discs are experiencing a resurgence today–with a marked improvement in sound quality–but Snow White has yet to be reissued in this way.

SnowWhite-aussieJapan-600

Walt Disney’s
SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS

Complete Original Soundtrack
Buena Vista Records #102. (Three 12” 33 1/3 RPM LP Records)

Released in 1975. Running Time: 85 minutes.

The Star Wars of its day is also the only Disney animated feature to be released in its entirety on vinyl records. To be able to listen to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, from start to finish at home on two LP records was nothing short of fantastical, back in the days before home video when Disney films were shown theatrically every seven years or so.

Like Buena Vista’s 1977 complete soundtrack of The Rankin/Bass Production of The Hobbit, the Snow White soundtrack set was sold in the U.S. in a three-record boxed set. International versions were produced in such countries as Australia in Japan (the Japanese edition was issued on two Buena Vista discs in a gatefold cover instead of a box).

SnowWhiteLP1987Front-600

Walt Disney’s
SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS

Music from the Original Motion Picture Sound Track
Disneyland Records #1201.

Released in 1987. Running Time: 32 minutes.

The 50th Anniversary of Snow White yielded Theme Park events, a TV special, special merchandise, nifty books and this excellent reissue that finally restored the entire contents of the 1956 soundtrack album. The front cover design was part of the overall look of the 50th Anniversary campaign and the back cover, for the first time, offered full-color film scenes.

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN

Snow White Original Vinyl Soundtrack Album Finale
The actual film ends with the chorus singing “Someday My Prince Will Come” during the happy ending sequence, but on the Disneyland soundtrack album as heard here, an alternate version was used with the chorus singing the melody in the ah-ah-ah “vocalize” style. The vinyl record is the only release with this version, as the newer CDs and downloads match the final film.

FYI: A new Blu-ray of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs hits store shelves on February 6. There are soundtrack album CDs and downloads currently available on amazon.

9 Comments

  • The cover art, gorgeous as it is, may have been the reason why the original album didn’t sell well at the premium price. It looks as though it is aimed primarily at children instead of adults. A more adult approach to the cover might have enticed more buyers. There are several ways that a design could have been done to appeal more to adults. One example that comes to mind is the Vista album of “Fantasia” which clearly looked like it was targeted toward a more sophisticated audience.

    I would love to see more of the back covers of the albums featured in this post.

    Finally, it’s interesting to note how the contents of the original album finally “came back” after thirty years. I would venture to guess that more serious Disney collectors are now interested in completeness than may have been the case in 1956.

  • Interesting how a lot more songs and incidental music was added to the soundtrack to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs including the haunting “Chorale for Snow White” that was part of the scene of the funeral wake that the Dwarfs had for Snow White after she was poisoned by the Evil Queen disguised as the Old Witch.

  • “RCA Victor’s 78 RPM soundtrack set—the very first movie soundtrack recording of any kind—lifted the material directly from the finished, mixed tracks.”

    Not exactly true, actually, unless there’s something going on that we don’t know about. The mixes on the Victor set vary noticeably from anything that followed – on film, record, or home video. In fact, there are some sound effects that appear on the records that are *conspicuous* in their absence from the current version of the finished movie.

    Plus, the Victor album picks up some music that has never appeared on any non-Victor releases AFAIK, including an entire “lost” verse of the Yodel Song, sung by Sneezy. IIRC there are similar lost segments – all instrumental – on the Victor Pinocchio soundtrack.

    • Eric– thanks for pointing that out! It will be fixed. You know how it is when you spend a week listening to nothing but Ms. Caselotti’s coloratura — you start flinging up your elbows and saying, “Papa! Papa! I can do it, Papa!”

  • I coveted that 3 record Snow White Soundtrack set when it first came out… but at the time I just couldn’t afford it. I’m glad you mentioned it though. Great to see all the various cover art. I had hoped with the most recent re-release on home media, that the soundtrack would be part of the Legacy Collection, but I’m guessing that line is finished. Then again, it’s not Snow White’s anniversary year either, like the others. One can hope.

  • I recall having picture discs for Pinocchio and Mary Poppins myself (found a copy of the Pinocchio disc a while back).

  • I’m surprised that “SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS” isn’t part of the wonderful LEGACY COLLECTION. Just think–you could add a disk or two that replicates some of these earlier vinyl editions, including the one with the missing lyrics in “THE SILLY SONG” and so much more. I’ll be interested in what the forthcoming re-re-release of the film on Blu-ray will add to entice the buyer…an extra cartoon or two to show how animators practiced with the SILLY SYMPHONIES series to lead to the work done on the “SNOW WHITE” film? I currently have the edition that includes “THE GODDESS OF SPRING” but I’m sure that here are more titles that acted as instructional for animators who would be working on the feature film…and what was Hugh Harman’s involvement in the film?

  • Great piece. I own all of the LP versions of the ”Snow White” soundtrack (including the ”Disneyland Storyteller” album narrated by Annette) as well as the CD releases. The sound quality of the 1956 album beats the others hands down, (No wonder it sold for $4.98) but the cover art on the 1987 re-release is my favorite.

  • I was lucky enough to find a copy of the 1956 edition on EBAY. It’s in excellent shape (both LP and cover) and it was reasonably priced. Now I have all the album editions, but, I agree: the 1956 record has the best sound quality. Once again, ‘Technological Advances” in media doesn’t always mean improvements.

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