ANIMATION SPIN
May 17, 2016 posted by

Snoopy and The Sherman Brothers on Records

44 years ago this Thursday, the only Peanuts big-screen “book” musical premiered, capturing the talents of three creative giants on film and records. Here’s a closer look.

SnoopyComeHomeLP-Front

SNOOPY, COME HOME

Original Soundtrack Recording
Columbia Masterworks S-31541 (12” 33 1/3 RPM LP / Stereo)

Released in 1972. Arranger/Conductor: Don Ralke. Liner Notes: Charles M. Schulz. Engineer: Stan Ross, Gold Star Recorders, Hollywood. Running Time: 31 minutes.
Singing Voices: Shelby Flint (Lila); Linda Ercoli (Clara); Guy Pohlman (Charlie Brown), Thurl Ravenscroft, Don Ralke, Ray Polman.

Speaking Voices: Chad Webber (Charlie Brown); Robin Kohn (Lucy); Stephen Shea (Linus), Chris DeFaria (Peppermint Patty).

Songs: “Snoopy, Come Home,” “Lila’s Theme (Do You Remember Me?),” “At The Beach,” “No Dogs Allowed,” “The Best of Buddies,” “Fundamental-Friend-Dependability,” “Getting’ It Together,” “It Changes” by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman.
Instrumentals: “Woodstock’s Samba,” “Charlie Brown’s Calliope,” “Lila’s Theme (Instrumental Reprise)” by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman.

The music of Peanuts was beginning to change in the early ’70s. The premiere of the first Peanuts animated feature, A Boy Named Charlie Brown, saw Rod McKuen’s songs and more expansive orchestrations behind the gang’s trials, tribulations and triumphs. Even Vince Guaraldi was looking for new sounds for the TV specials, with Play It Again, Charlie Brown presenting a jazz sound that was very different (and even a little startling).

On stage, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown gave Off-Broadway audiences full-scale musical numbers accompanied by simple arrangements—if they sounded a little like Sesame Street, it was because legendary Sesame composer/arranger Joe Raposo was responsible.

But it was Snoopy, Come Home that took the most spectacular leap into another musical approach. None of the characters sang the Sherman Brothers songs on screen, but they either were “thinking” their lyrics (a technique used in Goodbye, Mr. Chips and Tom Sawyer) or the chorus was expressing the emotions (à la Bambi).

The selection of Don Ralke as musical director added to another unique touch to Snoopy, Come Home. Very much in-demand as a arranger/conductor of pop music and easy listening records for major record labels and television, Ralke is perhaps most famous (or infamous) for his appropriately bizarre arrangements on William Shatner’s notorious record albums (“Mister tambourine man!!! Mister tambourine man!!!!!”). Coincidentally, he also directed music for the Golden Records LP, Dream Along with Bozo.

Snoopy-Come-Home-Back

Ralke’s orchestrations and choral work created a shift in style for the Shermans, delivering a musical setting quite different from the brothers’ work with Tutti Camarata, Jack Elliott and Irwin Kostal. It’s Ralke’s only film score, which is a shame because it has such a distinctive, appealing sound. The instrumentals on this album are just as much a treat as the vocals (“Woodstock’s Samba” is a personal favorite).

The songs exemplify the Shermans firing on all cylinders, during a very prolific independent period in their careers. Bedknobs and Broomsticks had been released a year earlier. Charlotte’s Web and Tom Sawyer on their way to theaters in 1973, to be followed by their Broadway debut with Over Here! in 1974 (read about that score over here). Few if any composing team has tallied as many written-for-the-screen musicals as these two brothers.

snoopy_come_home_xlgRunning the gamut of jaunty tunes and touching ballads, Charles Schulz was pleased enough with their work to write one of the most moving album notes of all time about his experience: “I shall never forget standing in a sound booth listening to ‘It Changes’ for the first time. When I said it was perfect for the crucial scene in the movie, Dick [Sherman] grabbed my hand, and we laughed, and rejoiced in that wonderfully rare feeling that people have who are in different fields, but fit together perfectly in a common endeavor.”

Interestingly, there is just one sequence in Snoopy, Come Home in which the music suggests the jazz of Vince Guaraldi: in Snoopy’s farewell party. One has to wonder if that was done to evoke the familiar feel of the early specials, deepening the sorrow of a scene in which these friends say goodbye to Snoopy. If that was a deliberate move, it sure worked.

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Lila’s Theme (Do You Remember Me?)”


The voice of Shelby Flint was a staple of animation and TV in the ’70s, from vocals in Disney’s The Rescuers and Hallmark’s The Borrowers to a singing and speaking role in the Rankin/Bass feature, Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July and her own hit single, “Angel on My Shoulder.” This is truly one of the Sherman’s tenderest tunes and deserves some much-deserved attention.

8 Comments

  • This was of course one of the Sherman Bros big “Non Disney” hit soundtracks the others include Chitty,Chitty,Bang,Bang, Charlottes’s Web and The Slipper and the Rose. One song At the Beach was part of a video segment that aired as a part of Captian Kangaroo during the Summer showing people enjoying a days at the beach. And the song Fundamental-Friends-Dependability (where a crazy little girl who must of have been the inspiration for Elmira Duff of Tiny Toon Adventures decides to keep Snoopy (whom she calls Rex) against his will) and terrorize the living day lights out of him) was shown on Bob McAllister’s Wonderama on tv. Shelby Flint did a wonderful job on Lila’s Theme (Do You Remeber Me) as well as performing three songs for Disney’s The Rescuers a few years later.

  • Kids were really enthusiastic about this score when the movie came out, if my friends and I are any measure. At around age twelve or so, most of us loved the new songs and this new musical approach to the Peanuts characters. A popular favorite was “Best of Buddies/Woodstock’s Samba”.

    I do want to point out that one character at least appears to be singing some of the lyrics–that is Clara, the girl who temporarily adopts Snoopy, with the very “Shermanized” song “Fundamental-Friend-Dependability.”

  • NO DOGS ALLOWED!!!

    • Oh yes this was the first time that discrimination (no matter if it was human or animal) too place as part of a storyline in any cartoon, where Snoopy faced along with Woodstock while traveling to be reunited with Lila his first owner face discrimination every he went. And he faced discrimination at his home town where he was kicked out of the beach because he was a dog even though Peppermint Patty though Snoopy was “The Funny Looking Kid with the Big Nose”. And like Snoopy discrimination was still around in several places around the US even in 1972.

    • … or birds!

  • Loved the songs from Snoopy Come Home. It Changes never fails to bring a tear to my eye.

  • I,too, saw this, when it was released,in 1972….and was very surprised byu the absence of the cool jazz usually used in those specials! But enjoyed the songs…and Schroeder’s piano solo at that party almost made me weep! SC

  • I’ve always said that Snoopy Come Home is an amazing film, especially for its’ budget and graphic style, but The Shermans music in this production, manages to bring true happiness, humor and genuine sadness that elevates this film to another level.

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