ANIMATION SPIN
August 16, 2016 posted by

Top 10 Greatest Cartoon Record Albums – Part One

top-10-childrens-records

This was a roughy! A Ehrbar-ear-view of the best of the best LP’s in the world of animation… how many of these albums have you heard? How many are on your list, too?

So many albums could have filled the bill with regard to quality, historical significance and subjective choice. But I tried to pick ones representing the major cartoon properties, voice actors and musical talents. Sorry for what is not on the list — as you may know, I love a lot of cartoons and records, so this list is partial at best. Each title links to its original Animation Spin column.

NUMBER 10
ROCKY AND HIS FRIENDS

See: Animation Spin 3/4/14
Golden Records
1961

RockyBullwinkleLP-600

Few records of any kind captured the flavor of the source material better than this one. And why not? It was created by the creative people at the Jay Ward studio in Los Angeles — composer Dennis Farnon, and actor/writer Bill Scott, along with the dream team of June Foray, Paul Frees and Walter Tetley. New comedy material combines with original songs and soundtrack excerpts.


NUMBER 9
BUGS BUNNY IN STORYLAND

See: Animation Spin 1/7/14
Capitol Records – Children’s Series
1949

BugBunny-In-Storyland550

Any Mel Blanc Capitol album would qualify for this list, but of all the album-length musical adventures, this one really shines like the vinyl or shellac upon which it was pressed. It includes “What’s Up Doc?” from the cartoon of the same name, with the voice talents of Arthur Q. Bryan and June Foray plus the music of Billy May.


NUMBER 8
THE CHIPMUNK SONGBOOK

See: Animation Spin 1/27/15
Liberty Records
1962

chipmunk_songbook600

I might have gone with The Chipmunks Sing With Children or Chipmunks ‘a Go-Go for personal reasons—or any of the first three albums—but this one best expresses the fun of The Alvin Show and the brilliance of Mr. Bagdasarian.


NUMBER 7
FANTASIA

See Animation Spin 1/20/15
Disneyland/Buena Vista Records
1958

fantasia_wdl-600

Like the Chipmunk albums, how do you choose one Disney soundtrack? This was chosen because the stereo version brings the heart-pumping experimentality of Fantasound into the home. And while all the music is from the classics and not exclusive to Disney, the arrangements were altered to fit the film’s needs. Leopold Stokowski himself had to sign the contract to allow its release.


NUMBER 6
THE ARCHIES

See Animation Spin 9/1/15
Calendar Records
1968

ArchiesKES101Front-600

The Archies turned the explosive music world of the late ’60s on its ear by bubbling up the charts with a completely nonexistent band. Even though the next album, Everything’s Archie, contains the number one hit “Sugar, Sugar,” this one has the theme to the Filmation show, so best represents the Archie phenomenon of the day.


NUMBER 5
A BOY NAMED CHARLIE BROWN

See: Animation Spin 11/4/14
Columbia Records – Masterworks Series
1969

BoyNamedCB-600

No single record album combines the music of Vince Guaraldi, arranger John Scott Trotter, Rod McKuen and Beethoven with the voices of Peter Robbins, Pamelyn Ferdin and Bill Melendez. As noted in the Spin entry, what you can’t get on this album can be heard on the DVD in stereo as well.


NUMBER 4
THE NEW ALICE IN WONDERLAND,
OR WHAT’S A NICE KID LIKE YOU DOING IN A PLACE LIKE THIS?

See: Animation Spin 3/25/14
Hanna-Barbera Records – Cartoon Series
1966

HBRAlice600

With the voices of Janet Waldo, Allan Melvin, Don Messick, Scatman Crothers, Daws Butler, Mel Blanc, Henry Corden and Bill Dana and the music of Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, this is the crown jewel of Hanna-Barbera Records.


NUMBER 3
THE DAYDREAMER

See: Animation Spin 2/11/14
Columbia Records – Masterworks Series
1965

Daydreamer-lp

Why not Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer or Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town? It’s because you can find most of the elements of almost every Rankin/Bass film in this seminal score by Maury Laws and Jules Bass. The theatrical feature has its issues, but it’s hard to deny the ambitious nature of the project or the scope of the classic Laws sound throughout this album.


NUMBER 2
CHARLOTTE’S WEB

See: Animation Spin 3/1/16
Paramount Records
1973

CharlotteFrontCover600

One of all-time best Sherman Brothers scores, it runs the gamut of joy and sorrow through the richest of melodies and most poetic of lyrics—performed by perfectly cast actors. But the stars are really the Shermans, who crafted a score around a movie of uncommon depth from the masterpiece by E.B.White and the faithful screen adaptation by Earl Hamner.

AND NEXT WEEK:
Number One – the greatest record ever made of all time in the world!

12 Comments

  • I cannot tell you how fantastic it is to hear that original ROCKY AND HIS FRIENDS theme, imagining the dialogue that would also be included. I know, I know, I know, I’m always saying that, and I probably said it when this was originally posted here, but nothing represented the ultimate spoof of the serialized adventure more than that theme song, along with the original FRACTURED FAIRY TALES or MR. PEABODY’S IMPROBABLE HISTORY than those bits of scoring. Just the way the instruments are played, the harmonics, everything added even more comedy to the bill than was already there! What a jewel of an album that must have been, and I know I would have played the grooves off of it if I owned it as a kid! It is certainly something that should have officially been issued to CD, along with all those other bits of Jay Ward audio that did come out on vinyl or tape from the Dudley Do-Rite Imporium. No other bit of limited or stylized animation ever surpassed this show, and I can still to this day rewatch those various stories and find something funny all over again or rediscover a FRACTURED FAIRY TALE segment that I somehow missed. I still listen to them and think of all the pop cultural references or even references to the advertisers at that time. I still swear, for example, that Poppin’ Full of Squares refers to something–ice cream, waffle mix, something!! I only wish I could find out what! Since the episode does mention ice cream, well, there is my answer, but who produced the product? I usually complain about most modern advertising and point out that Jay Ward advertisements were truly entertaining and you didn’t even care that you were duped into buying the product just because Bullwinkle’s sales pitch was making you laugh so hard!! So go, go, go, but watch where you’re goin’!

  • I have all but #3, but I do own that movie on DVD.

  • Greg, your wonderful posts have introduced me to some incredible soundtracks and some great films that I would have never otherwise come across: The Daydreamer, tom thumb, and (my favorite spin) The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm.

    Thank you for your thoughtful research each week!

    • You’re welcome. It makes it all worthwhile to know things like that.

  • I wish they reissue the soundtracks for A Boy Named Charlie Brown and The Daydreamer in CD or download they in iTunes.

    Here’s my top ten greatest cartoon albums

    10. Fantasia
    9. Fantasia 2000
    8. Aladdin (the original uncensored version that included the original lyrics of the now infamous “Arabian Nights” song
    7.Thunderbirds Are Go original OST
    6.The Daydreamer
    5. Snoopy Come Home
    4. Alice in Wonderland (arranged by Tutti Camarata
    3. A Man Called Flintstone
    2. Gay Purr-ee
    1. A Boy Named Charlie Brown (not to be confused with another version that was released by Vince Guaraldi)

    And Honorable Mention goes to..
    Joe90 OST,
    Hey There,It’s Yogi Bear
    Sleeping Beauty (Disney)
    Treasure Planet
    And
    Meet the Robinsons OST

  • “Bugs Bunny in Storyland” was the one I owned as a child. The part I really remember is the on-off neon sign music, which somehow gave me chills every time i played it. You might wonder what a Dick Tracy parody was doing in a script devoted to storybook and nursery rhyme characters. I certainly never did.

    PS: “Top 10 Greatest” is redundant, but since everyone on YouTube does it, we’ll forgive you.

  • Here’s some more of the Greatest Cartoon Albums that should be mention
    Santa Claus is Coming to Town with Robie Lester’s beautiful My World is Beginning Today
    Cars
    Up
    The Incredibles
    Ratatouille
    Rudolph the Red Nose Reinder (Rankin Bass)
    And
    Smurfs and the Magic Flute (by Michel Legrand in French,German and English)
    And my personal favorite
    The Phantom Tollbooth by Dean Elliot.

  • As per #10: William Conrad wasn’t on the record. Paul Frees played substitute announcer for the record. Otherwise, yes, I wish this album had a CD release or was easier available. I did find the 45 that spawned from this album, tho.

    • Oh! You’re right. We’ll fix that. Thanks!

    • Kind of surprising that Paul Frees later did the VO announcers for several episodes of Fractured Flickers sharing the duties with Bill Scott,Hans Conreid and June Foray as well for Hoppity Hooper,George of the Jungle,Super Chicken and Tom Slick.

  • I had 5 of these (#2, 5, 7-10) when I was a kid – part of the same collection that I’ve mentioned here was ruined when my parents decided to put them in an outdoor shed while I was at college. I’ve only tracked down one replacement since – or rather my wife did…she gave me The Chipmunk Songbook as a gift last year (thrift store find too).

    I love that two of these are personally autographed to you, Greg, and that the Charlie Brown album has a “From the Record Collection of” tag on it – presumably yours from childhood? Big props for those details. It really made the article for me.

    Eagerly looking forward to Part 2.

    • For my tenth birthday, my mom bought me a set of Hallmark labels with “From the library of” and so forth and this record had just the right amount of space for one. The birthday was themed to Peanuts during a big year when it was really a pop culture phenomenon. Thanks for noticing!

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