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.
ROCKY AND HIS FRIENDS
See: Animation Spin 3/4/14
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.
BUGS BUNNY IN STORYLAND
See: Animation Spin 1/7/14
Capitol Records – Children’s Series
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.
THE CHIPMUNK SONGBOOK
See: Animation Spin 1/27/15
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.
See Animation Spin 1/20/15
Disneyland/Buena Vista Records
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.
See Animation Spin 9/1/15
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.
A BOY NAMED CHARLIE BROWN
See: Animation Spin 11/4/14
Columbia Records – Masterworks Series
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.
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
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.
See: Animation Spin 2/11/14
Columbia Records – Masterworks Series
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.
See: Animation Spin 3/1/16
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!