William Finley (1940-2012)

William Finley, star of our beloved ‘Phantom of the Paradise’, passed away suddenly after a brief hospitalization on Saturday, April 14th in New York.  He was 71.

He is survived by his wife Susan and son Dashiell.

William Finley in Winnipeg at Phantompalooza, April 2005We had the pleasure of bringing Mr. Finley to Winnipeg twice, where he was Phantompalooza’s guest of honour (with Gerrit Graham) in 2005, and part of the entire cast reunion in 2006.  We will remember him fondly as a real trouper – game for anything – and always willing to do one more interview and sign one more autograph for the Winnipeg fans, whom he adored.  We will miss him terribly.

Notable tributes:




Phantom Soundtrack Remastered on CD

Well this certainly sounds…tasty!  Culture Factory USA presents a “strictly limited collector’s edition” of the Phantom of the Paradise soundtrack on CD, released today in Canada via Amazon.ca.

A quick glance at the Culture Factory USA website reveals a fondness for Moon Martin, Mink DeVille and The Motels, and promises of deluxe vinyl replica cardboard sleeves along with high-definition remastering in 96kHz/24-bits.  An odd roster to be sure, but we’ll take some of this hi-def remastering wherever we can get it.

Amazon.ca lists a November 22 release date, but is temporarily out of stock.  It ranked as high as #44 in soundtracks; thank you, Winnipeg!

Amazon.com features a Dec. 27 release date.

The original CD release of the soundtrack was back in 1992 and, while fairly decent sounding, was a traditional AAD affair with no special treatment.  (I fondly recall standing in line with about 30 other Phantom fans at Record Baron the day it came out.)

There was a Japanese remastering back in 2002 which apparently sounded almost identical to the domestic release.  Let’s hope the master tapes survived the fire that tragically tore through the Swan Archives in 1974.


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Beef and Bouquets

Beef and BouquetsCJOB 68 – Manitoba’s Information Superstation – presents a 90-minute ‘Phantom of the Paradise’ special on Halloween night from 10:30 – midnight… featuring EXCLUSIVE, all new interviews with Jessica Harper, Gerrit Graham, William Finley, (Juicy Fruits) Peter Elbling, Archie Hahn, and Jeffrey Comanor, and Paul Williams! Insights and memories about the film AND Phantompalooza 1 & 2 in Winnipeg!

The special, hosted by John Copsey starts immediately following CJOB’s post-game coverage of the Winnipeg Jets-Florida Panthers game that night! Listen live online at CJOB.com.




To *my* shock and surprise…

Music World ad, Toronto Star, Feb. 20, 1975

Music World ad, Toronto Star, Feb. 20, 1975

Here’s an ad for Music World from the Toronto Star, dated Thursday, February 20, 1975.

Looks like the Phantom of the Paradise soundtrack went on sale a few days earlier than I first thought…at least in Toronto.

Now I’m totally confused…I thought new records traditionally were released on Tuesdays. Maybe they weren’t back in the seventies? Anyone out there with a graying ponytail and a vast vinyl collection able to help with this one?

At the very least, the 35th anniversary for the soundtrack was most certainly not February 25, 1975.

So, um, “never mind”. Carry on.




To our chock and surprise…

Happy 35th anniversary to the Phantom of the Paradise soundtrack, released Feb. 25, 1975!

Also released that day:  Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti.  Which do you think sold more in Winnipeg? 

I had the soundtrack LP long before I made the deal with my parents that allowed me to see a “Mature” movie at the Garrick theatre (hint:  I’m still shoveling their sidewalks.)  But in retrospect the greater achievement was how I somehow convinced my Dad, military brush-cut and all, to make the trip into enemy territory — Opus 69 Records — to procure a copy…

For a lot of us at the time, this was our first exposure to “rock,” and therein lies perhaps the real secret to the film’s isolated success in Winnipeg:  it’s the music, stupid!  Remember, these were simpler times, with fewer media outlets…if a band didn’t have airplay on either CFRW or CKRC they might as well not have existed.  Indeed, the “heaviest” thing most of us had heard up to that point was the guitar riff at the beginning of Terry Jacks’s Seasons in the Sun.

But was it rock?  Or a fiendish pastiche perpetrated by composer Paul Williams?

All I know is, I was so utterly obsessed with this LP that I played it on my Mom’s ramshackle Garrard turntable until the grooves started to disintegrate.  I would pore over the liner notes like a Kremlinologist.  Who were these musicians?  Art Munson…Dave Garland…Gary Mallabar… And who the hell was Ray Kennedy, and why was he “the voice of Beef”?!

But who wants nostalgia anymore?  My favourite memory of these glorious tunes is decidedly contemporary.  During the hype leading up to the first Phantompalooza, the soundtrack briefly re-entered the charts on BOB-FM.  A ‘palooza co-conspirator phoned from the highway, breathless, having pulled over his vehicle to alert me to an upcoming airplay of opener “Goodbye, Eddie, Goodbye.”  We listened in unison, awestruck, instantly 10 years old again.

Carburetors man…that’s what life is all about!