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!