Various Artists

A Tribute to James Dean

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Issued in 1956 shortly after James Dean's death, this presents excerpts from the soundtracks of the three films to star the iconic actor: East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause, and Giant, performed by Ray Heindorf and the Warner Brothers Orchestra. The East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause scores were composed by Dean's friend Leonard Rosenman, while Giant's score was penned by Dimitri Tiomkin. It's doubtful that the disc will hold much of compelling interest for listeners who aren't Dean devotees (who might be able to bring to mind specific scenes from the films associated with the included excerpts). East of Eden's portions are grand, string-heavy and dramatic, and soaked with a somber, humorless quality. The parts of Rebel Without a Cause heard here are similar, but daredevil cool jazz pokes into the proceedings as an influence on "The Gang/Chicken Run." The two excerpts from Giant are far chirpier, though in a corny fashion, with "Theme From Giant" boasting the clip-clop rhythms, whistling, and strident choral vocals found in many soundtracks to American westerns. The CD reissue adds three bonus tracks, two of them being a 1956 single by Heindorf and the Warner Brothers Orchestra of the main themes from East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause (in different versions than the main themes excerpted on the original LP); the other is Mitch Miller's massive 1955 hit single "The Yellow Rose of Texas."

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