Gordon Jenkins

Great Movie Themes of the 30s, 40s and 50s

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This 1964 Vee-Jay Records release is a reissue of 26 Years of Academy Award Winning Songs, originally released on C.G. Records in 1960. On this ambitious effort, conductor/arranger Gordon Jenkins manages to squeeze all of the Oscar-winning songs dating back to the first, 1934's "The Continental," from Flying Down to Rio, and up to 1959's "High Hopes" from A Hole in the Head, on one LP. To do so, not surprisingly, he abbreviates them, providing versions that run only a minute or two each. But even at medley length, his arrangements quickly bring out the salient characteristics of each tune. Some are lively and playful, such as "Zip a Dee Doo Dah" from 1947's Song of the South and "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" from 1951's Here Comes the Groom, and are handled with a zesty swing. Others are powerful ballads, their melodies emphasized with strings, such as "Over the Rainbow" from 1939's The Wizard of Oz. On occasion, such as with "White Christmas" from 1942's Holiday Inn and "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing" from the 1955 film of the same name, a vocal chorus emphasizes the song's memorable lyrics. Jenkins does not convince listeners that these are the best movie songs of their years, a highly debatable issue, but he does demonstrate that they always have something to recommend them. [Al Fichera provides liner notes for the 2002 reissue on Collectables Records. He appears unaware of the album's original release and so does not offer an explanation for why the song list cuts off after 1959.]

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 1:52
2 1:41
3 2:14
5 1:13
6 1:41
7 1:29
8 1:17
9 1:26
10 1:30
11 1:09
12 1:44
13 1:13
14 1:27
15 1:16
16 1:05
17 1:37
18 1:38
19 2:14
20 1:54
21 1:19
22 1:29
23 1:15
24 1:37
25 1:35
26 1:30
blue highlight denotes track pick