Thursday, March 3, 2016

DARK SHADOWS joins this year's Record Store Day offerings

Rumor has it that “The Original Music from Dark Shadows” will be among the assortment of albums available to stores as part of this year’s Record Store Day event. (UPDATE: For more information on this release, click HERE.)

Set for April 16, stores will receive a shipment of vinyl albums, many of which have been created exclusively for Record Store Day. Unfortunately, stores rarely know which records they’re going to receive until they arrive. Thanks to a leaked post at the Vinyl Collective boards, though, fans have an idea of what to expect from this year’s assortment … and it’s a list that includes a 50th Anniversary Edition of “The Original Music from Dark Shadows.”

(Probably. The title simply reads “Dark Shadows,” but it’s unlikely that a new anthology of Cobert’s work has been compiled in secret for Record Store Day. It’s possible this is a revised version of “Dark Shadows: The 30th Anniversary Collection,” but where’s the fun in that? Stay tuned for updates.)

The indie-retail exclusive album will be produced on purple 180 gram vinyl and be accompanied by an “original 1966 poster.” You have two ways to get the album: visit an independent record store in your area on April 16 and hope you get lucky, or try to snag a copy on Ebay or Amazon at a later date. Here’s a link to help you find stores participating this year in Record Store Day:

With that in mind, here are 10 facts about the music of DARK SHADOWS that you might not know. Or maybe you do. Humor me.

1 The instruments used in the theme to DARK SHADOWS are a harp, an alto flute, a double bass, a vibraphone and — of course — a Theremin. Robert Cobert began composing the music for DARK SHADOWS in April, 1966 — just two months before the series premiered on ABC.

Robert Cobert, David Selby and Jonathan Frid
2 Jonathan Frid and David Selby recorded their vocals for "The Original Music from Dark Shadows” at Regent Sound Studios in New York City in May, 1969. A few years later, the band Looking Glass recorded their song "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" at Regent. (The studio has since closed and is now reportedly now home to an art gallery.)

3 “The Original Music from Dark Shadows” was produced by Charles Randolph Grean, who collaborated with Leonard Nimoy and the producers of STAR TREK in 1967 to create MR. SPOCK'S MUSIC FROM OUTER SPACE. Grean also wrote the 1950 Phil Harris hit, “The Thing,” which was a mainstay of K-Tel and Ronco novelty records during the 1970s.

4 Four writers contributed to the lyrics for “The Original Music from Dark Shadows.”Charles Randolph Grean wrote the lyrics for “I'll Be With You, Always,” “I, Barnabas” and “Shadows of the Night (Quentin's Theme).” His daughter, Loren, wrote the lyrics for “Meditations.” Poems by Christina Rossetti — who died in 1894 — were used for the tracks “When I Am Dead” and “Epitaph,” while Frid’s dialogue for “Epilogue/Dark Shadows” was taken from William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”

David Selby, Jonathan Frid and Charles Grean ar Regent Sound Studios in May, 1969.
5 “The Original Music from Dark Shadows” reached #18 on the Billboard album charts. A version of “Quentin’s Theme” recorded by the Charles Randolph Grean Sounde hit the Top 20.

6 The music for DARK SHADOWS was recorded in monaural sound. The tracks included on “The Original Music from Dark Shadows” were processed to create artificial stereo sound, which enhanced the treble and bass in alternating channels. The vocals provided by Frid and Selby were recorded in true stereo.

7 “Quentin’s Theme” was first heard in the 1968 television movie THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE, which was also produced by Dan Curtis. In fact, it’s sometimes difficult to tell which pieces of Cobert’s music were written specifically for DARK SHADOWS. Listen carefully and you’ll hear the same pieces of Cobert’s music appear on many Dan Curtis productions, including BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA, HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS, TURN OF THE SCREW, FRANKENSTEIN and SHADOW OF FEAR.

8  A version of “Quentin’s Theme” titled “Shadows of the Night” was released as a single with new vocals by David Selby, and was backed with Jonathan Frid’s “I’ll Be With You Always.” It reached #125 on Billboard’s Bubbling Under the Hot 100 chart.

9 Verese Sarabande reissued “The Original Music from Dark Shadows” on compact disc in 1999, expanding the track listing to include a lengthy radio interview with Frid,  Grayson Hall, Roger Davis, Humbert Allen Astredo and Robert Rodan, conducted by DJ Ron Barry for WEST-AM in Easton, Penn, and a separate interview with David Selby.

10 While the music used on DARK SHADOWS was primarily written by Robert Cobert, a handful of unrelated compositions occasionally found their way into episodes:

  • The original melody used for Josette’s Music Box was composed by Robert Farnon, and can also be heard in the episode 8 of THE PRISONER, “Dance of the Dead.”
  • Instrumental recordings of “Willow Weep For Me,” composed in 1932 by Ann Ronell, and Bobby Darin’s “I’ll Be There” (as covered by Gerry and the Pacemakers) were heard playing on the Juke Box at the Blue Whale.
  • Francis Lai’s theme from the 1966 French film, A MAN AND A WOMAN, can be heard in episodes 307 and 501 of DARK SHADOWS.

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