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King Kong is one of Hollywood's most legendary creations, from the groundbreaking 1933 original to the highly anticipated Peter Jackson remake. In 1976 producer Dino De Laurentiis struck box-office gold with his own incarnation of the story, starring Jeff Bridges, Jessica Lange, and a colossal forty-foot model of Kong. The film was a massive production with ambitious special effects.
Scoring the remake of one of the most famous films in Hollywood history was one of the few composers with the clout and talent to forge ahead with his own style: John Barry. The original's Max Steiner had practically invented the film score genre with the project, yet Barry was known for a completely different approach—eschewing "Mickey Mousing" in favor of melody, mood and large-scale symphonic structures.
De Laurentiis had sought out Barry for the composer's romantic touch, and Barry responded by making the centerpiece of his score a gorgeous love theme that evoked the "beauty and the beast" angle of the story rather than the widescale destruction—although Barry's James Bond experience helped in casting the tragedy, menace and suspense with symphonic grandeur. The score produced one of Barry's loveliest themes and is one of his signature works of the '70s, completely different from the Steiner score but with an avid following all its own.
This premiere CD of the 1976 King Kong features the original Reprise Records program of the soundtrack, running 42:30. Although collectors may have acquired a CD of this title on the "Mask" label, that album was an unauthorized edition believed to be mastered from an LP—FSM's release is the first official CD mastered from the original 1/4" stereo album tapes.
King Kong (1976) is an example of a soundtrack where the album rights are held by a different corporate family than that which distributed the film itself; therefore, we are unable to expand or remix the music beyond the original LP edition. We are offering the CD at a lower price ($16.95) as a result, and have made every effort to ensure the best-possible sound. This is, at last, the first authorized CD of one of John Barry's best-known works.
Liner notes are by Barry experts Geoff Leonard, Pete Walker and Stephen Woolston.