Paul McCartney The Family Way soundtrack

Paul McCartney The Family Way soundtrack

Music Composed by Paul McCartney
The George Martin Orchestra
Arranged and Produced by George Martin

Release Date: 7/26/11

The Family Way is the 1967 soundtrack composed by Paul McCartney, and performed by The George Martin Orchestra. This recording is sometimes considered to be the first Beatles solo album. The Family Way is a 1966 British comedy-drama film staring John Mills and Hayley Mills.

The original 1967 soundtrack recording to The Family Way begins with McCartney’s theme, “Love in the Open Air,” and contains twelve more (untitled) score cues suited to the onscreen action.  For his composition, McCartney was initially inspired by the sound of brass bands, familiar to his childhood in the North of England.

The very rare original recording of Paul McCartney’s first solo venture, The Family Way sound track was composed in 1966 and performed by The George Martin Orchestra.

 The soundtrack is mastered from the original first generation stereo master tapes, and features a special bonus track “Theme From The Family Way,” in stereo for the first time ever! It was issued as a single under the name The Tudor Minstrels.

Under George Martin’s direction, the score was recorded at CTS Studios in November 1966.

This is the first time this Paul McCartney soundtrack will be officially released on CD.

Track List:
Includes all 13 tracks from the original album release plus a bonus track, the previously unreleased stereo mix of Theme From The Family Way credited to The Tudor Minstrels. Originally issued as London [US] single 45-1012, Decca [UK] single F.12536, 1967

The Complete liner notes by Chip Madinger

A dry and dramatic comedy of errors, The Family Way is the saga of a young couple (newlyweds Jenny Piper {Hayley Mills} and Arthur Fitton {Hywell Bennett} seemingly unable to formally accomplish their marital duties.  Directed by Roy Boulting and produced by his twin brother John, production began in 1966 under the possible working titles, “Wedlocked” and “All In Good Time,” the name of Bill Naughton’s play on which the film was based.

In the U.K., the film earned an X-certificate (intended for those over 16 years of age) from the British Board of Film Censors, for a combination of the film’s subject matter, heavily-cloaked innuendo and extended views of a former Disney child-star’s fundament.  However, viewers of the film not only witnessed Hayley Mills’ cinematic coming of age, but also heard the first tangible evidence of Paul McCartney’s independence from The Beatles.

Paul spoke of his initial foray into composing for film to the NME: “It was most unglamorous really.  I rang our NEMS office and said I would like to write a film theme, not a score, just a theme.  John was away filming [How I Won The War] so I had time to do it.”  The Beatles’ producer, George Martin, was key to the project and assumed a familiar role, as Paul told the Sunday Times: “He is the interpreter I play themes and chords on piano or guitar, he gets it down on paper.  I talk about the idea I have for instrumentation.  Then he works out the arrangement.  I tried to learn music once with a fellow who’s a great teacher.  But it got too much like homework.  I have some block about seeing it in little black dots on paper.  It’s like Braille to me.”  To begin, Paul composed 15 seconds of the opening theme and played it on piano to Martin, who transcribed the notes and arranged the melody, merging a church organ, brass band, string quartet and percussion.

It was more than a fortnight later (with Martin back from a cruise to New York aboard the Queen Mary, and McCartney having returned from an extended holiday through France, Spain and Africa) that the duo regrouped to complete the requisite love theme for the film, as Martin recounted for the NME: “I told Paul, and he said he’d compose something.  I waited but nothing materialized, and finally I had to go round to Paul’s house and literally stand there until he’d composed something.  John was visiting and advised a bit, but Paul created the tune and played it to me on guitar.”  Again, Martin took away the melody, this time arranging it for woodwind and strings.  Five sessions at CTS Studios followed, spread over the course of three days and nights, all in the midst of recording The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever.”  In the end, the music was completed only two weeks before the film’s Sunday night premiere in London’s Warner Theatre on December 18th, leaving the editors little time to complete the soundtrack.  The Daily Mirror reported Martin as having told the Boulting brothers: “If it sounds as if it was done in a hurry, it’s because it was done in a hurry.”

Decca Records (U.K.) purchased the musical rights to the film, and although George Martin had been led to believe that only a soundtrack album would be issued, a single by “The Tudor Minstrels” (the soundtrack’s session musicians, so named after the Boulting brothers’ production company, Tudor Films) was scheduled for release on December 15th to tie in with the film’s premiere.  This would seem to have been of little consequence, except that Martin had plans to issue his own single on the E.M.I.-affiliated United Artists label.

In order to level the playing field, Decca’s release was put back for a week, while Martin prepared his recording.  And so on December 6th, before a Beatles’ session for another McCartney original, “When I’m Sixty-Four” (which Martin had also scored), George made tape copies of a handful of cues from the just-finished film soundtrack to assist in preparing the arrangements for his own orchestra.  In between Beatles’ sessions for “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “When I’m Sixty-Four,” Martin found time to prepare his score, and in a three-hour session at E.M.I. on the morning of December 15th, recorded, mixed and mastered both sides of the single.  Both discs (each coupling “Love In The Open Air” with “Theme From The Family Way”) were released on December 23rd, and failed to make any impression on the charts in the weeks that followed.

Having witnessed Britain’s lack of response to George Martin’s wistful treatment of “Love In The Open Air,” United Artists in America requested a more up-tempo, beat group sound for their forthcoming single.  Martin dutifully re-arranged the theme, and recorded the re-make at E.M.I. over three days in early February 1967.  Coupled with a new B-Side, “Bahama Sound” (a Martin composition unrelated to the film), the American United Artists single also went unnoticed.  Meanwhile, Decca’s U.S. counterpart, London Records (the American Decca Records having established itself as an independent label in 1942), left The Tudor Minstrels’ disc unchanged, with their efforts mirrored by its lack of chart success.

As for the soundtrack album, Decca issued the disc (in both mono and stereo) on January 6th, 1967, but, despite the prominent position of Paul’s name on the cover, sales of the album fell short, and the disc failed to make an appearance in the British album charts.  When issued in the States by London on June 12th (with revised artwork), the American release followed suit and did not chart.

All 24 of the McCartney/Martin musical cues appearing in the film were bundled into 13 tracks on the soundtrack album, with six of the tracks banding together a number of shorter musical cues.  There is reason behind the cryptic cue IDs, as they roughly correlate to the film reel on which each cue appears, and the sequence of the cue on that reel.  (For those keeping track, there are a few gaps in the sequencing: there is no Cue 2M2 or 2M3, film reels 3 and 9 contained no musical cues, and Cue 6M1 is the brief appearance of the theme music from the television drama, Coronation Street.)

And so, nearly 45 years after the soundtrack was recorded, this is the first compact disc release to feature the original 1/4″ stereo master tapes.  Also included is a previously unreleased stereo mix of ‘Theme From The Family Way,‘ the B-Side to both the British and American singles by The Tudor Minstrels.

Chip Madinger June 2011

Chip Madinger is the co-author of Eight Arms To Hold You, the authoritative guide to the Beatles work as solo artists.  He is also the author of Lennonology, a forthcoming reference series that will extensively detail the life and artistry of John Lennon and Yoko Ono.  For more information regarding these books, please visit www.lennonology.com.

 


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