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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Box Set Reviews > The Envelope Please... Academy Award Winning Songs (1934-1993)

 

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Various Artists

The Envelope Please... Academy Award Winning Songs (1934-1993) (Rhino R2 71868) 1995

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Copyright 2001 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Revised: March 01, 2017.

Description:
The idea is so simple and yet so wide-ranging that it is amazing no one ever thought of it before.   Every song that ever won an Oscar™for the Best Original Song, in chronological order.  This covers most of the history of the Academy Awards -- the first seven years (1927-1933) there was no award.  This way you get an amazing history, not only of film but of music.  Somehow over five disks the world moved from "The Continental" to "The Streets of Philadelphia." 
What's Good About It?
How many collections in the world can segue from Dick Powell's "Lullaby of Broadway" to Isaac Hayes' "Theme From Shaft?" (Shut your mouth...)  Music and the movies have been a happy wedding for generations and this is as good an argument for that fact as you will find.  The sheer amount of brilliant, classic songs are pretty staggering, everything from "The Way You Look Tonight" to "Over the Rainbow" to "White Christmas" to "Mona Lisa" to "Moon River" to "Que Sera, Sera..."  It goes on and on.  Not only is the quality fantastic, but the diversity is pretty amazing.
What's Bad About It?
In such a diverse collection, it's impossible to get the rights to everything.  Because of this, Rhino did have to use substitute versions of some of the songs, with frankly mixed results.  There are a few that are at least cool, like Bossa Nova queen Astrud Gilberto's jazzy, swaying version of "The Shadow of Your Smile" (1965 winner from "The Sandpiper.")  Others are disappointing but still make some sense.   No one would ever say they'd rather hear tiny singer Paul Williams' version of "Evergreen (Love Theme from 'A Star Is Born')"  to Barbra Streisand's... but at least you can take solace in the fact that Williams wrote the song.  Same goes with Giorgio Moroder's versions of "Flashdance (What A Feeling)" and Top Gun's "Take My Breath Away."  Also, while Angela Lansbury's version of "Beauty & the Beast" and Brad Kane & Lea Salonga's "A Whole New World (Aladdin's Theme)" are pretty and taken directly from the movies, both are much better known for their hit versions (also from the movies) by Peabo Bryson with Celine Dion and Regina Belle.  But some of the replacements are just inexplicable... Richie Havens doing Bruce Springsteen's "Streets of Philadelphia???"  Come on...
What's Missing?
See above complaint.
PopEntertainment.com final grade:

A terrific collection that covers the history of the music.   Not all of the early songs have aged all that well, but that just adds to the charm.  Overall an intoxicating trip through the history of the 20th century.

 

Dave Strohler

 

Copyright 2001 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Revised: March 01, 2017.

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