180 Gram Vinyl Record
|No. of Discs:||2|
180-gram double LP
50th Anniversary half-speed remastered edition!
Half-speed remastered on 180-gram double LP by Miles Showell and Nick Davis at Abbey Road. Replica card gatefold sleeve with 12-page booklet.
The album that launched a phenomenon, 1970's Jesus Christ Superstar was a rock opera, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, that opened on Broadway Oct. 12, 1971, to protests, an irate composer, and sold-out shows. It was the spring of 1970, and Yvonne Elliman, an 18-year-old singer and guitarist from Hawaii, had just finished performing at a London nightclub when a breathless young man rushed the stage.
"You're my Mary Magdalene!" a wide-eyed, 22-year-old Andrew Lloyd Webber announced.
"I thought he meant the mother of God," Elliman, now 69, said in a recent phone conversation, explaining that she had been unfamiliar with the biblical story. "He was like, ‘No, no, no, no, it's not the mother, it's the whore.'"
They had a laugh, and she went on to sing the part in Jesus Christ Superstar, the seminal rock opera by Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, for the concept album, the first arena tour, the original Broadway production and the feature film.
The musical, which opened 50 years ago on Oct. 12, 1971, turned the story of one of history's most notorious executions into a splashy spectacle. In doing so, it married rock and musical theater, ushering in Broadway's British invasion of the 1970s and 1980s and paving the way for shows like "Les Misérables" and "The Phantom of the Opera."
But the nearly 90-minute concept album came first in 1970, because, as Lloyd Webber recalled recently to The Telegraph, no producer wanted to put "the worst idea in history" onstage.
"It wasn't a collection of rock tracks or something put together," Lloyd Webber, 73, said. "It had to be read to you and you could understand - the dramatic context of the whole thing had to be the recording."
Though the album fizzled in England, the rock opera with a full orchestra and gospel choir took off in America, climbing to No. 1 on the Billboard charts by February 1971. A year after its release, the initial album had sold 2.5 million copies in the United States.
"We were staggered by the success," Rice, 76, the show's lyricist, said in a video call from his home in Buckinghamshire, England. "MCA let us make a single — two unknown guys — with a huge orchestra and a rock section. And with rather a controversial title. And it worked."
One song from the 1971 show, "I Don't Know How to Love Him," was so popular, two versions of it landed on the charts at the same time — Yvonne Elliman's version as well as a track sung by pop artist Helen Reddy.
|2. Heaven On Their Minds|
|3. What's The Buzz / Strange Thing Mystifying|
|4. Everything's Alright|
|5. This Jesus Must Die|
|2. Simon Zealotes / Poor Jerusalem|
|3. Pilate's Dream|
|4. The Temple|
|5. Everything's Alright|
|6. I Don't Know How To Love Him|
|7. Damned For All Time / Blood Money|
|1. The Last Supper|
|2. Gethsemane (I Only Want To Say)|
|3. The Arrest|
|4. Peter's Denial|
|5. Pilate And Christ|
|6. King Herod's Song (Try It And See)|
|1. Judas' Death|
|2. Trial Before Pilate (Including The 39 Lashes)|
|5. John Nineteen: Forty One|
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