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RE-PRESS: CD ORIGINALLY RELEASED IN 1996
The Teenage Opera – one of the legendary long lost projects of the sixties – comes to life for the first time. RPM is presenting the soundtrack for The Teenage Opera – in as near a form to the original concept as possible – as it would have been had EMI not pulled the plug back in 1968.
Producer Mark Wirtz began work on The Teenage Opera story idea in 1966 when contracted to EMI, and teamed up with a group of musicians including Steve Howe and Keith West plus engineer Geoff Emerick.
The story of The Teenage Opera was to include sketches of different characters who inhabited a fantasy village, which in turn was part of a story being told by a young man to a young woman. Two singles were released as Excerpts from the Teenage Opera – ‘Grocer Jack’ and ‘Sam’, both here in stereo and featuring Keith West’s vocals (the former also including ‘Theme From A Teenage Opera’ on the B-side). Whilst ‘Grocer Jack’ became a huge UK & European hit, ‘Sam’ failed to emulate it and after EMI saw how much money the two singles had swallowed up they lost interest, patience or whatever, and refused to finance The Teenage Opera project. Undeterred, Mark Wirtz continued to use his musical ideas and a number of Teenage Opera characters and themes appeared over the years on a variety of singles by different bands or as solo releases.
It was by using these singles and tracks – which Mark Wirtz has collected together – that we were able to present “A Teenage Opera”. There are 23 tracks – most never reissued on any format prior to the original pressing of this CD, six previously unreleased. With the full cooperation of Wirtz, the Opera is presented as a Film Soundtrack and includes incidental music linking the tracks together, taken from Wirtz’s own library of original demos. These include different versions of the ‘Theme’, ‘Grocer Jack’, and ‘Weatherman’.
At the time, 1967, the Teenage Opera was very newsworthy with Cliff Richard being mooted to play the leading role in the film. The hype reached crazy proportions and made the daily newspapers. Today The Teenage Opera is still talked about in “whatever happened to” circles and its emergence now will be of immense interest to all lovers and collectors of 1960’s music.
1. THEME FROM A TEENAGE OPERA – The Mark Wirtz Orchestra
2. FESTIVAL OF KINGS – The Mark Wirtz Orchestra & Chorus
3. GROCER JACK (EXCERPT FROM A TEENAGE OPERA) – Keith West
4. THE PARANOIAC WOODCUTTER # 1 – The Mark Wirtz Orchestra
5. MR RAINBOW – Steve Flynn
6. GLORY’S THEME (ALL ABOARD) – The Mark Wirtz Orchestra
7. ON A SATURDAY – Keith West
8. POSSUM’S DANCE – The Mark Wirtz Orchestra
9. AUNTIE MARY’S DRESS SHOP – Tomorrow
10. LOVE & OCCASIONAL RAIN – The Mark Wirtz Orchestra & Chorus
11. GROCER JACK (REPRISE) – The Mark Wirtz Orchestra
12. SAM – Keith West
13. FAREWELL TO A BROKEN DOLL – The Mark Wirtz Orchestra & Chorus
14. (HE’S OUR DEAR OLD) WEATHERMAN – Mark Wirtz
15. SHY BOY – Kippington Lodge
16. GROCER JACK’S DREAM – The Mark Wirtz Orchestra
17. BAREFOOT & TIPTOE – The Sweetshop
18. KNICKERBOCKER GLORY – Mark Wirtz
19. DREAM DREAM DREAM – Zion De Gallier
20. COLONEL BROWN – Tomorrow
21. CELLOPHANE MARY-JANE – Astronaut Alan & The Planets
22. PARANOIAC WOODCUTTER # 2 – The Mark Wirtz Orchestra
23. THEME FROM A TEENAGE OPERA (END TITLES) – The Mark Wirtz Orchestra & Chorus
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