Move over movie soundtracks, TV's catching onto your game: plump with music from our favorite shows, several new discs and cassettes need space on the record store shelves - and maybe even room on the best-seller lists.SOUNDTRACK FROM "TWIN PEAKS"; music composed by Angelo Badalamenti (Warner Bros.); produced by David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti.
Rarely has music for a television show - and not just the opening theme but also every motif that pops us during each week's episodes - been so integral to a program's impact as is the case with Angelo Badalamenti's quirky, atmospheric compositions for the quirky, atmospheric series "Twin Peaks."Hear that reverberating, bass-like PLUNKK . . . plunk plunkkk? Must be the opening credits - so grab a doughnut. Or a piece of gone-to-heaven cherry pie.
Some fans got an early "Twin Peaks" music fix upon discovering singer Julee Cruise's moody album "Floating Into the Night." Written and produced by Badalamenti and director David Lynch, it featured the show's theme, with vocals, on a song called "Falling." But now Warner Bros. has released a whole album of first-season "Twin Peaks" favorites - the deceptively peaceful strains for the opening credits; "Laura Palmer's Theme," airy and ominous, then wistful; the jazzy, mildly warped dances of Audrey Horne and the dwarfish "Dream Man"; three breathily hypnotic vocals by Cruise (including "Falling"); and four other scene-summoning passages.
OK, OK, "Twin Peaks" music isn't for everyone. Some, no, most of these are moody, rambling, often dissonant pieces that to many ears may just barely, if at all, qualify as "melodies," traditionally speaking. But this soundtrack package, with the picture showing the familiar mountain-backed "Welcome to Twin Peaks" sign on the cover and including a handy gallery of portraits displaying everyone from Agent Cooper to the Log Lady, is surely meant only for the converted.
They're out there. Everywhere.THE SOUNDS OF MURPHY BROWN (MCA Records).
Nostalgia (not to mention great old songs) can still sell tons of records. Just ask the people behind the multiple soundtracks from "The Big Chill" and "Dirty Dancing."
And that's the basic concept behind the new collections of music used in "China Beach," "The Wonder Years" and "Murphy Brown" - each set taking a tack of its own, of course.
Of the three, "China Beach" is the toughest, the hardest-rocking and, almost from the start, the most touching. A compilation of big hits from the Vietnam War era, some done anew by the performers of today, the album is also sprinkled with sometimes-horrific sound effects (the insistent beat of helicopter rotors, rocket- and gunfire, tramping boots, a pitched battle) and actual reminiscences by people, mostly women, who served in Southeast Asia.
"I never saw my dad cry all my life," says nurse Diane Carlson Evans, "and he came up to me in his overalls and he had these tears . . . and he said, `I have four sons and I send my daughter off to war.' "
"Diane Carlson Evans' father was not alone, though for years we hardly heard a word about the 50,000 military and civilian women who served in Vietnam," "China Beach" co-creator John Sacret Young says in the liner notes. "They were a remarkable group who went out of a simple, powerful desire to serve their country. No matter what tore at the fabric of that belief - and there was plenty that did - they stayed to serve the men, the guys, the grunts, the alive and kicking, the wounded and the dying. Many volunteers, these women were real heroes."
The music includes the Supremes' "Reflections," used in the show's opening credits; Big Brother and the Holding Company and Janis Joplin's gritty wail, "Piece of My Heart," and John Lennon's 1975 version of "Stand By Me." Katrina and the Waves, abetted by Eric Burdon, contribute an outstanding remake of the Animals' "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" ("the national anthem of Vietnam," two entertainers observe in Young's notes). Wilson Phillips performs a nice but not very soul-plumbing rendition of "Reason to Believe," and Wendy Wall chimes in with a new "Time of the Season"; she doesn't have the mystic vocals Zombie lead singer Colin Blunstone had. "China Beach" star Dana Delaney even sings a song, "Far From Home," culled from an episode of the show.
"The Wonder Years" also intermingles original and new versions of rock and roll classics, with a bigger emphasis on remakes.
Joe Cocker kicks things off with his powerful 1968 reading of the Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends," and other venerable cuts come from Buffalo Springfield ("For What It's Worth" - no one would dare remake that, would they?); Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young ("Teach Your Children"); Van Morrison ("Brown-Eyed Girl"), and Carole King (her plaintive '70s retooling of the Shirelles' "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," which, of course, she co-wrote).
The album also serves up seven remakes by contemporary performers and a newie, "Come Home (Wonder Years)," by Debbie Gibson. The best of these are Julian Lennon's faithful yet surprisingly Bowie-esque version of the Rolling Stones' "Ruby Tuesday," dependable stylist Richie Havens' "Peace Train" and "Baby, I Need Your Loving," with Sweet Pea Atkinson on lead vocals for Was (Not Was). The Indigo Girls do an OK folkie rendition of "Get Together," but other updates by Judson Spence, Gibson and the Escape Club pale when compared to the originals.
Then we have the "Sounds of Murphy Brown" - and talk about owing a debt to "The Big Chill." The compilers really raided the Motown vaults for this one, with side trips to Atlantic Records for Aretha Franklin's indispensable "Respect" and to Rhino Records for Frankie Lymon's "Why Do Fools Fall in Love."
"Murphy Brown," the series, opens with a different Motown classic almost every week. Fictional TV journalist Murphy Brown, you see, is mad about the music. Candice Bergen, as Murphy, even warbles (can you call that warbling?) the opening track, "You Keep Me Hangin' On," from an episode wherein the staff of her news magazine, "FYI," is held hostage by a gunman.
This collection includes Stevie Wonder's "Superstition," the Miracles' "Tracks of My Tears," the Supremes' "Love Child," the Isleys' original "This Old Heart of Mine" (recently resurrected and made a hit again by Rod Stewart and Ronald Isley), and Gladys Knight and the Pips' version of what Murphy calls the reporter's national anthem (that term again . . . ), "I Heard It Through the Grapevine."
"Seriously - those raisins didn't invent that song," Murphy insists.