Monday, June 10, 2013

Featuring Toots Thielemans: Midnight Cowboy

When John Barry was hired to do the score for the movie “Midnight Cowboy,” he chose to feature instrumentalist Toots Thielemans to play harmonica on the movie’s main theme song. The single even named Thielemans under Barry’s name. The song was quite successful, as Barry received a Grammy award for the best instrumental theme for the song; however, the chart success of his versionwas less than spectacular, as it peaked at #116 on Billboard’s singles’ chart.

A cover of the tune, however, was a Top 10 hit. Arthur Ferrante and Louis Teicher’s treatment of the song was issued on United Artists Records – the same company that released the movie and makes me wonder if UA had a part in releasing the song before Barry’s official soundtrack was released on the competing Columbia label. I find it unusual that United Artists didn’t release the soundtrack in the first place, but have no idea why this transpired.

The original and the cover differ. Toots Thielemans’ harmonica was the main instrument on the original while the pianos of Ferrante & Tiecher and the guitar of Vinnie Bell shared lead duties on the cover. Bell’s guitar has a unique under water quality to it. Very unusual, but we are featuring the original recording, which I find as the superior version despite its lack of chart success.

No comments:

Post a Comment