"soundtrack album" of songs taken directly
from the original studio pre-recordings did not come
into existence until MGM formed
"M-G-M Records" in 1946 and released selections
The Clouds Roll By on
78 rpm in 1947. The February 22, 1947 edition of "Billboard" notes that M-G-M Records was to release its first shipment of 78rpm discs on March 1, 1947. Clouds was their very first album with a record number of "MGM-1".
Prior to 1947, the only soundtrack
performances available to the public were a couple of 78s from
RCA Records of selections from Walt Disney's Snow
White And the Seven Dwarfs (1937),
and a few commemorative 78s in 1933 with parts of
Max Steiner's ground-breaking score for King
- 1933). But neither of these were released as "cast" or "soundtrack" albums.
When M-G-M Records premiered their Till
The Clouds Roll By soundtrack, it was far
from a complete soundtrack album as we know it today.
The standard "albums" of the time were in the 78rpm format. Called "albums" because they were usually
4 discs containing 8 songs packaged much like a photo album. The time constraints
on each side of these 78's was limited, so most of the performances were abridged and/or altered
versions of the numbers as seen and heard in the
films. Easter Parade was peppered with, as advertised, "17 Irving Berlin Song Hits!" - but the album only featured 8 of these, most in abridged format. Usually the parts edited out for release on album were the long dance breaks. When the complete pre-recordings sessions were released decades later, many of these earlier versions were still popular because they featured alternate openings or endings recorded specifically for album release, and not found in the films themselves or the newly released pre-recordings.
wasn't until the mid-1950s that the 10" and
12" 33 1/3 "long playing" records
appeared. Still, M-G-M Records and other record companies
did not release complete soundtracks (with overtures
and background score) until after 1959 when Disney
released their "complete" soundtrack (including
overture and some background scoring) of Sleeping
This became the standard format for soundtracks through
the advent of the compact disc era. A year prior to this,
in 1958, M-G-M Records released their soundtrack to Gigi with
the overture, and although it did not include
any of the background score it was their most
complete soundtrack to date. Gigi was also their first stereo soundtrack. Stereo films had been around since as early as 1953, but stereo records were not released until 1958.
In spite of this new, longer format M-G-M Records did not
see the need to take the time and expense to go back
and re-do their old soundtrack albums. They simply
reissued them in special two-record editions. Judy's
complete soundtracks would not appear until the late
1970's on bootleg albums of songs taken directly from
soundtracks of the films, not the actual pre-recordings.
In the late 1980's and early 1990's CBS Special Products
released several MGM soundtracks "complete" on
CD for the first time. These were, once again, taken
directly from the soundtracks of the films. Some
included a few outtakes added from the old bootleg records
of the 70's. The sound quality varied from good to mediocre
to bad! They did what us fans had been doing for a long time: making our own "complete" soundtracks by recording directly from the films - first from TV and then video. It wasn't until the mid-1990's when Rhino Records,
in arrangement with Turner Classic Movies Music and Turner
Entertainment, began releasing the MGM Musicals on CD
that we finally got to hear the complete unedited pre-recordings
- restored and re-mastered - and many in true stereo!
always on the lookout for albums that are not
represented here. If you have an album or CD
that is not listed, please feel free to to email me a scan of the cover with information about
the contents. Thanks!
Judy's films are listed in chronological order. Each poster is a link to the first soundtrack release.
Pages for that film's subsequent soundtrack releases are accessible by clicking on the album thumbnails shown on each page.