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January 31, 2017

Original Cast – Rock Opera: Jesus Christ Superstar (1970) – 2Lp

by Record Facts

Jesus Christ Superstar is a 1970 rock opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. The album musical is a musical dramatisation of the last week of the life of Jesus Christ, beginning with his entry into Jerusalem and ending with the Crucifixion. It was originally banned by the BBC on grounds of being “sacrilegious.”

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Artist:  Original Cast
Title:  Rock Opera: Jesus Christ Superstar
Year:  1970
Format:  2LP
Label:  MCA Records
Catalog#  MAPS 2075/1

The album’s story is based in large part on the Synoptic Gospels and Fulton J. Sheen‘s Life of Christ, which compares and calibrates all four Gospels. However, greater emphasis is placed on the interpersonal relationships of the major characters, in particular, Jesus, Judas and Mary Magdalene, relationships that are not described in depth in the Gospels.

“Herod’s Song (Try It and See)” is a lyrical rewrite of “Try It and See,” previously written by Lloyd Webber and Rice as a proposed UK entry into the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest to be sung by Lulu, then recorded and released as a single by Rita Pavone. The writers had also included it (as “Those Saladin Days”) in an aborted show called Come Back Richard Your Country Needs You.

The melody of “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” also predates Superstar; it was rewritten from a 1968 Lloyd Webber/Rice collaboration titled “Kansas Morning.”

For the recording, Lloyd Webber and Rice drew personnel from both musical theatre (Murray Head had just left the West End production of Hair) and the British rock scene (Ian Gillan had only recently become the singer of Deep Purple). Many of the primary musicians — guitarists Neil Hubbard and Henry McCullough, bassist Alan Spenner, and drummer Bruce Rowland — came from Joe Cocker‘s backing group The Grease Band. Saxophonist Chris Mercer had also played with Hubbard in Juicy Lucy.

 

Act I
Side one
1.  Overture – Orchestra  (3:59)
2.  Heaven on Their Minds – Judas  (4:23)
3.  What’s the Buzz / Strange Thing Mystifying – Apostles, Jesus, Mary, Judas, Peter, Woman  (4:13)
4.  Everything’s Alright – Mary, Women, Judas, Jesus, Apostles  (5:15)
5.  This Jesus Must Die – Annas, Caiaphas, Apostles, Priests  (3:36)

Side two
1.  Hosanna – Apostles, Caiaphas, Jesus, Ensemble  (2:07)
2.  Simon Zealotes / Poor Jerusalem – Apostles, Simon, Jesus, Ensemble  (4:49)
3.  Pilate’s Dream – Pilate  (1:28)
4.  The Temple – Ensemble, Jesus  (4:43)
5.  Everything’s Alright (reprise) – Mary, Jesus  (0:34)
6.  I Don’t Know How to Love Him – Mary  (3:36)
7.  Damned for All Time / Blood Money – Judas, Annas, Caiaphas, Chorus  (5:11)

Act II
Side three
1.  The Last Supper – Apostles, Jesus, Judas  (7:10)
2.  Gethsemane (I Only Want to Say) – Jesus  (5:33)
3.  The Arrest – Judas, Jesus, Peter, Apostles, Ensemble, Annas, Caiaphas  (3:24)
4.  Peter’s Denial – Maid by the Fire, Peter, Soldier, Old Man, Mary  (1:27)
5.  Pilate and Christ – Pilate, Annas, Jesus, Ensembl e (2:46)
6.  King Herod’s Song (Try it and See) – Herod, Dancers  (3:02)

Side four
1.  Judas’ Death – Judas, Annas, Caiaphas, Chorus  (4:17)
2.  Trial Before Pilate (Including the Thirty-Nine Lashes) – Pilate, Caiaphas, Annas, Jesus, Ensemble  (5:13)
3.  Superstar – Judas, Soul Sisters, Angels  (4:16)
4.  The Crucifixion – Jesus, Ensemble  (4:04)
5.  John Nineteen: Forty-One – Orchestra  (2:10)

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