The Blue Max is one of the great film scores to be released. The LP was wonderful enough, and then the Varese Sarabande reissue with more music was bliss. This score showed the importance of the development of the independent film music specialist labels.
For much of the first three quarters of the 20th Century there were no specialist film music recording labels. The vast majority of film soundtracks which were released contained pop or rock songs; or they were issued with re-recordings of the score with smaller 'light music' pop arrangements. Companies like Mainstream and Citadel started specialising in releasing Original Soundtrack Recordings. Around the same decade came Varese Sarabande and that changed everything for die-hard soundtrack collectors. John Lasher's labels "Label X" and "Southern Cross Records" followed with important releases, and later, re-recordings of soundtracks for which the master tapes had been lost. The release of 'The Best Years of Our Lives' was a breakthrough for film music enthusiasts. In the early 1980s other specialist companies sprang up. In England there was "Silva Screen"; in Europe "Milan", amongst others. Also in Europe, Luc van de Ven's film music magazine 'Soundtrack' became "Prometheus". In San Francisco, Douglass Fake's soundtrack specialist store became the "Intrada" label. In the U.S. an American student's enthusiasm for film scores turned a film music fan magazine into the most important label of all, "Film Score Monthly", releasing what were essentially Hollywood's lost scores. Other labels like "GNP Crescendo" and "Milan" were also focusing on film soundtracks, and soundtrack Recording Producers like Ford Thaxton were tremendously important in making film scores available to the general public.
And of course, in Australia, "1M1 Records" has championed the vast wealth of film soundtracks and local composer talent in the Antipodes.
- Notes by Philip Powers © 2003