Jesus Christ Superstar (Remastered)
Andrew Lloyd Webber & Jesus Christ Superstar - The Original Studio Cast
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Original and Genuine
Without wishing to 'dis' the other reviews, all other versions of JCS are pale imitations of this original ensemble piece. Whilst I liked the movie version's Carl Anderson's Judas, Ted Neeley was an insipid Jesus, picked more for his looks than his voice and when you take away the pictures…Ian Gillan's voice is massively superior to Neeley's whiney falsetto. The 'ever-presents' Yvonne Elliman and Barry Dennen are better in this original than they were in the movie and given the (obviously) pivotal role played by Pilate (Dennen), that's a big plus. Murray Head is a reasonable Judas and whilst the Manfreds' Mike D'Abo is not a particularly strong Herod…I can live with it! The original doesn't have the two additional movie songs 'Then we are Decided' and 'Could We Start Again Please' and both are excellent so are a loss to this version. When all said and done though, if you generally prefer the original to the cover, give this one a chance and you'll understand why it created such a stir when first released (Yep- I'm THAT old!)
A Bland Emotionless Version of a Great Musical
Being 35 I was not even born when the original version of JCS came out in the early 70's, but remember listening to it over and over on vinyl and watching the film every easter. I listened to this latest version and the one thing that stands out is the lack of emotion in the singers voices, I mean compared to the 70's version, it's just so devoid of heart and soul. And I was particularly disappointed with the version of King Herod's song, which unlike the 70's version that gave some light relief just before the more emotiive part of the musical, this version was just out right boring and unfunny. The best thing to do is buy a remastered version of the original MASTERPIECE, with Ted Neeley and co singing a great musical with real emotion, heart and soul.
Where's The Scream?
It's great to see the original early 70s recording back - I got this as a vinyl double album at Christmas 1972 and played it until I knew all the works and could sing the whole thing in my head.
Having only listened to the mid 90s recording since I stopped playing vinyl, I'd forgotten that Ian Gillan didn't do the long high note scream that Steve Balsamo did so incredibly in Gethsemane, but that doesn't detract from Gillan's interpretation of the song at all, although I assume that for any future productions of the show, that held note is going to be an integral part of it, as seems to be implied with the current TV search for a new Jesus for the upcoming arena tour. I believe that they've actually rejigged the show so that Act 1 ends with Gethsemane now rather than Damned For All Time / Blood Money.
Yvonne Elliman as Mary Magdalene is faultless - I wish they'd included Could We Start Again Please? on this cut, but then I suppose that as that was written for the movie version, it was deemed inappropriate.
Interesting to see Paul Raven aka Paul gadd aka Gary Glitter getting a mention on the credits, I would have thought that they might have airbrushed him out of the cast.
Born: 22 March 1948 in London, England
Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s