The tsunami of Disney media excitement continues unabated. In a post on the Disney Music Discussion forum – an essential read for any Disney park music fan – producer Randy Thornton has announced the new track additions for the 2008 Disneyland and Walt Disney World Official Albums. The albums, which remain 2 disc sets this year, are scheduled for release on April 8th. The new tracks, and the eliminated tracks they replace:
The Official Album of Disneyland
“All Aboard the Mine Train”
“Welcome To Tomorrowland”
“The Droid Room”
“Beauty and the Bees (Beauty and the Beast)”
“The Happiest Place On Earth” (2:38) – Grand Marshall Pre-Parade
“Submarine Voyage” (15:12) – Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
The Official Album of Walt Disney World
“Welcome To Tomorrowland”
“The Tree of Life Theme”
“Spaceship Earth” (10:52) – Spaceship Earth
“The Seas with Nemo and Friends” (4:42) – The Seas with Nemo and Friends
“Canada: You’re a Lifetime Journey” (5:50) – O Canada!
“Reflections of China Suite” (4:04) – Reflections of China
“Three Caballeros” (2:45) – Grand Fiesta Tour
Thornton also notes:
I don’t count these as ‘new’, but the “CTX Theme” has been expanded from (3:08) to (6:14). Also, “All Aboard the Mine Train” has left Disneyland, and is now on WDW – to represent Thunder Mountain for the time being.
Thornton points out that the Spaceship Earth track contains the entire score by Bruce Broughton. The CTX Theme is also a more complete excerpt of the 25-minute interior background music loop, and the theme from O Canada! begins with excerpts of the attraction’s load music.
For those that don’t know Thornton’s name, you should make a note of it. Whether you know it or not, if you’re a Disney fan you owe him a great deal. After coming to Disney in the late 1980s as a clerk in the music department, Thornton witnessed the production of some of the first albums Disney put out on CD. The first of these was the soundtrack album of Irwin Kostal’s 1982 re-scoring of Fantasia, which was the first film soundtrack to ever be recorded digitally. While that release pre-dated Thornton’s arrival, he contributed to the restoration of Disney’s next releases – two compilations of popular songs from classic Disney films.
The next project from Disney indicated the insistence on excellence that would mark Thornton’s career; upon discovering that Disney was reluctant to release the Mary Poppins soundtrack on the new CD format so soon after a recent vinyl re-release, Thornton found some long-lost Sherman Brothers demos for the film that spurred management to change their minds. Then, faced with management’s insistence on pressing the CD from the vinyl masters rather than remastering it from the original elements, Thornton resorted to a bit of industrial sabotage to ensure that the final disc was in fact the first digitally remastered soundtrack release.
Thornton spent the 1990s remastering Disney’s classic film soundtracks for a series of reference-quality releases; these were known for featuring complete cuts from songs and scores as well as unreleased tracks and demos. Then, mercifully, he began to produce the Official Albums of Disneyland and Walt Disney World. These albums, which had languished for years with stagnant track lists, poor-quality masters, and a general lack of panache were completely rejuvenated by Thornton’s efforts. Every year the park albums feature a refreshed list of cuts, as moldy oldies are replaced with remixed sound collages of popular attractions. Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Haunted Mansion, all of which were formerly represented by short, creaky and poorly edited song excerpts, now take their place on the albums with full suites of music and sound direct from the rides themselves.
Thornton has also devoted a lot of time to restoring little-known albums from Disney’s past, many of which have been made available on demand in the theme parks and on iTunes. But for park fans, it’s his efforts such as the massive and justly praised A Musical History of Disneyland that have earned him so much audiophile love. His push for double-disc releases as well as greater accessibility to catalogue material only add to his legend. Keep up the great work, Randy!