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Jesus Christ Superstar (1996 London Cast) Soundtrack

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Audio CD, Soundtrack, March 7, 2000
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 7, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: March 7, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Soundtrack
  • Label: Verve
  • ASIN: B000025UEI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,293 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Overture - Pete Adams/Keith Fairbairn/Fridrik Karlsson/Paul Keogh/Andy Lynwood/Steve Pearce/Ralph Salmins...
2. Heaven On Their Minds - Zubin Varla
3. What's The Buzz/Strange Thing Mystifying - Jesus Christ Superstar
4. Everything's Alright - Steve Balsamo/Zubin Varla/Joanna Ampil/David Burt/Alice Cooper/Jonathan Hart/Glen Carter/Peter...
5. The Jesus Must Die - Peter Gallagher/Martin Callaghan
6. Hosanna - Peter Gallagher/Steve Balsamo
7. Simon Zealotes/Poor Jerusalem - Glen Carter/Steve Balsamo
8. Pilate's Dream - David Burt
9. The Temple - Steve Balsamo
10. Everything's Alright - Joanna Ampil/Steve Balsamo
See all 12 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. The Last Supper - Steve Balsamo/Zubin Varla
2. Gethsemane - Steve Balsamo
3. The Arrest - Zubin Varla/Steve Balsamo/Johnathan Hart/Martin Callaghan
4. Peter's Denial - Jonathan Hart/Joanna Ampil
5. Plate And Christ - David Burt/Steve Balsamo
6. King Herod's Song - Alice Cooper
7. Could We Start Again Please? - Joanna Ampil/David Burt
8. Judas' Death - Zubin Varla/Marin Callaghan/Peter Gallagher
9. Trial Before Pilate (Including The 39 Lashes) - David Burt/Peter Gallagher/Steve Balsamo
10. Superstar - Zubin Varla
See all 12 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Product Description



Jesus Christ has been very good to Andrew Lloyd Webber. Indeed, the Rock of Ages inspired one of the greatest stories ever sold and launched composer Lloyd Webber to musical theater superstardom; lyricist Tim Rice hasn't done too bad for himself, either. This Lloyd Webber-supervised "definitive" recording (undertaken in London in 1996) was finally released in America to coincide with the show's 2000 American revival on Broadway. Though oft touted by its creators as the first rock opera (a claim that might raise the hackles of fans of Pete Townshend's and the Who's Tommy), Lloyd Webber's "rock" sensibilities often had a decided Brill Building bent that's dated about as well as Don Kirshner's leisure suits. Perhaps not surprisingly, this Superstar redux leans more on the over-the-top operatics that characterize the composer's mega-hit Phantom of the Opera than its original cast album and soundtrack album roots. While rocker-for-hire Alice Cooper takes a refreshing, if familiar, vaudevillian turn on "King Herod's Song," much of the remaining music has been rendered notably Big and Serious--just the sort of thunderous, orchestral pomp that has gained Lloyd Webber a worldwide following and a knighthood. --Jerry McCulley

Customer Reviews

This recording has a great cast.
Alex Bechtel
Jesus Christ Superstar was Andrew Lloyd Webber's first big success and the second musical he did with, in my opinion, his best lyricist, Tim Rice.
Marijan Bosnar
Joanna Ampil can be heard as Mary Magdalene - and she has amazing voice - she is just perfect for this female part.
Reijo Piippula

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

93 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Faron Sparkman on April 8, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Before you consider purchasing this, consider that there have been quite a few recordings of this piece of work. Naturally, one wonders, which of these is the best all around recording? That for one depends on your personal music tastes.
If you like late 60's/early 70's rock operas/concept albums (such as Tommy, Hair etc.) then I strongly suggest The original 1970 concept album. The concept album features Ian Gillan of Deep Purple as Jesus, Murray Head (One Night in Bangkok) as Judas and Yvonne Elliman (Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack) as Mary Magdalene. The musicians are primarily composed of Joe Cocker's Grease Band and Juicy Lucy. This version is true rock - no Broadway "Showtune" atmosphere on it. This version also is by far the most successful, being a number one album on the Billboard charts (in early 1971), and selling over three million copies.
If you're a fan of Motown recording artist Ben Vereen, I highly recommend The Original 1971 Broadway Cast Highlights Album (Available upon import from footlight music). While it features a rather average Jesus, Ben Vereen adds true soul and original interpretation to the role of Judas, such that is unmatched to this day.
The movie soundtrack, which I rank third in JCS recordings, features tremendous voices (a texan drummer with incredible passion and range as Jesus) but sounds as if it was recorded in a tin can (this refers even to the remastered version). Also, Jesus and Judas are played by the Broadway understudies in this version.
In Fourth place, comes this particular recording. A 1996 British studio album with Steve Balsamo, Zubin Varla, and Alice Cooper, it falls short of the aforementioned recordings. Of course, it is still an excellent recording in and of itself.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Andy Leviss on October 28, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I've watched/listened to the movie, seen the recent Broadway revival, and I have to keep coming back to this recording as the best, bar none. Steve Balsamo is amazing as Jesus -- his falsetto is incredible (I'm not a vocalist myself, but I have friends who are training in classical music who literally dropped their jaws when they heard Balsamo's "Gethesemane"). His power over the role drives you to tears at moments, as does Zubin Varla's terriffic Judas -- the "cracking" another reviewer mentioned wasn't his voice slipping, it's his characterization -- he's feeling pain, feeling death, and unsure -- and you feel every moment of it. Joanna Ampil is pretty good as Mary (although I think she was better in "The Complete Miss Saigon" as Kim), Alice Cooper brings a brilliantly different twist to King Herod, and the rest of the cast is terriffic.
Glenn Carter, who played Jesus in the recently closed revival (and who took over for Balsamo in London before that) is on here as Simon Zealotes, a role in which he is absolutely superb -- I only wish he could have carried that over into Jesus on Broadway, but unfortunately while his range is perfect for Simon, it fell pretty short as Jesus -- even if you didn't like him as Jesus, I think you'll like him here...and if you did, you'll love him here.
Anyway, this is THE recording to buy of this show -- the orchestrations are incredible, the engineering is terriffic (I'm a musician and a sound engineer, and I can only have the utmost respect for the musicians and engineers on this CD, as much if not more than the cast), and the performances are superb. Wow!
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Jeff on March 24, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I am extensivly into musical theater, and I have heard every version of Jesus Christ Superstar to date. I must say this is the best made so far. The cast and orchestra is incredible and the man who plays Jesus is one of the most incredible voices of his generation. During "Gethsaname" he sings a "G" above high "C" and holds it for 20 seconds. You must hear it to believe it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Marijan Bosnar on December 14, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Jesus Christ Superstar was Andrew Lloyd Webber's first big success and the second musical he did with, in my opinion, his best lyricist, Tim Rice. The show evoked much controversy when it first appeared in 1970, since the story of the Christ's final days is mainly told from the Judas' point of view and not always according to the Gospels. Hence Mary Magdalene mentions that she is in love with Jesus and after the last supper the Apostles are a bit drunk.

Jesus Christ Superstar is considered as a turning point in modern musical-theatre. It presented something entirely different from past musicals: the plot was new and distinct, the lyrics did not sound shallow and the characters were precisely defined. Also, the piece was entirely sung-through so that the music and the plot became one. All the new musicals afterwards will use some of the new characteristics Superstar introduced leading to almost complete abandonment of the styles that the 50-is and the 60-is used in musicals.

Over the years there were quite a few recordings, however, this one can be considered definite. Both Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice overlooked its making acting as producers, Lloyd Webber making the orchestrations. The cast was mainly assembled from the revival production that run in London from 1996 until 1998, but this recording is known as the studio cast, since Alice Cooper was called in for the role of King Herod. The score is certainly one of the best Webber has ever written; the pure rock sound of the orchestra is simply amazing. When compared to the older recordings, this one has a more polished score and the sound, i.e., the use of the guitars, drums etc, sounds more modern and appropriate. Tim Rice's lyrics are suitable and witty, fitting perfectly with the score.
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