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Jesus Christ Superstar (1996 London Cast) Soundtrack

215 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Soundtrack, March 7, 2000
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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

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

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: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (215 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,231 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 68 people found the following review helpful By caliboy on January 27, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Despite the VERY MINOR problems that various people have described, THIS ONE - THE 2012 RE-MASTER - is the BEST AVAILABLE JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR RECORDING AT THIS TIME. I have listened to it DOZENS OF TIMES for a week - now that I have a set that does not have manufacturing glitches - and the sound is FULL and PRESENT and ROBUST and, I repeat, ALTOGETHER THE BEST VERSION OF THE ORIGINAL BROWN CONCEPT ALBUM AVAILABLE AT THIS TIME. And it does sound great the majority of the time. At times the vocals are so present that they sound as if they are coming from the room itself - not the sound system. THAT IS GOOD RE-MASTERING. This is the best available JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR recording on CD and according to the "liner notes" - due to various circumstances - this is as good as it's ever gonna get. If that is the case then it's not nearly as bleak as it might have been - this set will make you very happy. I am glad we have it! I am glad that is has been re-mastered and it is still a remarkably effective piece of musical theatre.
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110 of 123 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.
Read more ›
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35 of 38 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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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By "DoctorObvious" on March 1, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It was sure a beautiful thing to hear this remastered edition. I was listening to the LP back in 1973 and wore the grooves out on it! The old CD version by comparison is horrible sounding. This is definitely the copy to own; thanks to Andrew Lloyd Weber for doing the remaster; it sounds amazing!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jack Straw on April 29, 2014
Format: Audio CD
Buy this CD! This is the original concept (not cast) recording. The movie version is very different, more Disneyfied, not as challenging, the original is a hard-hitting rock opera, the operative word here being "rock". It was a departure for Webber, and he went beyond the frontier with this back in 1970, pulled out all the stops and created a passion play for the rock generation. Ian Gillian, of Deep Purple, as Jesus, makes Ted Neeley of the movie seem like a neutered lamb in comparison. Some people want lambs, others lions. Ian Gillian is a lion, and Murray Head as Judas blows the doors off of any subsequent attempts. Yvonne Ellman, well, if you don't already know I can't help you, amazing. As far as the sound quality goes, this 2012 remaster is as close as you will ever get to the original vinyl (the brown box gold logo, remember?...) that first held you spellbound back in the early 1970's! This remaster was personally seen to by Andrew Lloyd Webber his very self, and one listen to the first few seconds of the work, that gut rumbling sinister satanic deep bass will prove beyond any doubt that this 2012 remastered version is far beyond any of the ultrabright and trebly hackjob analog to digital transfers to date. I just played them back to back this morning, the other CD versions, including the gold ultimate master, and the difference was UNREAL, made me immediately disgusted with the other CD versions. Thank you Mr. Webber, you almost got us back to the vinyl sound. Thanks thanks thanks. It may be possible that there is so much emotion on this record that it could be used as proof positive that something spiritual is indeed lost in analog to digital transfer...Read more ›
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