Sunday, November 9, 2014

Graham Gouldman: Animalympics

First things first: you need to see Animalympics (it’s on YouTube, and though it’s out of print on home video in America it’s available on German import DVD). Director Steven Lisberger’s prelude to Tron, Animalympics is a traditionally-animated telefilm-turned-feature with lots of great character animation and some wonderful voice work from Gilda Radner, Harry Shearer, and Billy Crystal. It also has ten songs by Graham Gouldman of 10cc, and got this well-justified vinyl release Stateside on A&M. The movie was perfectly timed with the 1980 Olympiad, sadly making it perfectly timed to be almost completely ignored (the U.S.A. stayed home from the Olympics that year). The movie hasn’t exactly become canon among feature animation fans, and that’s a shame, because it’s the first example I ever saw of an animated film’s songs and story interlocking perfectly; in some ways it remains one of the best. Gouldman wrote and produced the album shortly after his 10cc bandmate Eric Stewart had been seriously injured in a car crash and they weren’t sure whether or not the band was going to fall apart. In a glorious example of forgetting to suck, Gouldman took a pretty wacky scenario (about animals of all species gathering together not to eat each other but to compete for Olympic gold) and treated it with 100% seriousness, delivering ten catchy tunes with hooks aplenty. “Z.O.O.”, the theme for the movie’s fictional TV network, is so emblematic of early 1980s television that it’s a wonder all of network sports broadcasting didn’t form around it. (Footnote: UPN took this song’s three-note figure, raised it a full tone, and made it their network theme in 1995.) “Love’s Not for Me (Rene’s Song)”, basically a marathoner’s inner monologue about how he’ll refuse to let anything as petty as human relationships get between him and a gold medal, is some heavy shit for a kid’s film. And producers please note: there is a WICKED disco-funk break in “Go For It” starting at the 2:44 mark that’s NEVER BEEN SAMPLED. It’s 118 bpm. You’re welcome.

Go For It
Underwater Fantasy
Away From It All
Born to Lose
Kit Mambo
Z.O.O.
Love’s Not for Me (Rene’s Song)
With You I Can Run Forever
Bionic Boar
We’ve Made It To The Top


DISCLAIMER: To the best of my knowledge, this work is out of print and not available for purchase in any format. If you are the artist and are planning a reissue, please let me know and I’ll remove it from the blog. Also please get in touch if you’ve lost your art &/or sound masters and would like to talk with me about my restoration work.

3 comments:

  1. Hmm, Jimmy Thudpucker, now Animalympics...
    If you ever come across the Don Kirshner's "The Kids From C.A.P.E.R" TV soundtrack, I'd love to hear it again.

    http://www.discogs.com/Kids-From-CAPER-The-Kids-From-CAPER/release/3832679

    My girlfriend *still* has a crush on the guy in the safari jacket.
    Cheers, and thanks for al that you do!

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  2. I just watched the opening credit sequence of "The Kids from C.A.P.E.R." on YouTube and my brain has liquified and leaked out of my eye sockets. So that's it for this blog I'm afraid.

    Yep, if I ever see that disc I'm grabbin' it tout de suite. Thanks for the tip!

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  3. THANK YOU!! I had been searching for the highest quality rip of this LP for years.. I found a few that were good, but now! Thank you so much for this, and for the huge hi-q scans.

    And also thank you for the Albert Brooks, Laurie Anderson and Lenny & Squiggy - all LPs that I could never find or find a decent rip of.

    And I hate to request anything because there's so much here already .. but if you ever come across a copy of Stevens and Grdnic's "Somewhere over the radio", that would be amazing and much appreciated. Thanks again for everything!

    ReplyDelete