Hal Ashby’s 1971 movie, Harold and Maude, was arguably Hollywood’s first black comedy. With a plot centred around a platonic love story between a teenager (Harold Chasen, played by Bud Cort) and an octogenarian (Dame Marjorie Chardin, played by Ruth Gordon), the film had its work cut out. However, 50 years since its original theatrical debut, it stands as a bona fide cult classic.
The movie’s success is in no small part down to its soundtrack, made up exclusively of songs by Cat Stevens. Director Hal Ashby had edited the film while listening to songs from Mona Bone Jakon and Tea for the Tillerman, and was convinced that his film should exclusively feature Cat Stevens material. After a significant campaign, he won Cat Stevens around.
Seven songs from the two 1970 Island / A&M albums were included on the soundtrack: “On The Road To Find Out”, “I Wish, I Wish”, “Miles From Nowhere”, “Tea for the Tillerman”, “I Think I See The Light”, “Trouble”, and “Where Do The Children Play?”.
Two non-album tracks were also added into the mix: “Don’t Be Shy”, and what became the movie’s unofficial theme, “If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out”. These songs would go unreleased until the 1984 Footsteps In The Dark collection, and were later included in the 2001 On The Road To Find Out box set.
The Harold and Maude official soundtrack album was first issued in 2007 by Cameron Crowe’s independent label, Vinyl Films. Produced in super limited quantities, on several different vinyl colours, those records are highly collectible today and trade for hundreds of dollars on Discogs and other fan sites.
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the film’s release, Island / Cat-O-Log / UMC are proud to announce a new 180g 1LP and 1CD release of the Harold and Maude (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack). Combining the nine original Cat Stevens songs, as well as additional dialogue and instrumental music from the film for the first time. Previously undiscovered audio masters have been discovered in the Island Records archive for “Don’t Be Shy” and “If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out”, and all audio has been remastered at world renowned Abbey Road Studios. The new Harold and Maude (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) features enhanced packaging including liner notes and photos.