It should come as no surprise to you that we are big Peanuts fans over at my house. My own Linus and Lucie love to jam along with the Vince Guaraldi Trio. As they dance you can almost envision the entire Peanuts gang joining them. Lucie was so excited to find out that the Peanuts Greatest Hits CD was being released on July 31st. She wanted to be first in line to pick up a copy. This twelve song compilation contains hits from the Peanuts soundtracks plus a rare vocal by Guaraldi with new liner notes by Guaraldi historian Derrick Bang.
I grew up reading the Peanuts comic strip in my local newspaper. One of the first books I remember buying was a Peanuts compilation. At six years old I knew what a treasure it was. I couldn’t wait to see if Lucy was going to pull the darn football away before Charlie Brown kicked it or if The Red Baron was going to take down Snoopy.
The annual Peanuts holiday specials featuring Vince Guaraldi’s music helped bring the gang to wider audiences through his jazzy Peanuts television and film soundtrack recordings.
Charles M. Schulz created the world of Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus and Snoopy from his outpost in the Midwestern city of St. Paul, Minnesota. Meanwhile, westward in California, pianist Vince Guaraldi was helping put San Francisco on the jazz map through a series of early recordings with the likes of Cal Tjader, Woody Herman and Conte Candoli.
In early 1964, when Lee Mendelson began work on a television documentary about the world of Peanuts, he heard Guaraldi’s GRAMMY® Award-winning instrumental hit “Cast Your Fate to the Wind” on the radio, while crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. Mendelson knew he’d found precisely the right musical foil for Peanuts. Over the next decade, Guaraldi composed and performed scores for numerous Peanuts TV specials — including the evergreen A Charlie Brown Christmas — along with a feature film, A Boy Named Charlie Brown.
On July 31, 2015, Fantasy Records released Peanuts Greatest Hits, a 12-song survey of some of the most popular music from the Guaraldi Peanuts soundtracks. It is also planned for a vinyl LP release in September 2015.
The compilation features “Linus and Lucy,” the song that most frequently comes to mind when one thinks of Peanuts soundtracks, as well as “Oh, Good Grief” and several seasonal pieces (“Great Pumpkin Waltz,” “Thanksgiving Theme,” “Christmas Is Coming” and more).
Most selections feature Guaraldi backed by one of his longtime trios: Monty Budwig, bass; and Colin Bailey, drums; or, in later years, Fred Marshall, bass; and Jerry Granelli, drums. You’ll also hear some notable additions to the core trio format: “Little Birdie” features Guaraldi’s own vocals, with the addition of horns as well. Two versions of “Christmas Time Is Here” appear: one by the trio, the other adding the young members of the St. Paul’s Church Choir from nearby San Rafael, California.
Television producer Mendelson, who orchestrated the conversion of Peanuts from comic strip to successful TV and movie franchise, thereby spawning a 37-year collaboration with Schulz, said of Guaraldi: “Vince’s music was so right, and so perfect, for Charlie Brown and the other characters. Something deep inside of me said, ‘This is gonna make the whole thing work.’ Vince’s music was the missing ingredient that would make everything happen.”
Guaraldi died unexpectedly at the young age of 47 in 1976, ending his 26-year musical career. He had just finished recording the soundtrack for It’s Arbor Day, Charlie Brown. His life is chronicled in Vince Guaraldi at the Piano, authored by Derrick Bang, who wrote the liner notes for this and other Fantasy reissues.
This CD is filled with all of our favorite Peanuts melodies including:
1. Linus and Lucy
2. Charlie Brown Theme
3. Baseball Theme
4. Oh, Good Grief
5. Happiness Theme
6. Little Birdie
7. Great Pumpkin Waltz
8. Thanksgiving Theme
9. Christmas Is Coming
10. Christmas Time Is Here (Instrumental)
12. Christmas Time Is Here (Vocal)
Currently, my kids are having a dance party in the living room. This CD has quickly become a favorite around here and I would love to offer you a chance to win a copy for your home.
Join me in celebrating the release of the Peanuts Greatest Hits CD with this fun giveaway! There will be FIVE winners! Each winner will receive a Peanuts Greatest Hits CD!
This giveaway is open to US residents ages 18+ only and will end at 11:59pm ET on August 12, 2015. Good luck!
I was provided with a CD in exchange for this post. As always the opinions in this post are 100% mine.