Vinyl Review – Almost Famous Soundtrack 20th Anniversary Super Deluxe Uber Box Set

Garon CockrellAlbum Review, MusicLeave a Comment

Now available is the jaw-dropping massive box set honoring the 20th Anniversary of Cameron Crowe’s seminal (and one of my Top Ten of All-Time) film, Almost Famous.

Let me tell you. It’s fantastic. Absolutely gorgeous. The care that went into the creation of this set is obvious, from the little knick knacks to the artwork: it’s all expertly curated. For me, the magic touch being a replica of William’s notebook complete with an ink art decorated cover. It’s really a great attention to detail that brings this incredible film to life.

Featuring a treasure trove of amazing songs from The Who, Elton John, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, and more. There are over 100 audio tracks on this set, including clips from the movie which is a cool addition. We also get unreleased stuff from the band at the center of the film: Stillwater. For the record, they’re damn good. I’ve been singing “Fever Dog” for twenty years.

Almost Famous is one of my favorite movies. I adore it and this set just plunges you right into the world of the film. I love it. I almost want to get a second one to just leave out for people to dig through. This collection really is a love letter to the film, to the music, and to the fans.

I would 100% call this a Must-Own set.  Especially, if you are a fan of of the wonderful film it’s celebrating.

ALMOST FAMOUS EXPANDED SOUNDTRACK IN A LIMITED-EDITION UBER BOX SET VIA UME – OUT NOW! ADDITIONAL FORMATS INCLUDE 6LP SUPER DELUXE IN BLACK AND COLORED VINYL, A 5CD SUPER DELUXE

A 2CD DELUXE EDITION, ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK ON 2LP, AND TWO STILLWATER VINYL EPS
ALSO AVAILABLE NOW!

“Look under your bed—it’ll set you free.”

With those enticingly enigmatic words, an empathetic, hip older sister bequeaths to her hyper-smart but nerdy 11-year-old brother her Rosetta Stone to life in the late-’60s: a prized trove of expertly curated rock, pop, and folk albums that set into chaotic motion young William Miller’s eye- ear- and mind-opening journey in director Cameron Crowe’s quasi-autobiographical 2000 ode to rock ‘n’ roll fandom, Almost Famous.

Two decades later, the Oscar/BAFTA/Golden Globe Award-winning film remains one of the sweetest love letters to the genre, one that deftly captured the look, the sound, the feel, the attitude of what rock ‘n’ roll meant to its creators, its most fervent adherents, its hangers-on and its worried parents during a golden era of pop music. The movie’s legacy is celebrated with the first-ever release of all the music that so powerfully fueled Crowe’s story, based on his own power chord-driven odyssey from wide-eyed music-loving kid to respected rock journalist to celebrated filmmaker.

UMe has compiled multiple iterations of the film’s Grammy® Award-winning  soundtrack, augmented comprehensively in the limited-edition Uber Box set that encompasses an expanded soundtrack with five CDs, seven 180-gram black vinyl discs, and a brand new 7-inch for Stillwater’s “Fever Dog.” The expanded soundtrack includes songs from The Beach Boys, Joni Mitchell, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, The Who, and Yes, plus all the songs created for the film’s fictional aspiring rock group Stillwater, most written for the movie by Cameron Crowe, Heart’s Nancy Wilson and Grammy Award-winning guitarist, Peter Frampton.  The Uber Box includes bonus items such as a 40-page photo book and memoir housed in a film-prop-replica of William Miller’s high-school notebook complete with writings by Cameron Crowe, Nancy Wilson, along with cast and crew members; the first-ever complete William Miller cover story on Stillwater as a 1973 Rolling Stone newsprint; two replica ticket stubs from Stillwater’s San Diego and Cleveland concerts; and a Stillwater tour poster. Exclusively available only in the Uber Boxset is a Stillwater Cleveland concert poster and a backstage poster; six film-prop-replica backstage passes (some seen throughout the film); three film-prop-replica business cards for Dick Roswell (Stillwater road manager), Lester Bangs (Creemmagazine), and Ben Fong-Torres (Rolling Stone magazine); and three photo prints of cast members. Pre-order the ALMOST FAMOUS EXPANDED SOUNDTRACK now and listen to Stillwater’s Bonus Track “Love Comes And Goes,” HERE.

Among the 103 audio tracks are numerous clips of dialogue released for the first time: including the promise from William’s sister Anita that “One day you’ll be cool,” and crackling exchanges between William and vaunted Creem magazine rock critic Lester Bangs, the real-life mentor who offered early encouragement to then-teenaged rock fan Crowe to pursue his desire to write about the music he loved.

The box set points out how exceptional the Almost Famous soundtrack was and remains. Crowe arranged for a dedicated remix & edit of the Who’s “Amazing Journey/Sparks” instrumental from their rock opera “Tommy” and live album “Live at Leeds.” For another scene, Crowe had grabbed a bootleg live recording out of his stash for Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer” from a 1999 show, which Young recently unearthed from his extensive archive and newly mixed from the original multi-track analog tape for this release. The set is also highlighted with the inclusion of Elton John’s iconic “Tiny Dancer,” newly mixed with the cast members singing alongside the song as featured in the film.

Crowe found supremely qualified collaborators by drafting Wilson to compose the score and to team with Frampton to help write credible rock songs for Stillwater. For the new release of the soundtrack music, all of Wilson’s brilliant score music is included, along with 14 score outtakes that didn’t make the final film.

Along with the thirteen-disc Uber Deluxe box, Universal is issuing two six-LP editions—one on black vinyl, the other with colored vinyl discs; a five-CD Super Deluxe set including 102 tracks, 36 of them previously unreleased songs; a separate 12-inch vinyl EP with all 6 of Stillwater’s songs; a Record Store Day exclusive with the 7 original demos of the Stillwater songs, five performed by Wilson the other two by Frampton; a two-LP vinyl version of the original soundtrack album; a two-CD Deluxe Edition of the original soundtrack.

“We are extremely proud to revisit ALMOST FAMOUS with a very special bounty of goodness,” said Cameron Crowe. “For the first time, we’ve created a Deluxe Soundtrack that features nearly every song from the film, along with Nancy Wilson’s wonderfully evocative score. We’re also thrilled to finally preserve both versions of the film, along with a collection of rare new bonus features, on these beautiful new 4K and Blu-ray releases as part of Paramount Presents.  Long live physical media!”

To complement the expanded soundtrack, Paramount Home Entertainment will release the film for the first time on 4K Ultra HD, in a limited-edition Steelbook, as well as in a new limited-edition Blu-ray in the Paramount Presents line on July 13, 2021. Meticulously remastered from a new 4K film transfer under the supervision of Cameron Crowe, ALMOST FAMOUS is presented in stunning 4K Ultra HD with Dolby Vision® and HDR-10 for ultra-vivid picture quality.**  The limited-edition 4K Ultra HD Steelbook includes both the original theatrical cut (plus access to a digital copy) and the beloved Bootleg cut (aka “Untitled”), along with new bonus content offering a backstage pass into the creative process through a new interview with Crowe, extended scenes, rock-school sessions, a look at the casting and costumes, and more.  ALMOST FAMOUS will also be available in a limited-edition Blu-ray Disc™ in the Paramount Presents line.  With collectible packaging featuring a foldout image of the film’s theatrical poster and an interior spread with key movie moments, the release includes the remastered versions of the theatrical cut for the first time on Blu-ray (plus access to a digital copy) and the Bootleg cut, along with bonus content. The film has become a touchstone not just for music lovers who came of age in the swaggering early 1970s rock era that Almost Famouscelebrates, but subsequent generations of music fans who connect with its timeless portrait of how music can offer solace, insight, and joyous release from whatever challenges life throws. Pre-order the Almost Famous film HERE.

Throughout this rock ‘n’ roll juggernaut,  William Miller, Stillwater, and the film’s other players soak in the music of the day, all curated by Crowe using his knowledge of and connections to many of the biggest and most influential rock acts of the era. This manifests onscreen perhaps most memorably in the full-band bus singalong with Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s “Tiny Dancer,” the duo’s tribute to their own groupies—or as William is quickly corrected by Stillwater’s female fans when he uses the term, “We’re Band-Aids!”—emphasizing the distinction between those who crassly latch on to rock stars simply for their celebrity versus those who try to get closer because of their love for the music.

“In the late sixties, adventuresome and modern directors like Mike Nichols began moving away from traditional orchestral score in their movies,” Crowe writes in an essay accompanying the new project. “The Graduate, with its deft and emotional use of Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Sounds of Silence,’ changed the landscape.”

It surely did in Almost Famous: Led Zeppelin approved the use of five songs for the film—unprecedented at the time. When Crowe showed the film to Zeppelin singer Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page during his pitch to persuade them to grant use of the songs he wanted, Plant raised a question: “Was your mother really like that?” after taking in Frances McDormand’s endearingly taut performance as William’s over-anxious, over-protective college professor mom, Elaine. Cameron told him, “That and more.”

The original release of the film’s soundtrack included only Zeppelin’s “That’s the Way,” while the new set adds in “Misty Mountain Hop,” “The Rain Song,” “Bron-Yr-Aur” and “Tangerine,” the latter employed so effectively during the film’s finale as Stillwater’s tour bus trundles off into the sunset.

Actor Jason Lee, whose performance as Stillwater vocalist Jeff Bebe nailed a combination of bravado and underlying insecurity, says, “Every time I watch the movie…every time the bus is pulling away as Led Zeppelin’s ‘Tangerine’ plays at the end…it kind of crushes me a little bit. That song is a … killer. And with the dust kicking up as the bus is driving away…that moment for me, watching it as an audience member? Perfect. Watching it as a cast member and an audience member? It’s bittersweet.”

As Crowe puts it about finding the right music for each scene in a film, “Something magical happened when the actor and the scene and the music worked together. Often it’s a shotgun marriage, but every once in a while, everything clicks. That’s when a movie can sear your soul.”

He had experienced that power while directing his debut film, Say Anything…, and again in his 1992 romantic comedy Singles as well as in 1996’s Jerry Maguire. “By the time we got to the next one,” he said of approaching Almost Famous, “I was ready to put the music at the center of the movie.”

For any Almost Famous fan, this is the ultimate collection, a vibrant, reverberating reminder of the ways rock ‘n’ roll can break your heart and bust your chops–but also the music’s power to set you free.

 

UBER BOX TRACKLIST – *Previously unreleased

CD 1

01. The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late) – Alvin & The Chipmunks

02. The Oogum Boogum Song – Brenton Wood

03. America – Simon & Garfunkel

04. “One Day You’ll Be Cool”

05. Amazing Journey / Sparks (Almost Famous Version) – The Who*

06. Search And Destroy – Iggy & The Stooges

07. “Rock N’ Roll It’s Over”

08. It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference – Todd Rundgren

09. “Don’t Take Drugs”

10. Teacher (U.S. Version) – Jethro Tull

11. “We Are Band Aids”

12. Roundabout – Yes

13. “Incendiary”

14. I’ve Seen All Good People: a. Your Move, b. All Good People – Yes

15. Feel Flows – The Beach Boys

16. “This Is Penny Lane”

17. River – Joni Mitchell

18. “Piggyback Ride (San Diego)”

19. Fever Dog – Stillwater

CD 2

01. Every Picture Tells A Story – Rod Stewart

02. Small Time Blues (Acoustic) – The Hyatt Singers

03. Something In The Air – Stillwater*

04. Easy To Slip – Little Feat

05. “Rolling Stone Magazine”

06. Go All The Way – The Raspberries

07. Farmer – The Seeds

08. One Way Out (Live) – The Allman Brothers Band

09. “Don’t Forget The Rules”

10. Albert Flasher (Live) – The Guess Who

11. Simple Man – Lynyrd Skynyrd

12. “Just Make Us Look Cool”

13. Love Thing – Stillwater

14. That’s The Way – Led Zeppelin

15. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere – Neil Young & Crazy Horse

16. Future Games – Fleetwood Mac

17. Burn – Deep Purple

18. You Had To Be There – Stillwater

19. “I Am A Golden God”

20. Dear Jill – Blodwyn Pig

21. Tiny Dancer (Almost Famous Version) – Elton John, Stillwater & Cast*

CD 3

01. Looking At You – MC5

02. Reeling In The Years (Live) – Steely Dan*

03. Lucky Trumble – Nancy Wilson

04. Untitled – Jeff Bebe*

05. I’m Waiting For The Man (Live) – David Bowie

06. “Your Mom Kind Of Freaked Me Out”

07. “Please Welcome Stillwater!”

08. Love Comes And Goes – Stillwater

09. “You Gotta Take What You Can, When You Can”

10. The Wind – Cat Stevens

11. Voodoo Child (Slight Return) – The Jimi Hendrix Experience

12. Slip Away – Clarence Carter

13. Misty Mountain Hop – Led Zeppelin

14. Wishing Well – Free

15. “Cover Of The Rolling Stone”

16. Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters – Elton John

17. Colour My World – Jefferson High School Band

18. My Cherie Amour – Stevie Wonder

19. Cortez The Killer (Live) – Neil Young*

20. “You Made Friends With Them”

21. The Rain Song – Led Zeppelin

22. “We All Know What You Did To Him”

23. Bron-Yr-Aur – Led Zeppelin

24.“What Do You Love About Music?”

25. Tangerine – Led Zeppelin

CD4

STILLWATER

01. Fever Dog

02. Love Thing

03. You Had To Be There

04. Hour Of Need

05. Chance Upon You

06. Love Comes And Goes

STILLWATER DEMOS

01. Love Comes And Goes (Early Version)*

02. Fever Dog*

03. Love Thing*

04. Chance Upon You*

05. Love Comes And Goes*

06. Hour Of Need*

07. You Had To Be There*

STILLWATER BACKSTAGE JAMS

01. That’s The Way (Acoustic) – Larry Fellows & Ed Valencourt*

02. Down By The River (Acoustic) – Larry Fellows & Ed Valencourt*

03. Fever Dog (Acoustic) – Stillwater*

CD5

ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SCORE

01. Prefunction*

02. Cabin By The River*

03. Lucky Trumble

04. Dapple Tree*

05. Cabin In The Air*

06. Dear Peggy*

07. Bye Bye Now*

ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SCORE OUTTAKES*

01. Cabin (Outtake 1)

02. Moody

03. Morocco

04. Aurora

05. Mood Swing

06. The Teenager

07. Borealis

08. Strummy

09. Tiny Dancer Intro

10. Mando Swagger

11. Cabin (Outtake 2)

12. Love Stomp

13. Function

14. Aaron’s Real Room

LP 1 – SIDE A

01. The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late) – Alvin & The Chipmunks

02. The Oogum Boogum Song – Brenton Wood

03. America – Simon & Garfunkel

04. “One Day You’ll Be Cool”

05. Amazing Journey / Sparks (Almost Famous Version) – The Who*

06. Search And Destroy – Iggy & The Stooges

LP 1 – SIDE B

01. “Rock N’ Roll It’s Over”

02. It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference – Todd Rundgren

03. “Don’t Take Drugs”

04. Teacher (U.S. Version) – Jethro Tull

05. “We Are Band Aids”

06. Roundabout – Yes

LP 2 – SIDE C

01. “Incendiary”

02. I’ve Seen All Good People: a. Your Move, b. All Good People – Yes

03. Feel Flows – The Beach Boys

04 “This Is Penny Lane”

05. River – Joni Mitchell

LP 2 – SIDE D

01. “Piggyback Ride (San Diego)”

02. Fever Dog – Stillwater

03. Every Picture Tells A Story – Rod Stewart

04. Small Time Blues (Acoustic) – The Hyatt Singers

05. Something In The Air – Stillwater* 

LP 3 – SIDE E

01. Easy To Slip – Little Feat

02. “Rolling Stone Magazine”

03. Go All The Way – The Raspberries

04. Farmer – The Seeds

05. One Way Out (Live) – The Allman Brothers Band

06. “Don’t Forget The Rules”

07. Albert Flasher (Live) – The Guess Who

LP 3 – SIDE F

01. Simple Man – Lynyrd Skynyrd

02. “Just Make Us Look Cool”

03. Love Thing – Stillwater

04. That’s The Way – Led Zeppelin

LP 4 – SIDE G

01. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere – Neil Young & Crazy Horse

02. Future Games – Fleetwood Mac

03. Burn – Deep Purple

04. You Had To Be There – Stillwater

LP 4 – SIDE H

01. “I Am A Golden God”

02. Dear Jill – Blodwyn Pig

03. Tiny Dancer (Almost Famous Version) – Elton John, Stillwater & Cast*

04. Looking At You – MC5

05. Reeling In The Years (Live) – Steely Dan*

LP 5 – SIDE I

01. Lucky Trumble – Nancy Wilson

02. Untitled – Jeff Bebe*

03. I’m Waiting For The Man (Live) – David Bowie

04. “Your Mom Kind Of Freaked Me Out”

05. “Please Welcome Stillwater!”

06. Love Comes And Goes – Stillwater

LP 5 – SIDE J

01. “You Gotta Take What You Can, When You Can”

02. The Wind – Cat Stevens

03. Voodoo Child (Slight Return) – The Jimi Hendrix Experience

04. Slip Away – Clarence Carter

05. Misty Mountain Hop – Led Zeppelin

06. Wishing Well – Free

07. “Cover Of The Rolling Stone”

LP 6 – SIDE K

01. Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters – Elton John

02. Colour My World – Jefferson High School Band

03. My Cherie Amour – Stevie Wonder

04. Cortez The Killer (Live) – Neil Young*

LP 6 – SIDE L

01. “You Made Friends With Them”

02. The Rain Song – Led Zeppelin

03. “We All Know What You Did To Him”

04. Bron-Yr-Aur – Led Zeppelin

05. “What Do You Love About Music?”

06. Tangerine – Led Zeppelin

LP 7 – STILLWATER EP*

Side A

01. Fever Dog

02. Love Thing

03. You Had To Be There

Side B

01. Hour Of Need

02. Chance Upon You

03. Love Comes And Goes

FEVER DOG 7-INCH

Side A

01. Fever Dog

Side B

01. “Piggyback Ride (Cleveland)”*
02. Fever Dog (Acoustic)*

*  Previously unreleased

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Garon CockrellVinyl Review – Almost Famous Soundtrack 20th Anniversary Super Deluxe Uber Box Set