Today’s Cool Album of the Day is the Original London Cast recording of Jesus Chris Superstar. It”s now our Cool Album of the Day every Easter Sunday.
Don’t give me the knock-offs. Give me the original 1971 release featuring Ian Gillian as Jesus. I remember playing the hell out of this back in the day. To me this has always been the definitive version of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock opera. It’s the Original London Concept Recording. Yes, I also realize that the story told in the opera ends on Good Friday. We still feel that it’s fitting for Easter Sunday.
The music here is absolutely brilliant. It includes some wonderful performances from Deep Purple lead vocalist Ian Gillan as Jesus, Yvonne Elliman as Mary Magdalene and Murray Head as Judas. Also be sure to listen for Victor Brox as Caiaphas and Mike d’Abo as King Herod. Another highlight is the guitar work provided by former Roxy Music/Joe Cocker guitarist Neil Hubbard. Drummer Bruce Rowland was from Fairport Convention.
This annual feature is dedicated to Chicago’s St. Anthony of Padua 1971 seventh grade Teacher, Mr. Nielson. I’m sure his dissection of this album in class had much to do with not only my lifetime love of music, but also started me on a path of listening to music in a different way, a critical way if you will. But it wasn’t just that. He also taught me and I’m guessing many of my classmates to look at many things differently. To ask questions, and yes, those questions could even be asked about what you were taught about religion. It was okay It didn’t mean you were running from it just that you wanted to say “Hey stop there for a second, Let me ask you about something.” That is a good thing. You very well may have come to the same conclusions about things anyway, but questioning is always good. I think that’s what this album will always remind me of the ability to take on and question the establishment. I’m sure I began learning to ask question and propose challenges before 7th grade, but this solidified it.
Do you have any childhood stories regarding this album or even what I’ve mentioned above? If you do, please post them below and I’ll add them permanently to the piece. We can grow it over the years. Happy Easter everyone.
- Ian Gillan – Jesus Christ
- Murray Head – Judas Iscariot
- Yvonne Elliman – Mary Magdalene
- Victor Brox – Caiaphas, High Priest
- Brian Keith – Annas
- John Gustafson – Simon Zealotes
- Barry Dennen – Pontius Pilate
- Paul Davis – Peter
- Mike d’Abo – King Herod
- Neil Hubbard – electric guitar
- Henry McCulloch – electric guitar, acoustic guitar
- Chris Mercer – tenor sax
- Peter Robinson – piano, electric piano, Organ, positive organ
- Bruce Rowland – drums, percussion
- Allan Spenner – bass guitar