Toomorrow (Soundtrack) "Real Gone Music" (Real Gone Music, 1970/2013)
So, not all of Don Kirshner’s musical projects went off as successfully as, say, The Monkees, Archies, or his Rock Concert TV show. In 1970 Kirshner and James Bond movie producer Harry Saltzman unleashed the sci fi film Toomorrow. The story is about a pop group and it involves alien abductions, an instrument called a “tonaliser,” and the need for the band to save the world from “sterility of sound.” Kirshner, who assembled the members of the group via a talent search, had a long-term vision for them beyond the movie. He said at the time that they were the best looking band around, and he saw them as potential hit-making eye candy. One of the members of the outfit was a pretty, golden-throated young woman named Olivia Newton-John, who as a recording artist was a relative unknown at the time. The film flopped. Well, it’s actually not fair to say that. It never got shown enough to even have the chance to flop. It only made a few premiere showings before infighting among the honchos created bad feelings, then lawsuits, then torn-up contracts. The movie was dropped before ever seeing general release.
Naturally, a soundtrack was made. But it came and went at the time, as unnoticed as the film. This Real Gone version is the first reissue of the soundtrack in any form. How is the music? Well, the truth is that it might be more interesting than good, but it’s plenty interesting, and not just due to the Newton-John factor. The tunes were crafted mostly by the songwriting duo of Mark Barkan and Richie Adams. The sound is a hybrid of soft pop and space rock. Imagine “Sunday Will Never Be the Same” if the Ventures, in Ventures in Space mode, were the backing band. Fans of sunshine pop acts like Spanky and Our Gang, The Peppermint Rainbow, Yellow Balloon, et al will enjoy the psychedelic bubblegum sound on the record. And for those more drawn to the space rock aspect, there’s an instrumental written by Hugo Montenegro that sounds like aliens on acid. A fair warning to anyone who would seek out the album solely due to their interest in Newton-John, though: while her voice is heard plenty, she doesn’t have many lead vocals; the male singers have the mic the majority of time on the half hour-long record.
I haven’t seen the movie in full but You Tube clips give me a longing to check it out, preferably while tripping balls. In the meantime I’ll keep myself content with that Montenegro freakout and the sunshine pop gem “If You Can’t Be Hurt.”
Review made by Brian Greene/2014
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