Billy Elliot [Original London Cast]

Billy Elliot [Original London Cast]

     
 

The life of 11-year-old Billy Elliot, a coal miner's son in Northern England, changes forever the day he stumbles into a ballet class and realizes his dream is to dance. Set during the turbulent miners' strike of 1984, the critically acclaimed film features a soundtrack loaded with gems of the era, mostly from British and Irish artists -- the only non-Brit in the… See more details below

Overview

The life of 11-year-old Billy Elliot, a coal miner's son in Northern England, changes forever the day he stumbles into a ballet class and realizes his dream is to dance. Set during the turbulent miners' strike of 1984, the critically acclaimed film features a soundtrack loaded with gems of the era, mostly from British and Irish artists -- the only non-Brit in the bunch is singer-songwriter Eagle-Eye Cherry, who contributes the catchy rocker "Burning Up." The album treats us to no fewer than five songs from '70s glam-rock giants T-Rex, including the hits "Get It On" and "Children of the Revolution" and the very fitting "Cosmic Dancer." Amid bits of dialogue from the film are such Brit punk perennials as the Jam (with the exuberant "A Town Called Malice") and the Clash (the angry, anthemic "London Calling"). Interestingly, the Jam's lead singer Paul Weller makes another appearance with his subsequent band, the more R&B, jazz, and soul-oriented Style Council, who offer up two songs, "Shout to the Top" and the U.K. Top 10 hit "Walls Come Tumbling Down." Here's a soundtrack that nails down the film's setting and makes for an inspiring listen to boot.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
The triumph that is the stage adaptation of the film Billy Elliot is all the more remarkable when one considers the many ways it could have gone wrong. Director Stephen Daldry's 2000 movie about a pre-adolescent boy in an English mining town discovering his love of dancing against a background of struggle among striking mine workers was set in 1984, but made excellent use of a score full of '70s songs by T. Rex and several new wave bands. A stage producer might have tried to turn it into a T. Rex jukebox musical, but that didn't happen. When The Full Monty, a British film with a similar setting and themes, was made into a musical, the story was moved to the U.S., and an American composer, David Yazbek, brought in. The results weren't embarrassing, by any means, but the British flavor of the piece was lost. That didn't happen to Billy Elliot, either. The hiring of Elton John as composer may have been the most dangerous choice in adapting the work, however. John has enjoyed success with the film-to-stage transfer of The Lion King, of course, and his Aida even won a Tony Award against a weak field in 2000, but he hasn't really been accepted in the musical theater ranks. Billy Elliot, which opened in London on May 11, 2005, should change that. John, who came out of a working-class background and overcame his father's resistance and other social pressures to attend the Royal Academy of Music, must have felt a special affinity for the story of a boy who does exactly the same thing, even though he winds up at the Royal Ballet School. As a result, he hasn't just dashed off a few pop songs that he could have sung himself and called it a score. His two main influences seem to have been the quintessentially English soccer anthem and swing music. The former serves him well in writing the many choral numbers in which the miners declare "solidarity forever" and the police respond derisively. The swing element serves the many dance numbers, and there's plenty of dancing. But if John is gifted in his ability to compose pastiche numbers nearly as good as the originals, he also knows his way around a ballad, and his music for such songs as "The Letter" (sung in the words of the boy's dead mother) and "Electricity" (in which the boy tries to explain how dancing makes him feel) is as appealing as anything he's ever written. But John's music is only one element in the production. An even stronger one is Lee Hall's libretto and lyrics, which bring out the twin aspects of the story, contrasting the miners' troubles with the boy's. Hall captures not only the idealism of socialism as it encountered the harsh policies of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's conservative regime, but also Billy Elliot's emergence as a dancer against the odds. And the score is well realized by a cast including Liam Mower in the title role and Haydn Gwynne as the dance teacher. Running 75 minutes, the original London cast recording is an excellent rendition of an excellent musical work. Elton John has done too much good work to call Billy Elliot his greatest achievement, but it is certainly the most outstanding theatrical project with which he has been involved so far, and it finally establishes his claim as a legitimate theater composer.

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Product Details

Release Date:
01/10/2006
Label:
Universal Uk
UPC:
0602498752166
catalogNumber:
9875216
Rank:
19769

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Derek Watkins   Trumpet
Craig Armstrong   Vocals
John Barclay   Trumpet
Pete Beachill   Trombone
Mark Berrow   Violin
Michael Dove   Choir, Chorus
Yona Dunsford   Choir, Chorus
Simon Gardner   Trumpet
Roger Garland   Violin
Garfield Jackson   Viola
Alison Jiear   Choir, Chorus
Martin Loveday   Cello
Steve Pearce   Bass
Anthony Pleeth   Cello
Ralph Salmins   Drums
Jamie Talbot   Woodwind
David Porter Thomas   Choir, Chorus
Paul Willey   Violin
Bruce White   Viola
David Hartley   Piano
Martin Koch   Conductor
David Daniels [cello]   Cello
Stephen Henderson   Percussion
Haydn Gwynne   Vocals
Tim Healy   Vocals
Tracy Holloway   Trombone
Julian Leaper   Violin
Matthew White   Choir, Chorus
Rachel Bolt   Viola
Deborah Widdup   Violin
Warren Zielinski   Violin
Steve Paget   Vocals
Simon Preece   Choir, Chorus
Ben Castle   Woodwind
Alan Forrester   Vocals
Tom Pearce   Choir, Chorus
Natalia Bonner   Violin
Chris Dean   Trombone
Chris Lennon   Vocals
Isaac James   Vocals
Mike Lovatt   Trumpet
Ann Emery   Vocals
Emma Kershaw   Choir, Chorus
Steve Elias   Vocals
Laurence Davies   Horn
Samantha Shaw   Choir, Chorus
Danny Coll   Vocals
Susan Fay   Vocals
Richard Ashton   Horn
Michael Blake   Vocals
Perry Montague-Mason   Violin
Brooke Havana Bailey   Vocals
Philip Bateman   Keyboards,Musical Direction
Poppy Coggins   Vocals
Jeff Daley   Woodwind
Erica Ann Deakin   Vocals
Alex Delamere   Vocals
Damien Delaney   Vocals
Trevor Fox   Vocals
Adam Goldsmith   Guitar
Christie Halsey   Vocals
Charlotte Hamilton   Vocals
Simon Harpham   Trombone
Chris Hornby   Vocals
Paul King   Cello
Gillian Kirkpatrick   Vocals
Michelle McAvoy   Vocals
Liam Mower   Vocals
Emily Neil   Vocals
Daniel Page   Vocals
Lee Proud   Vocals
Stephanie Putson   Vocals
Stephanie Rawson   Vocals
Mike Scott   Vocals
Phil Snowden   Vocals
Alice Stephen   Vocals
Katie Stephen   Vocals
Jennifer Veal   Vocals
Ellie Jaine Woolf   Vocals
Tessa Worsley   Vocals
David Massey   Vocals
Paul Stevens   Woodwind
Tom Rees-Roberts   Trumpet
Christopher Tombling   Violin
David Woodcock   Violin
Tim Jones   Horn
Jeremy Holland-Smith   Keyboards
Jonathan Evans-Jones   Violin
Jenny O'Grady   Choir Master
Ivo Jan van der Werff   Viola

Technical Credits

Elton John   Composer,Executive Producer
Phil Ramone   Executive Producer
Martin Koch   Producer,Orchestration,Musical Supervision
Julian Leaper   Orchestra Leader
Peter Darling   Choreographer
Paul Arditti   Sound Design
Stephen Daldry   Director
Nicky Gillibrand   Costume Design
Steve Price   Engineer

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