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Gorgeous romantic music from Barry is up there with his best, but harmed by brevity of presentation here

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VCD 47275

Album cover copyright (c) 1986 TriStar Pictures., Inc.; review copyright (c) 2006 James Southall

After the financial disasters of his large-scale, self-financed films of the early 1980s, Francis Ford Coppola was forced to return to being a director-for-hire.  While he still made many capable films during this time, the extraordinary intensity and intelligence that graced his finest films in the 1970s (and during that decade he made four remarkable films which routinely crop up in everyone's "best of all time" lists).  Still, there is much pleasure to be gleaned from watching his later, commercial fare, and Peggy Sue Got Married, the time-travelling romantic fantasy, certainly falls into that category.  With Kathleen Turner and Nicolas Cage, it's an enchanting - if disposable - movie which certainly stands up alongside the other romantic dramas coming out at the time.

Coppola turned, for the second and final time, to John Barry to provide the score for his film after their successful collaboration on The Cotton Club.  It's hard to imagine a more perfect composer than Barry for this wistful, romantic tale - not just because of the obvious film to compare this to, Somewhere in Time, but various others he was doing around the same time.  His music is every bit as enchanting and beautiful as it ever got - the gorgeous theme of "Peggy Sue's Homecoming", relying on the familiar wash of strings, is vintage Barry.

"Charlie's Unplayed Guitar" is even more captivating, because while Charlie's guitar may remain unplayed, there was one on the scoring stage that day and it provides a touch of flair to the typically-heartmelting melody Barry came up with.  "Did We Break Up?" is an altogether more tense piece, with a hint of bluesy swagger that Barry has always done so well - his romantic music is brilliant, always, but it's good to hear him write something with slightly more of an edge.  "Charlie, I Had the Strangest Experience" is one of those extended pieces where Barry develops a simple idea and turns it into a soaring, dizzying cornucopia of love.  

Sadly, that's it, as only four score selections (totalling just under 15 minutes) made it to the album.  Sound quality isn't the best, either.  Even with the songs (including the brilliant titular one by Buddy Holly, a pair of classics from Dion and the Belmonts, Cage himself singing "He Don't Love You" and The Marshall Crenshaw Band doing "You Belong to Me") the album still only clocks in at 26:48.  Surely a Deluxe Edition is warranted - this is vintage, classic, brilliant Barry and one has to suspect that the only reason it's not as well-known as the others is the rather ungenerous album presentation.


  1. Peggy Sue's Homecoming (3:27)
  2. Charlie's Unplayed Guitar (2:23)
  3. Did We Break Up? (2:39)
  4. Charlie, I Had the Strangest Experience (5:47)
  5. Peggy Sue Got Married Buddy Holly (1:50)
  6. I Wonder Why Dion and the Belmonts (2:21)
  7. He Don't Love You Nicolas Cage with Pride and Joy (3:11)
  8. Teenager in Love Dion and the Belmonts (2:37)
  9. You Belong to Me The Marshall Crenshaw Band (2:33)