Walt Disney Records' The Legacy Collection continues with the release of Toy Story on July 14th. When the label announced some adjustments to the release schedule, this release was mysteriously left out, leaving many to believe it had been cancelled. But this tenth release in the series, celebrating the 20th anniversary of Pixar's premier animated feature, was definitely worth the wait.
Of all the titles announced for the collection, Toy Story was the one I was looking forward to the least. However, it is actually one of the more solid releases in the series and I was wrong to doubt it. I had the original soundtrack on cassette as a kid, but never listened to the isolated score. While that soundtrack has never gone out of print, it featured the songs from the film at the beginning and highlights from the score. Thankfully for soundtrack purists, disc one is not that disc.
Spread across 51 tracks, Disc 1 presents the complete film score from start to finish with the songs in their appropriate places. To my delight, it even opens with the music that played during Pixar's version of the Walt Disney Pictures logo, which was sadly removed from the film in its current form on Blu-Ray, DVD and digital. There are so many details in this score that are missed when watching the film and it revealed beautiful melodies that I didn't even know were there.
Disc 2 is a little lighter, but still very interesting. At about twenty minutes in length, it features Randy Newman's demos for the songs. You can really hear his writing process through these tracks, with some alternate lyrics and unused melodies. One of the songs, "Plastic Spaceman," was an early attempt at a song that was replaced with "I Will Go Sailinig No More." There are elements of that song in it and by the time it was changed to "Sailing," that demo still featured bits from the previous song that didn't make the final film version. Another song appears to have been cut from the film entirely called "The Fool." Instrumental versions for "You've Got a Friend in Me," "Strange Things" and "I Will Go Sailing No More" follow these demos, another treat to listen to. Without the vocals , you can hear all of the layers in the orchestrations that you miss when paying attention to the singer. And lastly, there is a sweet bonus recording of Randy Newman's thank you speech to the symphony that recorded the score. John Lasseter chimes in at the end with another heartfelt thank you.
Toy Story is housed in the standard Legacy Collection digi-book case with artwork by Lorelay Bove. The book is broken up into X sections. The first three pages are John Lasseter describing the music process for Toy Story. He fell in love with the entire process while directing his first feature, and that passion comes across in his section. The next three pages are by Randy Newman, who writes like he talks and is quite funny. He seems to still be scratching his head about how he was chosen to score an animated film. The lyrics to the three songs from the film fit on the next two pages, and the next two are filled with a list of the orchestra members and all of the copyright mumbo-jumbo. The final section features concept art from the film with descriptions. It's the biggest concept art section found in any of the Legacy Collection releases thusfar, since the text portions are so short. The writer of this section is uncredited (Dave Bossert has done it on all of the past releases).
If you've been collecting The Legacy Collection releases so far, Toy Story is one of the better releases. In addition to the full film sountrack, which was only partially available before, the Randy Newman demos are wonderful to hear. There's just two releases left that have been announced (Pocahontas and The Aristocats) and quality has been a little inconsistent, but releases like this make me hope the line continues "To infinity, and beyond!"