Lee Mendelson Film Productions (LMFP) is thrilled to announce the release - for the first time ever – the complete Vince Guaraldi soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, the timeless 10th animated Peanuts® special, from writer and creator Charles Schulz, director Bill Melendez and Phil Roman and producers Melendez and Lee Mendelson. Originally airing on November 20, 1973 on CBS-TV, the special has been broadcast or streamed every year for the last 50 years, and is currently available for streaming on Apple TV+.
The album includes the original recordings that comprise the thirteen song cues of the Special, plus another nine bonus or alternative tracks that have never been released or heard before.
Guaraldi lovingly created the soundtrack for the eclectic, big meal and family gathering, while also bolstering the hijinks of Snoopy and his new friend Woodstock as they “helped” Charlie Brown get ready for the party. The album also includes one of the few songs where composer Guaraldi also sang the lyrics he wrote to Little Birdie.
The recording features Guaraldi (piano, keyboards, guitar, vocals), Seward McCain (electric bass), Mike Clark (drums), Tom Harrell (trumpet and brass arrangements), and Chuck Bennett (trombone). The soundtrack was produced by Sean and Jason Mendelson, re-mixed by Terry Carleton at Bones and Knives, and restored and mastered/re-mastered by Vinson Hudson.
The album will available on CD, vinyl and digital. The CD has a 6-page insert. Both the LP and CD will have liner notes that give a track-by-track analysis by Sean Mendelson, musician, record producer and son of Peanuts® producer Lee Mendelson. Both versions have stills from the special and some images of the original track assignments for each instrument.
Click here to pre-order all formats.
“Avid Guaraldi fans have long selected this Emmy® Award-winning TV special as their favorite, which is no surprise; the show is wall-to-wall music, bouncing between acoustic and electric keyboards, going silent only during Linus’ gentle sermon about the first Thanksgiving (a speech almost as eloquent as the one he delivers in A Charlie Brown Christmas). That sequence aside, Guaraldi was allowed to stretch and supply longer cues, each one starting as the previous one fades. The show boasts three new tunes, starting with a lyrical title theme constructed from acoustic piano filigrees that evoke the keyboard cascades in 'Skating.' An impudent cue titled 'Is It James or Charlie?' adds a bit of James Brown sass to the mix, and the standout newcomer is Guaraldi’s vocal on 'Little Birdie,' played at length when Snoopy — tasked with setting up the outdoor dining arrangements — wrestles with a basketball net, a garage door, a ping-pong table and an impressively sentient folding chair. Returning cues include one of Guaraldi’s best arrangements of 'Linus and Lucy,' with brass adding a spirited counterpoint to the primary theme, and also shading a new four-chord climb at the end of each verse's fourth measure: heard while Snoopy orchestrates the Thanksgiving 'dinner' of buttered toast, popcorn, pretzels, jellybeans and ice cream parfaits. The finger-snapping track pops up, here called 'Charlie Brown Blues.' The final returning tune, 'Peppermint Patty,' gets a quiet, leisurely arrangement on electric keyboard: perfectly echoing the girl’s coquettish side, notably when she flirts with Charlie Brown over the phone, while inviting herself — and Marcie and Franklin — to a party that doesn’t yet exist. The show’s final reprise of the title theme introduces a sparkling brass counterpoint: a terrific conclusion to a half-hour of solid combo jazz. What’s not to love?” — Derrick Bang, Peanuts® historian and author of Vince Guaraldi at the Piano
"These great new, remastered recordings feature outtakes of Vince Guaraldi working out the piano voicings right on the spot in the studio. It is fascinating to me to be a fly on the wall for these historic sessions featuring drummer Mike Clark (who played on Herbie Hancock’s Thrust) and bassist Seward McCain on bass. It’s especially notable that Vince on this recording is making heavy use of The Fender Rhodes electric piano thereby keeping up with the times. These tracks are also much funkier and groove oriented than their predecessors which were more straight ahead. This is a very enjoyable and historic recording that is for anyone that likes jazz and Charlie Brown.” — David Benoit, Grammy-nominated jazz composer and recording artist (and Guaraldi torchbearer)
For an extended version of the press release and more information, including the track list, click here.
The characters of Peanuts and related intellectual property are owned by Peanuts Worldwide, which is 41% owned by WildBrain Ltd., 39% owned by Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc., and 20% owned by the family of Charles M. Schulz, who first introduced the world to Peanuts in 1950, when the comic strip debuted in seven newspapers. Since then, Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang have made an indelible mark on popular culture. In addition to enjoying beloved Peanuts shows and specials on Apple TV+, fans of all ages celebrate the Peanuts brand worldwide through thousands of consumer products, as well as amusement park attractions, cultural events, social media, and comic strips available in all formats, from traditional to digital. In 2018, Peanuts partnered with NASA on a multi-year Space Act Agreement designed to inspire a passion for space exploration and STEM among the next generation of students.
About Lee Mendelson Film Productions, Inc.:
Lee Mendelson Film Productions (LMFP) is the Publisher of the Vince Guaraldi musical catalog associated with Peanuts. LMFP is also the producer of the classic Peanuts television specials, including A Charlie Brown Christmas, It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, along with the Hollywood animation studio Bill Melendez Productions. LMFP also produced over 50 other network Peanuts specials, 12 prime time Garfield specials, 121-program series “Garfield and Friends” and many other film and television animated, documentary and entertainment specials. Founded by the late Lee Mendelson in 1963, Lee Mendelson Film Productions, Inc., has received 11 Emmy Awards (from 45 nominations) and four Peabody Awards, as well as Grammy and Academy Award nominations.