The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – TIMES SQUARE (8-track Version)

Posted on 28th November 2015 in "Times Square"

8-track tapes would be pretty much gone from U.S. music stores by 1982 (almost the same time as CD players made their debut), but in 1980 they were still a viable release format.

As did the cassette, the 8-track loses the back cover and interior gatefold artwork. The front cover has all the text removed from the image and placed below it on the back background, and crops the art at the top of Nicky’s hair, making this the most art-deficient version of the soundtrack.

But 8-track’s biggest deficiency is visible in the track listing on the back. Each side of the record had to fit on a single length of tape, that had to fit inside the cartridge. This tape is evidently 16:49 long, and the last songs of what would have been Sides One and Two are split across “Programs”: there would be a noticeable pause in the middle of “Down in the Park” and “Damn Dog” as the player shifted to the next two tracks. (Cassettes would sometimes deal with varying record-side lengths by changing the song order; that was also annoying, but far less so.)

This particular copy was sealed until 8 October 2015, when I opened it to scan it. Here’s what it looked like in its box, in its cellophane wrap. The price is obviously an attempt to mark it way down to move it out of the store, an unsuccessful attempt it would seem, as I’m pretty sure I paid a bit more than that and as I said, it hadn’t been opened.



The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Times Square, 8T-2-4203; US, 1980; 8-track cartridge (FRC ID: SRE) (work);


©1980 Butterfly Valley NV


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The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Times Square (Cassette Version)

Posted on 19th November 2015 in "Times Square"

Cassettes may have already overtaken records as the biggest selling format by 1980. They didn’t sound as good, but they were portable and convenient, and that’s always more important. There was rarely an effort to duplicate the full art of a record album on the relatively tiny insert, though.

We get the front cover, scaled way down to fit on the rectangular insert, and partly obscured by the assurance that both records are on the tape. We lose the inner gatefold, and especially the beautiful glamour photo of Robin by Mick Rock from the back of the album.

This is a Canadian edition. I doubt the U.S. version is significantly different, other than the lack of French copyright warnings and mentions of Multiplier N.V. as owner of the RSO recordings. In fact, Nicky’s Johnny badge is back instead of the blank red circle that appears on the Canadian record cover. They were so cheap in assembling the cassette art that they just used the U.S. cover image instead of their own.



The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Times Square, RS4 2-4203; Canada, 1980; audiocassette (AAT ID: 300028661) with insert (work);


©1980 Butterfly Valley NV


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The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack “TIMES SQUARE” (U.K. Edition)

Posted on 10th November 2015 in "Times Square"

The biggest difference here is that Tim Curry is completely gone. There isn’t even a red circle where Nicky’s badge would be.

We’ve seen that before on the promotional “slick”, which was displayed in record stores in the United States. Why each country had their own idea as to this aspect of the cover art is a mystery to me.

The inner gatefold is nearly identical to the US and Canadian versions, although the yellow background seems to be getting lighter. I can’t promise that isn’t an artifact of my scanning, and I can’t be arsed to check, so if it’s important to you, let me know in the comments and I’ll dig them back out and do a proper side-by-side comparison.

What’s different? Like I said above… Tim Curry is gone. The photo of Johnny that usually occupies the center square has been replaced with some Sleez Grrls from the audience of the final concert.

The fourth image from the inner gatefold of the UK edition of the TIMES SQUARE soundtrack album is a photograph of Sleez Girls at the final concert, one of whom is holding a sign referencing a song that does not appear in the film.  Other editions of the soundtrack album have a photo pf Tim Curry in this spot.  (This digital surrogate created by Sean Rockoff for

His name is still there in the cast list, but all photographic evidence of Tim Curry has been purged from the U.K. record sleeve. "Times Square" Screenplay by Jacob Brackman, 1979, 129 pp  Text:  23 CONTINUED PEARL opens their door and goes in. On the threshold, PAMELA turns back to see if the elevator operator is still watching her. He is. EXT THE TRIBOROUGH BRIDGE DAY MUSIC Establishing shot: The Hopkins Center's ambulance van travels over the bridge into Manhattan. NICKY's song begins on the track. INT MOVING AMBULANCE-VAN DAY NICKY sits on the bed in back, smoking, her ear pressed up against her cassette machine. It is blaring a rock song which she has adopted as her personal anthem. SONG LONELY HEARTER HUNTER, DON'T SAY NOTHING THE HUNGRY AND THE HURT GOT ONLY ONE LAW LEFT. NEVER MIND BIG WORDS. UNDONE, UNSUNG, ONLY ONE PLACE LEFT TO RUN. . . SHAKING, ACHING, CAN'T STAND WAITING. . . . NAH, NAH, NAH. NAH, NAH, NAH, GOT TO GET OFF! GET OFF! GET OFF! ROSIE sits up front with the ambulance driver. He motions to a large sign which forbids smoking due to the presence of oxygen. ROSIE snaps her fingers at NICKY, then whistles. She gestures: get rid of the cigarette. NICKY looks straight at ROSIE and continues cooly to puff on it. CONTINUED


And the photo that’s there in his place is from a shot that didn’t make it into the film. One of the girls is holding a sign reading “Na Na Na,” which is a reference to a song Nicky sang intermittently in the screenplay that was removed from the story after the concert sequence was shot. All the shots the sign appeared in were cut, but there’s still this photo to prove it existed.

It’s always spelled “nah nah nah” in the screenplay, and was rather a major undercurrent running through the story. Nicky and Pammy used it to signal each other, Nicky spray painted it on things, and by the end the Sleez Grrls picked up on it (as we see in the picture in the album gatefold). It was originally to be part of the soundtrack, but was replaced by XTC’s “Take This Town” (in the page shown here), the Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated”, and Suzi Quatro’s “Rock Hard” (explaining why “Rock Hard” is called the girls’ “favorite song” by Johnny, despite it never having been heard before in the film; Johnny was supposed to be talking about “Nah Nah Nah” which would have been heard at least twice already).


The wording of the small print on the back cover is different, and again all the mentions of recordings owned by RSO are attributed to Multiplier N.V. According to Wikipedia, N.V. stands for “Naamloze vennootschap” (“nameless partnership”) and is a public company whose shareholders are “not directly known.” Why Butterfly Alley and RSO’s international interests were incorporated as N.V.’s… well, are there any corporate tax lawyers out there?

The font on the spine is changed from the typewriter-style one to a sans-serif that may be more legible but doesn’t fit as well with the rest of the artistic direction.

The inner sleeves again have the RSO sound recording copyright notices replaced with attributions to Multiplier, although this time they’re in an approximation of the original typeface. There are also a few other changes, such as the recording of Joe Jackson’s “Pretty Boys,” owned by RSO in the US, being owned by his label A&M in the UK, and The Cure’s “Grinding Halt” changing from Fiction Records to 16 Age Record Co.

Otherwise, the sleeves are identical to the US versions, down to the notice “Printed in USA.” They are a much lighter color though (and this color difference is accurate), and there’s one other difference that also appears on the back cover and on the Side 4 record label. I’ll award a brass figlagee with bronze oak-leaf palm to the first person to identify it in the comments.

The labels rearrange the information into an unreadable mishmash, but add the names of the songwriting publishing companies.

You may be able to see why I stopped collecting copies of the records. I’m interested in Robin, not the minutiae of international music publishing. Well, I am interested in that, but enough to blog about it. Yet, here I am.



The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack “Times Square”, RSO 2658-145; U.K., 1980; 2 long-playing records (AAT 300265802) with gatefold picture sleeve (AAT 300266823) and illustrated inner sleeves (work);
TIMES SQUARE, Screenplay by Jacob Brackman, Story by Allan Moyle and Leanne Ungar; 1979; p. 23


©1980 Butterfly Valley NV


Updated 5 December 2015 to include the Sleez Girls photo from the inside gatefold.


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The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack “TIMES SQUARE” (Canadian Edition)

Posted on 1st November 2015 in "Times Square"

The music on the Canadian edition of the Times Square soundtrack is identical to the US version. All the international editions are musically identical. (I suppose some might sound better or worse than others, but none of the actual tracks are different.) That’s why, other than the few examples I’ll be sharing here, I haven’t bothered collecting all the variant editions: musically they’re identical, the artwork differs in the most inconsequential ways, and the text differs in only slightly less inconsequential ways. Among editions I don’t have, there are promotional copies with white labels, and there’s a Japanese edition with an obi. Supposedly there was an edition that came with 8x10s of some of the artists, but I’ve only ever come across it once, and I suspect someone placed the photos in after the fact. Now, if something turns up with a different picture of Robin on the back, that I’ll be interested in. Otherwise, nah.

The most obvious difference is Tim Curry’s image on the front cover being replaced by a blank red circle. There’s also an assurance in English and French that there are two records inside. On the back cover, RSO’s credits for manufacturing and distribution have been given to Polygram. And most interestingly, although I don’t really know what it means, the sound recording copyright, belonging to RSO in the United States, is attributed to a company named Multiplier N.V. (this is the case with all the non-US editions). The inner gatefold is identical to the US edition, although in my opinion it (and the entire package) is printed better. (The yellow seems brighter on all the non-US pressings; that could just be because my US copy is faded through lots of handling.) And on the spine, “Printed in USA” is gone, but there is a small logo consisting of the letters “ER” in a circle. I don’t know what that means either.

On the inner sleeves, all the attributions to sound recordings being owned by RSO are replaced by notices of copyright to Multiplier N.V., in a different typeface, as if they had simply been pasted over. And the line “Mastered at STERLING SOUND by George Marino” has been deleted.

The color of the labels is slightly darker than the US edition. The information has been slightly reformatted, and RSO is replaced by Multiplier in the song information and by Polygram in the manufacturing and distribution credit. And Bill Oakes’ credit has changed from Album Executive Producer to simply Executive Producer.

I wonder if the original recordings being owned by RSO, Inc. in the US and by Multiplier N.V. in the rest of the world has anything to do with the soundtrack never being re-released. Does anyone have a non-US edition of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, to check the copyright information there?

I think that’s enough Canadian excitement. Wherever shall we go next?

The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack “Times Square”, RSO RS-2-4203; Canada, 1980; 2 long-playing records (AAT 300265802) with gatefold picture sleeve (AAT 300266823) and illustrated inner sleeves (work);
©1980 Butterfly Valley NV


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