The year 1967 was an important turning point in John Williams’ career. He would soon leave Hollywood for significant periods of time, working in England on the screen musicals Goodbye, Mr. Chips and Fiddler on the Roof, and scoring the TV movies Heidi and Jane Eyre. These projects proved to be stepping-stones to more high-profile assignments upon his return to the United States, beginning with The Reivers and The Cowboys. The year also marked the beginning of a 25-year partnership with orchestrator Herbert Spencer, and was the last year he would be credited on screen as “Johnny” Williams.
Williams’s score for A Guide for the Married Man is a veritable catalog of the diverse styles in which he had become adept at writing over the previous decade: everything from goofy, faux-hip source music to bold orchestral scoring featuring brass fanfares and his trademark woodwind runs. The film’s episodic nature provided Williams with an opportunity to showcase his blossoming talent in a way few other films could: many of the “instruction” sequences play without dialogue and are carried by Williams’s beautifully finessed music—many with their own new melody for the unique sequence. Astute listeners will note many instances that foreshadow the music he would provide a decade later for space epics and adventure films—as well as moments that recall his earlier stylized writing from Lost in Space.
Until now, the only music available from A Guide for the Married Man was the title song, as performed by The Turtles. Our CD release includes Williams’ complete score in stereo, restored and sequenced in predominantly chronological order by Michael Matessino; the title song performed by The Turtles; and a bonus section of nearly 15 minutes of damaged or unused cues and alternate takes, including a hilarious, never-before-heard rendition of the title song performed by a studio chorus.
This album not only fills an important void for the John Williams completist, it serves to introduce a neglected entry in Williams’ filmography to a wide audience, and provides a fascinating glimpse at musical ideas that would later become famous in everything from Close Encounters of the Third Kind to Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace.