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Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Lyrics, Music & Score Composed by Danny Elfman
Musical Director: Steve Bartek
Orchestrations by Steve Bartek and Mark McKenzie
Conducted by JAC Redford and Chris Boardman
Additional Orchestrations and MIDI Preparation by Marc Mann
Recorded and Mixed by Bill Jackson, Bobby Fernandez and Shawn Murphy
Album Produced by Danny Elfman

Label (Catalogue): Walt Disney Records, (60855-7)
Availability: In-print
Purchasing options: / The Nightmare Before Christmas

"Jack Skellington will always be very close to my heart. Finally a character I could really relate to. What a task this one was. Writing and singing ten songs and then creating a score which incorporated the ten themes... At Least one of which was going on about every second... A total jigsaw puzzle... Yipes... What heaven!!" - Danny Elfman

This is Danny Elfman's major accomplishment: non-stop score and 10 original songs, two elements that are integral to the "cult" success of Tim Burton's stop-motion world. Elfman not only pulled double duty as song-writer and score-composer, but also performed the singing voice (Chris Sarandon performed the dialogue parts) of Jack Skellington. Nightmare Before Christmas is a classic all around, with the Tim Burton poem and Elfman's lyrics serving as the major forces of the stories motivation.

The songs take center stage on the Walt Disney Records album, but Elfman's score is equally as magical. Elfman handles Christmas vibes so well, and Nightmare oozes them. "This Is Halloween", "What's This?" and "Making Christmas" are my three favorite songs from the album. Jack and Sally each get their own themes, while the overall main theme opens the "Overture" and serves as the basis for "This Is Halloween". This isn't your typical Disney styled musical as Elfman eschews the fake-Broadway sentiment of Beauty and The Beast and whips up some maniacal mayhem. It'd be great to have the rest of Elfman's Nightmare score - that didn't make it onto this album - released sometime in the future.

A piano/vocal songbook featuring all 10 of Elfman's songs was published by Hal-Leonard. You may be able to still order it at stores that sell songbooks and piano scores. You can also check the Hal-Leonard website or for info. Unfortunately I don't have any additional purchasing info on this book.

The score is a landmark in terms of the Burton/Elfman collaboration. Just after Nightmare Before Christmas, Tim Burton and Danny Elfman had a "family disagreement" causing the first rift in their professional relationship. Elfman went on to score other films, but not Burton's Ed Wood. They re-united for Burton's next film, Mars Attacks!

Howard Shore, who scored Ed Wood for Burton, was set to score Mars Attacks!. But the director told Shore he had a dream about Elfman scoring Mars, and respectfully informed Shore that because of this dream, Elfman would in fact be scoring the film!

Feature: The Complete 'Nightmare Before Christmas' Score

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Click for enlarged CD artwork
Click cover to enlarge
01. Overture (1:47)
02. Opening (0:57)
     Narrated by Patrick Stewart
03. This is Halloween (3:15) *
04. Jack's Lament (3:13) *
05. Dr Frankenstein /
     In the Forest (2:36)
06. What's This? (3:05) *
07. Town Meeting Song (2:55) *
08. Jack and Sally Montage (5:17)
09. Jack's Obsession (2:45) *
10. Kidnap the Sandy Claws (3:02) *
11. Making Christmas (3:57) *
12. Nabbed (3:04)
13. Oogie Boogie's Song (3:16) *
14. Sally's Song (1:47) *
15. Christmas Eve Montage (4:43)
16. Poor Jack (2:30) *
17. To the Rescue (3:38)
18. Finale / Reprise (2:44) *
19. Closing (1:25) *
     Narrated by Patrick Stewart
20. End Titles (5:05)

Total running time: 61:16

* - original song by Danny Elfman

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All original text, original artwork Ryan Keaveney & Klaatu Media and cannot be copied without written consent. All other materials are by original authors / artists / labels and are presented here for critique, educational and promotional purposes only. Answers to frequently asked questions can be found on the Discussion Board. Additional questions or comments can be emailed to Ryan Keaveney.