Many artists contribute a song to a film’s soundtrack because they think it’ll advance their recording career.
But Carly Simon’s interest in the soundtrack to “Madeline,” the TriStar Pictures film set for release next month starring Academy Award-winner Frances McDormand and newcomer Hatty Jones as Madeline, goes much deeper.
Her father, Richard Simon, a co-founder of publishing titan Simon & Schuster, helped “Madeline” author Ludwig Bemelmans land his first publishing deal in the 1930s.
She was constantly reminded of the adventures of the perky redheaded Madeline because Bemelmans’ original paintings that appeared in the book hung in Carly’s room when she was a child.
Tales find life
The film brings Bemelmans’ classic tales to life as it skillfully weaves elements of his original books into this new story: The indomitable Madeline devises a scheme for saving the school she lives in with her 11 friends after their patron dies and plans are made to sell the old house.
The Sony Wonder/Sony Music Soundtrax features an original song by Carly Simon called “In Two Straight Lines,” which the singer says was inspired by her unique connection to the “Madeline” stories.
Also highlighting the album is Okeh/Epic Records artist Keb Mo, who warbles a stirring new version of “What a Wonderful World,” the classic tune penned by George David Weiss and George Douglass that was made famous in 1968 by Louis Armstrong.
The tune got a renewed life several years ago when it appeared in the Robin Williams starring film “Good Morning Vietnam.”
Legendary composer Michel Legrand further rounds out the all-star lineup of musical talent to the “Madeline” soundtrack with his original score written for the film.
The release of the film is the centerpiece of an aggressive marketing campaign by Sony Wonder, a sister company of TriStar Pictures, and the family division of Sony Music and Epic Records.
The six original “Madeline” books that tell the tales of the courageous redheaded heroine have been strong sellers in the worldwide marketplace. More than 10 million copies of the series have been sold since their bow.
In addition to the books, Sony Wonder and Golden Books have teamed to release two new animated “Madeline” homevideo titles on Tuesday to ignite interest in the upcoming film. An animated TV series currently airs five days a week on the Disney Channel.
Golden and Wonder are also prepping seven catalog homevideo titles for release, which will be repackaged and updated. The “Madeline” franchise now includes over 20 high-profile licensees covering apparel to toys.
Simon, who first gained attention in the music world in 1971 with the hit “That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be,” last year released an ambitious boxed set, “Clouds in My Coffee,” which boasted all of her classics and some previously unreleased nuggets.
The Arista Records set, which culled material from her days on the Elektra, Epic, Warner and Arista Records labels, included such tunes as “You’re So Vain,” “Anticipation,” “The Right Thing to Do” and “Haven’t Got Time for the Pain,” among others.
Her soundtrack contributions have included “Nobody Does It Better,” from the 1977 James Bond pic “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “Let The River Run,” the 1989 20th Century Fox Film “Working Girl,” starring Melanie Griffith and Harrison Ford, which earned Simon a best song Academy Award.