Tuesday, September 16, 2014

'WKRP in Cincinnati' is getting a DVD release with its original music

Miles Raymer/Entertainment Weekly

WKRP in Cincinnati‘s defining qualities were a cast of wacky characters, an atmosphere of free-floating late-’70's psychic malaise (that on its better episodes the show sharpened to a cutting point), and, more than anything else, by its music. Fittingly for a show about a radio station of the time, the soundtrack included everything from the Grateful Dead to the Cars, often highlighting the culture clash between hippie-era dinosaurs and the leaner New Wave acts that were springing up in response to those dinosaurs’ refusal to exit the pop zeitgeist.

Thanks to the way music licensing contracts were written at the time, the show lost its rights to use the original versions of the songs it had so deeply woven into its fabric, and was forced to replace them with generic knockoffs while it was still in broadcast syndication. Later, when it moved to cable and home video it did so with the same soundalikes.

On Oct. 28, Shout! Factory will release the first complete series-spanning WKRP DVD set, with its original soundtrack gloriously restored. (Orders through the Shout! Factory site get early delivery on Sept. 23.) The 13-disc set will include not only new bonus features (including a 2014 panel discussion with members of the cast and crew), but actual songs by a staggeringly broad range of artists including Captain Beefheart, Elvis Costello, the Rolling Stones, Luther Vandross, Ray Charles, the Sir Douglas Quintet, and Huey Lewis & the News. Somewhere in sitcom heaven Johnny Fever and Venus Flytrap are exchanging cool ’70's-hipster handshakes.

Here’s a more or less complete list of acts from the soundtrack:
Herb Alpert
Ashford & Simpson
Joan Baez
Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band
Pat Benatar
George Benson
Booker T And The MG’s
Alicia Bridges
Jackson Browne
Donald Byrd
Carl Carlton
The Cars
Gene Chandler
Ray Charles
Eric Clapton
The Coasters
Joe Cocker
Elvis Costello
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Crosby, Stills Nash & Young
Christopher Cross
Derek And The Dominos
Bo Diddley
The Doors
Dr. John
Gene Dunlap
The Durocs
Bob Dylan
Earth, Wind & Fire
Marvin Gaye
The Go-Gos
Grateful Dead
Bill Haley And His Comets
Buddy Holly
Bob James
Jefferson Starship
Waylon Jennings
Elton John
Janis Joplin
Greg Kihn Band
Albert King
B.B. King
Evelyn “Champagne” King
Freddie King
The Knack
Kool And the Gang
Jerry Lee Lewis
Huey Lewis & The News
Little River Band
Living Voices
Kenny Loggins
Nick Lowe
Frankie Lymon And The Teenagers
Chuck Mangione
Bob Marley
Paul McCartney and Wings
Delbert McClinton
Eddie Money
The Monotones
Van Morrison
Gary Myrick And the Figures
Ron Nagle
Randy Newman
Olivia Newton-John
Ted Nugent
The O’Jays
Carl Perkins
Tom Petty
Wilson Pickett
The Police
Jean-Luc Ponty
Elvis Presley
The Pretenders
Otis Redding
Little Richard
Lionel Richie
Kenny Rogers
The Rolling Stones
Linda Ronstadt
Sam & Dave
Bob Seger
The Sherbs
The Sir Douglas Quintet
Bruce Springsteen
Edwin Starr
Steely Steely Dan
The Stone City Band
James Taylor
Carla Thomas
Pete Townshend
Luther Vandross
Junior Walker
Grover Washington, Jr.
The Who
Stevie Wonder
Lauren Wood
Neil Young

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