Strategic Air Command/Young

October 29, 2012

Victor Young was a prolific composer and arranger being responsible for over 300 films, the majority of them for Paramount Pictures where he was head of the music department. Recently there have been several releases of his material and this adds to the growing list of scores made available for the very first time.  As a boy I remember seeing the film and being impressed at the wonderful flying photography shots. At the time I had no idea what VistaVisionwas all about and I may not have seen it with this wonderful process in place but it certainly didn’t take away from what I saw.
Based on a real-life general Clifford Schoeffler the film starred James Stewart, and June Allyson (their third film together the other two being Monty Stratton and Glenn Miller) and like many films of Stewart Anthony Mann was the director. Co-starring Frank Lovejoy, Barry Sullivan, Alex Nicol, and Bruce Bennett Paramount spared little expense and the film turned out to be one of the better grossing movies at the time.

While certainly not my favorite Young score (I prefer Around the World in 80 Days, For Whom the Bells Toll, and Shane) it is definitely one worth having in your collection and offers a wide variety of musical styles. Being made in 1955 it was one of the last scores that Young would do as he passed away the following year. My initial impression, especially with the “Prelude” is that it came right out of the pages of Victory at Sea.”

The opening “Prelude” begins with a short introduction which leads the listener to a male chorus singing the military style patriotic march, a catchy melody though a bit outdated. He chose to use this original tune instead of “The Wild Blue Yonder” and it was a good decision. It concludes with the love theme a melody that Young offers on many tracks and every bit as heartfelt as “Love Letters,” “Stella by Starlight,” or “My Foolish Heart.” A long introduction with references to “Around the World in 80 Days” (actually the other way around) leads to his famous singing strings style of the Sally theme making you wants to get up and dance and hold that special person. “S.A.C.” Security” begins with dissonant chords which are an introduction to a “Wild Blue Yonder” variation with chords of material that hint at “Shane” mixed in nicely with the “Prelude” theme. “Radar Bombing Run” gives an impression of an underwater sequence before it returns to the Sally theme. The bonus tracks include the “Prelude” without vocal and are a rousing version with harmony from the strings ending with the love theme. “Air Force March” is the main theme arranged for a marching or military band giving you a feeling of patriotism. The “End Title” is another version of the “Prelude” and conveys a sense of patriotism. I’ve included this track as an audio clip to introduce you to the two main themes. 17 – Prelude

Your first couple of listens is going to make it seem like this score is duo thematic but upon repeated listens you’ll grow to enjoy the subtle nature of the score as Victor uses endless variations and harmonies. Lately there seems to be several releases of Victor Young and we can no longer make the comment he is forgotten thanks to Kritzerland and Quartet records. Recommended.


1…. Prelude (2:22)

2….Sally’s Surprise (1:49)

3….S.A.C. Security (2:25)

4….Air Force Luxury (1:15)

5….First Flight (parts 1 &3) (5:40)

6… The First Flight (part 4) (4:43)

7….Who’s on Third (2:48)

8….Ill Fated Flight (parts 1&2) (9:50)

9….Babies and B47’s (4:29)

10…Radar Bombing Run (parts 1&2) (4:00)

11…Signs of Trouble (2:30)

12…Dutch’s Decision/Marital Rift (1:25)

13…Destination Japan/In Flight Refueling (6:07)

14…A Paralyzed Pilot (part 1) (4:28)

15…A Paralyzed Pilot (part 2) (2:56)

16…End Title (1:04)


17…Prelude (2:21)

18…Housewarming Piano (1:40)

19…Air Force March (1:32)

20…Sky Symphony (1:42)

21…End Title (1:02)




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