Composed and Conducted by DAVID SHIRE

Planned – but never released – 1979 David Shire soundtrack album from Joan Tewkesbury drama starring Talia Shire finally becomes available on CD! A soundtrack for Old Boyfriends had been planned at the time the film’s release, but due to the film’s poor performance the album was cancelled.  However, an LP had already been assembled and pressed, with some copies released for promotional purposes.  The album was quite rare.  The music elements were safely stored by Sony Music for several decades before Intrada pursued this release, now making David Shire’s beautiful and important score available for all who want it.

In the 1979 film OLD BOYFRIENDS, Talia Shire plays Dianne, a psychologist who hops in her car and drives back through a series of past romances in the soul-searching wake of a suicide attempt.  Dianne flits through each of her “old boyfriends” lives like chapters in her diary, searching for answers to the romantic and existential questions that plague her.  David Shire composed music for each of these chapters, as if they were their own musical movements.  The score starts with a bang—a brassy declaration of Shire’s main theme churned by a rhythm on spin cycle.  From there Shire crafts a lyrical theme for each of Dianne’s resurrected relationships, culminating in a grand, old-fashioned love theme for viola that became a staple in Shire’s concerts. “It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever written,” Shire says of the melody assigned to Dianne and Wayne and adopted as the score’s main theme.  Shire scores the relationship between Dianne and Jeff with warm and mature rekindling, interlaced with a secondary idea for clarinet and then piano.  For Dianne’s high school boyfriend, Eric (Belushi)—who is trapped in time playing in a band at proms and renting formal wear to prom-goers— Shire assigns a melancholic, pop-flavored tune for piano, orchestra and rock rhythm section.


Sterling cast surrounding Talia Shire includes Keith Carradine, Richard Jordan, John Houseman, John Belushi. Story of Talia Shire’s dissolving marriage and her reflections on previous troubled relationships affords composer David Shire ample opportunity to write multiple themes, each with unique melodic lines, harmonic colors. Highly dramatic ideas also weave into tapestry. Shire anchors with gorgeous love theme for Dianne & Wayne, uses it as main building block but allows numerous other themes to share spotlight as well. Aggressive, charged main title launches score in propulsive mode, then individual thematic ideas emerge as score progresses. Brief but powerful! Interestingly, distributor Avco Embassy had confidence in Academy Award potential of Shire’s score, engaged Columbia Records to prepare soundtrack album featuring 31 minutes of Shire’s work (plus four unrelated standards sung by John Belushi), then promoted demo album for voting consideration. Commercial LP was planned but then cancelled. Actual stereo album masters remained locked in Sony vaults until now. Crisp recording by Dan Wallin brings considerable impact, detail to orchestral performance. Though score ultimately did not win recognition it deserved, composer was able to reprise main love theme many years later in his successful 2007 musical Take Flight about the history of early aviation. Now Shire fans can finally enjoy Old Boyfriends in the world premiere release of his score, presented as he originally produced and assembled it for album release back in 1979. Notes by Tim Greiving provide details about this rare score, Joe Sikoryak package design features original campaign artwork. David Shire conducts.

Label: Intrada Special Collection Volume ISC 311
Date: 1979
Time: 31:50
Tracks: 11


01. Main Title (1:40)
02. Love Scene: Dianne & Jeff (3:57)
03. Motel Mirror/To Minneapolis (2:02)
04. Love Scene: Dianne & Eric (3:00)
05. To Luddington (3:16)
06. Luddington Walk (4:11)

07. To The Arbor (1:10)
08. Love Scene: Dianne & Wayne (Theme From Old Boyfriends) (2:46)
09. The Return/ The Bathtub/Housecleaning (2:09)
10. Jeff Returns/Finale (4:12)
11. End Title (Theme From Old Boyfriends) (2:58)