Hal Ashby’s 1971 film about the unlikely friendship-turned-love story of suicidal teenager Harold Chasen (played by Bud Cort) and 79-year-old free spirit Maude (played by Ruth Gordon) is now widely praised as a bona fide cult classic. Filled with dark humor and existential drama, the film represents the potentially glorious benefits that can arise from a balanced partnership between conservative pragmatism and colorful free-spirited idealism. It reveals the deep lying synergy that exists between seemingly opposing views and how, when united, they can flourish to their mutual advantage.
The movie’s success and cult status has in part been bolstered by its whimsical and poignant soundtrack, in which all songs are performed by Cat Stevens. Originally not wanting to release the soundtrack in fear of it being perceived as a “greatest hits” album in the early days of his career, film director Hal Ashby had to do some convincing. Having listened to songs from landmark albums Mona Bone Jakon and Tea For The Tillerman whilst editing “Harold and Maude,” Ashby knew from the start that he wanted exclusively Stevens’ songs to sonically narrate his film, and after a significant campaign, Ashby won Stevens over and thus, the soundtrack was brought to life.
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the film’s release, the latest edition of the soundtrack will combine Cat Stevens’ nine original songs, as well as additional dialogue and instrumental music from the film for the first time. Previously unheard audio masters have been discovered in the Island Records/A&M archive for “Don’t Be Shy” and “If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out,” and all audio has been remastered at world renowned Abbey Road Studios. This edition will also feature enhanced packaging including liner notes, lyrics, transcription of movie dialogue, and photos from the Paramount Pictures production.