We're thrilled to announce a vinyl reissue of the PEANUTS classic, A Boy Named Charlie Brown. Featuring nine evocative cues from the Vince Guaraldi Trio, the album has been newly remastered from the original analog tapes by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio.
In stores July 16 and available for pre-order today, the LP also includes a special bonus: eight collectible baseball cards that showcase Charlie Brown’s team of misfits: Snoopy, Woodstock, Peppermint Patty, Linus and Lucy Van Pelt, Franklin Armstrong, Schroeder, and, of course, manager and pitcher, Charlie Brown. On the back of the cards are key stats for each player, including their field position and favorite sandwich.
A Boy Named Charlie Brown will also be offered in three colorful variants, including a green-grass pressing at Target, a sky-blue version for Vinyl Me Please, plus a special baseball mitt-brown edition at the Secrets-of-affiliatemarketing Store, limited to 350 units.
Additionally, one of the most memorable tracks off the album, the up-tempo “Baseball Theme,” will be available for the very first time as a standalone, 7-inch single—exclusively for Record Store Day 2021. Offering the original, 1964 soundtrack version of the song, plus an alternative studio take, the limited-edition release is pressed on white vinyl and housed in a colorful jacket, featuring whimsical, baseball-themed images of Charlie Brown and Snoopy. Visit recordstoreday.com for a list of participating indie retailers.
In the early ’60s, Bay Area jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi was a fast-rising star. A frequent collaborator of vibraphonist Cal Tjader’s, Guaraldi had broken out on his own just a few years prior, releasing several records as a leader. But it was 1962’s Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus that made Guaraldi a household name. Inspired by the French/Brazilian film Black Orpheus, the album featured both original material and covers from the Academy Award-winning picture, including Guaraldi’s instrumental composition, “Cast Your Fate to the Wind.” The song became a breakout hit across the country and earned the artist a GRAMMY® Award.
Concurrently, just across town, producer Lee Mendelson was working on a TV documentary about cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, the creator of the PEANUTS comic strip. But he was still searching for the perfect music to accompany the film. One afternoon, Mendelson caught “Cast Your Fate to the Wind” on the radio. As soon as he heard it, he knew Guaraldi was the man for the job.
His instinct was spot-on. Guaraldi’s sophisticated recordings—which also featured the talents of bassist Monty Budwig and drummer Colin Bailey—instantly brought the PEANUTS characters to life. In the 2012 book Vince Guaraldi at the Piano (Derrick Bang, McFarland & Company, Inc.), Mendelson recalled that the score “just blew me away. It was so right, and so perfect, for Charlie Brown and the other characters…There was a sense, even before it was put to animation, that there was something very, very special about that music.”
While the documentary—titled A Boy Named Charlie Brown—never made it to the airwaves, Guaraldi’s score was released by Fantasy Records as Jazz Impressions of a Boy Named Charlie Brown in 1964. Several of the album’s compositions (including the iconic “Linus and Lucy”) appeared a year later in the hit TV special, A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Thanks to the massive popularity of the animated holiday classic—and its best-selling soundtrack—the score to A Boy Named Charlie Brown was reissued with the abbreviated title in 1972. By then, the growing PEANUTS animated franchise included multiple spinoffs, including Charlie Brown’s All Stars! (which featured “Baseball Theme”); It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown; and You’re in Love, Charlie Brown.
The album was an instant success, thanks to such memorable tracks as the lilting “Oh, Good Grief,” the reflective “Happiness Is,” the lively “Charlie Brown Theme,” and the buoyant “Frieda (With the Naturally Curly Hair).” Guaraldi, meanwhile, would score a total of 15 PEANUTS specials during his lifetime, with 1976’s It’s Arbor Day, Charlie Brown being his final project. Just hours after completing the recording, Guaraldi died from a sudden heart attack. He was just 47.
While a massive gap was left in the PEANUTS music universe after his death, Guaraldi left behind an immeasurable legacy. Thanks to his vibrant music, generations of children have been introduced to the joys of jazz with every broadcast of the PEANUTS specials. Today, the passion for his enduring work continues to grow. His most popular title, A Charlie Brown Christmas, remains one of the best-selling holiday releases of all time and has the rare distinction of being one of only two jazz albums to be certified 4x platinum by the RIAA.