The Right Stuff

Chalk one up for progress.

I’ve been a long time fan of the movie, The Right Stuff. I love its portrayal of the US Air Force test pilots and the astronauts of the budding space program. A major contributor to the overall feel of the movie is the soaring score by Bill Conti. In the intervening years, I’ve always wondered why I could never find a decent recording of the soundtrack.

Thanks to HDtracks, now I know why.

When released, the film performed poorly at the box office and the Ladd Company pulled the plans to release a soundtrack. Over time, the master tapes were lost. A double CD with select tracks from The Right Stuff as well as the television miniseries North and South, was produced at Conti’s own expense. However, something like that wouldn’t really satisfy a die-hard fan… like me.

Lo and behold, however, one night I was browsing the soundtrack section of HDtracks and came across The Right Stuff. This was the album that supposed to be released with the movie, resurrected from the dead by the composer himself. (He had kept the tapes produced during the mixing sessions.)

Content-wise, it’s all I could’ve hoped for. Sonically, the release has a few warts – you can clearly hear edits on some tracks and the stirring finale, “Yeager’s Triumph” is decidedly panned off-center.

Despite all that, I love every minute of it. Ok, maybe not the last track with its (now) hilariously outdated 80’s aesthetic, but the rest of it is pure gold.

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