Happy Anniversary: Arthur: The Album [Original Soundtrack]
37 years ago today, the soundtrack to a comedic motion picture about a loveable drunk named Arthur Bach first hit record store shelves, bringing with it the first opportunity for consumers to pick up not only Christopher Cross’s theme song for the film but also contributions by a few other notable names of the day.
There’s no question that the biggest hit and most fondly-remembered tune on ARTHUR: THE ALBUM was and remains “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do),” which was sung by the aforementioned Mr. Cross and co-written by Cross, Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer-Sager, and Peter Allen. Cross had originally been asked to write the score for the film, only for writer/director Steve Gordon to change his mind and hand that duty over to Bacharach, but Bacharach was kind enough to invite Cross to collaborate on the theme song.
“I went up to Burt and Carol’s and, you know, it was pretty intimidating,” Cross told Popdose in 2011. “I mean, certainly Carol I have tremendous regard for, but in the case of Burt, it was very intimidating. He was a huge influence on me and my craft throughout, as I think he is on just about all songwriters, and, fortunately, he’s intimidating because of the immense talent he has, but he’s not personally. He’s very warm, and he made me feel about as comfortable as I could…considering I was sitting with Burt Bacharach! But it was very wonderful. I got there about midnight, and it was about five in the morning when we finished the song. We ended up collaborating with Peter over the phone, in Australia. So it was a wonderful opportunity for me. It’s a moment I’ll always remember.”
The soundtrack also features five instrumental tracks by Bacharach, but Cross isn’t the only one to offer up vocals for the LP: Nicolette Larson, Ambrosia, and Stephen Bishop each have a song on the album. Granted, none of them proved to be anywhere close to as successful as Cross’s contribution, but at least it can be said that Cross and Bacharach are in good company.
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