UK album release: The Family Way

On this day the soundtrack to the 1966 film The Family Way was released. It was mostly composed by Paul McCartney.

The film was released on 18 December 1966, and was directed by Roy Boulting and produced by his brother John. The Family Way starred John Mills and his daughter Hayley, and was adapted from Bill Naughton’s 1963 play All In Good Time.

The Family Way album artwork - Paul McCartney

The soundtrack was scored by McCartney and George Martin, and was released under the name The George Martin Orchestra, The Family Way (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack). It won an Ivor Novello Award in 1967.

It was issued by Decca as SKL 4847. Decca may have turned down The Beatles in 1962, but they did have the consolation of releasing an award-winning LP of Paul McCartney’s music. The album was remastered and released on CD in 1996, and again in 2011.

If you are blessed with the ability to write music, you can turn your hand to various forms. I’ve always admired people for whom it’s a craft – the great songwriting partners of the past, such as Rodgers and Hammerstein, or Cole Porter. I’ve admired the fact that they can write a musical and they can do a film score.

So film scores were an interesting diversion for me, and with George Martin being able to write and orchestrate – and being pretty good at it – I got an offer through the Boulting Brothers for him and me to do some film music for The Family Way.

I had a look at the film and though it was great. I still do. It’s very powerful and emotional – soppy, but good for its time. I wanted brass-band music; because with The Beatles we got into a lot of different kinds of music, but maybe brass band was a little too Northern and ‘Hovis’. I still loved it. My dad had played trumpet and his dad had been in a brass band, so I had those leanings. For the film I got something together that was sort of ‘brassy bandy’, to echo the Northernness of the story, and I had a great time.

We got an Ivor Novello Award for the score – for the best film song that year, a piece called ‘Love In The Open Air’, which Johnny Mercer was nearly going to put lyrics to, but I didn’t know who he was. Later I realised, ‘Oh, that Johnny Mercer! You mean the greatest lyricist on the planet!’ I should have done that. Never mind – it fell through – but it was good fun doing the music.

Paul McCartney

The soundtrack was issued in the United States on 12 June 1967.

Last updated: 7 June 2022
Recording: Penny Lane, Carnival Of Light
Recording: Penny Lane
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  1. Márcio Ivam. Saturday 28 August 2010

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