CoCo the musical – a recording rarity in the Collection

Coco is remembered more for its star than the show itself.  The star, of course, was Katherine Hepburn (although the still alive Coco Chanel on whose life the musical is based may have mistakenly thought it was that other Hepburn, Audrey.  Other that THE star it had what looks like a solid pedigree: book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, music by Andre Previn, musical numbers and fashion sequence staged by Michael Bennett with sets and costumes by Cecil Beaton (who also did the Coco art-work).

It opened on Broadway on 18 December 1969 and was recorded on 8 January the following year – the Christmas and New Year celebrations ruined the traditional fist Sunday after opening recording date. The issue was rushed out, the sleeves having been already printed.  The sleeve note states: ‘refer to label for exact sequence.  Selections accurate as of 12/ 9/69’ (9 December).

When Miss Hepburn received her rushed copy she did not like what she heard – after all she was not the strongest singer – and stopped the album issue for it to be re-mixed and ‘improved’ and re-issued.  That was done.  However, some copies of the original issue managed find their way to other people.  

How do you know if you have the ‘original’?   On the plastic next to the label there is a hand etched number – for this it is: LPS 76957 – 513 on the A Side and LPS 76958 – 5 on the B Side.  The issue sold in the shops was etched: LPS 76957 on the A Side – 6 and LPS 76958 – 6 on the B Side.

RSB                                                           Illustrations from the Overtures Collections