For the Record: Confessions of a Vinyl-Soundtrack Junkie
Bruce K. Hanson, author
In his new book, For the Record: Confessions of a Vinyl-Soundtrack Junkie, Bruce K. Hanson explores his life-long obsession with collecting movie soundtracks and Broadway cast recordings by connecting them with anecdotes about growing up gay in the late sixties and early seventies, performing on stage, teaching theatre and visual arts, and coping with the little challenges that life offers on a regular basis. Bruce’s narrative manages to be honest, accessible, and engaging, making him immensely likable while the humor helps keep the narrative moving. Readers who have seen the films or heard the tunes will enjoy being reminded of them, those who haven’t may find themselves curious enough to seek them out, and other collectors will no doubt love finding a kindred spirit. With chapter titles such as "Me and Juliet," "Those Glorious MGM Musicals," "Pillow Talk," "From Russia with Love," and "Cinderella," Bruce leaves no stone unturned as he warmly recalls stories about being a gay adolescent, a father, a teacher, and above all, a collector of vinyl. His knowledge about different recordings is impressive and nicely paired with a personal, relatable tone. The vivid imagery he conveys is absurdly wonderful: acting out The Wizard of Oz in front of his sixth grade class, falling asleep with a cherished record next to his pillow, buying records in a dirty rundown gas station. Whether describing amusingly embarrassing moments in life or being delightfully naughty, Bruce provides escapist fare for anyone who has ever loved a movie musical, a Broadway musical comedy, or has just been in love.
Hanson (The Peter Pan Chronicles) describes a fascination with musicals and their recorded soundtracks in this charming and informative story of his life as a “record geek.” Growing up in the 1960s, Hanson spent “joyful afternoons studying album covers and reading liner notes.” At age 12 he sold his comic books (Batman, Superman, etc.), making a beeline to a Manhattan record store to spend half his $200 profit. Hanson guides readers through his life and his treasured record collection, segueing neatly between recording trivia and anecdotes from his formative years as a “soundtrack junkie.” His parents didn’t expect this “dreamer” to amount to anything. Hanson adored singer Rosemary Clooney when he was eight, later moving on to follow Judy Garland, June Allyson, Barbara Cook, Debbie Reynolds, and other performers of the time. He also shares an interesting interview with Mary Martin, who played Peter Pan on Broadway. He attended high school on Staten Island, N.Y., and later continued studies in theatre arts, pottery, and sculpture, eventually becoming a visual arts teacher. Collectors will be entertained by Hanson’s impressive knowledge of records, including their graphics, cover art, and production details; his well-crafted and often humorous prose deftly conjures up the bygone era of musical theater’s golden age. (BookLife)