By Gerrit Graham

(alias "Beef")

Last Updated 18th June 1999

(When you click on the blue/dark red below you will be taken to a page with more detailed information.)

The Introduction

Just a minute there, buster/bustress! This isn't just another soundtrack album; it's the soundtrack of Brian De Palma's Phantom of the Paradise, and it's different from what you're used to in the way of movie soundtracks. For the first thing, the selections on the album are all songs, genuine rock & Roll ditties such as you might (and, with luck, will) hear on the radio. No nebulous mood music, no weirdo 17-second filler bits.

For another thing, all the songs were written by the tiny-but-beloved Paul Williams (who also stars in the movie). Paul is best known, of course, for the million-sellers others have had with his songs: the "Rainy Days And Mondays" (click here for the lyrics of this song) and "We've Only Just Begun" (click here for the lyrics of this song), Three Dog Night's "Just An Old Fashioned Love Song" click here for the lyrics of this song). But Paul is no stranger to the cinematic side of music-making, having scored Cinderella Liberty and The ABC Movie of the Week three times. (actually, he's no stranger to the cinema, period - he was in The Chase with Brando, he was the warped ten-year-old rocket freak who shot people's dead poodles into eternal orbit in The Loved One, and he played the orang-utan war counsellor, Virgil, in Battle for the Planet of the Apes).

The songs he's written for Phantom of the Paradise range from Fifties rock 'n' roll through surf-tunes, lush ballads, and pop-rock, to the metallic glitz-blasts of the Seventies.

The tracks were laid by Paul's band - Art Munson-guitar; Gary "Boom Boom" Mallaber-drums; Colin Cameron-bass; and David Garland-sax and keyboards - with studio help from Craig Doerge, Mike Melvoin, and Tom Scott. The lead vocals are handled for the most part by the actors who sing the songs in the film.

Now let's get an idea of what's going on here:

The Story

Brilliant-but-niave young composer Winslow Leach writes brilliant-but-unwieldy cantata based on Faust, the brilliant-but-crazy magician who sold his soul to Old Nick.



Swan cons the young composer out of his music, transforms it into boffo Top-40 hits, and uses the same to open his new rock mecca, The Paradise, after setting Winslow up for a stretch in the slams.



Winslow breaks out and trashes the warehouse of Death Records, Swan's label, permanently disfiguring himself in the process by falling into a record press.

He turns Phantom, replete with bizarro outfit, and sets out to trash The Paradise.

Swan makes him a deal:

"Lay off The Paradise, and your brilliant-but-innocent girlfriend, Phoenix, can sing the lead role."

Another trick of course - Swan signs brilliant-but-peculiar glitter queen Beef to sing the lead. The Phantom catches the drift and gets back into his trash bag, leading to a flaming debacle of a finale during which many Waterloos are met.

That's the barest skeleton of the plot, which fleshes out with plenty of hairy turns and lots of funny stuff which must be seen to be appreciated/believed.

The Songs

When you click on a song title below you will be taken to the lyrics for that song.

'Goodbye, Eddie, Goodbye,' done in letter-perfect Fifties style by Swan's latest chart-busting creation, the Juicy Fruits, opens the film in a club in which Winslow Leach, in the break between Juicy Fruits sets, sings and plays...

'Faust,' the title song of his rock cantata. No one listens but Swan, whose henchman doubletalks Winslow out of the score. Swan reworks the song into...

'Upholstery,' a surf revival, for the which the Juicy Fruits have become the Beach Bums. Winslow skulking around The Paradise, hears this travesty and goes berserk. Swan makes the deal to let Phoenix sing, after she auditions with...

'Special For Me - Phoenix Audition Song'.

'Phantom's Theme - Beauty and the Beast' - does that voice sound familiar? It's Paul singing, but in the film it's the pseudo-voice he creates for Winslow (whose tubes were messed up in that industrial mishap), so Winslow can rewrite the cantata, which finally gets under way with ...

'Somebody Super Like You - Beef Construction Song'. Further perverting Winslow's concept Swan transmogrifies the Juicy Fruits/Beach Bums into the Undeads, who squirm their way through this decadent plea, leading up to ...

'Life At Last,' a thunder-footed distorto-rocker sung by Beef, the very sight of whom brings Winslow howling out of the catacombs in an orgiastic frenzy of destruction. With the place in shambles and the crowd screaming for more, Swan's thugs shove Phoenix on stage to sing ...

'Old Souls' and needless to say she wows 'em. Swan signs her body and soul while the Phantom plots his next move - to find out what it is, see the movie, which closes with ...

'The Hell Of It, a perfect valedictory for this tragic histoire.

The Singers

Paul Williams (Swan) we've covered; hear him on A&M releases, Just An Old Fashioned Love Song, Life Goes On, Here Comes Inspiration and the new A Little Bit of Love.

William Finley (Winslow Leach, the Phantom) is a veteran of the New York avant-garde theatre circuit, having worked with and creative material for the Performance Group, the Open Theatre, and the La Marna E.T.C.

His association with Brian De Palma has covered many projects, the most recent (previous to Phantom of the Paradise) being his superbly creepy performance in Sisters.

Jessica Harper (Phoenix) was featured in "Dr. Selavy's Music Theatre" in New York, and appears on the album of the show. She's worked on both T.V. and film, and is now set for a juicy part in Woody Allen's latest extravaganza, in which, she says, she "gets to be funny".

Archie Hahn (Juicy Fruits/Beach Bums/Undeads): Archie worked in the L.A. wing of the improvisational revue the Committee, and in National Lampoon's "Lemmings" in New York.

He likes to consider himself "just another guy workin' hard to become an institution." That's him singing "Goodbye, Eddie, Goodbye."

Harold Oblong (Juicy Fruits/Beach Bums/Undeads) also saw action in the Committee, and is well remembered for the nasty job on Donovan in "Lemmings." He choreographed the group members in the film and sings "Somebody Super Like You." Usually thought of as shy and retiring, he has an ego the size of a house.

Jeffery Comanor (Juicy Fruits/Beach Bums/Undeads) was signed by Brian Epstein, wrote the B-sides for The Fifth Dimension, and two songs for "Midnight Cowboy", has collaborated with Shel Silverstein, and has recorded for Vanguard, A&M, and currently Epic, with one eponymously titled album out now, and another on its way, which he hopes will be called "Thanks For The Advance, Suckers."

Ray Kennedy (the voice of Beef, played in the film by Gerrit Graham) was at one time an A&M artist, and is now recording for Columbia. He has written for the Beach Boys and Jeff Beck, and played sax with Gerry Mulligan, Little Richard, Otis Redding, and Wilson Picket.

The Big Shots

Brian De Palma's directing career began when he and William Finley were among the few men attending Sarah Lawrence. His best-known films are "Greetings", "Hi Mom", Get To Know Your Rabbit" and "Sisters"; among his discoveries are Allen Garfield and Robert De Niro. (See an interview with Brian DePalma here )

Edward R. Pressman, with his partner, Paul Williams (different fella), has produced "The Revolutionary", "Sisters" and "Badlands." They're currently working on "The Secret Life of Plants."





Thanks to Judy Reboy for the above information and images. Read an extract of Judy's interview with Paul Williams for "ANiMATO" Magazine here

Click on one of the headings below to find out more about the
"Phantom Of The Paradise"

- Track Listing For This Paul Williams Album

- What's It All About? - My Review Of The "Phantom Of The Paradise" Album

- Sleeve Notes From "Phantom Of The Paradise"

- Interview (Dated 1975) with Brian DePalma, The Director of "Phantom Of The Paradise"

- Horror's Ultimate Rock Opena?  - Retrospective Reflections on "Phantom Of The Paradise" from Shiver Magazine

- The 'Lost' Tracks From "Phantom Of The Paradise"

- Paul Plays Piano In "Phantom Of The Paradise"

- Where To Get The Sheet Music For "Phantom Of The Paradise"

- See Pictures Of Paul Williams As Swan In The "Swan Picture Gallery"

- List Of Other Web Pages About 'Phantom Of The Paradise'

Hear some rather fun (and rather short) extracts from
'Phantom Of The Paradise' in "The Daily .Wav"
(Thanks to Sarah for telling me about this page)

Return to Paul Williams' Music and Acting Home Page

Email me, David Chamberlayne, at:

Background image by Infinite Fish