Well, with everything I have here on the site, I got to wondering: How could I forget about Vince Guaraldi? He was responsible for a lot of the Peanuts music, after all. He came up with the very first character theme, Linus and Lucy. That being said, here is some information, and a short excerpt from the CD Vince Guaraldi: The Charlie Brown Suite & Other Favorites, as well as some tracks from two of the albums inspired by his music. Enjoy!
Vince Guaraldi happened onto the Peanuts scene practically by accident. He had composed a song entitled "Cast Your Fate To The Wind" on an album called Jazz Impressions Of Black Orpheus, released in 1963. That song was a B-side single. Surprisingly, it became very popular on the radio. Meanwhile, Lee Mendelson had been working on the first-ever Peanuts documentary. He happened to hear the song while riding in a taxi in San Francisco, where Guaraldi was born. He contacted the San Francisco chronicle and was able to get in touch with him. He asked Guaraldi to compose the music for the upcoming documentary.
Lee Mendelson writes: "I called Ralph Gleason, the jazz critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, and asked him if he knew Vince, which he did. It turned out Vince lived in San Francisco, and Ralph set up a date for me the next day. I met Vince for lunch at Original Joe's. I told him about the documentary, and asked him if he would be interested in developing a musical background for the show.A great fan of "Peanuts" and a father of two children, Vince was very excited about creating the score.
A few days later he called me. He was very excited. "I've got to play something for you." I replied: "I hate to listen to anything over the phone. Can I come down to your studio?" "No," he said. "I've GOT to play it right now, before I forget it. I haven't even written it down." So of course I said okay and he started to play.
I was blown away! It simply SOUNDED like the characters in "Peanuts". He finished playing and got on the phone. "What do you think?" He said. "It's sensational, perfect! Do you have a name for it yet?" "I thought we should call it "Linus and Lucy," he replied. Little did Vince and I know what that would mean to our futures."
After the documentary was released, the Coca-Cola company saw it, and wanted something more. They asked the team of Schulz and Melendez if they would do a Christmas special. Of course, Vince Guaraldi then created some of the most memorable music of all, such as Christmastime Is Here. But Linus and Lucy is the song that fans associate with Peanuts the most. Below are a few of Vince Guaraldi's masterpieces, from two separate albums, pictured below. Click on each file to save them to your computer.