February 8, 2017

45 RPMs 10: A Tribute To James Dean

photos by Styrous®

Today, Wednesday, February 8, is the birthday of James Dean. So, I had to dip into my vinyl sea to find something for a tribute to him and reeled in this gem. 

This 45 RPM tribute album features the main titles from two of the films James Dean starred in, East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause.   

Tribute To James Dean
45 RPM record sleeve back

The scores for East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause, both (1955), were written by Oscar and Emmy Awards winner, Leonard Rosenman. They are performed on this recording by the Warner Brother Orchestra conducted by Academy Award winner Ray Heindorf.    

East of Eden (1955)
movie poster     


East of Eden was directed by Elia Kazan, and loosely based on the second half of the 1952 novel of the same name by John Steinbeck. It is about a wayward young man who, while seeking his own identity, vies for the affection of his deeply religious father against his favored brother, thus retelling the story of Cain and Abel. The film was released on March 9, 1955.    

Rebel Without a Cause was an attempt to portray the moral decay of American youth, critique parental style, and explore the differences and conflicts between generations. The title was adopted from the 1944 book, Rebel Without a Cause: The Hypnoanalysis of a Criminal Psychopath. written by psychiatrist Robert M. Lindner. The film itself, however, does not reference the Lindner book. Warner Bros. released the film on October 27, 1955, 

This seems to have been a banner year for teenage rebellion as the same year, Blackboard Jungle was released between the two Dean films on March 25th, 1955 (see link below).   

Tribute To James Dean
side 1: East of Eden
45 RPM record

I have reasoned, perhaps the theme for Giant was not on the album as the score was written by another composer, Dimitri Tiomkin. Also, 45's were limited in length of time; that could have also been a factor.   

Tribute To James Dean
side 1: East of Eden, record label detail
45 RPM record

James Byron Dean, born February 8, 1931, died on September 30, 1955, was an American actor who is remembered as a cultural icon of teenage disillusionment and social estrangement. This was expressed in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause (1955), in which he starred as troubled teenager, Jim Stark. The other two roles that defined his stardom were as loner Cal Trask, in East of Eden (1955) and surly ranch hand, Jett Rink, in Giant (1956).   

Tribute To James Dean
side 2: Rebel Without a Cause
45 RPM record

Dean's death in a car crash at the age of 24 ensured his legendary "Star" status. He was the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, and remains the only actor to have had two posthumous acting nominations. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked him the 18th best male movie star of Golden Age Hollywood in AFI's 100 Years...100 Stars list.   

Tribute To James Dean
side 1: East of Eden, record label detail
45 RPM record

"Dream as if you'll live forever. 
Live as if you'll die today."
                               ~ James Dean

photo by Phil Stern

Net links:       
The Wild One ~ 1953 12" 45 EP          
Music themes on YouTube:              
East of Eden       
Rebel Without a Cause        

Styrous® ~ Wednesday, February 8, 2017 


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