May 9, 2017

20,000 Vinyl LPs 86: Battlefield Earth ~ L. Ron Hubbard & Scientology

Battlefield Earth
illustration by Gerry Grace
Vinyl LP album cover detail
detail photo by Styrous®

Today, May 9, 2017, is the birthday of Scientology, a body of religious beliefs and practices created in 1954 by American author L. Ron Hubbard.  More specifically, the process is called, Dianetics.  

Battlefield Earth is a music album and soundtrack companion to the novel Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard, released in 1982. Hubbard composed the music for the album. It is a 1984 Re-Issue of the album, Space Jazz, originally issued on December 23, 1982.  

The album features the jazz greats, Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke; also performing are Fernando Gamboa, Tomo Alllison, Charlie Rush, Nicky Hopkins, Rick Cruzen and Tamia Arbuckle. The album features music performed on the Fairlight CMI synthesizer played by Nicky Hopkins.     

The album was recorded in Los Angeles in 1982 and released by Applause Records. A 1983 press release put out by the Church of Spiritual Technology subsidiary company Author Services Inc. marketed the concept album as "the only original sound track ever produced for a book before it becomes a movie".    

Battlefield Earth
illustration by Gerry Grace
Vinyl LP album front cover 
photo by Styrous®

The film, Battlefield Earth, was released on May 12, 2000. Battlefield Earth (also referred to as Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000) is an American science fiction action film based upon the first half of the L. Ron Hubbard 1982 novel of the same name. Directed by Roger Christian and starring John Travolta, Barry Pepper and Forest Whitaker, the film depicts an Earth that has been under the rule of the alien Psychlos for 1,000 years and tells the story of the rebellion that develops when the Psychlos attempt to use the surviving humans as gold miners   

Battlefield Earth
Vinyl LP album back cover  photo by Styrous®

Travolta, a long-time Scientologist, had sought for years to make a film of the novel by Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. He was unable to obtain funding from any major studio due to concerns about the film's script, prospects, and connections with Scientology.       

Battlefield Earth
Vinyl LP album gatefold cover  photo by Styrous®

Battlefield Earth was released on May 12, 2000. The film was a critical and commercial failure, and has been called one of the worst films of all time. Reviewers panned the film, criticizing virtually every aspect of the production including Travolta's acting, overuse of angled shots and slow-motion, poor script, several plot holes and narrative inconsistencies, art direction, and dialogue. Audiences were reported to have ridiculed early screenings and stayed away from the film after its opening weekend, which led to Battlefield Earth failing to recoup its costs.    

The film went on to receive a total of eight Golden Raspberry Awards, which until 2012 was the most Razzie Awards (link below) given to a single film, additionally winning Worst Picture of the Decade in 2010. It has since become a cult film. There is a link below to a delightful video on "The Making of a RAZZIE".   

Battlefield Earth
Vinyl LP album gatefold interior photo by Styrous®

from Wikipedia:

Travolta had converted to Scientology in 1975 and subsequently became one of the Church of Scientology's most prominent supporters. Hubbard sent him an autographed copy of Battlefield Earth when the book was first published in 1982; he reportedly hoped that Travolta would turn the book into a film "in the vein of Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind". While Travolta was interested, his influence in Hollywood at the time was at a low after participating in a series of flops. He gained renewed influence with the success of the 1994 film Pulp Fiction, which garnered Travolta an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.    

He had not forgotten Hubbard's wishes to see the book on the big screen and took on the task of making Battlefield Earth into a movie. Travolta described the book in interviews as "like Pulp Fiction for the year 3000" and "like Star Wars, only better". He lobbied influential figures in Hollywood to fund the project and was reported to have recruited the aid of fellow Scientologists in promoting it. According to Bill Mechanic, the former head of 20th Century Fox, "John wanted me to make Battlefield Earth. He had Scientologists all over me. They come up to you and they know who you are. And they go, 'We're really excited about Battlefield Earth.'" This did not impress Mechanic: "Do you think in any way, shape, or form that weirding me out is going to make me want to make this movie?" 

Battlefield Earth
Vinyl LP, side 1
photo by Styrous®

Battlefield Earth
Vinyl LP, label detail, side 1
photo by Styrous®

Ronald DeWolf, the son of Hubbard, filed a probate case in November 1982, after his father had not made any public appearances since 1980, requesting to be appointed trustee of Hubbard's estate on the grounds that his father was missing or dead. In 1983, attorneys representing Hubbard produced a letter in Hubbard's handwriting and with his fingerprints, in which he wrote that he had not had a leadership role in the Church of Scientology for "nearly 17 years", and mentioned his new novel Battlefield Earth, his recently released album Space Jazz, and 10-volume novel Mission Earth. "I am actively writing, having published Battlefield Earth, and my Space Jazz album; a projected ten-volume work, Mission Earth, is in the pre-publication stage at the moment", according to Hubbard's statement. In conjunction with the release of Hubbard's letter, Church of Scientology President Heber Jentzsch told the press that Hubbard had produced Space Jazz around December 1982, and wrote the majority of songs and lyrics for the computer-based music on the album.  

Battlefield Earth
Vinyl LP, side 2
photo by Styrous®

Battlefield Earth
Vinyl LP, label detail, side 1
photo by Styrous®

According to a 1987 statement from Norman F. Starkey, the executor of Hubbard's estate, the copyright to Hubbard's works passed to the Church of Scientology after his death.    


Side 1:

A1     Golden Era Of Sci Fi     3:27
A2     Funeral Of A Planet     3:25
A3     March Of The Psychlos     3:14
A4     Terl, The Security Director     3:20
A5     Jonnie     3:38
A6     Windsplitter     3:11
A7     The Mining Song     3:12

Side 1:

B1     The Drone     3:06
B2     Mankind Unites     2:59
B3     Alien Visitors Attack     3:38
B4     The Banker     3:19
B5     Declaration Of Peace     4:24
B6     Earth, My Beautiful Home     3:17


    Acoustic Bass – Stanley Clarke (tracks: A2, A6, A7, B4, B6)
    Composed By – L. Ron Hubbard (tracks: A1-A3, A5-B2, B4-B6), Leon Klatzkin (tracks: A1), Nacio Herb Brown (tracks: A4), Tamia Arbuckle (tracks: A1, A3, B3, B4)
    Composed By, Lyrics By – Rick Cruzen (tracks: A4)
    Computer [Fairlight Cmi], Piano, Synthesizer [Mini Moog] – Chick Corea (tracks: A5, A6, B4, B6)
    Computer [Fairlight Cmi], Synthesizer, Arranged By, Mixed By – Rick Cruzen
    Drums, Percussion – Fernando Gamboa, Tomo Allison (tracks: A1, A2, A6, B2-B6)
    Engineer – Bernie Kirsh
    Guitar, Bass, Voice – Tamia Arbuckle (tracks: A5, B1, B2, B4)
    Lyrics By – L. Ron Hubbard
    Percussion – Charlie Rush (tracks: A2, A5, B2, B3, B5)
    Piano, Computer [Fairlight Cmi] – Nicky Hopkins (tracks: A7, B4)
    Vocals – Paulette Otten (tracks: A2)
    Vocals, Chorus – Gayle Moran (tracks: A2, A5, B2, B5, B6)
    Voice – Mike Lemeron (tracks: A2), Ron Clifford (tracks: A2)
    Voice [Narration] – Norman Starkey (tracks: B5)


The Dynamic Music Soundtrack of the Book!

For the first time ever, a soundtrack is created from a book: L.Ron Hubbard's internationally bestselling novel, Battlefield Earth.

Recorded and Mixed at Mad Hatter Recording Studios in Los Angeles.
Gatefold Cover
(p)1982 L. Ron Hubbard
(c)1982, 1984 L. Ron Hubbard
Barcode and Other Identifiers

    Barcode (Scanned): 025259150115

L. Ron Hubbard ‎– Battlefield Earth
Label: BPI Records ‎– BPILP01
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: US
Released: 1984
Genre: Electronic, Jazz, Stage & Screen
Style: Soundtrack, Jazz-Rock, Synth-pop, Ambient

Net links:      
Battlefield Earth Plot      
Battlefield Earth Cast        
YouTube links:           
Battlefield Earth:         
The Making of a RAZZIE®               
Styrous® ~ Tuesday, May 9, 2017

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