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Summer Magic: PINBALL SUMMER Co-composer Jay Boivin

French-Canadian musicians Jay Boivin and Germain Gauthier have made one of the most iconic Canadian pop soundtracks of the tax shelter era available once again. More than 30 years ago, the pair’s score for the Canadian teen comedy PINBALL SUMMER offered up a nostalgic panorama of sunny ’70s pop that channeled the surf-kissed California coastline by way of chilly Montreal. Comparing the music of PINBALL SUMMER with that of other Canadian teen pics of the era, such as HOG WILD, POWDER HEADS or even the mighty PORKY’S, reveals just how unique–and undeniably catchy–Jay and Germain’s contribution to Canadian genre film remains.

Released on the St. Laurent-based label Celsius Records in 1980, the soundtrack LP has become quite rare, often fetching high prices from collectors. But the soundtrack’s composer/performer team have now remastered their classic album and have made it easily available as either a limited edition autographed CD directly from the artists, or as a download from iTunes, CDBaby or your online retailer of choice.

With this new version of the soundtrack available for a new generation of cult film fans discovering the film on dusty VHS cast-offs, co-composer Jay Boivin agreed to discuss some of his thoughts on putting together this landmark Canadian pop soundtrack.

Did you and Germain release music together before the PINBALL SUMMER soundtrack?

Yes, we had released an album called “Sea Cruise,” which featured a 12-minute Beach Boys medley. It was distributed in 27 countries and was very successful. This sort of set up the deal to do the PINBALL SUMMER score the following year.

How did you get involved in PINBALL SUMMER?

Bob Presner, the line producer on PINBALL SUMMER, approached us about doing the music because he had heard our album. We decided to do it–I saw it as a great opportunity to do a film score.

Did you see the film before composing your songs?

Yes, they sent me a copy of the rough cut of the film. We watched it over and over again until I knew exactly where songs should go. Of course, the director, George Mihalka, had given us specific instructions as well.

How did doing a film score differ from doing straight ahead pop music?

Germain and I are both singer-songwriters and have written for many artists. Doing the PINBALL SUMMER soundtrack was more like straight-ahead rock. We wrote and recorded everything in 10 days and it worked that way, it had that edge. On the other hand, the music we did as Jay & Germain was a much more intricate, fragile and finessed style of music.  Usually when we sit down to write a song we come up with a very rich, tempered sound.

Do you have a particular favorite track on the album?

“Summer Magic” is my favourite–I think it’s just a great pop single. The way it’s been remastered now, the song just sounds so fresh–I hear every part in great detail. It just rocks!

What is your fondest memory of writing or recording the PINBALL SUMMER soundtrack?

The big buzz for me was the film’s premiere. Seeing the finished movie on the big screen made our soundtrack come alive.

Why did you decide to remaster and re-release the soundtrack?

Kier-La Janisse sent me a wonderful review she had written of the soundtrack and I thought maybe we should shake the dust of the tracks to see if they would still fly. We discovered that the album had become a collector’s item all over the world and we wanted people to hear the album at its best.

It took some research to find a copy but pretty soon we had the all the ingredients to run with it–the software, engineer, studio and a pristine copy of the original vinyl to work with. We wanted listeners to play their CDs in their cars or at home and feel as if it had been recorded yesterday. It just sounds great, even for us after all this time–we are very pleased with the final results.

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  1. watching pinball summer for the first time and the soundtrack is blowing me away! So good, let’s do a cassette together!

  2. Suzy_should_have_won_1st_place!! says:

    Just like the MUSIC in the Sopranos is in all actuality a main character on the show, Jay & Germain’s music in ‘Pinball Summer’ is INTEGRAL to its legacy as well. Yes, Mihalka and the actors involved including Michael Zelniker (who would go on to star alongside Forrest Whitaker in Clint Eastwood’s ‘Bird’) and the gorgeous Helene Udy (‘Mira’ in ‘Doctor Quinn Medicine Woman’) definitely played their part but any other soundtrack/background music would have made it a completely different film; and not for the better.