The Death to Smoochy soundtrack and the
mystery music used in the commercial.


A couple of people have written to me, saying that they've also been searching for that mystery song used in background of the commercial for Death to Smoochy. In discussing the song, one of those people helped me figure out what the name of the song is. My search for the exact recording used in the commercial has turned up some interesting results, and I present them here to you.

If you've already read through the background information, you can scroll to the bottom of the page to find the answer.

To recap:

Here is the list of songs used in the movie, presented in Smoochy-like fashion. This is probably as close to an Official Soundtrack as we're going to get.

"Friends Come In All Sizes"
Music by Davie Newman
Lyrics by Adam Resnick
Performed by Robin Williams
"Smoochy's Methodone Song"
Lyrics by Adam Resnick
Performed by Edward Norton
"She Bangs the Drum"
Written by Ian George Brown and John Squire
Performed by The Stone Roses
Courtesy of Silvertone Records
"Malambo No. 1"
Written by Moises Vivanco
Performed by Yma Sumac
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI-Capitol Music Special Markets
"Smoochy's Magic Jungle Theme"
Music by David Newman
Lyrics by Adam Resnick
Performed by Edward Norton
"You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You"
Written by James Cavanaugh, Larry Stock and Russ Morgan
Performed by Dean Martin
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI-Capitol Music Special Markets
"Also Sprach Zarathustra"
Written by Richard Strauss
Performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by Herbert Von Karajan
Courtesy of Decca Music Group Limited
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
"The Cookie Chant"
Music by David Newman
Lyrics by Adam Resnick
Performed by Edward Norton
"The Friends Song"
Music and Lyrics by Edward Norton
Performed by Edward Norton
"My Stepdad's Not Mean (He's Just Adjusting)"
Music by Edward Norton
Lyrics by Adam Resnick and Edward Norton
Performed by Edward Norton
"I Feel Pretty"
Written by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim
Performed by Carol Lawrence
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
Written by Fred Ebb and John Kander
Performed by Liza Minnelli
Courtesy of MCA Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
"Goomba Boomba"
Written by Billy May
Performed by Yma Sumac
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI-Capitol Music Special Markets
"La Receta"
Written by Raul Ramos
Performed by Johnny Polanco and Conjunto Amistad
Courtesy of Tonga Productions
"Notre Dame Victory March"
Written by John F. Shea and Rev. Michael J. Shea
Performed by Notre Dame Marching Band
"Madame Butterfly"
Written by G. Puccini, G. Giacosa and L. Illica
"Cavalleria Rusticana (Intermezzo)"
Written by Pietro Mascagni
"Rainbow Randolph Theme Song"
Lyrics by Adam Resnick
Performed by Robin Williams
"(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher"
Written by Gary Jackson, Raynard Miner and Carl Smith
Performed by Jackie Wilson
Courtesy of Brunswick Record Corporation
By arrangement with Celebrity Licensing Inc.
"Tosca - Vissi D'Arte"
Written by G. Puccini, G. Giacosa and L. Illica
"Original Score © 2002 Warner-Barham Music, LLC"


So, back to the drawing board in trying to identify "Jesu Version X".

1-1-2003: By playing the section of the trailer that has "Jesu" in it over in a loop, underneath the speech I can hear a piano, a set of "high-hat" cymbals and a synthesizer that sounds somewhat like a harpsicord. If you play the Wendy Carlos version at 1.5x speed, it pretty closely matches the tempo of Version X, but the instruments don't match. It's almost like a Mannheim Steamroller or a Trans-Sierberian Orchestra version.
      A search of other synthesizer versions of "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" over at the J.S. Bach website reveals an entry for "21st Century Bach" by Kathy Geisler. "21st Century Bach" was released in 1992, and is currently out of stock in major places like Amazon, Borders, Sam Goody and The Wherehouse, but may still be orderable directly from Well-Tempered Productions. For $10 + S&H, it will be worth it to see if I can still solve this mystery.

"21st Centry Bach" may still turn out not to be the correct version. Back when I first got a Commodore 64 computer, around 1984 or 1985, there was a program someone wrote that displayed scrolling sheet music. It was programmed to just play a few bars of two different songs, starting over with song #1 when song #2 ended. One of those two songs portions was "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring". (Classical music was a popular choice for composing music on the C64 because it is public domain. Most of these programs just played music without any sort of animation on-screen, until SidPlayer came along, and then we got to see the notes played on a piano's keyboard as the song played.)
      I have a strong recollection that this "Sheet Music" program is in the same tempo as Jesu Version X. Within the next month or two, I will be unpacking my C64 for a project I will be working on. I think I still have the "Sheet Music" program, so I should be able to see if it is close to Jesu Version X. If it is, that would rule out "21st Century Bach" as being the source of Jesu Version X, but wouldn't help much in finding Version X's source since there was no instructions or notes with the program. (I should also be able to convert it into a WAV or MP3 file and make it available for you to download.)


February 22nd, 2003: The mystery is solved!

My thanks go to the two people that provided me with the answer this week.
      It turns out the song is "Joy" by Apollo 100, which is based on J.S. Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring". The song sample found on the Tower Records website is pretty close to the portion of the song used in the Death to Smoochy commercial and theatrical trailer.
      Like Wendy Carlos, Mannheim Steamroller, and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Apollo 100 has adapted other instrumental and classical works. According to the biography on the Lycos Music website, "Joy" became a Top 10 hit in the US in 1972, and they later released "Mendelssohn's 4th (2nd Movement)" and an album also entitled "Joy".
      Shortly afterwards, the group broke up, and naturally, Apollo 100's albums are now out of print. A quick search did turn up a few compilation CDs that have "Joy" on them. Part of that search also led me to an old website that contains information on a second Apollo 100 album: "Masterpieces", that the Lycos Music website didn't mention.

Here are the places that you can buy a CD with either "Joy" or "Mendelssohn's 4th (2nd Movement)" on them. Some of these will also be mentioned because they contain either favorite songs of mine, or because they also have similar songs. Sort of like the "customers who bought this title also bought..." notation that you see on

Joy — "Boogie Nights 2: More Music from the Original Picture" soundtrack, released by Capitol/EMI Records.
Mendelssohn's 4th — "Definitive 70's Volume 1", released by BR. Also contains a favorite song of mine: "Rings" by Cymarron.
Joy — "Have a Nice Day: Super Hits of the '70s, Volume 7", released by Rhino Records.
Joy — "Have a Nice Decade: The '70s Pop Culture Box" box set, which contains Volume 7 immediately above, also by Rhino Records. This one also contains "Popcorn" by Hot Butter, "Dueling Banjos" by Eric Weissberg, "The Entertainer" by Marvin Hamlisch, and "The Star Wars Theme" by MECO. (What Apollo 100 did for "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring", MECO did for "The Star Wars Theme".) It also contains quite a few of my favorite songs. You can ask me in eMail if you're curious enough which ones those might be.
Joy — "Instrumental Nuggets, Volume 1", released by BTM. Also contains two other similar and popular songs: "Classical Gas" by Mason Williams, and "Popcorn" by Hot Butter.
      Note: the Borders/Amazon website lists this as "Instrumental Nuggets: Sampler", even though they show the album cover for "Volume 1".
Joy — "Rock Instrumental Classics, Volume 3: The Seventies", released by Rhino Records. Also contains a few similar and popular songs: "A Fifth of Beethoven" by Walter Murphy, "Popcorn" by Hot Butter, and "Also Sprach Zarathustra" by Deodata (used in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey).
"Golden Instrumental Hits: Apollo 100", released by LaserLight Digital/Delta. This album doesn't have either "Joy" or "Mendelssohn's 4th", but instead has some of the songs from the "Masterpieces" album; "Popcorn" and "Classical Gas" are among them. The review on the Borders website does say that the version of "Popcorn" on this album is "wimpy" compared to Apollo 100's original "rocky" version.
at Tower Records

Post script:
      The search to find the Mystery song used in the commercial and theatrical trailer turned out to be more interesting than the movie itself. In fact, I probably wouldn't have given Death to Smoochy another moment's thought after I heard the review that said Robin Williams spouts so much profanity in the movie that it seems like he was paid by the word (said by Roger Ebert, I believe, on the Ebert & Roeper At the Movies show) if Warner Bros. has just put a song list up on their website and said "We also used 'Joy' by Apollo 100 in the trailer".
      While it would be nice to be able to get a soundtrack so I could listen to the "Rainbow Randolph" and "Smoochy's Magic Jungle" themes, maybe it's better that Warner Bros. didn't make one. I wouldn't have located the albums above that have songs I've been interested in as long as when I originally heard "Joy" on the radio. In fact, as soon as I upload this page, I'm heading over to the mall to see if they have any of them in stock. (I usually buy products locally whenever I can, and only buy mail-order if local places don't have it.)

(By the way, I wound up renting Monkeybone at the same time as Smoochy. You can get a soundtrack for Monkeybone from Varèse Saraband.)

April 9, 2006 addition:
      I have a new page discussing the five versions of "Man of Constant Sorrow" that have been released as part of the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?, its music video and its soundtrack.

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