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Arts & Culture

Hi-Fi Hitchcock

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Universal Music Group
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Alfred Hitchcock was riding a wave of popularity in 1958 as the host of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.” Each week, the celebrated director entered American homes to offer his commentary on the episode in question, full of puns and dark humor. So it only seemed natural that someone in the biz thought he should have a Hi-Fi album.

“I believe that murder, like charity, begins at home. After all, some of the most exquisite murders have been domestic, performed in homey places like the kitchen or the bathtub.”

“Music To Be Murdered By” features the Master of Suspense introducing music that is anything but. Conductor Jeff Alexander’s arrangements of standards like “After You’ve Gone” and “I’ll Walk Alone” are pure easy listening, and Alexander’s originals on the album sound like Bernard Herrmann lite. But there’s a certain charm to the affair.

“Murder is amusing for the onlookers and the murderer but no one thinks of making things pleasant for the victim.”

What makes this album a kitschy classic are the introductions and interludes by Hitch himself, delivered in his typical droll manner. Although Hitch probably knocked off the scripts during a half-hour recording session in a studio booth, I prefer to imagine him leading the orchestra, Jackie Gleason-style…a noose in one hand and a scotch in the other.

“The difficulty with this album is that we keep losing listeners.”

Universal Music Group has reissued “Music To Be Murdered By” on black vinyl for the Halloween season. It’s a fun soundtrack for the cocktail—or witching—hour.