Feature: Call Collect: An introduction to CHRISTOPHER LEE and his music

Best known for his portrayal of Dracula in the late 1960s Hammer horror films Christopher Lee also lent his (vocal) talents to several rock albums including power metallers Rhapsody of Fire…

Christopher Lee - Hammer Horror

Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee CBE was an actor of international renown, staring in over 200 films (including The Wicker Man, James Bond, Lord Of The Rings and the Star Wars prequal trilogy) as well as numerous TV shows, including the Hammer House Of Horror series (many alongside Peter Cushing), where he made his name as Dracula. Six Tim Burton films included a remake of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.

But did you know he could sing? Well, yes. His naturally powerful and almost operatic voice, it kinda seems obvious. And although he had a singing part in The Wicker Man (1973), the singing (and musical narration) didn’t come until later in his career.

Born in 1922, his TV and Film work began in the 40s, and had parts in Corridor Of Mirrors (1947) and had an uncredited part in Lawrence Olivier’s Hamlet (1948).  However it was Lee’s first film for Hammer, 1957′s Curse Of Frankenstein, that he started to make his name. Dracula followed, as did The Wicker Man (1973) and James Bond. Then more recently he starred as Count Duku in Star Wars and Saruman in Lord Of The Rings.

Lee’s first album was Christopher Lee Sings Devils, Rogues & Other Villains (1998), and then in 2006 a second solo album Revelation which took some old classics (including stage and TV show) in a range of styles.

But by then he’s recorded the first of five albums (technically four albums and one EP/mini album) with Rhapsody (later Rhapsody Of Fire). 2004′s Symphony Of Enchanted Lands II – The Dark Secret was the first of those five, a continued concept over five CDs; imagine Lord Of The Rings as a melodic power metal opera. Yes, really. And it’s wonderful. That 2004 album was my introduction to Rhapsody, now one of my favourite bands.

Lee’s recordings were also used on the 2005 live album Live In Canada, and more recently and posthumously on 2019′s The Eighth Mountain. From that Dark Secret album, The Magic Of The Wizard’s Dream was also released as a single, as a duet with Lee, the track sung in 4 different languages.

He has also released some EPs including A Metal Christmas, and two Charlemagne concept albums too. But for me, it is the Rhapsody collaboration that’s worth checking out.

Interview (2007)
Album review (Rhapsody Of Fire, The Cold Embrace Of Fear (A Dark Romantic Symphony), 2010)

In his show broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 10 May David Randall played a further selection of artists and albums included in the new Features series, “2020 Vision”.

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Featured Albums w/c 25 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 FM Synchronized (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 THE ROCKET DOLLS The Art Of Disconnect (indie)
14:00-16:00 BEN KUNDER Searching For The Stranger (indie)

Power Plays w/c 11 May (Mon-Fri)

THE MERCY KILLS Alone (Golden Robot Records)
DEAD REYNOLDS By Your Side (indie)
THE JAILBIRDS Watery Grave (Golden Robot Records)
ALI MASS & MICKY MOODY These Times (Last Man Music)
MASSIVE WAGONS Bangin In Your Stereo (Earache)
UDO We Are One (AFM Records)

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