J.R.R. Tolkien Reads and Sings His Lord of the Rings/ Two Towers, Return of the King
(Caedmon, 1975: TC 1478). The cover of this LP consists of a nice portrait of Tolkien taken by Billet Potter. Every Tolkien fan must listen to these recordings. They are based on the famous tape recordings that Tolkien made when he was staying with George Sayer in August, 1952. Largely due to confusion and mismanagement of the manuscript, The Lord of the Rings had just been refused by publishers. Tolkien was despondent and went to pick up the manuscript from Sayer. He stayed with Sayer for two weeks and during that time, Sayer introduced him to audiotape recordings. Tolkien then recorded poems and passages from the manuscript and the Hobbit. However, in characteristic fashion, Tolkien exorcised any demons that might be in the tape recorder by first recording the Lord's Prayer in Gothic. These recordings include large selections from the entire tale. The recording is probably as good as any reading Tolkien did in his lifetime. Since Tolkien was completely correct about his work being best appreciated when read aloud, it is certainly a tragedy that more recordings were not made. The contents of this LP were later compiled in an audiotape set called The J. R. R. Tolkien Audio Collection (Caedmon, ISBN: 1-55994-675-X). Many were also included on a CD that came with the UK Millenium edition of The Lord of the Rings.
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