Production and marketingEdit
The album was produced by the Church of Scientology and their recording studio Golden Era Productions. The Church of Scientology says the album achieved its Gold Record within four months of its release. The cover art for the original album and the updated version of the same cover feature a long bridge meandering off into the sky. This is reminiscent of "The Bridge to Total Freedom" that appears on the Scientology introductory book, What is Scientology. The album was promoted with a live performance, which was recorded and sold by the Church of Scientology. The album includes songs "The Way to Happiness" and "Why Worship Death".
A March 20, 1986 press release put out by the Church of Scientology announced a series of tribute events in honor of L. Ron Hubbard's birthday, and stated, "Crowds applauded the surprise release of an album of popular music composed by Hubbard entitled "The Road to Freedom," featuring leading artists John Travolta, Chick Corea, Karen Black, opera star Julia Migenes-Johnson, Leif Garrett, Frank Stallone, and more than two dozen other recording artists and entertainers. At the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles, the event featured a live performance by the original artists."
The Church of Scientology put out advertising directed towards its WISE International membership that directed them to order multiple copies of the album (offered in 1/2 dozen lots) to give to associates as a means to introduce people to the concepts of Scientology. The advertising calls this album "the perfect dissemination tool". This album was published by Revenimus Music Publishing, the music publishing division of the Church of Scientology, which also published the album Mission Earth, which was also written by L. Ron Hubbard and produced, arranged, and performed by Edgar Winter.
Jonathan Leggett of The Guardian compared the The Road to Freedom to the 2001 album The Joy Of Creating - The Golden Era Musicians And Friends Play L Ron Hubbard which features Doug E. Fresh and Isaac Hayes, writing, "As with Joy Of Creating, the lyrics are rotten." Leggett noted, At one stage Travolta croons: "'Reality is me. Reality is you. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.'" He wrote critically of the album, commenting, "Although praised on websites as 'a musical masterpiece' it actually sounds like the kind of jazz noodle that they used to demonstrate CD players in Dixons in the 1980s."
Writer Kyle Jarrow incorporated musical themes from The Road to Freedom into the songs he wrote for his 2003 Obie Award-winning play, A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant. Jarrow explained that he was trying to discover what liturgical music existed in Scientology, and he came to believe that there were strong correlations between the album and 1980s pop.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Goldstein, Patrick (September 21, 1986). "Hubbard Hymns", Los Angeles Times, p. 40.
- ↑ Church of Scientology: Ron the Music Maker Website The Road to Freedom (accessed 15 September 2006)
- ↑ IMDB.com listing: The Road to Freedom: L. Ron Hubbard and Friends (accessed 15 September 2006)
- ↑ Scott Welch of Church of Scientology (March 20, 1986). "Press release", PR Newswire (Los Angeles, California), PR Newswire Association, Inc..
- ↑ WISE International Prosperity Vol II 2-14
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Leggett, Jonathan (March 25, 2005). "Cult musicians: Scientology has long been regarded as 'a Hollywood thing', but as Isaac Hayes cooks up a storm and quits his role as South Park's Chef, Jonathan Leggett reveals other musical followers", The Guardian, Guardian Newspapers Limited. Retrieved on 2009-11-08.
- ↑ Muther, Christopher (November 24, 2006). "Songs of joy & praise (for L. Ron Hubbard): 'Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant' sets the story of church's founder to music", The Boston Globe. Retrieved on 2007-10-26.
- Listen to the full-length RealAudio streams of every track here, www.RonTheMusicMaker.org