Get Onto My Cloud: The Tim Rice Podcast

Get Onto My Cloud has Tim at his chatty witty best, where he talks about his career in theatre and music, his colleagues and friends (plus the odd foe) and sometimes roams off stage to discuss other important matters in his life such as cricket, astronomy, Sunderland FC and boxer dogs. You can also expect to listen to recordings of some of his favourite lyrics (not always the obvious ones) and he reveals how and why some shows worked brilliantly and some didn’t.

Described as “Relaxed, casual, essential listening for musical theatre fans and historians.”

Sir Tim Rice wrote the lyrics for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Chess and The Lion King, to name but five. The composers he has worked with include Andrew Lloyd Webber, Elton John, Alan Menken, ABBA’s Bjorn and Benny and Freddie Mercury.

Performing Arts
Am I Still Working?
Tim apologises for taking time to get round to Podcast 65 but has a reasonable excuse: working on three of his favourite golden oldies.
23 min
1955 - Not very big in Japan
It’s 1955. Tim hears American radio for the first time in his life - in Japan - and is immediately captivated by radio, hit records, and the charts. And religion, sort of.
26 min
Way way back half a century ago part 3
Tim takes a further look at the original Joseph album that he and Andrew recorded in 1968, criticises his own lyrics (but not too harshly), plays the rarely heard second Pharaoh song and how Children of Israel became Children of Kindness.
25 min
Way way back half a century ago part 2
Tim tackles one of the questions he’s most often asked - would you change any of your old lyrics if you could, or if you were writing them now? Well, yes and no. He investigates changes he could have made to the very first album of any show written by him and Andrew Lloyd Webber - Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat - back in 1968 when 4 track-tape was about as sophisticated as it got.
19 min
West End Superstar
Tim recalls, as best he can, the events, the performers, the panics, leading up to the London début of Jesus Christ Superstar in 1972, after the show had already played in five foreign countries. He pays tribute to John Fogerty of Creedence as lyricist (well, one line in particular) and travelling companion. He apologises for missing out a few Sods from Episode 60.
23 min
Tim discusses the Society of Distinguished Songwriters, the SODS, having recently celebrated their half-century. Founded by Mitch Murray in 1971, the Sods have had literally hundreds of hits around the world. You may not know all their names but you’ll certainly know their songs.
28 min
All At Sea
On a cruise ship for two weeks, Tim recently presented a live concert of some of his most popular numbers of the past half century to a literally captive audience. He answers some of the questions the passengers asked him and plays compositions written with the Abba lads, ALW and Stuart Brayson, including one that has new relevance at the moment.
24 min
Trouble With The Law
Tim recalls his tragic exit from the legal profession and his good fortune in having his brilliant idea for a book on the history of the pop charts rejected. Plus the first ever recording of Any Dream Will Do.
22 min
Joseph on Broadway
Having realised just in time that January 2022 marked 40 years since Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat first hit Broadway, Tim pays tribute to the excellent 1982 company, on and off stage, which eventually inspired countless professional productions of the work in North America.
22 min
Lost In Translation
Tim discusses foreign language adaptations of his work from many parts of the globe and reveals how some of the backers of Superstar on Broadway benefited from his racing tips.
27 min
Grab me a Gondola (and stamps and vinyl)
Tim recalls his enthusiasms from ages 0-10: his parents’ record collection, his stamp collection, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Eagle. Plus how stars of Grab Me A Gondola also starred in Joseph and Chess. And Turkish Delight from Eartha Kitt.
25 min
JC Superstar 1970 Deluxe Box Set
Tim celebrates the recent 50th anniversary release of an all-singing all-dancing box set featuring the original 1969/70 Studio recordings of Jesus Christ Superstar, released a mere one year late.
24 min
From Russia With Chess
Tim relates the story of the international travels and travails of Chess on stage and in concert in the 38 years since he, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson produced the original recording of the musical drama. He plays three songs performed by the current Moscow Chess cast.
23 min
The Return of Aida?
Tim reveals new plans for his musical with Sir Elton, Aida, their quadruple Tony-winning musical on Broadway, with music from Elton and Guiseppe (Verdi). Will it finally come to London? Plus Rice sings Nesmith in tribute to the late Michael, one of Tim's favourite composers, country rockers and Monkees.
26 min
The Return of Eternity?
Tim returns to regular podcasting with news of the return of From Here To Eternity, his musical written with Stuart Brayson. Featured: a couple of songs from the show’s West End cast album and a sample of early Brayson. And could/should the show be called The Boys Of 41?
21 min
Mantelpiece 2
Tim’s 50th podcast, like his first, draws inspiration from the strange collection of objects and paraphernalia on one of his mantelpieces. He recalls the wonderful Broadway star Laurie Beechman, anticipates the forthcoming 51st anniversary re-issue of Jesus Christ Superstar, celebrates the 50th anniversary of a Welltron 8-track tape player/radio and premieres a brand new song written with Gary Barlow. And thus ends the first series of Get Onto My Cloud.
25 min
EMI Days
Tim talks about his first proper job in the entertainment business - a management trainee at EMI Records in the Swinging 60s. He produced his first singles (flops) but learned the recording studio ropes, and met an artist with whom he was to have a long and successful musical relationship (and friendship) in later years - Murray Head. He plays some of those early efforts which were great training for the JC Superstar album a few years down the line.
26 min
Gee Seven
The planned revivals of Aida and From Here To Eternity are still stymied but Tim has written a new song inspired by the G7 summit in Cornwall in June. Imaginatively entitled Gee Seven it pays tribute to that magic number rather than to the soon-to-be-assembled throng of world leaders, but does contain advice which they will surely appreciate.
22 min
Teddy and Carl and the JCS movie.
Tim looks back at the 1973 Norman Jewison film of Jesus Christ Superstar, and in particular at the great contributions from Ted Neeley and Carl Anderson. He has just about got over the rejection of his screenplay and André Previn’s contributions.
24 min
PG Wodehouse, Jeeves and Me
For a while Tim thought that the best follow-up to JC Superstar would be a musical based on Jeeves and Bertie Wooster. Turned out not to be a good idea.
22 min
Chess On Broadway
Tim recalls the ups and mainly downs of Chess on the great White Way in 1988. He was abandoned in a remote lay-by, Inspiring a film starring Bob Geldof, and lost a packet when the show closed after eight weeks. But a couple of great new songs were added to the already very popular score.
23 min
Which comes first, music or words?
Tim wrestles with the eternal songwriter’s dilemma - which comes first, the words of the music? Andrew Lloyd Webber generally liked music first, Elton John always the words first. Dipping into songs from his first ever musical with Andrew and into the Lion King score he wrote with Elton, Tim attempts to see which way round works best.
24 min
The Lost Cricket Musical
Tim reveals all about the last complete musical he wrote with Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cricket (Hearts and Wickets), just 30 minutes long, commissioned by HRH Prince Edward for HM The Queen’s 60th birthday in 1986. No official recording exists but Tim tells the tale with selections of the lyrics and a couple of the actual songs. Surely the theatre world would appreciate a new, complete recording? Well he would anyway.
24 min
Land of Hope and Glory
Tim is inspired by a 1944 theatre poster of a play which is totally forgotten today; however it has a great emotional impact for him, reminding him of the great times and success he and Andrew Lloyd Webber enjoyed with their manager the late David Land. It’s possible to succeed without taking yourself too seriously. In fact David Land proved it’s almost essential.
26 min
The Guinness Book Of British Hit Singles
Tim tells the story of the creation of the unofficial Bible of the British charts in their glory years - the series of books he founded with brother Jo, Paul Gambaccini and Mike Read. Tommy Steele, Kate Bush and Billy Fury illustrate his tale.
23 min
Evita on Broadway
Tim goes back to the 1979 début of Evita on Broadway, starring the gifted and eccentric Patti LuPone, Mandy Patinkin and Bob Gunton. He also reports on embarrassing meetings with Bonnie and Clyde.
22 min
Pity The Singer
Tim goes through the process that eventually led to the creation of Pity The Child, beginning with a Benny instrumental and a Bjorn vocal. The song is perhaps the most challenging in the Chess score, which Murray Head conquered impressively. He recalls car theft, non-appearance of moose and One Night in Trosa, a beautiful town on the Swedish Archipelago.
24 min
Da Doo Ron Ronnie
Tim recalls two meetings with the legendary Ronnie Spector, thirty years apart, on the TV show Ready Steady Go and in the recording studio. He describes his first ever television appearance, lip-syncing to a top ten hit by a Liverpudlian star of the swinging sixties. And he reveals how he once kept the Beatles from number one.
23 min
How To Write A Hit Musical - the 10 Golden Rules
Tim reveals his infallible 10-point guide to writing a successful musical, researched and acquired after over a half a century of on and off stage bewilderment.
21 min
Run for cover
Tim digs up some cover versions of four of his best-known songs performed by boxing legends Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond and Brian Wilson - and music legend Mike Tyson; or possibly the other way round.
25 min
Jesus Christ Superstar - Friend Of Dorothy
Tim describes the recent NBC TV concert presentation of Jesus Christ Superstar that starred John Legend, Sara Bareilles, Alice Cooper and Brandon Victor Dixon. He looks back at Dorothy L. Sayers' 12-play cycle about Jesus’ life and death broadcast by the BBC at the height of World War II and surprisingly finds a few aspects common to both works.
23 min
Chess #5
For the 5th time, in response to staggering public demand, Tim dips into his vast library of Chess out-takes, in-takes and mis-takes that were laid down in the 83/84 recordings of the original album. Bjorn as Arbiter and is also a one-man chorus to Murray on Bangkok. Elaine sings I Know Him So Well on her own. Plus a treat from her Xmas album. Yule be delighted.
20 min
It’s Only Words
Tim reveals some of his childhood lyric-writing influences which include Salad Days and My Fair Lady, Flanders and Swann and several great rock n roll lyricists including Jerry Lieber, Felice & Boudleaux Bryant, Jerry Lieber & Eddie Cochran. He plays a couple of his own later efforts sung by David Essex & Chaka Khan.
27 min
Alan Menken Superstar
Tim is amazed to realise that he has written around 50 songs with the great American composer Alan Menken, 8-time Oscar winner and fellow EGOT. So Podcast 32 features five of their joint compositions, including a song that never made it into Aladdin and a couple of items from King David. Judy Kuhn, Dan Stevens, Jonathan Freeman, Brad Kane and Alan himself vocalise.
25 min
Wizard of Oz/Down On the Farm
Tim recalls Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 2011 stage production of The Wizard Of Oz at the London Palladium for which he and ALW added 4 songs to the immortal Harburg/Arlen score. Hannah Waddingham is a stirring Wicked Witch of the West and Michael Crawford, Shonagh Daly and Maynard Williams sing some lesser-known TR gems - unjustly lesser-known of course.
23 min
Me and Peggy Sue
Long-time Buddy Holly fan, Tim wrote the third part of a Peggy Sue trilogy with Bobby Vee, fellow Holly aficionado and major recording star in his own right, entitled Whatever Happened To Peggy Sue? The next part of the story begun by Peggy Sue and Peggy Sue Got Married. Find out, possibly, what did happen to the real and fictitious Peggy Sue in Get Onto My Cloud 30, starring Buddy Holly and a rare Bobby Vee/Tim Rice recording.
24 min
Chess and The Queen’s Gambit
The huge success of the excellent Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit has shown that a story based in the world of chess can be entertaining even to non-players. Tim hopes that the musical Chess also demonstrated that back in 1984 and continues to do so. The 29th edition of his podcast features some unreleased demos from the original recordings and some thoughts about The Queen’s Gambit.
22 min
Scorpio Rising
Apparently Madonna (Leo) won’t work with Scorpios so Tim now knows why she hasn’t been in touch for 24 years. Despite this rebuff he plays her delicate Evita interpretation of Another Suitcase. Also featured are Tony Christie, Julie Covington, Colm Wilkinson, Jimmy Nail, the legendary DJ Pete Murray and the Joseph Consortium. A Mixed Bag indeed.
25 min
Way way back half a century ago
Tim returns to his very early days as a songwriter, playing some fairly obscure stuff written with Andrew Lloyd Webber half a century ago. Singers include Elvis Presley (obviously not an obscure performer), the fine actress Sandra Bernhard and Tim Rice (yes, the same). Jimi Hendrix contributes unwittingly to one track.
25 min
Chess: more early moves
Tim unearths more demos and early (some very early) versions of songs from the Chess score, including Heaven Help My Heart, Where I Want To Be and Embassy Lament.
22 min
Tim recalls songs written with composer maestros Graham Gouldman, Vangelis, Richard Kerr and Florrie Palmer. None stormed the charts and weren't even expected to, but they remain among his favourite stand alone compositions. Singers include 10cc, Nana Mouskouri, Richard Kerr and Elaine Paige.
23 min
JCS 50 years on
Exactly 50 years to the month after the original studio album of Jesus Christ Superstar was issued, Tim recalls many of the musicians, singers and studio team that helped to create the recording that launched his career and that of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Ian Gillan sings Gethsemane and Mike d'Abo King Herod. Johnny Gus belts Simon Zealotes. Tim thinks the album was a good one. A bad review is included for balance.
25 min
In the 1990s Tim was lucky enough to win three Best Song Oscars, each with a different composer. He explains how this curious state of affairs came to happen and plays the three winning numbers. He also confesses that he was once nominated for a Golden Raspberry in the worst film song category. Mercifully he did not win that one.
27 min
Chess 2: Four nights in Moscow
Tim recalls the early days of writing and recording Chess with Bjorn and Benny in 1983/4. A fascinating trip to Moscow with the Cold War still dominating international politics. He plays instrumental demos of some of the first tunes considered for the show, including one dedicated to Russia’s superstar Alla Pugachyova
23 min
Beauty Tips
A new UK tour of Beauty and the Beast has been announced for May 2021, pandemic permitting. The original production was one of Broadway’s top ten long-runners of all time when it closed in 2007 and this new tour will be in the hands of the original creative team, led by director Rob Roth for Disney Theatricals. Tim recalls the creation of the songs he wrote for the show with Alan Menken and muses on one or two song copyright issues. A must for lawyers.
24 min
It’s not widely known that Tim wrote lyrics for two of Freddie Mercury’s songs on the Barcelona album he recorded with the great operatic soprano Montserrat Caballe. In Get Onto My Cloud episode 20 he plays both the tracks and assesses the theatrical aspect of Freddie’s huge talent. The podcast also includes a memorable recording of Bohemian Rhapsody by Elaine Paige.
25 min
The beginnings of Chess
No show has caused Tim as much heartbreak and enjoyment as Chess, the musical he wrote with Abba genii Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. In the first of what may well be many Chess podcasts, he explains the genesis of the whole project which sprang into life at a dinner in Stockholm in December 1981.
22 min
From Here To Eternity
Tim recalls the great things and the disappointments of his most recent new West End musical, From Here To Eternity, music by Stuart Brayson, and plays four songs from the score, one of his favourites, and vows it will return!
22 min
Murray, Perry, Rita and Bing
Tim returns to some of the songs he co-wrote for the cinema, before he joined the Disney animation circus in the 1990s. Songs with music by John Barry, Marvin Hamlisch and Andrew Lloyd Webber - sung by A-listers Rita Coolidge, Bing Crosby and Perry Como. Plus a thank you to Tim Sheader for being the first post-Covid director/producer to stage a musical in London - a wonderful interpretation of Jesus Christ Superstar - which gives Tim Rice an excuse to feature the magnificent Murray Head.
22 min
Lion King Two
Tim looks back at the two Lion King movies, the 1994 original and the 2019 remake. He plays the two new songs he and Elton wrote for the second movie, only one of which was used, and then only over the end credits. He recalls the brilliance of Jeremy Irons and why he had to miss one of the greatest cricket matches of all time thanks to the Disney Organisation not appreciating the importance of the World Cup Final.
23 min
After 3 probing gripping podcasts about Evita’s early days (podcasts 12-14), Tim reveals all (or most, anyway) about his first theatrical misfire - Blondel, a show written with the late Stephen Oliver, which ran for a year in London 1983. He takes the blame for its problems but plays some selections from the score which shows that Stephen was as suited and as gifted in the musical theatre sphere as he was in the classical music world. One day, maybe, it will return. Features the wonderful Cantabile (The London Quartet), Paul Nicholas, Stephen Tate, Sharon Lee Hill and David Burt.
24 min
The Prince of Musicals
Tim recalls the great success of the Evita studio album in the UK and its total lack of same in the United States. So it seemed unlikely that the Broadway legend Hal Prince would respond to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s invitation to direct Evita in the West End - but he did, after just one hearing of the studio recording, albeit he had some criticisms and reservations. Tim reveals Hal’s first ever thoughts about Evita - sent to the writers by old fashioned air mail postal delivery in late 1976.
19 min
The original Evita album (part 2)
Get Onto My Cloud Podcast 13 continues the story of the first ever revelation of Evita - as a record, not as a show, back in 1976. The album featured Julie Covington as Eva Peron, Paul Jones as Juan Peron and Colm Wilkinson as Che. Tim plays some lesser-known items from the recording including extracts that never made it onto stage two years later. Plus the First Lady of Musical Theatre singing the song Madonna first sang in the movie - You Must Love Me.
21 min
The original Evita album (part 1)
How to follow Jesus Christ Superstar? After failing to make headway working on a musical with Andrew Lloyd Webber based on PG Wodehouse’s immortal Jeeves and Bertie Wooster, Tim came up with the insane idea of a musical about the wife of an Argentine dic...
24 min
Superstar Rocks Broadway (sort of)
Tim recalls the first time a work by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice made it to Broadway. The show was Jesus Christ Superstar, the year 1971, and it was not always plain sailing, despite the huge success of the 1970 studio album recording. But the work ...
23 min
Cliff and Heathcliff
In the early 1990s Cliff Richard invited Tim to write the lyrics for all the songs in his proposed musical Heathcliff. John Farrar was to compose the music. The resulting show failed to excite many of the critics, positively anyway, but the public though...
23 min
Aida - part two
In response to staggering, well encouraging, interest in Get Onto My Cloud episode eight, about Tim's musical with Sir Elton John, Aida, episode nine features three more songs from the show sung by the Broadway stars Heather Headley, Adam Pascal and Sher...
21 min
Aida - part one
In 1996 Tim and Elton, following their success with The Lion King movie, embarked upon the creation of an original Broadway show entitled Aida, which Verdi had had a go at 125 years earlier. Despite trials and tribulations, the show made it to Broadway f...
24 min
Jesus Christ Superstar - the early days
50 years ago the unknown pairing of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice recorded the first ever version of their rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. They had wanted to introduce the work on stage but no theatrical producers wanted to know. Thus forced to mak...
22 min
In 1989 Tim was invited to translate the most successful French musical ever to have played in France. No – not Les Miserables. Unfortunately. Although his adaptation of Starmania and its songs failed to extend the show’s fame to foreign parts, his work ...
23 min
Beauty and Aladdin
The great composer Alan Menken has won more Oscars (8) than anyone else alive today. Tim has worked with him on several projects, including Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast. In this podcast he reveals how he stepped into the late Howard Ashman’s shoes, a...
21 min
Coat of not Very Many Colours
Tim recounts writing of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and the first ever public performance of the then 20-minute work at Colet Court School in March 1968.
21 min
Elton and Eldorado
Tim, having come to the realisation that he has written more than 40 songs with Sir Elton John, plays three of their lesser-known collaborations and chats about the animated movie The Road To El Dorado, for which they wrote the score, including an Elton ...
21 min
The Likes Of Us
In the second episode of his new podcast Get Onto My Cloud, Tim tells the story of his first meeting with Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1965 and how they immediately set about writing a musical based on the life of Dr. Thomas Barnardo entitled The likes Of Us. ...
21 min
Tim investigates his mantlepiece during a lockdown spring clean. Long-forgotten items relating to Joseph, Evita, INXS and Don Bradman surface. He plays one of his favourite Alan Menken collaborations and the 1965 single that started it all.  
21 min