Original released on LP Capitol ST-2993
The soundtrack for the 1968 film "Romeo and Juliet" was composed and conducted by Nino Rota. It was originally released as a vinyl record, containing nine entries, most notably the song "What Is a Youth", composed by Nino Rota, written by Eugene Walter and performed by Glen Weston. The music score won a Silver Ribbon award of the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists in 1968 and was nominated for two other awards (BAFTA Award for Best Film Music in 1968 and Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score in 1969. The soundtrack is referred to as "Original Soundtrack Recording" on the front cover with further credits to the film itself. Several other editions of the soundtrack feature different covers.
The neo-Elizabethan ballad "What Is a Youth" is performed by a troubadour character as part of the diegesis during the Capulets' ball, at which Romeo and Juliet first meet. The original lyrics of the song are borrowed from songs in other Shakespearean plays, particularly Twelfth Night and The Merchant of Venice. In 1968 Billboard described the score as "brilliant and moving". Contemporary feedback was also provided by John Mahoney from The Hollywood Reporter, who described the score as «one of the best and strongest components», noting that «a period ballad with lyric by Eugene Walter, "What Is A Youth", provides the perfect setting for the meeting of the two lovers at the Capulet party». Since 1968 numerous arrangements of "What Is a Youth" have been released, most notably "A Time for Us" and "Ai Giochi Addio", both performed by various artists. The soundtrack's original label Capitol Records subsequently released three other soundtrack albums inspired by original score. The popularity of the first of them led Capitol Records to release a four-record set of the film's entire vocal and music tracks.