More Soundtracks From the File23 Vinyl Vault

Posted: May 28, 2010 in The Roper Files
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Don’t remember if it was minutes, hours or days after my last post but later it occurred to me that I had completely forgotten to mention any of the soundtrack albums in my extensive vinyl collection.

I don’t have as many as I used to; many fell victims to past record shows (“ I NEVER listen to this…” as I shoved it into my “for sale” crate) after replacing them with the CD versions but a few choice slices have survived.

 Way back in the early 80s some friends of mine and I drove over to Dallas to see a double feature of ERASERHEAD and Tod Browning’s FREAKS. Walking out of the theater later we were joking about how much of a date-killer ERASERHEAD could be. A nightmarish black and white film of one of the most horribly fucked up marriages imaginable (complete with a horribly deformed mutant “baby”) I would personally place it right up there (or down there) with HENRY PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER as one of my last choices for a date movie.

The soundtrack to David Lynch’s ERASERHEAD is exactly what I suspected it was the day I picked this up. It includes each and every hum, whirr, click and every other such bump-in-the-night sounds as well as muted snippets of some old Fats Waller 78s as well as the memorable “IN HEAVEN” as sung by the bizarre Lady In the Radiator.

 I’ve had people argue with me about the existence of this soundtrack LP which was issued on the IRS label in 1982 but the above photo should be proof enough for any skeptic. (click photos to enlarge)

It also came with a suitable-for-framing 8 X 10 of “the baby.” There was also a CD edition of this in the early 90s; not sure what label that was on. The vinyl version has a picture of Henry’s feet on that bizarre zig-zag carpet in his apartment lobby on one side and a picture of the baby on the other.


ITS A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD is one of my favorite movies so I had to pick up the soundtrack ( composed by Ernest Gold) if for no other reason the wonderful 12X12 Jack Davis cover art. Mine is a 1986 re-issue of the original MCA release which originally had a gatefold cover; my copy doesn’t.


Like ERASERHEAD, my soundtrack copy of THE NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD contains dialogue, the “found” public domain music and every thump and bump from the 1968 George Romero black and white film classic sound score. Can’t really say why I bought this but the cover is pretty cool. Issued in 1982 on the Varese Sarabande label.


And just like NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, my copy of THE PRODUCERS soundtrack ( a 1968 German (!) import on the RCA label) contains all of the dialogue and music from the original 1968 Mel Brooks classic. Can’t really say exactly WHY I bought this one either but it is great fun to crank up the opening main title and credits music ( composed by John Morris) or the late great Dick Shawn singing “LOVE POWER” and of course the immortal “Springtime For Hitler” You gotta love that cover…


 One of my favorite movies is  David Byrne’s TRUE STORIES (1986)  My DVD is out of print and I also found this 1986 soundtrack LP about ten years ago at a record show. It is titled “Sounds From True Stories” and sub-titled “Music for Activities Freaks”.

Byrne filmed it right here in Texas and also recorded the background music (which he talks over in the film) at a variety of studios in Sunnyvale, Lubbock and Denton with a number of local musicians. My favorite track is “City Of Steel” a simple instrumental consisting of bass, drums, piano ( played by Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz and Jerry Harrison respectively) and pedal steel guitar overdubbed on two separate tracks ( played by Tommy Morrell)

And last we have the soundtrack to the 1981 documentary URGH A MUSIC WAR! A two-LP set on A&M Records, it has tracks by The Police, Wall Of Voodoo, Oingo Boingo, XTC, Devo, the Cramps, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Gary Numan, X. Magazine and many many more early 80s punk and new wave acts all filmed live.

I’ve never seen a legit DVD copy of this film which I remember being shown constantly back in the early 80s when cable was new and have never seen this soundtrack LP re-issued on CD. I can only imagine the nightmare of jumping through all the necessary legal hoops required to ever get this released.


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