Sunday, August 18, 2013

Risky Business (soundtrack)

Welcome to another edition of Soundtrack Sunday.

In August of 1983, a movie about an entrepreneur high school Senior who is left alone while his parents are on a trip hit the movie theatres. Risky Business became a box office smash, launching a young Tom Cruise into stardom. The film also starred Rebecca De Mornay, Joe Pantoliano, Curtis Armstrong, Richard Masur and Bronson Pinchot.

Today, to mark the film’s thirtieth anniversary, we will give the soundtrack album a listen.

Side one opens with Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. “Old Time Rock and Roll” played during the iconic scene of Cruise, in his underwear, sliding across the front foyer and dancing; any one who was culturally aware in the 80‘s instantly links the two in their minds. The hit song first appeared on the band’s 1978 album Stranger In Town (click here for that review).

The next few instrumental tracks on the side were by the German band Tangerine Dream, who is credited with scoring the film.

“The Dream Is Always the Same” features an instantly memorable ethereal theme. Hearing it again pulls me right back to the film, and my mind starts filling in with Cruise’s voiceover narration. It is a fantastic synthesizer piece.

“No Future” has a very dark, ominous tone to it. You can feel the tension build as this instrumental piece progresses.

“Guido the Killer Pimp” deceives you. It starts off gentle and unassuming but then takes a bit of a turn. Don’t mess with Guido because he’s not the type to let you off so easily.

“Lana”, the theme written for De Mornay’s character, is lovely and layered - just like how she played the character.

The side closes with blues master Muddy Waters. “Mannish Boy (I’m a Man)” was released back in 1955 and is critically considered a classic. It was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame for classic blues recordings, it was included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of 500 songs that shaped rock and roll, and it was ranked number 229 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It features that fundamental riff/rhythm that, for me, is the first thing I think of when I think of the blues.

Side two begins with Jeff Beck and “The Pump”, an instrumental track that first appeared on his 1980 album There and Back. It features a rock-blues blend and has a great slow build.

Prince is up next with “D.M.S.R.” from his 1982 hit album 1999 (click here for that review). The version of this funky dance groove is edited down here to just over five minutes. Of course, by the time this film came out I was already a diehard Prince fan. Hearing the song during the film instantly put a smile on my face.

“After the Fall” by Journey follows. It first appeared earlier in 1983 on their album Frontiers (click here for that review).

Phil Collins and his amazing drums are here with “In the Air Tonight”. It originally appeared on his 1981 Face Value (click here for that review).

Tangerine Dream closes out the album with “Love On a Real Train (Risky Business)”. Again, this is another one of the instantly memorable musical themes, cueing memories of that hot passionate scene as the subway car rolls on through the night.

I can remember watching Risky Business numerous times in the 80’s, particularly on HBO and Showtime. Being at that right age (eighteen) at the time it came out, I instantly took to the film. It was the ultimate in male adolescent fantasies that smartly worked on a number of levels. For me, the music married well with the film to create one of those experiences that benchmarks the early part of the decade.


HERC said...

Thanks for revisiting the Risky Business soundtrack today Martin. It is one of the very, very small number of albums I have featured on my site before you reviewed them on yours which I consider to be a high honor because you've featured what, a thousand discs?

I could have sworn you had reviewed it prior but it turns out it was Mark over at The CD Project who had featured it - I had just read and commented on his review in July 2013 even though he posted it in 2010.

Between the three of us, we kinda sorta present a well-rounded view of the music contained on the Risky Business soundtrack don't you think?

My copy of the soundtrack album was one of the first imported albums I ever purchased - believe I paid $15 bucks for it on vinyl in 1984 and then picked up the import CD for $20 when the Import Only CD shop opened up in our town's (then) newest mall in the early Nineties. Also picked up Bronski Beat's Hunderds + Thousands and Wham's The Final import CDs that day. That very, very good day.

Martin Maenza said...

Herc, actually I am just under a thousand (more like 900+). So much great music out there.