Various Artists - 1979 The Warriors (Soundtrack)


ARTIST: Various Artists
ALBUM: The Warriors (Soundtrack)
YEAR: 1979
CD REISSUE: 1999, Spectrum Music (UK), 551 169-2 * 2013, La La Land Records (USA), LLLCD 1261


LINEUP: See track listing.

TRACK LISTING: 01 Theme From The Warriors - Barry De Vorzon * 02 Nowhere To Run - Arnold McCuller * 03 In Havana - Kenny Vance & Ismael Miranda * 04 Echoes In My Mind - Mandrill * 05 The Fight - Barry De Vorzon * 06 In The City - Joe Walsh * 07 Love Is A Fire - Genya Ravan * 08 Baseball Furies Chase - Barry De Vorzon * 09 You're Movin' Too Slow - Johnny Vastano * 10 Last Of An Ancient Breed - Desmond Child


For those of a certain age 'The Warriors' surely holds a place dear to their hearts.

The seminal gang film has always been a cult favourite since its release in 1979 and I must have easily seen it several hundred times, if not more, since I first laid eyes on it some 26 years ago.

For those unaware the film tells the story of The Warriors, a Coney Island gang framed for the murder of New York's leading street gang member.

Their struggles to get back to their 'turf' are displayed in vivid detail in the New York night time setting, but without the stunning soundtrack it wouldn't have been half as effective in my opinion.

The music veers from AOR to funk, with brilliant instrumentals also capturing the edgy atmosphere and the gang's desperation. It has late 70's written all over it for sure, but that's part of its essence.

The Songs

Being so familiar with the movie it's impossible not to place the various songs with their place in the film, with each track telling a story in some way.

The opening instrumental by Barry DeVorzon is purely atmospheric, with sinister keyboards swirling around ominously backed up by some tough riffs and drumming. This always brings to mind the sight of some ludicrous gangs on the subway going to the meeting of the city's top gangs, with the mime clowns probably the cream of the crop. Who'd be scared of those guys? However I could easily imagine this piece in 'Dawn Of The Dead' too, similar to Goblin's tasty soundtrack work.

'Nowhere To Run' is a cover of the 60's chestnut, handled ably by Arnold McCuller with an updated disco rhythm to suit the times.

The Latin sound of 'In Havana' is suitably sultry, its salsa leanings provided by Kenny Vance and Ismael Miranda.

The upbeat funk of 'Echoes Of My Mind' is provided by Mandrill, this one in the same category of The Commodores or Herbie Hancock.

The guitar work of 'The Fight' mixes well with the overwhelming synth work, unsettling almost in its droning wail. When watched though, it juxtaposes well with The Warriors fighting the gang in the bathroom near the end, very hard hitting.

Joe Walsh's 'In the City' is the end theme and this version is superior to the one on the Eagles 'The Long Run' that same year. This version came first and has a touch more melody and sting to it, especially the guitar work.

The intense AOR of 'Love Is A Fire' is the work of Genya Ravan, a well-known female vocalist from the 60's and onwards. This track is used as several of The Warriors are confronted by an all-female gang and have to run for their lives and it fits perfectly, with the songs sense of urgency.

It's hard to beat the 'Baseball Furies Chase Scene' when it comes to freaky keyboard use, as the gang flees from the face-painted, baseball bat wielding Furies down the street before pummeling them. It's thrilling and melodic whichever way you look at it, De Vorzon providing a masterpiece of sound.

The harmonica infused rock and roll of 'You're Moving Too Slow' is throwaway, like a better version of the dire Southside Johnny and the Astbury Dukes.

The masterstroke of the album has to be Desmond Child's 'Last Of An Ancient Breed' however. This is the best Bruce Springsteen impersonation I've ever heard, so much so that it's better than 'The Boss' himself. It's a great song though, AOR to the hilt and up there with the best of the Michael Stanley Band for rural, blue-collar theatrics. This really could have been a substantial hit.

In Summary

This will always be one of my favourite movies and soundtracks, bringing back a host of memories associated with the movie and the times and places I've seen it.

It should appeal to a wide cross section of melodic rock lovers, with one foot in every avenue of the late 70's various genres that were ruling the airwaves.

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